Highlighted
temuskoff
1 Nickel

Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution
I had a working Vostro 3500 laptop and was doing maintenance to bring it up to date. I downloaded and installed the recommended BIOS update for this laptop... Dell Vostro 3500 System BIOS 3500A12.EXE | Windows/DOS (3 MB) BIOS Release date 7/21/2014 Last Updated 7/21/2014 Recommended The BIOS update failed and left the computer with no working BIOS. F2 is dead. It will not boot. I am pretty sure that there is a backup or primitive BIOS still in there, as when I start the machine with no battery and just AC power using the End key it continuously tries to read data from a 2GB flash drive. I assume that it would like to reload the BIOS from a file. I know how to get the ROM contents from the above file using the /writeromfile parameter. The big question is, what kind of file does the 3500 want to read, and what is the file name that it is looking for? Does the flash drive need to be bootable? Is this an AMI or Phoenix BIOS? Can someone please help? Thanks, Terry
3 Solutions

Accepted Solutions
martytennant
1 Copper

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

On a Vostro 3700 you must copy the .hdr file and rename it to winery70.hdr.  Otherwise, the instructions above are spot-on!  Thanks!

Retsche
1 Copper

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

I'm having the same problem.

Vostro 3700 failed to flash with 3700_A12

I'm using a 1GB USB-Stick, FAT32

Files on Stick: 3700_a10.hdr copied to winery70.hdr and 3700_a10.rom

By holding the "End"-Button and putting in the powercable, the fan howls but nothing happens.

0 Kudos
FrancoiseP
1 Copper

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

August 2017 and you're still helping people!

I went to flash the A12 BIOS on a friend's Vostro 3500 running a fresh install of Windows 10 1703 and during the update, screen went blank and it never came back on. After five(5) calls to five (5) different Dell tech support "dummy's" located in India ending all with the same  recommendation "replace motherboard. Cost 350 $ CND" I went on the WEB, located your solution. Formatted a 8GB flash drive as FAT 32, extracted the winery70.hdr to the drive and plugged it in holding the end key. Came right up and flashed! Next thing you know it's back into Windows 10 all happy again!

Thank you from Canada

0 Kudos
32 Replies
8 Krypton

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

You have two options:

Locate  a shop that can remove the BIOS chip, flash it externally and resolder it, or

Replace the mainboard.

0 Kudos
temuskoff
1 Nickel

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution
What about the 3rd option of using the primitive BIOS to reload the regular BIOS? I have read many postings about this being possible to do, both with AMI and Phoenix BIOS firmware. And I can see that it wants to do this by watching it access a USB flash drive. The only real question is what file name is the primitive BIOS looking for to get started with the recovery.
0 Kudos
8 Krypton

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

You likely mean a ROM or an HDR file - if you search, there are ways to extract these from the BIOS exe file, but it is system-dependent AND your system must have failed in such a way that it will still at least try to boot the system.  Some recovery modes will work from USB flash drives;  others require a floppy diskette.

The chances this will not work are far higher than that it will -- the vast majority of failed flashes can only be solved by externally flashing the BIOS chip and then resoldering it on the board.

0 Kudos
temuskoff
1 Nickel

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution
As I said in the original post, my BIOS is anxious to read a file from the USB flash drive I have plugged in. It is clearly reading the directory over and over again, about once every 30 seconds. And as I previously said, I have extracted the ROM contents from the Dell BIOS update download. Now what I need to know is what file name the primitive BIOS code is looking for. That is the key missing item at this point. Someone at Dell must know the answer to this question.
0 Kudos
8 Krypton

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

It's unlikely anyone at Dell will know - they simply replace boards when the flash fails.

Try here for a utility that's supposed to determine what the file should be named.

http://www.bios-mods.com/bios-recovery/

temuskoff
1 Nickel

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

Here is how to recover from a failed BIOS flash update of a Vostro 3500 laptop...

1.  Download the Dell BIOS update .exe file to a USB flash drive.

2.  Run the .exe file with /writehdrfile parameter

3.  Run the .exe file with /writeromfile parameter

4.  Copy the .hdr file to winery50.hdr

5.  Remove the battery and AC power from the dead computer

6.  Insert the flash drive into the dead computer's USB port

7.  Hold down the End key and then connect the AC power

8.  Dead computer reads USB flash and asks if update should be done

9.  Allow the update to finish and then reboot.

10.  Computer is now working normally.

Helpful web site:  http://mickitblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/dell-bios-switches.html

 

JollySailor
1 Copper

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

I have the same problem. I have a small question, did you re-flash the A12 BIOS to cure the problem or revert back to A10?

Background

I had a problem with my SD card reader.  So I updated to the new BIOS version A12. When the system rebooted it would not load windows.


If I remove the battery and unplug the power and then switch on. Press F2 and enter BIOS setup.  I can then Save & Exit BIOS and it then restarts into windows.  I need to have this problem fixed.

Should I use the A10 or A12 BIOS?

0 Kudos
cblguy76
1 Copper

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

I have tried these instructions with no success. Do the files need to be in a subdirectory? Did you recover with A10 or A12? Since this seems to be a known issue Dell should either take the A12 down and fix it and replace the motherboards it has corrupted. 

ChrisTvedt
1 Copper

RE: Vostro 3500 BIOS Update Failed - Recovery Procedure Needed

Jump to solution

Wow! I really need to thank you for this! Worked like a charm! ☺

0 Kudos