Upgrade firmware and bootrom on HP A5120

A simple software upgrade of an HP A5120 EI switch is explained in the following post.

The device software includes the Boot ROM program and the system boot file. After powered on, the device runs the Boot ROM program, initializes the hardware, and displays the hardware information. Then the device runs the boot file. The boot file provides drivers and adaption for hardware, and implements service features. The Boot ROM program and system boot file are required for the startup and running of a device.

NOTE: Regarding commands on the device, the BootROM is called bootrom, while the boot file is called boot-loader. So boot-loader and boot file are interchangeable in context, but not in syntax.

The Boot ROM program and system boot file can both be upgraded at the Boot ROM menu or at the command line interface (CLI). We will perform this upgrade by the command line this time.

dis ver
HP Comware Platform Software
Comware Software, Version 5.20, Release 2208
Copyright (c) 2010-2011 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.
HP A5120-48G EI Switch with 2 Interface Slots uptime is 0 week, 0 day, 17 hours, 56 minutes
HP A5120-48G EI Switch with 2 Interface Slots with 1 Processor
128M bytes SDRAM
16384K bytes Flash Memory
Hardware Version is REV.B
CPLD Version is 007
Bootrom Version is 607
[SubSlot 0] 48GE+4SFP Hardware Version is REV.B

This is the output of the “display version” command before the updates take place. Now, on to the real update – first, enable the bootrom security check. This should help you in case you try to update your device with a wrong boot file, but do not rely too much on it. After all, we should know what we’re doing in the first place 🙂

[HP]bootrom-update security check enable

tftp [tftp server IP] get A5120EI-BTM-610.btm
File will be transferred in binary mode
Downloading file from remote TFTP server, please wait...\
TFTP: 0 bytes received in 0 second(s)
File downloaded successfully.

bootrom update file flash:/a5120ei-btm-610.btm slot 1
This command will update bootrom file on the specified board(s), Continue? [Y/N]:y
Now updating bootrom, please wait...
Succeeded to update bootrom of Board 1.

We have successfully updated the bootrom, by downloading the new file from a TFTP server. I will cover more on TFTP servers in a future blogpost.

Due to the insufficient space on the device, the current boot loader file needs to be deleted before the new one is uploaded. That is an interesting situation, where the device is left running with its boot loader in the RAM. Do not reboot the device before setting up the new boot loader or recovery steps will need to be taken.

The /unreserved parameter deletes the file from memory, as opposed to only moving it to the “Recycle Bin”. While in the Bin, the file will still take up space, hence the need for the complete removal.

delete /unreserved flash:/a5120ei-cmw520-r2208-s168.bin
The contents cannot be restored!!! Delete flash:/a5120ei-cmw520-r2208-s168.bin?[Y/N]:y
Deleting a file permanently will take a long time. Please wait...
%Delete file flash:/a5120ei-cmw520-r2208-s168.bin...Done.

tftp get A5120EI-CMW520-R2215.bin
File will be transferred in binary mode
Downloading file from remote TFTP server, please wait......................................................................................................................................................................................................
TFTP: 12625865 bytes received in 198 second(s)
File downloaded successfully.

We are successful so far. Now, instruct the device to select the new boot-loader file. After that, verify that the new boot-loader will get loaded on the next reboot with the command “display boot-loader”. Do not forget to save the configuration before reloading, as missing that may make your device unbootable, and you may have to manually point to the new boot-loader again, from the bootrom (which means that you will incur downtime and would need physical access to the device – a nasty situation if you’re doing this from afar).

boot-loader file flash:/a5120ei-cmw520-r2215.bin slot 1 main
This command will set the boot file of the specified board. Continue? [Y/N]:y
The specified file will be used as the main boot file at the next reboot on slot 1!
display boot-loader
Slot 1
The current boot app is: flash:/a5120ei-cmw520-r2208-s168.bin
The main boot app is: flash:/a5120ei-cmw520-r2215.bin
The backup boot app is: flash:/
save main force
Validating file. Please wait......................
Saved the current configuration to mainboard device successfully.
Configuration is saved to device successfully.
Start to check configuration with next startup configuration file, please wait.........DONE!
This command will reboot the device. Continue? [Y/N]:y

After the reboot, check out the new version of both the bootrom and the boot-loader.

dis ver
HP Comware Platform Software
Comware Software, Version 5.20.99, Release 2215
Copyright (c) 2010-2012 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.
HP A5120-48G EI Switch with 2 Interface Slots uptime is 0 week, 0 day, 0 hour, 2 minutes
HP A5120-48G EI Switch with 2 Interface Slots with 1 Processor
128M bytes SDRAM
16384K bytes Flash Memory
Hardware Version is REV.B
CPLD Version is 007
Bootrom Version is 610
[SubSlot 0] 48GE+4SFP Hardware Version is REV.B

Always be very careful if doing this procedure remotely, backup both bootroms and bootloaders, as well as configuration files.
Never update the device during non-maintenance windows, and always be ready for the worst – which may very well be the need to physically access the device.

If the update takes place on an IRF system stack, you may speed up the procedure by enabling automatic boot-loader update during the stack formation, then updating only the master of the stack, and then rebooting the slave members.

By having the auto-update enabled, the slave members will download the new boot-loader from the master right after they have formed their neighborship. This way, you will only have to update a single device.


12 thoughts on “Upgrade firmware and bootrom on HP A5120”

  1. Thanks for the write up on updating HP's switch. I have the A5120-48g-SI and after downloading the firmware from hp's web site there is only a .bin file. I did not see a .btm file in the zip package. Did your .btm file also come in the zip?


  2. Check in the release notes if a BootROM update is necessary – I believe most of the new HP devices already ship with an up-to-date bootrom. If you have an older device with an older boot rom, try looking for your device's part number in the following link (the part number looks like 'JD370A')
    If your device has been shipped with and older bootrom, then the correct part number will point you to the page where you'll have the option of downloading the new one.


  3. Good Article ! A question:

    We have 4

    DEVICE_NAME : A5120-48G EI JE069A
    MANUFACTURING_DATE : 2013-07-06

    Before upgrade
    Comware Software, Version 5.20, Release 2208P01
    Bootrom Version is 607

    After Upgrade
    Comware Software, Version 5.20.99, Release 2220P09
    Bootrom Version is 619

    Before Upgrade no .btm files was present. But after upgrading to 2220P09 we have .btm and .bin files.

    Free Flash memory: 15240 KB total (1813 KB free)

    .btm file was not used before ? or during installation was copied to another device memory ? can we delete or not from flash ? Free space is very low…

    Thank you


  4. “HP documentation is useless” <– this 100x over. Way too much HP documentation seems to be aimed at HP technicians rather than us net admin peasants who are responsible for our work sites that don't have the luxury of having our heads in switches/routers/etc all day every day to understand verbose HP technician speak that gets splattered within their documentation.

    Blog posts like this are an absolute life essential, so thank you very much Krastin!


  5. Exactly what I needed, short and precise instructions. Wish HP documentation was as clear as that. Good work, thanks a lot.


    1. Hey Mark,
      I think HP changed their update structure since and there’s no .btm files anymore. As always, just check the HP Support page for your current product using its code (e.g. JL085A) and then download whatever is available – just .bin or both 🙂


    1. Seems you have deleted the old boot file and then either
      – did not upload a new boot file
      – uploaded a new boot file but not set it as main with the command “boot-loader file flash:/XXXX”
      – uploaded a new boot file, set it as main, but did not do a “save” configuration

      Log on to the boot rom when the device is booting and make sure you have a new boot file (put it there via TFTP if not), it is set to boot as Main and the config is saved.


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