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New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

Went from 2.1.10 to 2.2.1 and all went well said completed successfully but nope. Computer now refuses to advance any further than the "Starting Windows" screen. System is unusable now and warranty ran out 5 days ago. Support said i need to pay $283.00 for one year, are they out of their minds? It's their Bios update that they listed as urgent for my XPS 8900 that made it unusable.

36 Replies
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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Version of Windows?

If it says "Starting Windows", then it completed the POST so that probably means BIOS is ok. If you reboot and *immediately* press F2, can you open BIOS setup? Is Secure Boot enabled or disabled in BIOS setup?

Have you tried disconnecting all devices, except mouse, monitor and keyboard?

Reboot and *immediately* press F12.. Look for the option to run the diagnostics and run them, including extended hard drive tests. Copy error message(s), if any.

What happens if you boot from a bootable USB or CD/DVD? Connect the USB or insert CD/DVD in the drive and then power PC on. *Immediately* press F12 and look for the option to boot from USB or CD/DVD, whichever you're using.  If it boots from USB or CD/DVD, then the problem is with Windows and you may need to run a repair.

You can download the files and tools to create a bootable USB to repair Windows for free from the Microsoft site.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

I can enter bios setup no problem , secure boot is disabled and i run Win 7 on the Legacy setting .  ACHI was enabled but after the BIOS update it changed to Raid .

I have not tried disconnecting anything at this point but i will .  I did run all diagnostics by using F-12 and it says no issues.

I can boot from a USB or CD and i have done that with a Windows 7 repair disk that allowed me to restore previous images and after that completed when i log in i still get stuck in the same place which is "Windows is starting" screen but thats where it freezes forever.

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

I have downloaded the previous bios version and copied it to a USB stick but that one i cannot get to boot . I think they're are steps that i am not doing to get it to work

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

If you can open BIOS setup  what version does it show, 2.1.10 or 2.2.1? Either way, it doesn't sound like the motherboard got damaged by flash updating BIOS.

You can't just revert to the previous version of BIOS. And force reverting comes with its own risks of bricking the motherboard.  So I would not try that...

Do you have a solid state drive (32-GB) that's used as a cache by Windows? If you have that drive, then BIOS needs to be set to RAID, assuming Win 7 was installed for RAID. If you don't have a cache drive, or even if you do, but Win 7 was installed without being setting up for RAID, BIOS needs to be set to AHCI.

So I would change BIOS to AHCI and that may solve this problem. Even if it doesn't, making that change won't cause any harm, and you can always change back to RAID, if needed.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Bios shows version 2.2.1, Win 7 was installed on a SSD a Samsung 850 Pro .  Thats the only hard drive i have connected .  I changed it back to ACHI but it made no difference .

Computer still goes no further than the "Windows is starting"  screen .  If i could revert to BIOS version 2.1.10 everything would be good again i believe but can't seem to do that .

Even taking the battery out and leaving it out while pressing the power button doesn't work and the same for using the jumper .

Computer is 5 days out of a year old and it's unusable.  I am on disability and could barely afford food let alone fixing the computer .

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Since it says BIOS v2.2.1, the flash update worked, and reverting to the previous version is NOT going to fix this problem. This is a Windows 7 problem, and not an uncommon one. You can probably fix it with a little time and some patience, at no cost.

If you took the battery out, BIOS reverted to the default settings. If RAID is the default (the service manual doesn't say), then it's not going to boot that way with only a single SSD installed. You'll have to go into BIOS setup and change that to AHCI again before going any further.

Try these in order listed:

Power off and disconnect all peripherals except mouse, monitor and keyboard, and then try to boot. If that works, power off normally and reconnect peripherals one at time and reboot until you find the offender.

Reboot and immediately press F8. Look for Advanced options and choose "Last Known Good Configuration".  If it boots that way, shut down normally and reboot again.  If it boots OK the second time, you should be good to go. But then back up your personal files on external media ASAP.

If Last Good doesn't work,  reboot and press F8. Select Safe Mode+Networking as the boot option. If this works, click Start>Run>(type in) msconfig  (press Enter). Click the Startup tab and make note of all items checked to run at startup. Then uncheck all of them. Exit msconfig and reboot normally (not in Safe Mode). If it boots now, go back into msconfig  and put a check next to your antiviral software (eg Microsoft Security Essentials, McAfee, Norton, whichever you use), exit msconfig and reboot normally. Keep doing that until you either mark all the same ones that were originally marked and it still boots normally, or you find the offender.

Do you have your original Dell Widows 7 Reinstallation DVD (not some backup you created)? If Last Good doesn't work, put the Dell DVD in the drive, reboot and press F12.  Look for the option to Repair Windows and see if that fixes this.

If you don't have the original Dell Win 7 DVD, you can create a bootable USB (on any PC) with the OS file on it for free to repair Win 7 on the XPS8900. You will need your Microsoft Product key (sticker on the PC) to download the file from Microsoft.  Then boot from that USB and run a repair.

www.microsoft.com/.../windows7

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

UPDATE:

While in BIOS setup to check RAID vs AHCI, make sure Secure Boot is Disabled and Compatibility Support Module (CSM) and Legacy ROM Options are both Enabled.

Be sure to save the changes before exiting setup and see if it boots this way. If not, try the things in my previous post.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

The text in red didn't work but i managed to get to the "Best last configuration" and clicked on it but it still freezes at the  "Starting Windows" screen .

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

I decided to boot off a Win 7 copy that i downloaded from Dell's site .  It's installing Windows fresh so i hope this fixes everything .

The copy of Win 7 was from one year ago , does Dell put up new versions with updated bios settings ?

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Oh well forget what i said earlier , even a copy of windows won't install , it's stuck on "Completing Installation " for the last half hour .

Usually it takes just a few minutes .

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

You sure took a drastic step by reinstalling Windows because there were still other things to try first, beyond what I'd posted. And I sure hope your personal files are backed up on external media because they'll be erased by the fresh install.  

You're going to have 100's of Windows 7 updates to install once the OS install finishes. So be sure to get those done right away. And then you're going to have to reinstall all your apps too.

(Re)Installing Windows doesn't change BIOS settings. The OS installation will use whatever settings are in BIOS to determine how things get installed, not the other way around. This assumes those BIOS settings are compatible with the hardware that's in the PC.

Post back and let us know how it goes...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

I really don't have anything to save and don't have any apps so reinstalling is no big deal .

Reinstall failed though , it's stuck on "Completing installation? Somethings very wrong , computer can't install Windows apparently .

This is a permanent freeze , if you hit escape it says computer will be unusable but it already is .

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Still on the screen of "Completing Installation" , can't believe Dell listed a "Urgent" update and so i download it and it breaks my computer.

This is a monumental inconvenience to me .

You have no idea how outraged i am over this .

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Might take longer if you're doing a clean install.  Is BIOS still set to AHCI, Secure Boot off, etc?

Let me see if I can get some help from some of the serious Win install experts...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Bios is set to ACHI and secure boot is off , it's still on completing installation phase , this is obviously frozen , no way it's this slow.

Thanks for your help my friend

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Any luck finding your Windows installation experts ?

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Patience, my friend. It's a holiday week and people may be away and busy with other things. I told them to post directly in this thread so just keep watching here...

Did you disconnect all devices, except mouse, monitor and keyboard? Are you installing the same version (Home or Pro) of Win 7 that you had?  Your system is tied to the version you had...

You might try creating a bootable USB with the Win 7 file directly from Microsoft and try that version, which is probably more up-to-date than the one you got from Dell's site. But you need your Microsoft Product key from the sticker on the tower to start the download from Microsoft.

www.microsoft.com/.../windows7

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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7 Thorium

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

You might try creating a bootable USB with the Win 7 file directly from Microsoft and try that version, which is probably more up-to-date than the one you got from Dell's site. But you need your Microsoft Product key from the sticker on the tower to start the download from Microsoft.

www.microsoft.com/.../windows7

Dell's Windows 7 Reinstallation .isos are updated to January 2016 and include addition driver support such as USB 3.0 and storage controllers for up to Skylake systems. They also apply Dell OEM SLP.

http://www.dell.com/support/home/uk/en/ukdhs1/drivers/osiso/recoverytool/ 

Microsoft's on the other hand are seriously outdated December 2010 moreover require a Windows 7 key which one may not have if they are invoking downgrade rights and in any case it rejects Dell OEM keys.


Stuck at the "Starting Windows" screen. This usually occurs when hardware is faulty... Since you tried a Reinstallation. Are you currently stuck on the first Starting Windows Screen (when you boot from the installation media and then select your language options etc) or the one after it restarts?

This can be a memory module but Dell F12 preboot diagnostics should pick this up.

Sometimes it occurs if there are USB storage devices such as external hard drives plugged in or a card in the card reader so as Ron mentioned remove anything apart from the keyboard, mouse and bootable installation media.

Since this occured after a UEFI BIOS update also have a look at your UEFI BIOS settings. Its most likely that the UEFI BIOS update has changed a setting and this is preventing the start up.

UEFI BIOS settings:

  • The Boot Mode should be set to UEFI.
  • Secure Boot should be Off.
  • Legacy ROMs settings (not shown on the Boot Manager Screen) should be Enabled.

The installation media should be set to the GPT partition screen.

Check that your SATA Operation is AHCI. If you have a small 32 GB M.2 SSD cache drive then it may also be useful to remove this to check if this influences the Boot.

Check also what the settings are particularly for your Ethernet controller, Wireless Card and other hardware. It may also be worthwhile going through and disabling hardware in the UEFI BIOS setup one by one and seeing if you can pass the boot screen. I can't give you the screenshots of this as I don't have an XPS 8900.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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2 Bronze

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Stuck at the "Starting Windows" screen. This usually occurs when hardware is faulty... Since you tried a Reinstallation. Are you currently stuck on the first Starting Windows Screen (when you boot from the installation media and then select your language options etc) or the one after it restarts?

NOT stuck on the first starting windows screen , i get through the "choose your language screen" and get to the "Upgrade or Custom" screen and it goes on to the next with the "Checkmarks" and then restarts itself .

It restarts itself (After the prompt to hit a key to boot from the USB drive" again which i leave alone of course since it's in the process of installing .

It very quickly moves past the "Updating Registry Settings" and when the screen pop's up again showing more "Checkmarks" it freezes at the point it says "Completing Installation" and won't budge any further than that .

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

(Thanks, Natakuc4 for joining the discussion! I knew you'd have some ideas and suggestions...)

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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2 Bronze

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Booting with BIOS setting on UEFI says "No boot device found" .

This machine runs Win 7 pro and i believe was always set on Legacy not UEFI , AHCI is enabled as is support for Legacy rom.

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2 Bronze

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Yes, thank you very very much for sharing your expertise.

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

I was able to download Win 10 from a Dell disk that came with the computer since i forgot i had one . While i can install 10 i still can't get past the " Thats all the information we need right now , your computer will restart several times during installation" screen while installing Win 7 .

It stays on that screen for hours and hours and nothing happens.

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Not applicable

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

Hello All,

I have the same problem with the strongly recommended Bios Update and tried several thinks for a fix without success. My observation so far was:

- with the new BIOS (2.2.1) there was the Intel-Management-Engine-Components-Installer_4J8MX_WIN_11.7.0.1035_A00_06.exe download. That showed a download error. Thus I started only the BIOS-Update.

- During BIOS Update I got the impression that Intel drivers have also been updated!

- On start-up Windows shows a Memory Management problem and the DELL diagnostic can't find a hardware problem.

- I can load a RAM based OS but the hard disc with the Windows 10 installation can’t be accessed.

- I tried also to install new Windows 10 from USB, but this stopped also with the memory management message from Windows.

To me it looks like with the BIOS update there was also a chip-set driver update with cause the memory management problem and makes the hard disc not accessible (even if the DELL hardware diagnostic is reporting no problem with the HD-drive).

Thus my questions is how can a restore the old drivers around the HD-drive access and does the DELL-Software team knows this dangerous problem they created here?

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS desktop unusable

I pinged my Dell tech contact...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

L3 engineering has been notified and will investigate the problem.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

FWIW, this new version of BIOS also flash updates the ME firmware (It's not a chipset software update) to fix a security hole created by Intel.

So it's probably too risky to force revert to a previous version of BIOS because the ME update may not be compatible with prior versions of BIOS, and that could brick the motherboard completely, unless L3 says it's ok to force revert...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

I tried to restore the old Bios but nothing changed. Will send the PC back to Dell today and see how they can fix it and how long it will take to get my computer back again. I have to stop working and take vacation during this time. The software support here said I will have to pay them to go through the steps of reconnecting the SSD+HD with them! So Dell software support ask me to pay for a problem which was generated by Dell. This is an interesting service philosophy. I am afraid nobody will believe me this horrible story from an owner of a Dell computer. If they believe, they will stop trusting Dell SW-quality advice to Update driver and Bios. Hopefully other Dell PC owner are getting aware of the problem before they start an Bios update. In the car industry they would give out a warning and stop distribution of updates..

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7 Thorium

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

So looking here...

Fixes:
- Update to the latest CPU Microcode.
- Updated Intel ME Firmware to address security advisories INTEL-SA-00086 (CVE-2017-5705, CVE-2017-5708, CVE-2017-5711 & CVE-2017-5712) & INTEL-SA-00101(CVE-2017-13077, CVE-2017-13078 & CVE-2017-13080).
- Updated the handling of pre-boot authentication information by firmware.
- Updated UEFI variable input validation.
- Updated the handling of 3rd party Option ROM loading.
- Updated SPI flash command configuration settings.

I was able to download Win 10 from a Dell disk that came with the computer since i forgot i had one . While i can install 10 i still can't get past the " Thats all the information we need right now , your computer will restart several times during installation" screen while installing Win 7 .

It stays on that screen for hours and hours and nothing happens.

Did you install Windows 10 with Secure Boot Enabled and Legacy ROMs disabled? Also was in Version 1709? I suspect the UEFI BIOS update may have fixed something with the UEFI Boot and simultaneously broke the Legacy Boot options...

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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8 Xenon

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

You have to use windows 10 PE and Diskpart to select the Drive and Clean the drive.  Then shut down and boot NON SECURE BOOT CSM to install Windows 7 and It has to be the Special SKYLAKE version.

The older version WILL NOT INSTALL on the newer systems.


Report Unresolved Customer Service Issues
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I do not work for Dell. I too am a user.

The forum is primarily user to user, with Dell employees moderating
Contact USA Technical Support






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1 Copper

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

There is no current solution to this problem: XPS 8900, BIOS v.2.2.1 Flash renders system unbootable. As  a recently 30 year retired IT veteran, I will detail how I came to this conclusion. However I would like to let all of you know, if your XPS 8900 system is out of the Dell warranty, sorry to say ya'll are <profane> until Dell admits they released a poor build that obviously wasn't tested thoroughly. My  system warranty expired last October, however I purchased it at Costco so I'm golden. Costco Concierge Services will be coming out tomorrow to fix the issue. However I have my doubts as you will come to agree with me as I explain how I tackled this problem.

Yesterday,  28 Dec, I ran the Intel Mgmt update, then the upgrade to v  2.2.1 BIOS Revision. Then performed the following after The BIOS flash had completed:

1) Rebooted

2) Optimized my OS (operating system) only SSD drive (Win10, build 1703.15063)

3) Ran chkdsk/ f

4) Ran sfc/scannow

5) Ran DISM /online /Cleanup- Image /scan Health /restoreHealth

6)  System rebooted each time without any apparent issues. All utilities returned no corruption. However, there were a <profane> load of ESENT Info entries in the system log which concerned me.

7) System ran all night as well as streaming about 8 episodes of Dexter. 🙂

😎 Rebooted this am. That is where it all went South real fast. Just as it finished POST and the Windows 10 little flag Windows splash image appeared, it suddenly disappeared and was replaced with, "Preparing Auto Repair" for 10 seconds or so then a pop-up appeared, flashing and yelling that a system error occurred, to note the stated STOP CODE=Memory Management, and to scan a QR Code for more details. I was redirected to another menacing pop-up stating: ERROR CODE: xxyynn & VALIDATION CODE: ZZYYWWW (the variables are inconsequential). Following were the nasty details; "Cable problem: Check the following cable, jumper, connection or sensor: CARD READER."

9) I attempted to boot into WINRE with both USB,  AND THEN, DVD WINRE media. With each attempt the follow error was stated: " Page Fault in Non-Paged Area."

10) Ran Dell Diagnostics which returned the previously mentioned, "Card Reader Cable error."

11) I then Cleared CMOS. **NOTE: The Dell XPS 8920 Service Manual <profane> because it does not even COME CLOSE to the reality of the baseboard. It said to remove the power supply to access the Psswrd/CMOS jumpers. NOT! They were on the OTHER side of the baseboard, though I did have to remove the PCIe Video card. AND only to find that as is normally the case, both jumpers were not even close to each other, but also very poorly marked. ****

12) Upon boot into SD Drive 0, immediately a pop-up stated, " System seems to be having trouble starting - - Scanning hardware for possible cause."

13) H/W Scan returned: "Hardware scan completed with no issues." It looped several times, each time identical to the previous scan.

14) At this point I knew I was hosed. So for poops and grins, I attempted to boot with a Falcon Four v. 4.5 mini XP minimal OS. No such luck w/ BSOD. I figured it would anyway, but I ran out of ideas.

With it impossible to even boot into a minimal OS in order to downgrade the BIOS to the previous build, I have no clue in <profane> how Cisco us going to work through this issue short of Dell stepping up and releasing a well tested BIOS  build or pulling it out of production release and posting a Warning.

I have read here in thus blog that one or more of you called Dell, with your warranty expired, only to hold ya'll hostage just like the Malware <profane> that has be one so prevalent the past several years. That sort of response from Dell is UNACCEPTABLE, especially since It was DELL who released a not-even-close to prime time f/w flash that leaves no way to recover.

Hey, if anyone has any ideas, I'd like to hear what they may be because I am stumped on how to workaround this show stopper.

Anyway, I have to give credit to Costco. They were very polite and listened to me without interruption as they Ied me thru my troubleshooting steps. And they arrived at the same quandary.

Good luck to all of you who are being abused by Dell Support. As soon as I know <profane> Costco will do to fix this issue, if at all, I will post the solution.

HAPPY New Year!!!

Forrest

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

Forrest in IT - You started out talking about an XP 8900 but then you mentioned the XPS 8920 Service Manual.  So do you have an 8900 or 8920? And if it's an 8900, why did you look at the motherboard diagram for an 8920 which is an entirely different model, and expect the jumper locations for an XPS 8900 mobo to be in the same place as the 8920...??

I made Dell aware of this problem and they will investigate, but they have been -mostly- closed for the holiday week, so they probably won't get to work on this until next week, or so...

(And lets please avoid using those words which the automated censor software removed from your posts and replaced with asterisks - thank you.)

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

I also updated an XPS 8900 that is out of warranty. I have Windows 10 Home, and I have an SD card I am using as a ReadyBoost cache.

When rebooting, it gets stuck on the blue "Restarting" screen. If I power off and right away power back on, it will start for about 5 seconds then power itself back down. If wait 15 seconds before powering it back on, it will boot and complete Windows start up.

I'm not too happy with Dell.

Cherie

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

Here's what I've been told about a boot failures after updating to BIOS 2.2.1:

If your system is under warranty, contact Dell Tech Support and arrange to have them replace the motherboard.  

If the system is out of warranty, contact Dell Tech Support and ask them to escalate the issue to their L2 for further review and action.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

Hi RoHe, glad I found this thread BEFORE attempting the update. From what I understand this is a faulty Bios update, although still available on the download site. Now I'm thinking whether or not to upgrade from v2.1.8.. I don't have issues right now but am expecting Dell to release a patch for the most recent major security issues "spectre" and "meltdown", so I'm looking forward to update to the upcoming version at least.

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8 Krypton

RE: New Dell Bios rendered XPS 8900 desktop unusable

2345356236 - You're mixing apples and oranges!  (Can I say "apples" here?)

BIOS v2.2.1 was only going to fix the Intel ME chipset firmware security issue that was reported back at beginning of Dec. It only affects certain PCs.

Some users don't report any problems after installing BIOS 2.2.1 on the XPS 8900 to fix the ME issue. Some have a very minor issue that disappears when the PC gets to the desktop, and then there are those who can't boot at all.

Dell is aware of the issues with BIOS 2.2.1 is and looking into the problem. I have no idea when another BIOS update will be released, but at some point you will need a BIOS update to fix the Intel ME firmware issue.

Spectre and Meltdown announced yesterday are totally different. They affect the very basic design of Intel CPUs, maybe going as far back as ~2004. Intel has been working on this for months and Microsoft is supposed to issue a Windows software patch (not a BIOS update) through Windows Update.  Dell will be posting further information on their Support site with a list of affected PCs and the fix soon.

So even if you get an update from Microsoft for Spectre and Meltdown, you will still need a BIOS update from Dell for the ME issue, but if it were me, I'd hold off on flashing BIOS 2.2.1, at least for now.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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