I recently found myself updating an iDRAC 6 platform for a client on an older Dell server. In the long run, this server really just needs to be replaced – but until then, I needed to install a newer firmware version in order to enable certain features needed for server monitoring purposes.
Updating IPMI firmware often involves downloading the firmware image and uploading into the platform for install. However, the iDRAC 6 firmware update was only available in EXE form, in which case the installer is meant to detect the local iDRAC and install itself.
Unfortunately for me, the EXE failed every time I tried to run it. A little Google research showed that this was common. So how do we get this thing updated if the install application fails every time?
The answer is to cut out the middleman: unpack the EXE, get what files we need, and use the “Upload Firmware” option within iDRAC to install the firmware manually.
Anytime you need to extract files from within an EXE, follow the below process:
- Install 7-Zip, which can be found for free here. 7-Zip is a popular open-source file compression tool which works across multiple OS platforms, both 32 and 64-bit.
- After installing 7-Zip, right-click on the EXE in question and select 7-Zip >> Extract Files, then use the extraction wizard to extract the files into the desired folder.
- Check the extraction location to view all of the files contained within the EXE. In my example, I just needed the iDRAC firmware image file:
…And that’s it! If a troublesome EXE is all that stands between you and something like a firmware image or driver needed to solve a problem, then simply extract those files and get at the good stuff.
I’ve said this before, and it bears repeating: Success is found at the margin. Tips like the above may seem like nothing; but when other IT technicians in the marketplace are scratching their heads over the problem, you’ll be the dangerous competition overcoming obstacles and getting things done.
Never stop learning – not just the huge, overarching knowledge, but the small stuff too.