Updating and Recovering SuperMicro BIOS

Below are a few methods to update or recover SuperMicro BIOS on X-9 series boards. These instructions may be applicable to other board models as well. Check SuperMicro’s documentation.

This information is provided as-is, and extreme caution should always be taken when performing BIOS updates.

BIOS Upgrades

There are a few ways that you can update the BIOS in a SuperMicro server.

Using a bootable DOS flash drive and AMI.BAT

  1. Start by preparing a bootable DOS USB flash drive (or CD). There are a bunch of different tools that you can use to do this, but I like using Rufus.
  2. Next, head over to SuperMicro’s support page and download the latest BIOS for your model motherboard. Inside the .zip that is downloaded is a batch file called ami.bat.
  3. Copy the entire folder, readme’s and all, onto the flash drive and install it in the SuperMicro server.
  4. Console into the server, either directly or via IPMI, and power it on. Boot into the flash drive.
  5. Once the DOS prompt loads, type ami.bat <bios.img>, where <bios.img> is the filename of the BIOS image you downloaded.
  6. Wait for the flash to complete, and reboot when prompted. Before allowing the box to POST, power it down, remove the flash drive (or CD), remove the power cables and clear the CMOS.
  7. Replace the cabling and power the server on. The server will POST, show the SuperMicro splash screen and then quickly reboot a few times. This is normal – do not interrupt the server.

If the BIOS flashed correctly, after a few quick reboots the server will continue booting past the splash screen. Make sure you boot into Setup and change whatever BIOS settings are required for the server.

Using IPMI

In newer versions of SuperMicro’s IPMI, you can update the BIOS directly from the IPMI GUI. This requires a Supermicro OOB (Out of band) License, however. This is a per-device license, and usually retails for around $20/each.

  1. Once you have a Node Product Key for the IPMI device, log into the IPMI web interface.
  2. Click on Maintenance > BIOS update
    Note: If you don’t see BIOS update listed as an option, you may need to upgrade your firmware to a newer version, or this feature may not be supported on your motherboard.
  3. If you haven’t entered the Node Product Key into the IPMI yet, you will be required to enter it here before proceeding.
  4. Once licensed, click Browse and locate the BIOS image.
  5. Click Upload BIOS and follow the steps to complete the upgrade.

BIOS Recovery

If you get into a situation where the BIOS on your SuperMicro server is corrupted and the system will not boot properly, follow one of the sections below:

Recover BIOS via IPMI

Refer to the BIOS Upgrades > Using IPMI section directly above. Using this method, I was able to recover a SuperMicro server that refused to boot after the BIOS wound up in a corrupted state. Again, this method requires a SuperMicro OOB license (worth it).

Using a USB flash drive

Note – I haven’t successfully used this method before, but other folks have reported success with recovering their BIOS this way.

  1. Download a fresh copy of the BIOS from SuperMicro’s support site. Rename this file to SUPER.ROM (case sensitive)
  2. Copy this file to a FAT32 USB flash drive (doesn’t need to be bootable).
  3. Install the flash drive into the motherboard of the server, along with a USB keyboard.
  4. Boot the system while holding down ctrl + home, until the USB flash drive’s LED turns on. Once the LED turns on, let go of the keys.
  5. Wait for the BIOS to flash, after which the server with reboot automatically.