Flash OEM drive - latest firmware

vbimport

#1

Hi all,

I need help in how to flash oem firmware upgrade to my rebadged (as an Asus part) laptop drive:

OEM: Lite-ON Model: SSM-8515S 21C (GRS6).

I would like to bring it up to date.

I would be very grateful to anybody that can help me do this - I know it is going to be a challenge.

Amarz.


#2

I understand that there are utilities that remove the cross flash limitation on liteon drives e.g flash fix.

But because they were used quite some time ago,I am having difficulty understanding the process, and where to get these programs with original md5/sha1 to download.

I would be very grateful to anybody that can spare a few mins to help.


#3

The Wayback Machine (web.archive.org) has digi’s site archived.

FlashFix & the related instructions: https://web.archive.org/web/20140922233612/http://digi.rpc1.org/flashfix.htm

You’ll probably be best off trying to get GS09 from… http://www.firmwarehq.com/download_1312-file_8515GS09.zip.html
…and FlashFix that.

But before you do all that, back up your current firmware using the Flash Utility. And while you’re at it, back up your current EEPROM too (with EEPROM Utility).

http://codeguys.rpc1.org/utilities.html
And the discussion threads (which link back to that page)
EEPROM Utility: http://club.myce.com/f44/eeprom-utility-plds-liteon-sony-cd-dvd-writers-v6-2-0-se-112103/
Flash Utility: http://club.myce.com/f44/flash-utility-plds-liteon-based-optical-drives-v7-2-0-a-190420/

Using the EEPROM Utility and Flash Utility to backup the EEPROM and firmware is a straightforward affair.


#4

Albert,

Really appreciate the advice - I’d almost given up!

I have kept my machine clean over many years by being careful about what applications I execute on it and what websites I visit.

Can I ask you if any of the programs you have mentioned, have accompanying MD5 or SHA1 hashes, so I can be sure that they are as published. Some of them are very very old.

I am very strict with ensuring purity of files - and ensuring they come from the original source.

Secondly:

http://www.firmwarehq.com/download_1...5GS09.zip.html

I’m asking if this is a well known, long time established website - which has won the trust of forum members over a long term. If I’m honest - taking a look at it - it looks a little ‘unfinished’ (to keep it diplomatic).

I hope you understand - I need to do a job, but I don’t want it to end up creating 4 others!

Really appreciate your advice and input,

Open to any comments/contributions from others in addition to Albert. Please share your opinions, so I can learn something new, and broaden my experience.

Amarz


#5

Your concerns and questions are very much valid, and I don’t want to have your computer altered beyond what you desire.

Buuuut…

We refer to FirmwareHQ because it contains copies of original firmware updates which are no longer accessible on the original manufacturer’s site. Previous references of the site: http://www.myce.com/search/?q=FirmwareHQ

To be quite honest, I’m not sure what you mean by FWHQ looking “unfinished”… Many of the community’s most valuable sites are simple, due to their age, the design style when they were originally released, the fact that most of this was driven by the community – with no reference to outside design firms, and a few other factors. It’s no worse than trying to navigate the official firmware updates sections on most manufacturers’ sites, which have largely remained as basic as the day they were introduced in the early 2000s. :wink:

When it comes to each of the tools (and the ways I accessed them), those links are either the original sources or they are an archive of the original source. Meaning no better point of access exists.

For the majority of the content released by the community, providing hash sums up was an afterthought. If the original site doesn’t have it, I can’t recommend a safe location that WOULD have the checksums.


It’s all very much “At your own risk”, but it’s a risk I suggest you take.

You can run the tools through VirusTotal at https://www.virustotal.com … Then reverse search the links I provided in Google to see if any of them trigger an unsafe site warning. That’s about the best I can do help protect your system.

I will say that either NONE or VERY FEW of the tools should cause any writes to the registry, so there should be no crud to remove after the fact. All the tools are standalone.

If you end up needing to put UPX in the same folder as FlashFix, the SourceForge home for it has a version from 2013 (reference http://upx.sourceforge.net here), which might reduce your concern with that particular download. (Again, no hash sum.)


#6

[QUOTE=Albert;2774763]Your concerns and questions are very much valid, and I don’t want to have your computer altered beyond what you desire.

Buuuut…

We refer to FirmwareHQ because it contains copies of original firmware updates which are no longer accessible on the original manufacturer’s site. Previous references of the site: http://www.myce.com/search/?q=FirmwareHQ

To be quite honest, I’m not sure what you mean by FWHQ looking “unfinished”… Many of the community’s most valuable sites are simple, due to their age, the design style when they were originally released, the fact that most of this was driven by the community – with no reference to outside design firms, and a few other factors. It’s no worse than trying to navigate the official firmware updates sections on most manufacturers’ sites, which have largely remained as basic as the day they were introduced in the early 2000s. :wink:

When it comes to each of the tools (and the ways I accessed them), those links are either the original sources or they are an archive of the original source. Meaning no better point of access exists.

For the majority of the content released by the community, providing hash sums up was an afterthought. If the original site doesn’t have it, I can’t recommend a safe location that WOULD have the checksums.


It’s all very much “At your own risk”, but it’s a risk I suggest you take.

You can run the tools through VirusTotal at https://www.virustotal.com … Then reverse search the links I provided in Google to see if any of them trigger an unsafe site warning. That’s about the best I can do help protect your system.

I will say that either NONE or VERY FEW of the tools should cause any writes to the registry, so there should be no crud to remove after the fact. All the tools are standalone.

If you end up needing to put UPX in the same folder as FlashFix, the SourceForge home for it has a version from 2013 (reference http://upx.sourceforge.net here), which might reduce your concern with that particular download. (Again, no hash sum.)[/QUOTE]

After spending more time researching FWHQ - I can say that all my concerns are now laid to rest. I trust it - and it would seem that the MD5 hashes are published, but you have to click in a few steps - till it is visible.

Constructive Contribution: In terms of the programs that are made available for download (tools and such alike) might it be possible for you to send an email shot out to the authors - asking them if they would consider providing MD5’s/SHA1’s of their releases, and then simply update the posts?

Amarz


#7

The authors have all very left the scene & no longer respond to requests. This I know for a fact, unfortunately.


#8

What’s the difference between the 6.2.0 and 6.2.0 SE?


#9

[QUOTE=Amarz;2774774]http://club.myce.com/f44/eeprom-utility-plds-liteon-sony-cd-dvd-writers-v6-2-0-se-112103/

What’s the difference between the 6.2.0 and 6.2.0 SE?[/QUOTE]

Please ignore post above.

Okay, so I got flashfix and upx, dumped them in the same folder. Did a backup of my EPROM & Firmware.

FlashFix: When I use command line to flashfix the firmware (GS09.exe) - I get - error: “File size out of range”.

What does this mean?


#10

[QUOTE=Amarz;2774776]Please ignore post above.

Okay, so I got flashfix and upx, dumped them in the same folder. Did a backup of my EPROM & Firmware.

FlashFix: When I use command line to flashfix the firmware (GS09.exe) - I get - error: “File size out of range”.

What does this mean?[/QUOTE]

  1. EPROM + Firmware backed up.

  2. First I attempted to modify the GS09.exe (firmwareHQ) file with FlashFix - it came up with - “File size out of range”. I clicked proceed anyway.

The file was successfully modified - I now ran it to flash the drive. It completed - drive still working - counting my lucky stars.

Now that the drive is seen as a liteon drive - but I remain nervous about the error that had appeared - I decided to redownload the original unmodified GS09.exe file again - and run it. It saw the drive, told me that the firmware was the same - but would I like to reflash it anyway. I did so - and it wrote over whatever was there - without issue.

In all - I got the original Liteon File - to reflash this drive - thinking it is a liteon.

All in all - a success!

Albert - my sincere thanks for your help.

I need a little more guidance.

I need to make sure that all is well. Now that the drive is seen as a liteon drive - I would like to completely clear it out - and give it one more reflash.

I guess the reason I’m asking is - I want to make sure that the new GS09 has taken and there are no remnants of anything left over that could cause problem. But i need guidance on how to do this please.

(The principle is the same with android phones - an upgrade to the lastest os is straightforward - but once done - it is always better to do a factory reset to clear out any cache or issues as a result of the upgrade).


#11

There is no equivalent for doing a factory reset.

Well, old LiteOn drives did very little learning, if any. The EEPROM on said old drives does hold a small amount of history of how the last few discs were burned. Should such information exist, the EEPROM Utility can clear it out. That is ALL you can do. If you attempt to clear any learned media with the EEPROM Utility and it fails, that means the drive didn’t/doesn’t learn media, which doubly means there’s nothing for you to clear/reset.

The drive treats the firmware as one solid chunk, or two chunks if we have to be slightly more specific: the boot code and then the rest of the user-facing functionality.

The boot code is almost never updated by a standard flasher.
The rest of the firmware is. But this section of the firmware is treated as a chunk; an all or nothing affair. If any old “bits” were left behind, the drive would not be reporting its firmware version as GS09, but something that indicates it’s fallen back to the bootloader (BOOT, 0S09, or the like).

If you attempt to erase the firmware (shouldn’t be possible with any tool you have), you will end up erasing the boot code. If you erase the boot code, the drive will no longer function with any utility you have, and while recovery of a dead drive has happened in the past… just trust me; it’s far from guaranteed and it isn’t worth it.

To drive the comparison to the factory reset home: a factory reset analogy really doesn’t apply here. A firmware update might occur during a phone’s system update, but a phone update is typically more about updating the operating system and applications, and updating the firmware at the same time if necessary. Performing a factory reset on your phone just resets how the OS interacts with apps and with the firmware. So the equivalent would be reinstalling the OS on your computer, which is unnecessary.


#12

Ok - the following will help focus on the current standing of the drive.

Imagine - I just purchased the drive, I’ve come home and the first and only single thing I’ve done on it is - flash the file I downloaded from firmwarehq.com (GS09.exe). First time it showed an error - second time it didn’t.

So literally - nothing else has been done - just a firmware update (twice) using that exe file.

Is it the case that there is nothing else to be done? I’ve done as much as I can?

Please give me advice on what other things I should be doing - what other settings I should be changing to make best use of the drive as possible.

Again my sincere thanks for your patience - I feel like I’m getting towards the end - I just want to make best use of what I have!

Amarz.


#13

You’ve done all you can.

Ignoring the rare exception, flashing firmware on an optical drive never requires any other action.