Talk:Secure upgrade

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Increased audience

The troubleshooting guide, which is geared toward repair facilities around the world, references this page. This means that all of a sudden, given proper translations, the audience is largely comprised of kids and repair people with secure laptops, activated through the lease mechanism.

In addition, while G1G1 users haven't been told to upgrade to Update.1 (build 703), all of the countries have.

Steps for Activated Upgrade, in Plain English

(for G1G1 Recipients)

0. Before performing the upgrade, please note that EVERYTHING previously created will be deleted!

1. You need a USB stick that is larger than 300 MB, and it is better that you format it before copying any files over.

2. Once you have the formatted USB stick, download the following two files from the Internet:

(the second file is quite large, so it might take a while to download)

  • To download those files, please plug in the USB stick to another computer that is connected to the Internet. Open each of the above two URLs in the browser. You should see a message asking you whether to save/open the file. Save both files to the USB stick. Eject/Remove the USB stick, and unplug it.
  • Note: Make sure you do not accidentally unzip the file. Only copy the two files onto the media!
    • this should already be clear enough -- "After you have finished this step, there should be two files on the USB stick, the file, and the img file." --Chihyu 14:22, 14 February 2008 (EST)

3. Make sure the XO laptop is OFF. Plug in the USB stick.

4. With the USB stick inserted, power up the laptop while holding down ALL four game buttons on the right side of screen (the four buttons above the power button, and they are marked with O, V, X, and square). Please be sure to press all of them firmly, use two thumbs if that helps.

5. When the screen says 'release the game keys', release all four buttons.

6. You will see arrays of colored grids running on the screen. We are now re-writing the NAND image.

7. Once done with re-writing the NAND, the laptop will reboot itself.

8. Next, the laptop may update the firmware, if necessary, and reboot itself. (You don't have to do anything; just watch.)

9. After done with the upgrade(s), the laptop will boot to the prompt for your preferred user name.

10. Go to the Terminal activity (click on the taskbar icon; it looks like a rectangle with a $ on the upper left corner) and type the following:

  cat /etc/issue
  • The screen should say something like [olpc@xo-05-2D-2F ~]$

The numbers don't matter, but be sure that you type things after the $ sign.

11. Press the Enter key

12. If the screen says something that begins with

  OLPC build 653

then we are one step closer to finishing the upgrade process!

13. Type the following:


14. Press the Enter key

15. Now the laptop is off. You should be able to remove the USB stick and power it up as usual.

What format does the USB stick need to be?

The USB stick needs to be partitioned using the Master Boot Record scheme and the partition should be a FAT32 partition.

I'm on a Mac updating my XO, and the USB stick I was using wouldn't boot the machine - turns out it was a FAT32 partition, but it was with the Apple partition map, which the XO doesn't recognize.

Using Disk Utility to re-partition the USB stick with the MBR scheme let me boot the device. -- Chris Parker

Just wanted to add that upgrade from build 650 to 656 is proven to work with a 1GB USB stick, that has a single primary partition with ID 0x06 and is FAT16 formatted (factory fresh).

But: it seem that the XO flasher does not like every USB mass storage media. I couldn't get a 16GB USB stick (internally it uses a SDHC card) to work. It only did scaring crashes in the flasher code (page faults, bleeding screen, exceptions, reboots, ...). ThomasWaldmann 09:21, 6 February 2008 (EST)

Which are the game keys?

The four buttons to the lower right of the screen, with a square, circle, X, and checkmark on them. —Joe 09:32, 21 December 2007 (EST)

How to determine version?

How do you determine which version you are running?

There are instructions for determining this on the autoreinstallation image page. —Joe 09:41, 21 December 2007 (EST)
Run the command 'cat /etc/issue'. --Michael Stone 16:56, 22 December 2007 (EST)

Key/USB key/USB stick/game key

The terminology used here is very confusing. "the key" in 1.3 is not clear what it is and there are references to "game key" and "usb stick" as well.

"Hold onto the key" is also confusing with "hold all four game buttons" (at least for non-native English speakers).

(It is maintained by the "team" so I didn't make changes directly.)

Ohshima 16:30, 23 December 2007 (EST)

Well I did edit the page. I tried to preserve the original meaning so please take a look at it and do further corrections. Ohshima 00:20, 24 December 2007 (EST)

Instr. Rewrite

From a computer:
Go here in a web browser:

Download os###.img and from that directory.

From the laptop:
Plug the flash drive into the laptop.
Push and hold all of the game keys on right of the laptop while powering
it on, and hold the keys for 5 seconds.

The laptop will then update itself.

ffm 20:06, 31 December 2007 (EST)

Safe to stop after step 9?

Is it safe to power off after Step 9 if you want to revert to an "Out of the box" state for someone else? Maybe you're passing the laptop down to a younger child after it was outgrown, ie: hand me down laptop. Or perhaps you were just test driving the laptop for a short while before giving it to it's intended recipient.

9. After done with the upgrade(s), the laptop will boot to the prompt for your preferred user name.

If so then perhaps a we could add a new step

9.a. When prompted for your preferred user name it is safe to power off by holding the power button for 5 seconds. You may wish to do so if you've used the laptop and have then performed an Activated Upgrading in order to erase your journal entries, network settings, nickname, and other preferences. Perhaps because you intend to pass the laptop along to some child who will wish to choose their own user name, XO colors, and start out fresh.

Or something to that effect. I have confirmed that this does in fact work, you can power off and then resume later with the next boot prompting for user name and colors preferences. So unless by some chance there are some discrete cryptographic key or unique XO identity which is not generated because of this new step then I would like to request that the new (optional) step above be added to the article. --D0li0 06:51, 4 January 2008 (EST)

It's bad for the laptop's disk. ffm 16:36, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Change to instructions - add SD card

The page as is only mentions using a USB stick to perform the activated upgrade, but an SD card works too. Should the instructions be changed to reflect this? It's just a little thing but can save a little frustration for some users if they have an SD card but not a USB stick handy. --Karindalziel 17:36, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Steps slightly out of order...

... proposed edit


 10. Go to the Terminal activity (click on the taskbar icon; it looks like a
     rectangle with a $ on the upper left corner) and type the following:
 cat /etc/issue
 * The screen should say something like [olpc@xo-05-2D-2F ~]$ 

 The numbers don't matter, but be sure that you type things after the $ sign.
 11. Press the Enter key
 12. If the screen says something that begins with 


 10. Go to the Terminal activity (click on the taskbar icon; it looks like a rectangle with
     a $ on the upper left corner) 
 11. The screen should say something like [olpc@xo-05-2D-2F ~]$
     (The numbers don't matter, but be sure that you type things after the $ sign.)
 12. Type the following command:
     cat /etc/issue
 13. Press the Enter key
 14. If the screen says something that begins with 

Makes a little more sense to me... what do you think ? --IainD 00:11, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Agree. But I'm still waiting for the permission to edit the page. --Chihyu 00:45, 11 January 2008 (EST)

I just made the changes. --Chihyu 15:06, 14 January 2008 (EST)

File sizes..

Please add to wiki page...

194 K
293 M

"... is a large file ... " is not very descriptive. :)

--IainD 05:37, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Added. --Chihyu 15:26, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Steps 10-14 Necessary?

Are steps 10 through 14 necessary enough to be included in the Upgrade instructions?

Yes, a couple of non tech-savvy users have found these steps very helpful. --Chihyu 16:24, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Keywords For Retrieval

While searching for a way to wipe my (G1G1) XO in order to start from scratch, I did not come across this page. Someone on IRC had to point me in the right direction instead. Could we add some keywords (e.g. "revert", "reinstall", "factory default" etc.) to the page to make it easier to retrieve? -- Ace NoOne 12:31, 22 January 2008 (EST)

It's already in the Support FAQ. --Chihyu 17:51, 22 January 2008 (EST)
That's still not ideal IMHO; I don't think that "factory configuration" is what most people would look for in this situation. I was thinking of something like this (rough draft):
This page describes how to do a re-flash of an activated laptop. This will erase all modifications, reverting to factory defaults by reinstalling the operating system.
-- Ace NoOne 04:44, 23 January 2008 (EST)

Legends for reflashing screen

Is there documentation anywhere for what the different colors mean in the reflashing screen? When I reflashed there are some (3 or 4) red blocks scattered throughout the block map.

-- Hircus 13:10, 22 February 2008 (EST)

See this forum thread, the red blocks are bad blocks in the NAND:

Bad hash

Okay, spent 5 hours (!) downloading the large file. Have it on a USB disk (there are other files I need on the disk) right at the top. Got the keys to work fine, the grid showed up, a few red ones (what does that mean?) and some nice green ones - then it says:

Erasing 73 Bad hash for eblock #74
Use power button to power off

And nothing happens. I let it sit for a while, nothing happened. Tried it again, this time it stops at 48/49. Again: 20/21, one more time, 25/26. Not good. Scrounged for a stick. Found one (but not pristine, stuff on there I need). Same thing, now 37/38. Tried to delete stuff from stick, some files are locked (the stick comes with applications).

Is it the stick? My machine? I tried to restore by pressing only the 0 key on power up - I get a boot failed. Sure, everything was erased. So what do I try now? --WiseWoman 18:34, 25 February 2008 (EST)

I bought a clean stick with NO APPLICATIONS on it, downloaded the files over a high-speed network, and it worked like a charm. Phew! --WiseWoman

Had the same problem: formatted an old Kingston and Verbatim USB 2GB and didn't work, fomatted an even older MyFlash Adata 1GB and it worked. Go figure. DJ, June 2, 2008

Kingston doesn't work!

Hi, this upgrade routine for whatever reason does not appear to work with Kingston DataTraveler USB sticks. I, like some others, specifically purchased the stick for this task, and found that it could not be made to work, even with reformatting and other troubles.


I eventually did perform the upgrade with a portable 160gb iomega usb drive I bought for a different purpose. (Using another computer's USB port to power it: the XO doesn't put out enough power on USB to run this, so I won't recommend it for XO, just relating how I eventually found success.) Still, I think the page should be updated to note that Kingston does not seem to work for this process, to save some other users the trouble.

-- 17:47, 20 March 2008 (EDT) (Kevin S)

I was able to perform an upgrade using a Kingston DataTravler 1 GB USB stick. This USB drive has been heavily used for the last couple of months and I did not need to reformat the stick to perform the upgrade. (baroing)

SD vs USB drive

FYI - I was able to upgrade using SD.

Questions that would be nice to answer on the main page

1. The page says: "This page describes how to reinstall the operating system of a secured laptop, whether it is unactivated (fresh from the factory) or already activated."

How do you tell whether or not your laptop is "secured"? What do "secured" and "activated" mean? (If there are pages explaining these terms, which I couldn't find, wiki links would be helpful.)

2. The page says: "You need a formatted USB flash drive that is larger than 325 MB, and it is better that you format it before copying any files over."

How do you tell whether your USB drive is formatted correctly? What are the instructions for formatting it if unsure?

I don't know the answer to these, so I can't edit the page myself Norm 12:42, 27 July 2008 (UTC)