it had nothing to do with security software, as I mentioned in my original post I was even trying to do it with a USB boot disk using the IFLASH2 command line utility, and it still didn't work.
However, I can now report that the BIOS is now updated. I'm not sure exactly what fixed it, but now I can run the BIOS updates.
To get it work I did two things:
- Set the BIOS configuration jumper to configuration mode.
- Boot up, enter the BIOS, load defaults and clear the BIOS password (I didn't have one to begin with but I figured what the hell)
After that, I tried using the IFLASH utility again and it finally worked.
Anyway, my guess is that the BIOS had to be cleared and had its settings set back to default before attempting to update it. Hopefully someone finds this useful.
I can report that I was having the exact same problem. I tried applying offline with all security software disabled, still no go.
Gave up for a week or so and then came back and tried again and it worked first time.
However, now I wish that it hadnt worked as I'm having a problem of a "reboot loop" on wake from sleep as others in the below thread have