Intel Management Engine

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Uses of the Management Engine

The Intel Management Engine (abbreviated "ME") is a CPU which:

Freedom and security issues


ME firmware version Microarchitecture Chipset AMT versions ME firmware versions Applications Location Required modules Bit
N/A (ME predecessor) ICH7 1.0
  • AMT
82573E Gigabit Ethernet Controller<ref name=amt-versions></ref> None ?
Q963<ref name=amt-versions/> 2.0
  • AMT
Q965<ref name=amt-versions/> 2.0 3.0<ref name=ark-DQ965GFE></ref>
  • AMT
  • No TPM
1st Gen Core:<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • Nehalem?
  • Other?
Nehalem<ref name=intel-5-series></ref> Q57 6.0<ref name=amt-versions/> 6.0, 6.1 <ref name=ark-q57></ref>
  • 7.0<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • 7.1<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
2nd Gen Core<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • 8.0<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • 8.1<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
3rd Gen Core<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • 9.0<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • 9.1<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • 9.5<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
4th Gen Core<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • 10.0<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
5th Gen Core:<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • Broadwell
  • Other?
  • 11.x<ref name=me_cleaner-how-does-it-work/>
  • RBE
  • BUP
  • SYSLIB<ref name=me_cleaner-how-does-it-work/>
  • 11.0<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
6th Gen Core<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • 11.5<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
  • 11.6<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>
7th Gen Core<ref name=Silent-Bob-is-Silent/>


Board Firmware Microarchitecture ME location and physical capabilities ME restrictions
Lenovo X60/X60s/X60T None. <ref name="nic-amt">The Ethernet controller is capable of running some fimrwares( like AMT 1.0), but the hardware is not configured to do it on that machine. So no firmwares are loaded. See Intel_82573_Ethernet_controller for more details.</ref> I945 + ICH7
  • Inside the ethernet controller, disabled: no Ethernet controller fimrware. <ref name="nic-amt"></ref>
  • Disabled: No Ethernet controller fimrware. <ref name="nic-amt"></ref>
Lenovo T60
Lenovo x200 Me firmware with AMT and other modules GM45/GS45

The ME is inside the PCH, it:

  • Has access to the computer's memory/RAM
  • Controls the computer's original networking adapters
  • Signed firmware
  • The ME can be disabled (no Fimrware is run by it).
Lenovo x201 Me firmware with AMT and other modules Nehalem
  • Signed firmware
  • If ME firmware is absent, the computer freezes about 30min after boot.
Packard Bell EasyNote LM85 (MS2290) ?
Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook me.bin Sandy Bridge
  • Signed firmware
Samsung Series 3 Chromebox me.bin
Lenovo t520 Me firmware with AMT and other modules
Google/HP Pavilion Chromebook 14 me.bin Ivy Bridge
  • Signed firmware
Google Chromebook Pixel me.bin
Google/Acer C7 Chromebook me.bin
Google/Lenovo Thinkpad X131e Chromebook me.bin
Lenovo t530 Me firmware with AMT and other modules
Lenovo x230 Me firmware with AMT and other modules
Kotron KTQM77/mITX ?
Google/Acer C720 Chromebook ? Haswell
  • Signed firmware
Google/HP Chromebook 14 ?

Why there is no replacement for it yet

Replacing the ME firmware is not that easy because:

So even if some people partially documented some ME firmware format, there is very few probability of having a free software replacement for it one day.

However coreboot also support other systems than the ones with recent intel CPU/chipsets. The List of supported mainboard list some of them.

Neutralizing the ME

A collaborative effort to neutralize the ME has found some success, see here. This tool has been included in coreboot and can be enabled with the option "Strip down the Intel ME/TXE firmware" (CONFIG_USE_ME_CLEANER).

This can free up most of the space used by ME, allowing you to use a larger CBFS. See here.

Using a smaller version of the Intel ME

Most PCs ship a 5MiB version of ME firmware. It is possible to use a smaller version (2MiB), but you have to make sure that it matches the chipset you are running on. You may want to use a smaller version to increase the maximum payload size by 3MiB. Search on the web for BIOS updates of different vendors with the same chipset and extract the ME using available tools. Once you found a smaller ME, you have to update your Intel flash descriptor and decrease the region that is used for ME.

See also