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Old 12-10-2017, 06:36 PM
6,618 posts, read 3,626,863 times
Reputation: 10487


We could argue about doing Windows updates and their importance. But less discussion is done with Bios updates. Dell sends me a message of a "critical update" yesterday, and it was the Bios. I've done Bios updates many times going way back to the beginning of computers. I've never had a problem, but that streak is over.

I purchased my Alienware Aurora R6 back in Feb. Let's save any "building a computer is better" discussion for another thread . Without giving it any thought, I clicked Yes to the update. Well, bricked the motherboard. So now I have to wait for the tech to call once the tech receives the motherboard for installation. I emailed support asking if it was an identical replacement, because my research leads to to grey areas with regards to the effect on the OS (reinstall, issues). So I'm not happy, but put partial blame on me for clicking Yes. I blame Dell more, because I can't think of any reason that a Bios flash should brick the motherboard unless power is lost (or a power issue). I have a high-end APC (Smart UPS 2200). I tested the power supply after power bleed (button to push), tried restarting with no peripherals plugged in, but all I get is the PC lights up, the fan revs high, then it shuts down. No display (stays in sleep mode).

In hindsight, even though I am miffed at Dell, I never should have bothered in the first place because the Aurora was screaming. I've been having a blast with my Oculus Rift, multitask, PC doing everything I ask of it. I bricked it.

Vent over.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:54 PM
Location: Portland, OR
1,030 posts, read 1,832,091 times
Reputation: 1392
It's a lesson I learned a long time ago with BIOS updates. If everything is working, don't bother! Sorry you had to learn the hard way. I've never understood why BIOS updates are so dangerous. There really isn't any reason, if manufacturers took 2 bit more care with the design and designated a fallback/recovery BIOS. I know some do but it should be the default for all manufacturers....
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:22 AM
Location: Vallejo
14,518 posts, read 16,543,509 times
Reputation: 13069
Always a risk with a BIOS update.

Some boards do have dual BIOS for that reason. If one bricks, well, you've got another one. Board will still post and reinstall the BIOS onto the main BIOS. You can try again or just decide not to update. Dell might be able to send a tech out with a new BIOS chip and just pop that in.
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:23 AM
10,077 posts, read 4,959,488 times
Reputation: 15414
if it isn't broken... don't fix it

you could try running a linus os off the ram, and running the bios updater again
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Old 12-11-2017, 07:18 AM
Location: Concord, NC
1,211 posts, read 1,966,465 times
Reputation: 807
I have upgraded the BIOS on Dell laptops for at least 10 years and never had an issue. There was an Intel security issue that required a BIOS updated to fix a couple of months back. We always update the BIOS at work before we ship out a PC to a user. Sucks that it happened to you.
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:35 AM
40,218 posts, read 41,815,454 times
Reputation: 16767
You can get the bios chip for most machines pretty cheap and some of them are easy to replace. Others may need to be soldered and would require someone that knows how to solder extremely small electronics. The one I had soldered had eight legs and could of sat on top of pencil eraser.
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Old 12-11-2017, 02:21 PM
6,618 posts, read 3,626,863 times
Reputation: 10487
Dell is sending out a tech this week with a new (or so they say - refurbished?) motherboard. I emailed them asking if it was identical to the one currently in my system but have not heard a response. I get conflicting answers when researching the effect on the OS by installing a new motherboard with regards to OS registration, drivers, etc. All my data is back up, but I am hoping I don't have to wipe my hard drive and reinstall Windows 10 and all of my software. That would be a royal PIA.
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Old 12-11-2017, 07:17 PM
4,260 posts, read 8,016,210 times
Reputation: 6050
The chance of updates messing up with my setup is why I turn off updates. I believe some companies use firmware updates to kill older machines to force you to upgrade.
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:51 PM
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,825 posts, read 13,966,567 times
Reputation: 8068
They don't.

I've updated 100 BIOS'es and never had issues. This was a fluke not an attempt to kill a PC.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:45 AM
7,155 posts, read 3,907,949 times
Reputation: 6719
In the late 80’s when I started building PCs the BIOS was just another socketed chip. Our company had a dozen “golden” AMI and other BIOS chips that would work with most motherboards - at the time it was hit or miss if they would work properly or not when swapping.

They were DIP chips that looked like this -

Note that while pin 1 is marked there is nothing preventing the chip from being inserted rotated 180 degrees.

We had a junior tech just start, and he was tasked with seeing which BIOS would work with a system a customer brought in for repair. He went through a dozen, none of which “worked”. What did I find but a dark spot in the middle of every BIOS...yes, he inserted all of them the wrong way and blew each chip.

Net-net - I don’t miss the old days. If you have a PC on a UPS and do a BIOS upgrade it is very rare to run into issues.
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