The gp2x firmware is a kernel and a filesystem. The firmware is launched by the bootloader. All of this is stored in the unit's NAND memory.
Note: several automatic firmware updaters are available in the archive - these should be much easier to follow.
WARNING! UPGRADING YOUR FIRMWARE MAY BRICK YOUR GP2X!
FLASHING IS AT YOUR OWN RISK! ALWAYS USE A POWER SUPPLY UNIT!
The first firmware upgrade may only work with certain cards. At present the evidence is that your SD has to be formatted using FAT32. Doing this depends on your OS.
Howto upgrade the firmware
- First: Calm down and relax
You may have read a lot warnings about bad things that could happen during firmware upgrade. Keep them in mind but remember that most people upgrade without any problem. Just follow the steps carefully.
- Format your SD card using FAT32. (For details see below)
- Copy the files of the firmware upgrade so they are in the root directory of the SD (on OS X you will unfortunately need to use the terminal to remove hidden files that get added automatically by the Finder). Example: The firmware 1.4.0 comes with three files - *.img - *.tar.gz - *.gpu.
- Make sure your power supply is reliable.
A power supply unit is the best. Confirmed full batteries or rechargables will do it too - but make sure that your batteries are fully charged, are above 2500 mAh ( at least ) and are of good quality. If you can, always use a power supply unit.
- Insert your SD card into your GP2X and power on.
The firmware upgrade should start automatically now - but for versions 2.0.0 and above you will need to hold START and SELECT while the gp2x boots up. You see the picture shown on the right.
- The firmware updater will start the new firmware directly after the upgrade. This is shown by the green "loading" screen where you can see the new firmware version number. It indicates that the upgrade is successful. The updater will delete the *.img file off the SD card. If the 'firmware upgrading' message does not appear, then you have not successfully upgraded the firmware. Try again. The most common reasons are incompatible SD-card or no FAT32 format on the SD-card.
- For Firmware 3.0.0, after the 'Firmware Upgrading' screen is shown, the patching and formatting stages should start automatically. You should not need to restart your GP2X.
- Firmware 2.0.0 need approx. 20 seconds to turn off the "firmware upgrading" screen and show the green "loading" screen where you can see "Firmware 2.0.0". At this point turn off your GP2X, you have successfully updated the bootloader part of your GP2X. To continue you must hold down START + SELECT and turn on your GP2X again. If you don't hold down START + SELECT your GP2X will stop at the green screen. If you see the "Firmware upgrading" screen you can release START + SELECT. Now the real firmware is updating, this will take approx. 60 seconds. You will see the "patching" screen, your GP2X is updating the software (Player, Utils) now. This take approx. 2 minutes and then you will see the "formatting" screen. This is completely normal, just wait another approx. 2 minutes and your GP2X shows the main menu. The firmware 2.0.0 update is complete and you can remove the files from the SD-Card.
- Firmware 1.4.0: The boot sequence will continue to the GP2X main menu. The firmware 1.4.0 needed approx. 25 to 45 seconds for the upgrade process from power on to main menu due to different speed of SD-cards.
If you go to the "setting->info" menu now you may notice that the version did not change. This is normal if the upgrade archive is one single *.img file. In that case the upgrade is complete now.
- If the firmware upgrade archive contains more files including a *.gpu file you have a two step firmware upgrade. The second step is performed by executing the patch via the "main->utility->sd" menu. Patching the 1.4.0 firmware take about 60 seconds to run. You will see the picture "now patching - please wait" during and "complete - please wait" after patching. Some seconds later the updater will go back to the main menu.
- Now you can see the firmware version on the "utility->info" menu. The upgrade is complete now. You can delete the firmware files from your SD-card.
Derived from  and extended.
Where to Download the Firmware
If you're not sure what firmware you want, check the Firmware_History page. Then download from one of the known sources:
Formatting Your SD Card
SD card compatibility remains a hot issue. The problems encountered may be due to formatting issues. GP2X is certainly picky about the partition type/filesystem:
|I used cfdisk to make it 0B type (W95 FAT32) and then did mkfs.msdos -F 32, then copied gp2xkernel.img and ONLY gp2xkernel.img to the card's root directory. A firmware updating screen loaded! (quote from )|
Yup, I can confirm that this worked for me. My 1GB SD card from gbax came with a single partition of type 06 (FAT16). This worked fine for everything except updating the firmware. When I tried to do that, I got the same results as everyone else (file being deleted without doing anything). Deleting the partition with fdisk, creating a new one (with the type 0B) and creating a filesystem solved the problem.
FAT16 vs FAT32
Depending on your firmware version the u-boot loader will require your SD card to be formatted in FAT16 and won't allow booting on a FAT32 partition (or the converse). If your GP2X displays a startup logo and plays a startup sound, but won't start the firmware update, you might simply need to change from FAT32 to FAT16 (or the other way round).
This might happen e.g. after flashing firmware 4.0.0 on an F100: any new firmware update will require a FAT16 fs (at least it happened to me :-/ Iouri 10 July 2011).
Instructions for Specific Operating Systems
- Windows XP
- My Computer / right click on drive - click on format FAT32
- Use cfdisk to change the partition type to 0B (W95 FAT32) and then mkfs.msdos -F32 <device> where <device> is the device node of your GP2X/Card Reader.
- newfs_msdos -F 32 <device> where <device> is the device node of your GP2X/Card Reader.
- Unfortunately, OSX gets in the way of this simple action. It is also necessary to first umount the card, which needs to be done using an administrator account: sudo umount <device> where <device> is probably something like /dev/disk1s1.
- Warning: this isn't the whole story. After doing this, my GP2X resumes being an "unknown device" on USB. --Araneidae 09:19, 27 November 2005 (GMT)
See also Talk:Firmware Upgrade for further details.