Enabling UEFI Capsule Update feature

Support has been added for the UEFI capsule update feature which enables updating the U-Boot image using the UEFI firmware management protocol (fmp). The capsules are not passed to the firmware through the UpdateCapsule runtime service. Instead, capsule-on-disk functionality is used for fetching the capsule from the EFI System Partition (ESP) by placing the capsule file under the EFIUpdateCapsule directory.

Currently, support has been added on the QEMU ARM64 virt platform for updating the U-Boot binary as a raw image when the platform is booted in non-secure mode, i.e. with CONFIG_TFABOOT disabled. For this configuration, the QEMU platform needs to be booted with ‘secure=off’. The U-Boot binary placed on the first bank of the NOR flash at offset 0x0. The U-Boot environment is placed on the second NOR flash bank at offset 0x4000000.

The capsule update feature is enabled with the following configuration settings:


In addition, the following config needs to be disabled(QEMU ARM specific):


The capsule file can be generated by using the GenerateCapsule.py script in EDKII:

$ ./BaseTools/BinWrappers/PosixLike/GenerateCapsule -e -o \
<capsule_file_name> --fw-version <val> --lsv <val> --guid \
e2bb9c06-70e9-4b14-97a3-5a7913176e3f --verbose --update-image-index \
<val> --verbose <u-boot.bin>

The above is a wrapper script(GenerateCapsule) which eventually calls the actual GenerateCapsule.py script.

As per the UEFI specification, the capsule file needs to be placed on the EFI System Partition, under the EFIUpdateCapsule directory. The EFI System Partition can be a virtio-blk-device.

Before initiating the firmware update, the efi variables BootNext, BootXXXX and OsIndications need to be set. The BootXXXX variable needs to be pointing to the EFI System Partition which contains the capsule file. The BootNext, BootXXXX and OsIndications variables can be set using the following commands:

=> efidebug boot add -b 0 Boot0000 virtio 0:1 <capsule_file_name>
=> efidebug boot next 0
=> setenv -e -nv -bs -rt -v OsIndications =0x04
=> saveenv

Finally, the capsule update can be initiated with the following command:

=> efidebug capsule disk-update

The updated U-Boot image will be booted on subsequent boot.

Enabling Capsule Authentication

The UEFI specification defines a way of authenticating the capsule to be updated by verifying the capsule signature. The capsule signature is computed and prepended to the capsule payload at the time of capsule generation. This signature is then verified by using the public key stored as part of the X509 certificate. This certificate is in the form of an efi signature list (esl) file, which is embedded as part of the platform’s device tree blob using the mkeficapsule utility.

On the QEMU virt platforms, the device-tree is generated on the fly based on the devices configured. This device tree is then passed on to the various software components booting on the platform, including U-Boot. Therefore, on the QEMU virt platform, the signatute is embedded on an overlay. This overlay is then applied at runtime to the base platform device-tree. Steps needed for embedding the esl file in the overlay are highlighted below.

The capsule authentication feature can be enabled through the following config, in addition to the configs listed above for capsule update:


The public and private keys used for the signing process are generated and used by the steps highlighted below:

1. Install utility commands on your host
   * efitools

2. Create signing keys and certificate files on your host

    $ openssl req -x509 -sha256 -newkey rsa:2048 -subj /CN=CRT/ \
        -keyout CRT.key -out CRT.crt -nodes -days 365
    $ cert-to-efi-sig-list CRT.crt CRT.esl

    $ openssl x509 -in CRT.crt -out CRT.cer -outform DER
    $ openssl x509 -inform DER -in CRT.cer -outform PEM -out CRT.pub.pem

    $ openssl pkcs12 -export -out CRT.pfx -inkey CRT.key -in CRT.crt
    $ openssl pkcs12 -in CRT.pfx -nodes -out CRT.pem

The capsule file can be generated by using the GenerateCapsule.py script in EDKII:

$ ./BaseTools/BinWrappers/PosixLike/GenerateCapsule -e -o \
  <capsule_file_name> --monotonic-count <val> --fw-version \
  <val> --lsv <val> --guid \
  e2bb9c06-70e9-4b14-97a3-5a7913176e3f --verbose \
  --update-image-index <val> --signer-private-cert \
  /path/to/CRT.pem --trusted-public-cert \
  /path/to/CRT.pub.pem --other-public-cert /path/to/CRT.pub.pem \

Place the capsule generated in the above step on the EFI System Partition under the EFI/UpdateCapsule directory

For embedding the public key certificate, the following steps need to be followed:

1. Generate a skeleton overlay dts file, with a single fragment
   node and an empty __overlay__ node

   A typical skeleton overlay file will look like this


   / {
           fragment@0 {
                   target-path = "/";
                   __overlay__ {

2. Convert the dts to a corresponding dtb with the following
    ./scripts/dtc/dtc -@ -I dts -O dtb -o <ov_dtb_file_name> \

3. Run the dtb file generated above through the mkeficapsule tool
   in U-Boot
    ./tools/mkeficapsule -O <pub_key.esl> -D <ov_dtb>

Running the above command results in the creation of a ‘signature’ node in the dtb, under which the public key is stored as a ‘capsule-key’ property. The ‘-O’ option is to be used since the public key certificate(esl) file is being embedded in an overlay.

The dtb file embedded with the certificate is now to be placed on an EFI System Partition. This would then be loaded and “merged” with the base platform flattened device-tree(dtb) at runtime.

Build U-Boot with the following steps(QEMU ARM64):

$ make qemu_arm64_defconfig
$ make menuconfig
    Enable all configs needed for capsule update(listed above)
$ make all

Boot the platform and perform the following steps on the U-Boot command line:

1. Enable capsule authentication by setting the following env

    => setenv capsule_authentication_enabled 1
    => saveenv

2. Load the overlay dtb to memory and merge it with the base fdt

    => fatload virtio 0:1 <$fdtovaddr> EFI/<ov_dtb_file>
    => fdt addr $fdtcontroladdr
    => fdt resize <size_of_ov_dtb_file>
    => fdt apply <$fdtovaddr>

3. Set the following environment and UEFI boot variables

    => setenv -e -nv -bs -rt -v OsIndications =0x04
    => efidebug boot add -b 0 Boot0000 virtio 0:1 <capsule_file_name>
    => efidebug boot next 0
    => saveenv

4. Finally, the capsule update can be initiated with the following

    => efidebug capsule disk-update

On subsequent reboot, the platform should boot the updated U-Boot binary.