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How To Flash Your Drive

Background:

For a long time, the only way to flash a MediaTek based drive was to use mtkflash in DOS. Of course, manufacturers often released self contained Windows Flashers, but these were not suitable for recovering dead drives or for flashing back to a backup. Eventually, a neat tool called MTK WinFlash appeared which was capable of flashing many MediaTek based drives from Windows, and you could specify the firmware file to flash onto your drive. This program was even capable of recovering some drives by flashing directly to the IDE port where a misflashed drive was connected. Unfortunately, this program does not work on some newer drives, and it is incapable of backing up a drive's firmware. The latest program for flashing drives in Windows is called LtnFW. It has many useful features such as backing up and flashing the firmware, and it works for almost every Liteon manufactured device. Unfortunately, it cannot flash to an IDE port, so it cannot recover misflashed drives.

Note that these methods are not applicable to all drives.

Windows:

LtnFW (For Liteon Only)

MTK WinFlash (on digi's page)

DOS:

LtnFW:

Main Window

Checksum: This option will read the firmware from the selected drive and compute a unique checksum for the data.

Compare: This option allows the user to compare the currently selected drive's firmware to a firmware file. This is useful for checking whether or not your drive was flashed successfully. LtnFW will report the address of the first difference found. Be aware that if you do not choose to "Update Boot Code" when flashing your drive, you may get an error at an offset near the very beginning of the firmware. This is normal since this is the bootcode area.

Backup: This option is LtnFW's most important feature. Use this option to backup the firmware from the currently selected drive.

Update: Select this option when you have a binary firmware file that you want to flash onto the currently selected drive.

Update Boot Code: Choose this option to flash the entire firmware. The bootcode is used to recover a drive (from Windows using LtnFW) that was misflashed. If there is a misflash when you choose to update the bootcode then the only way to recover the drive is to use mtkflash in DOS. Some drives, like newer H/H combo drives will not work with mtkflash in DOS, however. This option is also extremely important for flashing drives that lack a physical EEPROM chip like the second revision of the LTR-52327S and the SOHR-5238S since this tells the drive not to overwrite the unique calibration data of the firmware.

Please go here to get LtnFW: CDFreaks - LiteOn firmware backup and flashing tool

Unofficial mtkflash page:

When can I use mtkflash? mtkflash does not work on all drives, as the name suggests, it only works on drives using chips made by MediaTek Inc. such as the one at the left from a Liteon LTR-24102B. You can test whether or not mtkflash recognizes your drive by running mtkflash with the Check command: "mtkflash # C "

When to use mtkflash instead of LtnFW? There is no need to use mtkflash if your drive is working properly and you have access to a computer running a Windows OS. mtkflash is useful if you are a Unix/Linux user (you can boot into DOS with a bootdisk just like a Windows user can) or if you have a drive that has been misflashed and is no longer working.

How do I use mtkflash? See instructions below.

Why not just use MTK WinFlash? mtkflash (for DOS) supports more drives and is far more stable than MTK WinFlash.

 

How to backup your firmware with mtkflash:
  1. Create a boot disk or a boot CD. Or download one from >NIL's PioneerDVD Page, or digi's Page
  2. Download a version of mtkflash from below (See Download)
  3. Extract mtkflash to an easy to access directory such as "C:\firm"
  4. Restart your computer with your boot disk/CD in the proper drive and navigate to your folder with mtkflash, "C:\firm". Only minimal boot is necessary, you do not need to boot with CD-ROM support as you will not be reading any discs with the drive. Most boot disks will not allow support for Hard Drives partitioned with NTFS.
  5. Type the command now to backup your firmware: If version 1.80 or older use "mtkflash # r /b /m filename.bin" If using version 1.80.1, then do not include the /b flag! Use this command for version 1.80.1: "mtkflash # r /m filename.bin" Pay close attention to the spaces. You must replace '#' with one of the following:
'1' if the drive is Primary Master,
'2' if the drive is Primary Slave,
'3' if the drive is Secondary Master, or
'4' if the drive is Secondary Slave

Ex 1: If you wanted to use mtkflash 1.80.1 to backup the firmware from your LDW-811S hooked up as Secondary Master, then you would use this command: "mtkflash 3 r /m HS0P.bin"

Ex 2: If you wanted to use mtkflash 1.55 to backup the firmware from your LTR-52246S hooked up as Primary Slave, then you would use this command: "mtkflash 2 r /b /m 6S0F.bin"

How to flash your drive with mtkflash
  1. Create a boot disk or a boot CD. Or download one from >NIL's PioneerDVD Page, or digi's Page

  2. Download a version of mtkflash from below (See Download)

  3. Extract mtkflash and the binary firmware file to an easy to access directory such as "C:\firm"

  4. Restart your computer with your boot disk/CD in the proper drive and navigate to your folder with mtkflash, "C:\firm". Only minimal boot is necessary, you do not need to boot with CD-ROM support as you will not be reading any discs with the drive. Most boot disks will not allow support for Hard Drives partitioned with NTFS.

  5. Type the command now to flash the firmware: If you're using version 1.80 or older use "mtkflash # w /b /m filename.bin" If using version 1.80.1, then do not include the /b flag! Use this command for version 1.80.1: "mtkflash # w /m filename.bin" Pay close attention to the spaces. You must replace '#' with one of the following:

'1' if the drive is Primary Master,
'2' if the drive is Primary Slave,
'3' if the drive is Secondary Master, or
'4' if the drive is Secondary Slave

Ex 1: If you wanted to use mtkflash 1.80.1 to flash a binary version of the HS0P firmware onto your LDW-811S hooked up as Secondary Master, then you would use this command: "mtkflash 3 w /m HS0P.bin"

Ex 2: If you wanted to use mtkflash 1.55 to flash a binary version of the 6S0F firmware onto your LTR-52246S hooked up as Primary Slave, then you would use this command: "mtkflash 2 w /b /m 6S0F.bin"

Choose a Version to Download:

Recommended versions for CD-RW/DVD-ROM/Combo drives

I currently recommend Starting with a slightly older version, 1.55. If you have problems then give the latest version, 1.83c, a try. Also try moving the drive around on your IDE channels, Secondary Slave seems to work best, especially with really old versions and fairly old hardware.

Recommended versions for DVD Writers

Use at least mtkflash 1.69. My first choice for flashing Liteon DVDRW drives is version 1.80. If this version does not support your drive (check support using the C flag) then try 1.83c

If nothing seems to work, then double check that your drive is compatible with mtkflash, or try flashing the drive in another computer.

Choose a Version:

Build your mtkflash command:

This may not work perfectly. Be sure that you read and understand why the generated command is appropriate.

1.
mtkflash version:
Not 1.80.1:
1.80.1:
2.
IDE Location:
3.
Action:
Update:
Backup:
4.
Firmware Filename:
5.
Firmware Format:
Binary:
Hexidecimal:
Command:/ Incomplete Command
With mtkflash 1.83c, you can type "mtkflash C" to scan for connected devices. 1.83c defaults to hex mode, so you should use the '/b' flag.

Frequently Asked Questions/Common Problems :

My computer hangs at detecting IDE devices now after my drive was misflashed (contains incomplete or incorrect firmware). How can I fix the drive if I cannot get into DOS? Your computer isn't sure what it sees when looking at your misflashed drive, you'll need to either disable the IDE channel that the drive is connected to in BIOS Setup or you can unplug the drive's power connection until you're at the command line in DOS at which point you may re-connect the drive's power and flash the drive. Some people recommend attaching a working drive in the place of the misflashed drive while your computer boots, but this step adds unnecessary risk. Hot-plugging IDE devices is not a good idea, except in this case where your drive is already dead. Mtkflash only needs the drive to be plugged in properly at a known location to recover it.

I don't have a floppy drive and my hard disk drive is formatted with NTFS. Is there any way to use mtkflash in DOS to flash my drive? Yes, there's always a way! Use a bootable CD to get into DOS, then you have a few choices on where to place the files:

  1. Create a small FAT partition on your HDD using tools like Partition Magic or Partition Commander. This small partition will be accessable in DOS, you can remove this partition if you don't need it after flashing.
  2. Use a USB Flash drive if your system supports it.
  3. Look into creating a custom bootable CD which loads the firmware flashing tools and files into a virtual drive. It is unwise to try to flash a drive using files that are located on a CD in the drive being flashed!