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pjc123
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Solved!

How do I update the BIOS in Linux?

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HP Stream 11
Linux

So I was forced to replace Windows with Linux on my HP Stream 11 due to the long known problem of lack of space for ongoing Windows OS updates.  Anyway, the BIOS for the HP Steam is supplied by HP as an exe file, so this is obviously not going to work with Linux.  I have come across mention of using the diagnostic software, but the BIOS update option is missing from the HP Stream boot up diagnostic menu.  Others mention using WINE, but I don't see any positive results with that.

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kyle_b
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Actually, you only need a Windows computer to execute the downloadable BIOS firmware file (e.g. sp76865.exe) to create the BIOS recovery USB flash drive. Then you can power up your Stream notebook with the USB inserted while holding down the Windows key and B key and the HP BIOS update utility will run. I just updated my Stream 11 with Mint Linux from F.08 A to the current F.0A Rev.A BIOS version this way. Full instructions are here: https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c02693833

 

The HP BIOS Update screen

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WAWood
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@pjc123

 

Hello;

Allow me to welcome you to the HP forums!

 

Forget about using Wine.  The folks that recommended that are only guessing -- and their suggestion will not work because Wine only runs SOME Windows apps, and can not be used to do BIOS updates.

 

Sorry, but if you checked this problem on several Linux forums, they would tell you this is one of the main reasons so many Linux users retain their Windows installs -- to run utilities like this.



I am a volunteer and I do not work for, nor represent, HP
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pjc123
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I have owned or worked on a lot of brands of computers, but this is the first time I have come across a company that doesn't supply the BIOS in a way that can be applied outside fo the OS.  Yet another reason I just bought a Lenovo laptop. to replace the HP Stream.

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kyle_b
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Actually, you only need a Windows computer to execute the downloadable BIOS firmware file (e.g. sp76865.exe) to create the BIOS recovery USB flash drive. Then you can power up your Stream notebook with the USB inserted while holding down the Windows key and B key and the HP BIOS update utility will run. I just updated my Stream 11 with Mint Linux from F.08 A to the current F.0A Rev.A BIOS version this way. Full instructions are here: https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c02693833

 

The HP BIOS Update screen

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pjc123
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@kyle_b. Thanks, I appreciate it. I noticed I am one BIOS behind while checking for any Meltdown/Spectre fixes. Running Mint as well. I will give the update method a try in the near future.
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pjc123
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NICE, now at version F.18 Rev A!  Worked great, except at first the HP program didn't like my SanDIsk Extreme USB drive, even after a format, but with the SanDisk Ultra the flash drive was recognized.

 

Now if I can only get the wireless to work in Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon.  When I had Linux Mint on a USB drive I was able to get it working with lwfingers' fix for the wrong antenna being selected.  However, he made some changes to his code and repository and now on 18.2 and 18.3 (Cinnamon or MATE), it destroys all wireless capability. I am forced ot use a USB wireless dongle, so better than nothing. 

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pjc123
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I was able to fix the missing antenna issue causing a low wifi signal on the HP Stream 11 with Linux Mint 18.3 after finding a post on a Linux forum. It turns out that Lwfinger's Realtek fix is no longer necessary with Linux Mint 18.3 because the antenna select option is included in the latest kernel. All that is necessary now is to do the following:

 

First check to see if the kernel already includes the antenna select option:

 

sudo modinfo rtl8723be

 

If included, it will return:

 

parm: ant_sel Set to 1 or 2 to force antenna number (default 0)
(int)

 

If so, then perform the following:


1) Remove the Realtek driver:
sudo modprobe -r rtl8723be
2) Add the Realtek driver with proper antenna port selected:
sudo modprobe -v rtl8723be ant_sel=2

3) Make the change permanent:
a) Create a new file:
etc/modprobe.d/50-rtl8723be.conf
b) Add the following text:
options rtl8723be ips=0 ant_sel=2

 

Reboot and the new settings should be retained.  Also, unlike lwfingers fix, I notice that it is no longer necessary to reapply the fix after every kerenl update, so that is a huge bonus.

 

(NOTE: the ips=0 command turns off power saving mode, which could turn off the wireless at an inopportune time).

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kyle_b
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Hi @pjc123, I think I had heard about the missing antenna issue but I always just ran the out of the box Linux Mint with no Wifi modifications added, I never had a problem that I know of.  Maybe I have always been close enough to my router, I'm not sure, I guess I have had the connection drop now and then but nothing persistent. 

 

Mine is the original Stream 11 from November 2014 and does have the rtl8723be, it only supports 2.4 GHz Wifi.  I ran Mint 17.3 for two years and recently wiped it clean and did a fresh install of 18.3 and both seem okay as far as I know.  Is there a specific behavior I should look for to see if I need this fix?  Thanks.

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pjc123
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Kyle_b wrote: "Is there a specific behavior I should look for to see if I need this fix?"

I bought my HP Stream in the December of 2015.

PART # = 11-r010nr
PRODUCT # = N5X86UA#ABA

I forget what version of Linux I had, but I needed to be on top of the router to get a signal, and was forced to apply lwfinger's fix with a USB to Ethernet adapter.

With Linux Mint 18.3 I noticed I could be a room away and still get a connection most of the time, so things got a little better. However, after selecting the proper antenna port my signal doubled and I went from displaying a couple wifi access points around me to an order of magnitude more. It doesn't hurt to try and see if you get an improvement, as you can always revert to the previous setting. You can switch back and forth between ant=1 and ant=2 and ant=0. You can then use the iwconfig command to look at the signal dBm level with each antenna option to see what works best. You can also use a terminal based wifi graphical signal strength program called wavemon, and recently I discovered a really nice gui version called LinSSID. The improvement in reception will also actually immediately become obvious by looking at the wifi icon in the taskbar. As far as detecting if you physically have only one antenna, you would have to disassemble the laptop, as no software program that I now of would report that. Due to the age of your laptop, I suspect you only have  a single antenna. I see where newer Streams use a different chipset, and I also don't know if they cheapened down and added the other antenna or not.

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pjc123
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Now if they could only list our laptops in the meltdown/spectre page:

https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c05869091

I realize that Intel is working on a new fix, but from ver 1 all the way to ver 7 of that document, our laptops have never shown up. I emailed HP support yesterday about this issue, as I don't want to miss out on a timely update.


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