HP ProLiant MicroServer BIOS Flash with SP64420

• February 17, 2014

By: John Stutsman

Figure1

Figure 1 — C: Prompt after the new BIOS has Successfully Flashed (SP64420 2013.10.01 (A) (15 NOV 2013))

 

A year ago in HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer Build and BIOS Modification Revisited I wrote about some of the things I learned in flashing my MicroServer BIOS with the modified BIOS from BIOS-MODS and different ways I had built-out my MicroServers.

Last fall HP release a new BIOS (System ROMPaq Firmware Upgrade 2013.10.01 (A) (15 NOV 2013) (Download File: SP64420.exe) for HP ProLiant MicroServer) to address problems with installing Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials on the HP ProLiant MicroServer. This new BIOS also addressed some problems seen with the installation of Windows 8.1 on the HP ProLiant MicroServer.

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HP N40L ProLiant MicroServer

The HP N40L ProLiant MicroServer’s I purchased came with 2GB of RAM, a 250GB Seagate HDD, and a 150W power supply. One was part of a combo package that included Windows Home Server 2011.

System Configuration

Before I flashed the new BIOS from SP64420 my HP N40L ProLiant MicroServer was configured:

Computer Name: Defiant

  • HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer – BIOS-MOD 2011.07.29 (25 AUG 2011) SP54344
  • 4GB ECC RAM
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro
  • OS Drive: System Board Logical RAID0 Drive made with two (2) physical drives VelociRaptor WD1500HLHX
  • Data Drive: Software RAID1 made with two (2) physical drives VelociRaptor WD1500HLHX
  • Rocket 640L
  • Icy Dock DuoSwap MB971SP-B – both ports attached to Rocket 640L SATA III (6Gbps) – no drives were in the DuoSwap

Flashing the BIOS

Caution: This isn’t a project for the inexperienced or faint of heart because you may easily destroy or brick your entire system. Proceed with the steps in the following Video & reference links at your own risk.

At HP’s webpage, Systems ROMPaq Firmware Upgrade for HP ProLiant MicroServer (For USB Key-Media), download the file SP64420.exe to your laptop or desktop and follow HP’s instructions to create a USB that can flash your BIOS.

HP Installation Instructions (changes made to improve clarity (at least from my viewpoint), check the WEB Page above for the full text):

USB KeyHPQUSB.exe is a Windows-based utility to locally partition, format and copy necessary files to a USB flash media device (“USB Key”) through the Windows environment. The created USB Key is made bootable and ready to locally restore and/or update the firmware (“BIOS”) on the system.

  1. Obtain a formatted USB Key.
  2. Download the SoftPaq to a directory on a Microsoft Windows system and change to that directory.
  3. From that drive and directory, execute the downloaded SoftPaq file: Simply double click on the SP64420.exe file and follow the installation wizard to complete the SoftPaq installation process. At the end of a successful installation of the SoftPaq a web page will automatically appear to provide you with a link to create a USB Key – alternatively, after the successful installation of the SoftPaq you could change to the directory the SoftPaq was installed to (default is C:\SWSetup\SP64420) and either execute start.htm in that directory or HPQUSB.exe in either C:\SWSetup\SP64420\Flat Files or C:\SWSetup\SP64420\USB Key directories.
  4. Insert this USB Key into the USB Key port of the system to be updated and power the system on to boot to the USB Key.

Caution: DO NOT power down the MicroServer before you see the C: prompt.

Video 1: BIOS Upgrade for HP ProLiant N40L/N54L G7 MicroServer

After you’ve powered down the MicroServer then power it back up (or simply hit Cntl-Alt-Del to restart the MicroServer) and hit the F10 Key to get into the BIOS and confirm the new BIOS Version.

As I stated in the video, I created multiple USB Keys at the same time – partly to illustrate that some USB Keys will not work and by creating multiple Keys if one didn’t work, for any reason, I had alternatives available that I could turn to without having to run HPQUSB.exe again.

Figure2

Figure 2 — The two USB Keys on the left did not work while the three Keys on the right did work in Flashing the BIOS – the USB Key on the far right I have labeled SP64420 and will save it for future use in my MicroServers while the other 4 USB Keys I will format and use elsewhere.

 

Conclusion

After I flashed the new BIOS from SP64420 to my HP N40L ProLiant MicroServer I successfully updated my OS from Windows 8 Pro to Windows 8.1 Pro and my configuration was then:

Computer Name: Defiant

  • HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer – BIOS 2013.10.01(A) (15 NOV 2013) SP64420
  • 4GB ECC RAM
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro
  • OS Drive: System Board Logical RAID0 Drive made with two (2) physical drives VelociRaptor WD1500HLHX
  • Data Drive: Software RAID1 made with two (2) physical drives VelociRaptor WD1500HLHX
  • Rocket 640L
  • Icy Dock DuoSwap MB971SP-B – both ports attached to Rocket 640L SATA III (6Gbps) – no drives were in the DuoSwap

Later, I started a project on another computer where I wanted to use the VelociRaptors from my N40L but I wanted to preserve my Windows 8.1 Pro on Defiant. I have Defiant connected to my WHS2011 (that is running on a N54L MicroServer) so I removed all of the VelociRaptors and replaced the OS drives with two VB0250EAVER’s in Hardware RAID0 and did a Bare Metal Restore of Defiant from my WHS2011 changing my configuration to:

Computer Name: Defiant

  • HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer – BIOS 2013.10.01(A) (15 NOV 2013) SP64420
  • 4GB ECC RAM
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro
  • OS Drive: System Board Logical RAID0 Drive made with two (2) physical drives VB0250EAVER (these are the original drives that came in MicroServers)
  • Data Drive: Software RAID1 made with two (2) physical drives WL320GSA872
  • Rocket 640L
  • Icy Dock DuoSwap MB971SP-B – both ports attached to Rocket 640L SATA III (6Gbps) – no drives were in the DuoSwap

This was described in Another Bare Metal Restore Success with WHS2011.

Figure3

Figure 3 — N40L MicroServer with Updated BIOS 2013.10.01(A) (15 NOV 2013)

Join us in the HSS Forums with any questions and/or comments on the above and other threads.

 

Reference

 

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Category: HP Microserver, Windows Home Server

Comments (25)

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  1. neal fildes says:

    this is great, but for those of us who had a modded bios, we lost our hot swap feature etc.
    any word on a mod for this version of the bios?

  2. PetieG says:

    Thanks for this… Especially the link to the valid HP BIOS. I flashed my HP 40NL w/ the modified BIOS and then it wouldn't boot into Windows2012 only in Safe Mode. Great for troubleshooting, but i couldn't get it back (only a test machine so that's OK I suppose). Downloaded that SP 64420 and ref lashed the BIOS and it's back in business.

  3. Danny says:

    Hi,
    Is there a way to get the new BIOS out from the hp website?
    I've bought my N40L for my home and I don't have a contract with hp..

  4. Grant says:

    I'd like to point out a little snag I came across when running HPQUSB.exe.

    Make sure you do not have any drives mapped to Z:
    I presume the utility wants to create a drive mapping to Z: to accumulate files before copying. However as I already have a Z: drive full of downloads, the HPQUSB utility started copying EVERYTHING from Z: to the USB.

  5. SandR says:

    @PetieG: The fact that we cannot download it at HP is moronic… You are a life saver!

  6. John says:

    Hi PetieG, Firstly thank you for taking the trouble. I downloaded SP64420.exe from your dropbox, thank you. Followed the instructions and loaded the files on 3 usb sticks. All of them give me an error, "bad command" or "can not read file" Any ideas?
    JOhn

  7. will says:

    can any one help me out with the bios link ( drop box etc ) email A mooro.us

    thanks

  8. colin says:

    If, when you boot up your server with the flash drive in the usb port, you get this: "command or filename not recognized" read this: http://thenubbyadmin.com/2012/05/21/solving-comma

  9. HPsucks says:

    Thanks PetieG. Can't believe HP have locked us out of our own firmware updates….

  10. Scott says:

    Many thanks for the dropbox upload of the patch, helped me out a heap
    Cheers

  11. Stupid-HP says:

    grrr… hp ist very awfull for this tactics without warranty…

    they should be happy that customers used their stuff…

  12. Rickard says:

    Everything works just fine until i´m at the 6:17 frame in the clip. Instead of the "Next please!!!" line i get

    "ROMPAQ may take a few minutes to get started. Please be patient…
    Command or filename not recognized"

    And then i get the C: prompt. I´m totaly stuck, any ideas?

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