No-fail update to 8.2

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Follow these directions carefully and they update or downgrade any XO-1 to release 8.2.1.

Note: This will completely erase your XO-1's data. Be sure to save any files on your XO-1 before upgrading this way. To upgrade without losing data, see olpc-update.

Preparing before the upgrade

For this update you will need

  • a wireless connection
  • your XO-1
  • and another computer that can connect to the internet.
  • a USB flash memory stick 512 MB or larger

If you aren't sure how to connect your XO-1 to the internet, send us an email request at (our OLPC technical staff) and we will send those instructions as well.

If you do not have a wireless connection, most of this update can be completed (up to Step 11) with a dial-up connection. However, it is not recommended. Although it will give you the latest software, some of the Activities will not be in their most recent versions. The download will also take up to 42 hours using a 56Kb/s modem! If you do not have wireless at home, you can still use your XO-1 running the software that came with it and update later when you are somewhere with a wireless connection.

You don't need to go into the terminal mode on either computer.


There are a few steps to updating your XO-1. For help, see the additional details below this summary.

  1. Download these two files and put them in the root-level directory of a FAT32-formatted USB thumb drive:
  2. Make sure your XO-1 is powered off, but plugged into the wall.
  3. Insert the USB drive into your powered-off XO-1. Hold down all 4 gamepad keys while turning the XO-1 on.
  4. Wait. The XO-1 should notice the USB key and display a grid of colored blocks as it updates. It will reboot automatically when it is done, up to two times.
  5. Your XO-1 is updated! You can now look for software updates if you are connected to the Internet.

Details follow:

Before the download

1) Before you start the download

  • put the USB flash drive into your other computer (a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer)
  • click on the icon of the drive
  • open it
  • and make sure there is at least 500 megabytes of free disk space for the downloaded image files. (You can safely remove any files you find there so that it has at least the 500 MB of free space.)
  • Leave the drive in place

2) Now:

  • Optional (helpful with older computers): Reboot the computer (not the XO-1, but it is a good idea to do this to make sure you aren't running a lot of other things when you do your download).
  • Connect to the internet. (Your computer may do this automatically; this is really just for dial-up users)

The file downloads

3 ) Now:

  • Your USB Thumb Drive should already be in place from the previous step. If not, plug the empty USB flash drive into your other computer that is now connected to the internet. Open the drive to make sure it is empty. If not, remove any files that are there. You will not need them. Close it.
  • Then, right-click (Ctrl-click for Mac) the link below

  • and choose "Save Target As" ("Save Link As" for Firefox, "Download Linked File As" for Safari, or "Save Link Target" for Thunderbird).
  • Choose the USB flash drive as the place to save the file.
  • Do not change the name of the file.
  • Do not open the file.
  • This file will download fairly quickly.

4) When the download is complete,

  • right-click (Ctrl-click for Mac) on the link below

  • choose "Save Target As" ("Save Link As" for Firefox, "Download Linked File As" for Safari, or "Save Link Target" for Thunderbird).
  • Choose the USB flash drive as the place to save the file.
  • Save the file to the USB flash drive.
  • Do not open the file.

This file is pretty large and will take minutes to hours to download depending on the speed of your internet connection. Just go do something else while it is happening, but don't do anything else on your computer while it is downloading

5) After you have finished this step

  • click on the USB drive icon
  • check to see that there are two files on the USB flash drive, the "" file, and the ".img" file.
  • Don't open them.
  • "Eject" and remove the USB drive.

Preparing the XO-1

6) Now:

  • Be sure your XO-1 is turned off
  • Be sure your XO-1 is plugged in to a power source.
  • Plug the USB stick with the two files into any one of the three USB ports.

Upgrading the XO-1

7) Now:

  • Hold down all four gamepad keys (on the right side of the screen, above the power button).
  • Be sure to get all four. You may need two hands to do this.
  • While still holding the four gamepad keys, push the power button to turn the XO-1 on.
  • Keep holding down the four gamepad keys until the message "Release the game key to continue" appears on the screen.
  • This will happen fairly quickly.

8) Now:

  • Release the gamepad keys. If you see a grid of black and other colored boxes on your screen, congratulations! Your XO-1 is reflashing.
  • Just sit back and let it do its thing.
  • It will take about 10 minutes
  • your XO-1 will automatically reboot when it is done.
  • Your XO-1 may reboot twice, playing the little tune both times.

After the upgrade

9) After your XO-1 reboots, it will ask you for a "Name." This is not necessarily your name, it is the name you want to give your XO. You can pick anything you like. It will appear in various places as you work on the XO-1. Type it in and click "Next."

10) A little 2 colored "XO-man" will now appear. Just click on him until you find a color combination you like. This color combination will show up on your home page and will represent your XO-1 when you collaborate with other XOs. Then click "Done."

You can now safely remove the USB drive. When the home view appears on the screen you will see a your XO-man in the color you chose and a ring of Activities icons around him. There will also be a bar toward the top of the screen that says "Software Update" and the options being "Cancel", "Later" and "Check now". Don't choose any at this time. Go to the next step.

11) Before you choose "Check now" to update the activities, you must connect your XO-1 to the internet. You may see the sign-in box appear in home view. If it does, and it lists your router, you can do it from there. If it doesn't appear or offers the wrong connection, go to the Neighborhood view (by clicking on the third button from the left in the top row (the one with the circle of dots)..

Click on the various circles in the neighborhood view until you find your router. Click on it. The sign-in box should appear. Sign in.

If your router connection is protected with a passcode, be sure you know which kind it is: Passphrase, Hex Code, or ASCII. If you don't know, call your service provider and ask them for your code and which type it is.

It may take several tries to make the connection. When you are connected, it will look like the circle for your router is in parenthesis.

If you have trouble signing into the internet, send an email to (our OLPC technical staff) right away and we will send you more complete instructions for getting online.

12) Go back to Home view (click on the fifth key from the left on the top row that looks like a black disk with a green dot in the center) and then click "Check now" (it was ok to leave the home view because when you go back the options should still be there). First the XO-1 will check for any updates and then it asks if you'd like to install them. Click "Install selected" to install the newest versions of your activities. When it finishes, click on the X in the top right corner to close the window and return to the home view.

Congratulations, you've upgraded! Now, you should be ready to go. Have fun!

Creating More Than One Copy of the Software

If you need to make multiple copies of the software on usb flash drives to update a large number of machines, it is not necessary to repeat the lengthy download for each usb drive. Make one copy and test it by installing it on one XO-1. If it works alright, put it back in your PC or Mac, create a folder and drag the 2 files you have downloaded into the folder. Then insert another blank flash drive, rename it if you like, and drag the 2 files onto the new flash drive. The copying process will take less than 5 minutes instead of several hours. It is a good idea to test each drive by putting in into an XO-1 and following the install instructions just to make sure your copy is not corrupted.