This blog post provides two instructions for flashing a HP Compaq dx2420 Microtower computer / MS-7525 motherboard bios: Upgrading from 5.18 02/20/2009 to 5.31 06/10/2010 and using a custom bios for Q6600 support.
The two sets of instructions are similar, but I’ve left the original bios flash instructions below in case somebody needs the additional details.
Warning: You try anything mentioned in this blog post at your own risk!
March 2020 note: This blog post was originally published on the 11th July 2018 and I’ve now edited the original post and provided instructions for using a Q6600 CPU without having to press F2 each time you boot! I hope you find this blog post helpful.
November 2019 (edited): Some additional details about using a Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU are here, but the instructions for flashing are on this page.
I don’t like to flash motherboards, but I’ve got two dx2420 computers and I have a reason for wanting to update the bios. Without that reason, I wouldn’t have bothered going to the hassle and taking a risk.
2nd Warning: Don’t interrupt the bios flashing process. I’m not vouching for any of the downloads and links that are mentioned in this blog post.I’m not saying my method is the best way to flash the bios.
3rd Warning: If you plan on resetting the bios password following the steps I used, please take precautions to prevent damage to the computer hardware.
4th Warning: You use my instructions at your own risk. If you don’t have a reason to flash your bios, perhaps you shouldn’t proceed.
How to flash the Bios from 5.19 to 5.31
Please note: There are second newer flash instructions immediately after this section.
Before proceeding please check whether your dx2420 can boot to USB by pressing the ESC key during boot. I don’t think it was possible with bios vesion 5.19, but I could be wrong.
If you’re PC can boot directly to USB, then you won’t have to create the Plop Live CD or edit the autoexec.bat file as mentioned below, but instead could manually enter the flash commands if you want to.
What I downloaded:
• I downloaded Phoenix-Award awflash 8.99.
• Plop Boot Manager (a live cd for booting to USB via the DVD drive)
• Rufus (for creating a bootable USB DOS drive)
• 5.31 Rev.A BIOS firmware file sp50593.exe from HP via the Windows XP (64-bit) selection.
I already had 7-Zip installed on my computer, which I used to extract files from an archive.
Create the Live Boot CD/DVD
- I extracted the files from the plpbt-5.0.15 archive.
- I placed a blank DVD into my DVD writer drive.
- I right clicked on the plpbt.img in Windows Explorer and selected ‘Burn disc image’.
Note: I performed the above steps in Windows 10. If you need another method of burning a disc image, you might want to consider the CDBurnerXP software.
Create the bootable USB drive
- I ran Rufus 3.1.1320 and created a FreeDos bootable drive using the options shown in the screenshot below.
- Using 7-zip, I right clicked on the sp50593.exe file and extracted the files.
- I copied the bos5.31 (bios rom) and awd899.exe files to the USB memory stick.
- I opened a command prompt and typed in my USB drive’s destination i.e. H:
- Even though I couldn’t see the file, I typed notepad autoexec.bat
- Using notepad I then entered the following bios flash commands and saved the file: awd899 bos5.31 /PY /SN /CC /CD /CP /R
Note: I didn’t have a PS/2 keyboard and wasn’t able to use a keyboard after selecting the USB drive from the plop menu. That is why I edited the autoexec.bat file to automate the process.
Flashing the Bios
- I made sure the plop live cd was in the drive and the USB stick was plugged into the front of the computer.
- I turned on the computer and pressed the ESC key at boot to show the boot menus (else you can change the boot priority in the bios). I selected the DVD drive.
- Plop Boot Manager ran and using an arrow key, I moved to the USB option and then pressed the Enter key.
- The autoexec.bat (batch file) ran and flashed the motherboard.
Note: After the flash had occurred, the bios was password protected.
Removing the MS-7525 bios password
- I turned off the computer, unplugged the power lead and pressed the power button.
- I removed the motherboard jumper on JPWD1.
- I then plugged the power lead back in and rebooted to the bios.
- I performed step 1 again.
- I put the jumper back on JPWD1.
- I performed step 3 again to check the bios settings.
Instructions for flashing a HP dx2420 Microtower PC to boot with a Q6600 Core 2 Quad CPU
I want to thank DeathBringer for putting together the bios file I used to flash my MS-7525 motherboard in a HP dx2420 MT PC.
Warning: You perform these instructions at your own risk!
Note: After following these instructions you will be required to remove the password as mentioned above if you want to be able to modify bios settings.
Other people have mentioned installing the Xeon L5440, X5450, E5450, L5408, E5420, L5420, Q9300 and E8600 CPUs. I’m not going to vouch for those, but I did successfully flash the bios to boot without needing to press F2 using the Q6600 CPU.
Steps 1 & 2 were performed using a computer running Windows 10.
Below is what I did:
Step 1 – Download and prepare the files
- Download the custom bios RAR file from either here or here.
- Download the awdflash v8.99.zip flash application from here or here.
- Download Rufus from here (I used the portable version 3.9).
- Extract the bios and flash applications from their archives.
- Rename the bios file to bios.bin
Step 2 – Create a bootable USB memory stick
Warning: Only use a memory stick that you’re prepared to wipe all data from. Backup any files from the USB stick before proceeding.
- Insert a memory stick into your PC.
- Run the Rufus application, select ‘FreeDos’, write a volume label and select ‘Start’.
- If you’re happy to erase the memory stick, agree to wipe the data.
- Once Rufus has finished, copy the bios file and the flash application to the USB memory stick.
- Open a ‘command prompt’, then go to the USB drive by typing its drive name i.e. g:
- Now type notepad autoexec.bat
- Add the following line to the end of the file awd899 bios.bin /PY /SN /CC /CD /CP /R
- Save and close the autoexec.bat file.
- Close the command prompt and eject the USB memory stick from the PC.
Step 3 – Flash the bios
Warning: Don’t interrupt the PC during the flashing process.
- On the dx2420 computer insert the USB memory stick into a USB port.
- Turn on the PC and if you already have the Q6600 CPU installed, press F2 to overcome the restriction and then ESC to access the boot menu.
- The autoexec.bat will automatically start the flash application and flash the bios.
It wasn’t a simple process, but due to my personal requirements, I’m glad I’ve updated the bios.
If you do follow my instructions, a thank you in the comments would be nice.