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Windows 7: Help! Dell Inspiron 'Dead' After BIOS Update

16 Feb 2018   #1
boweasel

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 
Help! Dell Inspiron 'Dead' After BIOS Update

Put a new HDD in a Dell Inspiron 660. Installed the OS from a disk - W7 Home Premium. Installed the Ethernet driver. Did the seemingly 1000s of Windows updates. Then put back all the pictures, favorites destop wallpaper, etc. Then went to this page Support for Inspiron 660 | Drivers & downloads | Dell US
. I installed the Intel Chipset Driver. Then I did the same for the Vostro 270 System BIOS.

Once it finished I was prompted to reboot. I really didn't think there was any problem when it failed to boot immediately - I'd just updated the BIOS and there was probably some BIOS related housekeeping Windows needed to do....

When I checked back 40 minutes I saw the same grayish screen as before. So I turned it off. And then back on. Same grayish screen - no words ever appeared - no sounds. I tried tapping F8 as I powered on. Nothing. I put the W7 disk back in the optical drive and started it, thinking I'd do a system restore. Nothing happened. Oh wait, the BIOS probably no longer has the DVD as the first boot device. So I power on again, tapping F12 to get the Boot Menu. Nothing. Just the same gray screen.

I have no idea what to do next. If I have to, I'd grit my teeth and reinstall all over again. But how?

HELP!!!


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16 Feb 2018   #2
Snick

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN
 
 

Hi boweasel,

Did you backup your BIOs?

Can you enter the BIOS screen?
I believe its the F2 key when your system starts. I usually start my computer then repeatedly press the appropriate key until the screen appears. You may have to experiment on the F key for BIOS. I once went through F1->F12 just to see which keys did what and which keys did nothing at boot.

Here's a couple articles from Dell on BIOS recovery:
BIOS Recovery options on a Dell PC or Tablet
and
Flashing the BIOS from the F12 One-Time boot menu
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2018   #3
boweasel

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Snick,
Thanks for the reply, but ever since I did the reboot (after the BIOS update), the computer displays no activity beyond the screen becoming gray when I press the power button. I've tried tapping all of the function keys, F1-F12 and none of them do a thing to that gray screen. And, AIAS trying to boot from the disk accomplishes nothing either.

Could downloading and installing that Vostro BIOS have done something to the motherboard?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Feb 2018   #4
townsbg

Windows 7 pro 64-bit
 
 

BIOS = Basic input output system. It handles functionality and communications with any hardware device. If an update to that goes wrong the computer might not be able to do anything with anything including the hard drive, cd drive, keyboard, etc. If it is truly screwed up then you have a paperweight which is why I don't like updating the BIOS. Supposedly there are recovery images but IMO that's no good if the computer can't communicate with the CD drive. At this point I would be contacting Dell. The chip would either need to be reprogrammed or replaced to recover functionality. If it isn't responding at all to anything or beeping then I suspect that it is dead as per your title.
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17 Feb 2018   #5
boweasel

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by townsbg View Post
BIOS = Basic input output system. If an update to that goes wrong the computer might not be able to do anything with anything including the hard drive, cd drive, keyboard, etc. If it is truly screwed up then you have a paperweight which is why I don't like updating the BIOS. At this point I would be contacting Dell.
Already contacted them. After giving me the blather about the computer being long out of warranty and the pitch about being able to help for a one-time fee of $139, they told me BIOS update couldn't have done anything to make the PC unresponsive, and that they assume that the mobo had gone bad. Their stupid Support Assistant was the tool (appropriate word) that wanted me to download and install the BIOS update.
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17 Feb 2018   #6
townsbg

Windows 7 pro 64-bit
 
 

Don't believe them when they say that. What was it doing before the update?
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17 Feb 2018   #7
boweasel

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by townsbg View Post
Don't believe them when they say that. What was it doing before the update?
As I said, I put a new HDD in the PC, reinstalled Windows 7 Home, downloaded the wired network driver, installed the bazillion updates to Windows, re-personalized the PC with the photos, music and other flotsam and jetsam. Then, Dell's Support Assist recommended a check for missing drivers. I downloaded some specific tool from Dell and ran it. It identified several drivers that were either missing or needed to be updated. I went to the Dell Drivers and download page - identified in post #1 and downloaded and ibstalled the Chipset driver.

At that time the computer was functioning perfectly with it's new HDD - much faster than before the old drive died.

The second item on the Support Assist list was the Dell Inspiron 660 / Vostro 270 System BIOS. I downloaded it to the desktop, ended all other applications and installed it. That's it.

I'm going to put the old drive back in the machine and turn it on. Before I removed it, it did at least bring up the Dell logo and tell me there was a problem booting the PC. I'm guessing the old drive will function no differently than the new one - just a gray screen. I can also take the new drive and put it in another Windows 7 Home Premium tower. I'm (again guessing) fairly confident that it will boot up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2018   #8
Snick

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN
 
 

If you bricked the BIOS chip, replacing the HDD or SSD will do nothing. In short, the BIOS contains all the instructions to begin the boot process. Here's a short tutorial on: Everything You Need to Know About BIOS

You can purchase a new BIOS for your laptop from vendors on Ebay and Amazon, usually less than $20 US. Your BIOS chip is 8 pin & I believe it is SOLDERED on the MoBo (Motherboard)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2018   #9
boweasel

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Does anyone think I have any recourse with Dell? It's well out of warranty but I followed their Support Assist instructions. I certainly never would have updated the BIOS on my own.

Shouldn't they have to assume responsibility for this? I went to THEIR site, entered the serial number of the machine and was told to download/update these drivers. And now I'm left with a paperweight?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2018   #10
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

What "BIOS" did you upgrade? The only BIOS listed on the Dell downloads is dated 19 Nov 2013 (A11). As it is an old BIOS there is probably nothing wrong with it. Nothing new and probably what you had originally. BTW, the correct install sequence on a Dell is (1) Install OS (2) install Intel motherboard chipset drivers (3) Install device drivers.

If the BIOS is the problem, the best option is to buy a refurbished (working) Dell Inspiron 660 motherboard. BIOS chips can be replaced on some, but not all. You need the exact Dell motherboard due to Dell using proprietary motherboards that are not always ATX compliant both on the rear I/O panel size/location, front panel connections, etc.

Can't hurt. Try a BIOS reset. With the AC power cable disconnected, push the power button for 10 seconds then open the case and remove the CR2032 CMOS backup battery for at least 10 minutes (Intel says 15 minutes). Reinstall the battery, observing polarity and try to power up.


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 Help! Dell Inspiron 'Dead' After BIOS Update




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