Downgrade BIOS method

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Downgrade BIOS method

  • My Experience, change Dell BIOS from A23 to A21.
    My reason not important.
     
    My experience on my Dell Latitude C800 to downgrade BIOS A23 to A21
    Expect it works on other versions and Dell laptops.

    USE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AT YOUR OWN RISK, IT WORKED FOR ME.
    MIS-USING THESE TECHNIQUES CAN CAUSE YOU MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH YOUR COMPUTER - IF YOU knowingly or unknowningly attempt / install the WRONG BIOS 0N YOUR COMPUTER.  IF YOU HAVE A DELL LATITUDE C800 AND TRY TO INSTALL  A BIOS FOR ANOTHER MODEL COMPUTER, YOU CAN EXPECT TO BE IN DEEP TROUBLE.
    SAME TYPE OF TROUBLE, OR WORSE, AS WHEN YOU FIDDLE WITH THE   REGISTRY.  USER BEWARE.

    All versions of Dell BIOS can be found on the Dell website.
    Support - Downloads - BIOS firmware - OS.

    Select your version of choice THAT IS WRITTEN FOR YOUR MODEL COMPUTER. 

    You may select the latest version or a "previous version" of the BIOS.
    You will see the type of download is indicated by the file name:
    C800A21.exe is "non packaged"
    A21C800.exe is the HDD form of the file (install from hard drive)
    C800A21A.exe is the floppy version of the file (install from floppy)
    C800A21.txt is the "instruction" file.
    Note all are for the C800 and all are the A21 version, the file name describes how it is installed.
     
    BIOS upgrades can be accomplished by using the HDD version of the upgrade.  This upgrade is done in Windows, it's no hassle, follow the directions.  Have done this several times.
     
    BIOS downgrades must be forced.  There is no "auto" way of installing BIOS A21 on a system that has BIOS A23. Downgrade instructions do not accompany the BIOS file download.

    BIOS downgrades seem to present a "real challenge" to DELL TECH SUPPORT - downgrades are not routine or common.  Perhaps deeper than their typical problem.  

    BIOS DOWNGRADE - my experience:
    Download the "floppy" BIOS file version of the "downgrade you want" to the desktop.
    This download file is a "self extractor" file.  It must be run (double click) from the DESKTOP to yield the actual files.  You will need one floppy. (The A21 version requires a single floppy.)   
     
    Attempting to use the file "as downloaded" will result in error screens and frustration for you -  IT WILL / DOES  NOT WORK.  "protection" errors.
     
    Double click the "Floppy version icon" on the desktop for the upgrade.
    Follow the directions,  ie insert a floppy, etc.  Note, the process will delete all files on the floppy.  It will create a floppy with "System files" as well as the new BIOS file.
     
    After the floppy is completed -----  (most important)
    Use Windows Explorer to open the floppy.
     
    Copy the exact character string for the BIOS upgrade file
     ie  C800_A21.exe (to a sheet of paper)
     
    With the floppy (above) in the A: drive, restart the computer.
    At the beginning of the reboot, be prepared to  F12 to enable you to select the "floppy drive" as the "boot drive".  Then click ENTER.
    The Boot will stop at the A:\ prompt.
     
    Type in the following so that the prompt line looks like this:
     A:\>C800_A21.exe /forceit  Click ENTER
      note there is a space before /
      also C800_A21.exe  is the BIOS upgrade file name on the floppy ( u copied to paper).  In your world  you will have a different model and BIOS revision.

     If you neglect to add the  /forceit   suffix, you will be told that the upgrade "worked", NOT TRUE.  Reboot and F2 to look at the C800 BIOS version.
     
     The BIOS file should be loaded, and you a "happy camper (hacker????etc)".
     
    If the execution aborts, or errors then try the following:
     A:\>C800_A21.exe /forcetype  Click ENTER
     
    Hope it loads, if not, I cannot offer more advise.
     
    My conversations with Dell Tech Support yielded the two suffix words     /forceit     /forcetype
    Each Dell person seemed to have their "pet" suffix.  /forceit worked for me. ( I did not try   /forcetype ).
     
    COMMENTS:
    My phone discussions with most Dell Tech Support personnel have been very productive.
    Understanding (language barrier) a few of the Tech Personnel was an issue.
    Be aware, Indian Tech Personnel need to understand how the computer works, AND they must speak both English and whatever local Indian dialect they use daily.  Also, they analyze problems a little differently than Americans do.
     
    I have had a real experience with a Russian Engineer.  I would ask a question, he listened to the English, translated it to Russian (mentally), thought in Russian,
    came up with an answer - in Russian, translated it into English, and told me his answer.  He got "upset, to say the least" if - after I asked the question, and before he gave an answer, I disturbed his rather complex thought process.
     
    My experiences about BIOS downgrades have been somewhat strained, since, when I asked if the Dell Tech Support Person had actually performed a BIOS downgrade, I found out that most had not  installed a downgrade, not walking in my footsteps.  
     
    Quite properly, Dell is reluctant to provide "sensitive" data to "the masses", since that data might / could / would lead to bigger headaches for Dell.
     
    Web searches have not provided much help.  Many persons providing advise "assume" the requestor knows and thinks about a computer as they do.  If I can change a flat tire on my car, I expect you can also change a flat tire  ---- bad assumption on my part.
     
    Hope this can / will either help you directly, or stimulate your thoughts to solve your problem.
    FJ
     

     
  • fjdcanoe,
     
    Thank you for posting this information to the Dell Community Forum.
  • Bought this computer used
    The guy bought an extended battery
    he upgraded the Bios from A04 to A07
    The battery would no longer charge.

    Web research showed that some after market batteries only worked with A00 or a04
    bios installed.

    To downgrade the bios.
    Downloaded the A00 bios from Dell
    Put the file in the c: root directory.
    run the program.

    It would not downgrade the file.

    Need to go in the c:\windows\temp\bios folder  run the bio utility
    select advanced setting.
    unclick the check for newer version bios option.


    Then the run the bios update.

    successfully updated.

  • sorry for restarting old thread but this is relevant.  I have inspiron n5010 and updated bios to A15 fan dosent ever shut off now. extremely annoying and kills battery.  I don't have a floppy on a laptop, and don't understand your directions about root directory.  when I try to run a12 just the regular program downloaded from dell, it says warning we don't recommend to downgrade click ok to exit blah blah blah. I want to downgrade so that my laptop runs normal again.  so I have the application file from dell, now what do I do. what is root directory? how and where do I find the bio utility to run advanced settings? I looked in temp and found nothing of the sorts.  if you could help that would be great. I hate this OS only bios updating program and really am getting annoyed at how dell lets bad bios's get through the cracks.

  • I have a similar issue with an Inspiron 14z bios A13 where fan and power light stays on after the computer shuts down or goes to sleep.  Is this what you are experiencing?