I was working on a Dell Inspiron 531 this morning, trying to update the Award BIOS from version 1.0.3 to the latest version, 1.0.13.
The computer originally shipped with 32-bit Windows Vista.
I decided to give 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate a whirl, and see how it all goes. Besides a known issue regarding Away Mode (detailed and solved here), it works pretty darn well.
However, I was unable to flash the BIOS. At least, not as easily as the Dell Support site describes it.
As instructed on the Dell Support site, I downloaded the appropriate .exe installation file for version 1.0.13, saved it to the Desktop and ran it.
According to Dell, clicking on this file should open the update utility. However, all it did was create a file, winflash.sys alongside the .exe file that I downloaded.
I’m not alone; this has happened to more than a few people. And most seem to be using a 64-bit version of Windows 7.
Some failed suggestions for solving the problem include:
- Close all programs, as the installation instructions state
- Move the file to the C:\ directory and run it from there
- Move the file to the C:\windows\system32 directory and run it from there
- Run the .exe from a Command Prompt window
- Run the .exe from a Command Prompt window, Run as Administrator
In my experience, the only thing that worked was to boot the computer using a live CD-based version of Windows XP via UBCD4win, based on the ingenious Ultimate Boot CD program.
I booted into the UBCD4win (which ran Windows XP, in 32-bit mode). I then ran the .exe file, and successfully flashed the BIOS to version 1.0.13. BAM!
Rather than rehash the directions to make a UBCD4win, there is a link to their website below.
NOTE: Creating this bootable CD using UBCD will require the installation disk for the 32-bit version of Windows XP, and can take a bit of time to create and burn to CD/DVD (maybe 30-60 minutes?). But, it works, it’s cool, and having a UBCD around can prove quite useful!
UBCD4win Ultimate Boot CD Creation Instructions:
Click here to be whisked away, and view instructions.