Ubuntu: Can software (Steam) or system updates modify BIOS? [closed]


thanks a lot in advance for your help. My laptop VAIO got brick during playing Steam on Ubuntu (14.04 LTS). It was the hottest and wetter day of the summer, I was playing for almost 4 hours and the laptop was in fact burning like hell. I shouldn't have forced it that way.

I was unable to restart it again, no lights, no switching on, no power, no nothing, removing battery, holding switch button one minute, etc. I took it to a laptop service. I thought the motherboard or the graphic card had burnt. But after two weeks the guy of the laptop service told me that it was just a BIOS problem, no hardware problem. He configured it manually and that's it. I was astonished.

Can anyone help me to know what it really happened? BIOS problem? Can Ubuntu modify BIOS during a system update or Steam doing it during playing? That's weird. Now I have fear to update the system or play Steam because I'm not sure at all of what caused it. I think that the laptop collapsed because of the heat and that corrupted the BIOS at the same time.

I would thank a lot a bit of enlightenment.



Theoretically anything that has root on your machine can update firmware (BIOS/EFI). Theoretically. Practically, it is a bad idea to do. That's why in the past you needed DOS diskettes (DOS gives 100% access without any constraints to the hardware) to update firmware. Nowadays, BIOS/EFI often have integrated procedures, that either are in the menu or can be triggered by a program.

However, keep in mind that the chip that contains the configuration or even the program code of the firmware can be flashed. Flashing is erasing + reprogramming. It follows that it is indeed possible to damage your BIOS/EFI. It is sufficient that a cell (the storage unit in firmware) got corrupted and that stops it from booting. My theory: the overheating of the machine caused just that. Something corrupted either the firmware configuration or the BIOS/EFI itself.

I had it happen on a Zotac Nano ID61. When I tried upgrading to Windows 10, it was bricked after that. Black screen on boot. I was baffled. While I wasn't sure, I bought a new BIOS/EFI chip (there are specialized shops that can make you one for something like 15$). I took the defective chip out, plugged the new one in, and the machine booted at once.

I do not know whether laptops have exchangeable BIOS/EFI chips, though. They might be soldered on.


I'm alost 100% sure the problem was overheating. The laptop's is too week for some games. The cooling system is not efficient. And I'm almost 100% there's no program which can cause bios misconfiguration. The only thing can some programs do is to change date and time. I don't talk about tools from manufacturing to update bios from windows/linux. I talk about programs like steam.


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