Read me first!                                                   June 26, 2014

Contains latest information on the Keysight 81160A



  1. Installation
  2. Preparing a USB flash drive for use with the 81160A
  3. On-Line Information
  4. Known Problems





Package Contents

The software package should contain the following files:






Supported Models

This software update package supports the Keysight 81160A only.

Software Revision

The software revision that is contained in this package is

Software History - following issues are handled


Software Update Requirements

To install this software update on the Keysight 81160A, a USB memory key with at least 100MB of free space is required. The USB memory key must be formatted using the FAT32 file system on a primary partition. Do not use a USB key that contains an extended partition, since this will not be recognized by the BIOS and the recovery mechanism that will continue a broken update will not work USB keys that are formatted as super floppy are not supported.

Refer to your computer's documentation on how to check the type of partitioning and how to change the partition type of the USB memory key.

Software Update Procedure

  1. Copy the zip file to the root directory of the USB memory key. Do not extract the contents of the zip file!
  2. Disconnect any USB memory devices from the Keysight 81160A.
  3. Connect the USB memory key that contains the software update to the Keysight 81160A.
  4. Press the Utility key, then the System softkey. On the system screen, press the Configuration softkey to enter the configuration screen.
  5. The Configuration screen does show the currently installed software version and hardware configuration. Pressing the Software Update softkey will enter the software update screen.
  6. The software update screen displays a brief instruction on how to install the software update. The Update softkey is only enabled when a USB memory key that holds a valid update package is being detected. Pressing the Update softkey will start the software update application.
  7. The software update application will scan the connected USB memory key for a valid software update package and displays the software revision contained in the package if one is found.  It will then prompt whether to install the update or not.
  8.  If selecting No, the software update application is being closed again and the normal instrument firmware will continue to run.
  9.  If selecting Yes, the update will do the following:

Extract the new instrument firmware and a system recovery firmware to the USB memory key.

Verify the validity of the extracted images.

Erase the instrument's currently used firmware image. 

Update the instrument's flash memory with the extracted firmware image.

Verify the just written flash memory content against the firmware image file on the USB memory key.

Delete all the extracted files from the USB memory key.

Reboot the instrument.


The USB memory must stay connected until the instrument has finished the reboot and the updated instrument firmware is running successfully.


If the update is getting interrupted during the erase or write of the flash memory, the instrument will boot the system recovery image from the USB memory key at the next power up. The system recovery update is fully automatic. It is using the already extracted files from the previous regular software update.



Preparing a USB Flash Drive for usage with the 81160A using Windows Vista

The following description is intended to help you prepare an USB flash drive if it is not being detected by the 81160A, or if the recovery mechanism of the software update was not able to bring up the instrument after an interrupted software update.


You need to have administrative rights on your computer to execute the following steps.

The steps mentioned below will erase all data from the USB flash drive.

The procedure does not work on computers that have Windows XP installed on them, since the required partition tool does not support USB flash drives on Windows XP.


  1. Click on the Windows logo and type “cmd”.
  2. At the command prompt type “diskpart” and press enter (allow permissions and continue).
  3. When you are at the diskpart> prompt type “list disk” and press enter.
  4. Insert the USB flash drive into the Windows Vista PC.
  5. Wait until Windows Vista has recognized the USB flash drive.
  6. At the diskpart> prompt type “list disk” and press enter. Check which drive has been added to the list, usually disk 1 depending on how many disk drives are installed.
  7. Type “select disk #” where # is the disk number of the USB flash drive.  

    Continue only if you are sure that the selected drive is the USB flash key that you want to prepare. The following steps will erase all data from the selected drive! 
  8. Type “clean” and press enter.
  9. Type “create partition primary” and press enter. This creates the partition on the flash drive.
  10. Type “active” and press enter.
  11. Type “exit” and press enter. This exits the disk partition utility.
  12. Now the flash drive needs to be formatted. Click on the Windows logo and then click on Computer.
  13. Find the drive letter of the removable disk drive that needs to be formatted.
  14. In the command prompt window type “format ?: /fs:fat32 /q” where ? is the removable drive letter that needs to be formatted. Press enter.
  15. Enter a volume label of your choice and press enter.

If you need to recover the 81160A from an interrupted software update, you need to do the following in addition:

  1. Copy the software update zip file on the USB flash drive’s root directory.
  2. Extract the content of the software update zip file to the root directory of the USB flash drive. Remember to maintain the folder structure in the zip file when doing this.
  3. Connect the USB flash drive to the 81160A and switch the instrument on.
  4. The 81160A will now boot the recovery image from the USB flash drive and continue to update the instrument firmware.

Windows and Windows Vista are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

On-Line Information

For latest Data Sheets, Product Notes, Application Information and Support related information please refer to:

Known Problems

For latest known bugs and workarounds please refer to the information to be found in the Support Area: