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craigrs84
Bronze

Recover Corrupted BIOS Firmware

I have a DELL 660s which no longer boots after a failed windows 10 install.  Unfortunately, it's just a few months out of warranty. 

When I power the computer on the fan starts and I see a brief period of hard drive activity but the screen doesn't activate - just a blank, black screen.  I don't even see the DELL logo and I'm unable to access BIOS.

I believe the BIOS firmware was corrupted by the failed Windows 10 install.  I've tried removing the CMOS battery overnight but this didn't help.  At this point I believe I need to flash stable firmware onto the BIOS chip, which is all the more difficult since the computer won't boot and I can't access BIOS.

Based on my research manufacturers of BIOS chips often include emergency recovery procedures to fix corrupted BIOS firmware.  For example the manufactuer AMI includes an embedded "boot block" which can sometimes be used to boot from floppy / flash usb and install new firmware even when the existing BIOS firmware is corrupted.  See: https://techjourney.net/recover-or-undo-corrupt-ami-bios-flash-update/

I'd like to try something like this but I don't know where to start.  I guess the first thing I need to know is who is the manufacturer of the BIOS chip in my DELL 660s computer?  Can anyone help me answer this question?

I found one vague reference on google that mentions AMI is the manufacturer but I'm not sure if the source is accurate.

Thanks for the help.

EDIT: I feel like what I need to do is run the following command to extract the BIOS ROM file which needs to be flashed to my PC:

"Inspiron 660s Vostro 270s A11 BIOS.exe" /writeromfile

However this is not working.  Apparently DELL discontinued support for the /writeromfile flag in newer versions of their BIOS executable files.

So I'm feeling like I'm completely out of luck!  I don't know  where to turn, it seems like the only option left is replacing the entire motherboard which is just depressing.

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6 Replies
craigrs84
Bronze

RE: Recover Corrupted BIOS Firmware

I wanted to add that I've downloaded the BIOS install file from Dell's website for the 660s.  The filename is named "Inspiron 660s Vostro 270s A11 BIOS.exe".

I've read online that I may need to extract the rom or header file from this executable file but I've been unsuccessful in doing that.  The example I've seen say to run the executable file from the command line with the /writeromfile or /writehdrfile flags.

When I try this nothing happens except that I receive an error message stating this is not a DELL computer (I'm running the executable file from my HP laptop).

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bluemoon6
Bronze

RE: Recover Corrupted BIOS Firmware

If USB and DVD drive still working, might be worth trying to load a rescue system and flash your BIOS from UEFI or DOS or Linux ... just thinking out loud.

Where is BIOS stored on a laptop? Is it in the main disk or on some circuitry on the motherboard?

Hope the gurus here can help you.

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Philip_Yip
Diamond

RE: Recover Corrupted BIOS Firmware

Its more likely an issue with the video card than the UEFI BIOS, is it a NVidia card?

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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craigrs84
Bronze

RE: Recover Corrupted BIOS Firmware

I have it working now.  It was an issue with BIOS.  I was finally able to reset BIOS after fiddling with the jumpers for about the 50th time.  I guess I wasn't using the correct combination of resetting jumpers and holding down power button PC.  It wasn't straightforward for me and took a lot of trial and error and some luck.

roon11
Copper

RE: Recover Corrupted BIOS Firmware

Can you kindly provide the steps you performed and the jumpers you changed to accomplish the BIOS reset. I can't find anything specific online or in Dell manual. Your assistance is appreciated

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RoHe
Diamond

RE: Recover Corrupted BIOS Firmware

  1. Power off and unplug
  2. Press/hold power button for ~15 sec
  3. Open case and remove motherboard battery
  4. Press/hold power button for ~30 sec
  5. Reinstall battery, right-side-up. Good idea to install a fresh CR2032 battery if this one is old

That will reset BIOS to all default settings...

Ron

Forum Member since 2004
I am not a Dell employee

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