IBM eServer
Frequently asked questions
Microcode updates for p5, pSeries, RS/6000, OpenPower and i5 systems
What is Microcode?
System microcode, sometimes called system firmware, initializes, or sets up, the hardware configuration so that your system will boot up and operate correctly; it provides the interface to the operating system software to talk to the hardware. Adapter microcode is the operating code of the adapter; it initializes the adapter when power is applied and it controls many of the ongoing operations executed by the adapter. Device microcode provides these same functions for devices such as tape drives.
Microcode is usually found programmed into electronic modules on the system board, electronic card adapters, or devices. If these modules are "flashable", you can update the code electronically rather than changing the module, entire card, or device. This update is usually performed using a floppy diskette.
Why Would I Need a Microcode Update?
There are two reasons why you might want to update microcode:
  1. We at IBM periodically update microcode to add new function for your systems and adapters. For example, you might want to install new system flash microcode to add boot support for a boot device that was not available when your system was shipped; or you might want to update the microcode on a graphics adapter so you can attach a new display that was not previously supported.

  2. You may want to update your microcode to fix a problem. Even IBM's rigorous test process does not always catch all of the problems. Whenever possible, we update the microcode to fix a problem.
  Microcode resources
Download microcode

  Supporting information
Download procedure
Remote install tips
LPAR install tips
Tape help
Microcode update history

  Subscription services
Sign up to be notified when microcode is updated.