Jurriaan de Vos

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Update OCZ SSD firmware on your primary hard drive from USB

Okay, I’ll teach you how you can update OCZ SSD firmware on your primary hard drive from USB in 3 steps, using OCZ’s Linux based firmware-flash utility.

There are a lot of people(like me) who don’t want to waste a CD for such a small file, that you are gonna use only once anyway. And there are also a lot of people who don’t even have a CD/DVD drive, because they’re on a NetBook, or something like that.

So we need a different solution. The answer is: USB stick! We are gonna install the Linux-based flash utility on a USB stick. You can basically do it with any USB drive, but a stick is just very easy, because we don’t need capacity.

Step 1: Find out what firmware version is on your SSD

To do this, you can either use OCZ’s toobox, or download SSD-life.

I’ll assume you use OCZ’s toolbox, because you don’t need to install anything to run it, but both are good. When you’ve downloaded OCZ’s toolbox, unzip it, run the unzipped .exe. Now you should get this window. Just select the drive you want to update, and you’ll see the firmware version:Check OCZ SSD firmware version

On the page where you downloaded the toolbox, there is note(right between the downloads) saying “Current firmware release is X.xx” If your SSD’s firmware if outdated and the SSD is NOT the drive your OS is running from(your primary drive), you can just click “Tools” and then hit “Update Firmware”.Update firmware

So now you’re done, already in Step 1, no need to continue reading… IF your SSD was not your primary drive.

However, most people use their SSD as a primary drive, because the main reason to buy an SSD is to run you OS from, because it is so fast. So, for these people, OCZ made a Linux-based flash utility. This is a .iso you can download from the same page as the earlier mentioned toolbox(scroll down). You are supposed to burn the .iso to a CD with an application like PowerISO or UltraISO, and then boot from the CD to flash your firmware.

But this is not what we want. We want a bootable USB stick, so that we don’t need the CD. To do this, go to Step 2.

Step 2: Install the OCZ Linux-based flash utility to your USB stick.

We need 3 things:

  1. A USB stick, obviously. Theoretically you don’t need more than 128MB, but I took 1GB. I don’t think a lot of people have smaller sticks laying around.
  2. The Linux-based flash utility. Select your model, and look for the download named “Linux-based Tool”, and save it somewhere. It’s a .zip file, so unzip it.
  3. The key component: Unetbootin. This is an open-source tool to install Linuxes to USB drives.
First, format your USB stick. Right click on it, and select “Format…”, and make sure you select FAT32, because Linux is no good friend of NTFS. Remember the drive letter(G: in my case). Now run the freshly-downloaded UNetbootin file, select “Diskimage”, browse to your “ocz-tools-xxx.iso”. and select your formatted USB drive.Install OCZ Toolbox to USB stick

Double-check that you selected the right drive, and hit “ok”. It will now copy all the files to your USB stick, and when it’s finnished, ask you if you want to reboot. Save all your work, and hit “Reboot now”.

 Step 3: Install OCZ SSD firmware from USB

Usually, during you BIOS, there is something like “Press F8 for boot menu”, or some other key. You want to boot menu, so hit that key. Alternatively, you can enter the BIOS setup, and set your USB stick as the first boot device, but that is more complicated. Anyway, you want to select the USB stick. Here’s a picture of what my boot menu looks like. On the top you see my SSD, on the lower end the USB stick.Boot from USB drive

Hit enter. The difficult part in this step is finding your boot menu, because there are really a lot of different ones. If you can’t find it, refer to your motherboard’s manual.

Now, don’t freak out, you’ll get a Unetbootin menu, where you can select serveral options, with a timer on the default option. Just leave it, or hit enter. You can, if you really want to do it by yourself, select “microcore”, but it really makes no difference at all. Picture!UNetbootin menu

Now it will just boot into OCZ’s edit on the Linux “TinyCore” kernel(be patient though). Here you can select what you want to do, flash firmware, or other fixes and tweaks.Install OCZ SSD firmware from USB

Note that there is a special option to flash your firmware for Mac. I don’t know what it does, but because this guide is not suitable for Mac, it doesn’t really matter. I will make a Mac-compatible version of this guide when I have the time for it.

That was it! Now you van just click whatever you want to do, and follow the on-screen instructions. When you return to Windows, check your SSD’s firmware version again, just to make sure it worked. :-)

If you think this guide was usefull, or you want to add something to it, please leave a comment.

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