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Windows 7: Which bios version - Windows or DOS - to use for updating?


28 Apr 2011   #1
Ponmayilal

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 
Which bios version - Windows or DOS - to use for updating?

Dell has released a new bios version A06 for my laptop M101z (Inspiron 1120). The Windows version is 2.7MB whlle the DOS version is 1.7 MB.

The flashing procedure is the same for both. Click on the .exe file, extract it to C:\DELL\DRIVERS\R300552, In the START>RUN text box type C:\DELL\DRIVERS\R300552 and press ENTER.

What is the difference between the Windows version and the DOS version as the install/flash procedure is the same?

Which one should I use for flashing the bios?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Apr 2011   #2
smarteyeball

 
 

Windows based .exe's have a higher rate of causing a bad flash, mostly due to some sanfu while the OS is running.

That's why the Dos version is generally considered a safer way to flash. Less potential conflicts.

Win based ones are fine when they work, but as mentioned above, there is simply a higher level of risk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Apr 2011   #3
Ponmayilal

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Ya, I understand that.

I have two Zotac Mini PCs. Zotac also gives two versions of the bios one to run from within Windows and the other one is the DOS version.

Having read many users turning their Mini PCs into bricks by trying to flash from within Windows (Windows version), I used the DOS version. I used a flash drive to boot Free DOS and used the command line to run the bios file that I had copied to the flash drive.

But in the Dell case, there is no such requirement to run the DOS version. Both the Windows and DOS version seem to run from within Windows as per the install procedure indicated by Dell. Start>run blah blah.

Hence the confusion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #4
mickey megabyte

ultimate 64 sp1
 
 

do you really need to update the bios?

does it fix a particular problem that you are experiencing?

if not, it's sensible to just leave it, as there is a risk that something will go horribly wrong.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #5
alphanumeric
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

There may be a third option that could be even safer? My ASUS motherboards have the flash routine built into the BIOS as a menu option. I just boot up into the BIOS menu and point it to the bin file. No need for bootable DOS media at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #6
Bill2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

The bigger file is the windows flashing version that contains the winphlash utility. If you download it and double click, it'll extract to a folder called "C:\dell\drivers\R300552", then launch winphlash. Winphlash has a nice gui.

The smaller bios version of the bios update, when double clicked will also extract itself but to a folder called "C:\dell\drivers\R300550". It'll not launch winphlash because theres none in it. I think there are 2 options- one dump all the files in that folder to a bootable usb stick, then boot from that stick and launch the bios flashing .exe. Second, just double clicking on the exe in that folder will launch a dos window and let you flash inside windows.

Theres no harm in just using winphlash, its a pretty sturdy thing. Just make sure you have no other apps open at the same time and the computer is connected to the power mains.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #7
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I have done hundreds of Dell BIOS updates using their Windows versions. I've never had an issue.

To correct a comment smarteyeball said, at least with Dell, the BIOS update is done in DOS as well. The Windows utility just preps the file, asks for confirmation, and then reboots the system to update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #8
Ponmayilal

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mickey megabyte View Post
do you really need to update the bios?

does it fix a particular problem that you are experiencing?

if not, it's sensible to just leave it, as there is a risk that something will go horribly wrong.
I habitually update the bios on all my PCs after going through the fixes and enhancements.

One should also appreciate the fact that a release version of the bios for any new motherboard may contain a lot of bugs. One would find frequent updates to the release version till most of the bugs are fixed. Thereafter the updates become less frequent to address specific issues faced with new hardware (recently introduced processor class as well as other hardware etc.). While one may ignore these later updates, if they are not of any concern to him, my advice to anybody will be to update the bios that come frequently after a release version to remove the many bugs.

The flashing when done with due diligence is no more risky than flying from India to U.S.A.

Turning to this specific instance, the level of importance is flagged as "Urgent" with the following fixes and enhancements:
1. Modify computrace behavior to meet spec.
2. Modify SMBIOS type10 to fix normal memory DIMM shown as ECC.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
There may be a third option that could be even safer? My ASUS motherboards have the flash routine built into the BIOS as a menu option. I just boot up into the BIOS menu and point it to the bin file. No need for bootable DOS media at all.
Ya, most motherboard manufacturers like ASUS and Gigabyte provide a flashing utility that can be invoked from the bios and run as per the instructions provided by them. In most cases one can run it from a pendrive. The Dell lappy has no such utility in the bios.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
The bigger file is the windows flashing version that contains the winphlash utility. If you download it and double click, it'll extract to a folder called "C:\dell\drivers\R300552", then launch winphlash. Winphlash has a nice gui.

The smaller bios version of the bios update, when double clicked will also extract itself but to a folder called "C:\dell\drivers\R300550". It'll not launch winphlash because theres none in it. I think there are 2 options- one dump all the files in that folder to a bootable usb stick, then boot from that stick and launch the bios flashing .exe. Second, just double clicking on the exe in that folder will launch a dos window and let you flash inside windows.

Theres no harm in just using winphlash, its a pretty sturdy thing. Just make sure you have no other apps open at the same time and the computer is connected to the power mains.
Thanks for understanding my concerns and for the unambiguous, precise, detailed and to the point clarifications.

In effect it means that one is a GUI based utility with some user interaction while the other is what can be called a "silent mode" where one just clicks and watches.. Both run from within Windows.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DeaconFrost View Post
I have done hundreds of Dell BIOS updates using their Windows versions. I've never had an issue.

To correct a comment smarteyeball said, at least with Dell, the BIOS update is done in DOS as well. The Windows utility just preps the file, asks for confirmation, and then reboots the system to update.
Thanks. Your experience bolsters my confidence. While I had flashed umpteen times on my custom-built PCs, I was a little bit hesitant on doing it on this new Dell Lappie where I can't put my hands in and depend upon Dell. Bill2's clarification and your experience resolves the issue.

I shall go with the GUI version.

Hmmm... Wouldn't it have been better if Dell had called them as a GUI version and Silent Mode version and given a bit of explanation?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #9
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

One should not flash BIOS unless there is a fix or update for a specific problem. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. In my practice I don't flash BIOS because a "newer better" one was released, learned my lesson. On one occasion I flashed BIOS and my HDD activity light remained on constantly.

I recently flashed my own BIOS so my board will support the newer AMD 6 core CPU. I did save a copy of the original first however. In this case it was for a hardware support upgrade, no other changes. In this case it was a good move becuase it also allowed me to overclock my RAM a bit more.
These are my opinions and practices and may not apply to anyone else's set-up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #10
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I would agree with Britton30's advice for a home-built custom system, just because there is a myriad of hardware configs, and surely the board maker couldn't test each and every one.

With an OEM system, like a Dell laptop, those BIOS updates are tested quite a bit, at least with Dell and HP. Those you can update when you see a new file, and the OEM's usually recommend it, as the BIOS update is to correct a potential issue. A laptop isn't going to get new hardware, such as a video card that wasn't available when it was designed...so those updates involve fixes, and are often well-documented so you can easily see what the update addresses.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Which bios version - Windows or DOS - to use for updating?




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