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Studio XPS 1640 - Bad BIOS flash


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Studio XPS 1640 - Bad BIOS flash

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I currently have a customer that brought me their Dell Studio XPS 1640 that would not charge the battery.  It would power the laptop just fine, but it would always say that it wasn't charging the battery.  Since I did not have another battery to test, we were kinda stuck.  I have ran across a computer or two that, for some odd reason, a BIOS update would fix some weird problems, so I thought I would give this a shot.  The computer was currently on version A12, and the newest BIOS was A15, which was also a recommended update by Dell.

I made sure there wasn't anything running other than the necessary windows stuff.  I didn't unplug or plug anything in during the update.  The update started off just fine, erasing, programming, verifying each block.  It started at I believe block 32 and worked it's way down.  It got to the point where it was verifying block 2, and it locked solid.  I gave it about 2 hours before concluding that it was not going to come out of it.  The mouse and keyboard were unresponsive.  I couldn't do anything.  So I tried pressing/holding the power button, but it didn't do anything.  I had to resort to unplugging the battery and AC adapter (which is usually NOT a good thing during a BIOS update).

Upon trying to start it up, the motherboard failed to respond to pressing the power button.  I know sometimes a blind boot can be done using a boot disc or booting from a flash drive, but it at least needs to start in order to run a script to recover the BIOS.

Does anyone have any suggestions?  I'm guessing it bricked the laptop, but I'm hoping that there is some trick to reviving it.  It's technically out of warranty, but it's about a year and a half old, and, other than the battery issue (which I'm not even sure if that was the computer or the battery's fault), it worked perfectly.


All Replies
  • There's no "blind boot".  There are two options:

    Replace the mainboard ($300+) or

    Find a shop that can unsolder the BIOS chip, flash it externally with an EEPROM programmer, and resolder it ($100-150).

  • First off, there is such thing as blind booting a machine.  It basically consists of setting up a boot disc to automatically run the flashing program upon booting, so, if you are unable to get any video, but the computer still somewhat boots, you can restore a bios by doing this (hence the blind boot term).  It's not a new term, and I have successfully restored a bios using this method in a few instances.