What Is Flashing Firmware?

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There's no cost attached to a firmware update, the initiation software in an electronic device's ROM (Read Only Memory), which makes upgrading the software of dated equipment more cost-effective than purchasing the latest model. "Flashing," or installing, new firmware into your device's ROM isn't usually lightning fast. It's best to understand the basics of the process to avoid zapping your equipment into a state of disrepair.

How It Works

  • Flashing overwrites an electronic device's initialization code, its firmware, with a revised set of instructions, a task that's generally unachievable while the device's operating system is active. The target equipment is usually set to alternative state, such as a programming mode. After the new software has been loaded onto the device, the equipment will require a reboot to initialize the new firmware.

Required Elements

  • Review your device's peripherals and connections. Firmware updates may be applied through any of your device's connections like USB ports, memory slots and even serial cables on older devices. A computer is generally required in order to unpack the firmware update or to facilitate its transfer to your device.

Barriers

  • Prepare to upgrade to a newer device or live with the one you have, as firmware updates aren't available for every device. Without support from the equipment's developers, flashing a device's firmware is all but impossible and comparable to translating a book written in an undecipherable language.

Consideration

  • Review your device's warranty before flashing the equipment, ensure that the update is compatible with your model and avoid disrupting the update process. Disruptions during the flashing process or the application of incompatible firmware can strip your device of even its most basic functions, causing your equipment's value to plummet like a brick and making it as likely to respond as one. The term "bricked" is used to describe devices that have failed due to improper updates.

References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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