How to extract the bios update from a .EXE file

Discussion in 'BIOS Mods' started by Spyd, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Spyd

    Spyd MDL Novice

    Oct 26, 2009
    #1 Spyd, Nov 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
    I wanted to play with the bios of an old notebook I had lying arround. It was a Benq JoyBook, but the BIOS updates for this notebook came tightly packed. I had to expend a lot of time and effort to get the ROM file, so I thought that I'll be nice and post this to save time and headaches from anyone in the same case.

    So, if you need to extract a bios, these are the tools you need:

    I found three different kind of packaging/compression on the Benq bios updater, but there are more. Because sometimes the files are packed/compressed recursively, you must check all the files every time you unpack, to see if there is something that can be further unpacked.

    These are the files types you can find:

    EXE files (Windows)
    You can try to just extract using WinRar/7Zip, but sometimes not all the data inside the EXE can be extracted that way.
    If you can't find the files you are looking for inside the extracted folder, try using the Universal extractor.
    Also you can use Sandboxie, but as I don't know this software, there is a manual way to get to the contents of a Windows auto-extracting exe:
    • Open a file explorer window.
    • Make sure you have the option to see hidden and system files on. (Tools -> Options)
    • On the address bar, type %temp% and press Enter. You are now seeing the contents of the Windows temp folder.
    • Set the view mode to "Details" and click on the "Creation Date" column header to sort with the newer date first.
    • Run the EXE file and wait until the first dialog appears, but don't touch it yet.
    • Look on the %temp% folder, there will be at least one new folder with the current date/time. Look inside these folders to get the contents of the EXE file.

    COM files
    I never found a BIOS file on a COM. But sometimes developers hide an EXE renaming it as COM. How do you know if it is really a EXE? Real COM executables can't be bigger than 64Kb. You can also open the file on a text or HEX editor, and if the first two characters are MZ, it is an EXE again.
    In any case, a COM file is a DOS executable, so treat it as an EXE file anyway. Look at the next section.

    EXE files (DOS)
    You can try with WinRar or 7-Zip, but the chances to unpack an DOS executable are slim, because usually they are custom programs.
    You can also try running the EXE with a help parameter -? or /? or -h or /h to see if the program has any switches. There may be a switch to extract the contents.

    CAB files
    There are two kinds of CAB files, the MS Cab ones that can be extracted with WinRar/7Zip, and the Installshield ones that only can be extracted using Universal extractor. You can easily tell an Installshield CAB apart because it comes with an file with identical name, but HDR as the extension.
    If there are files that are numbered (,, etc), usually the second and next files are unpacked automaticaly from the first file.

    ISO files
    These are CD/DVD image files. You can unpack them with WinRar/7Zip.

    VFD files
    These are floppy disk image files. You can unpack them with a program like IsoBuster (commercial software), or you can mount the file using the Virtual Floppy Disk software, and then manually copying the contents from the disk.

    In the case of my Joybook notebook, I had to do:
    "Joybook A32 R218(" (Installshield EXE) -> Universal extractor
    "" (Installshield EXE) -> Universal extractor
    "PQVF.VFD" (Floppy disk image) -> VFD
    "BIOS.ROM" (Phoenix bios file) -> Success!

    If someone knows more file types, different/better methods of extraction, or any useful information, please reply and I'll update this post.
  2. BigG

    BigG MDL Junior Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    toshiba's BIOS file is in the format of .com

    Unfortunately the 7z/winrar/universal extractor are all not be able to open the file.
  3. NoJuan999

    NoJuan999 Experienced SLIC Tool Operator

    Jul 31, 2009
    Running an executable BIOS update in Sandboxie also works many times.
    It will let you Copy the files that get created in a temp folder (inside the sandbox folder) by the installer to any location you want so the BIOS can be modified.
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  4. aziz3545

    aziz3545 MDL Novice

    Dec 28, 2010
    hi. i have file bios laptop dell . with format exe . i want extract this file. i want rom or bin file in to the file exe for bios program with programer hardware . i dont want use software bios with oparation system.
    i extract with universal extractor but was error.
    this error : cannot extracted filetypr returned was : microsoft visual c++ 6.0( debug)
    How do I open it .
    sorry not good writing english.
  5. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008

    And why would that be?

  6. phu_dj

    phu_dj MDL Member

    Sep 9, 2010
    example dell bios called: dell.exe ( this is bios)
    put it to D driver and use this command: "D:\dell.exe -writeromfile"
    you will get dell.rom file ( it is about 2mb),
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  7. leonelferrera

    leonelferrera MDL Novice

    Jun 1, 2012
    not work with new bios firmware package.....
  8. Spyd

    Spyd MDL Novice

    Oct 26, 2009
    I updated the first post... try the new methods.
  9. xXxJohNaRioUZxXx

    xXxJohNaRioUZxXx MDL Novice

    Apr 24, 2015
    "Run the EXE file..." What .exe file to run? What's the name of this file in your pc??... Ayway, here's an image of my temp folder. Take a look and tell me which file to choose? HELPP.png
  10. xXxJohNaRioUZxXx

    xXxJohNaRioUZxXx MDL Novice

    Apr 24, 2015
    Some more images of my whole Temp folder: HELPP2.png HELPP3.png HELPP4.png
  11. Tito

    Tito Super Mod / Adviser
    Staff Member

    Nov 30, 2009

    No need to bumping such old threads; any way, gibe us the link of the bios.
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