Win7 does not boot after BIOS update - dual boot

Hello,
I did something very stupid. In an attempt to fix (external devices non-detection) in win7, I inadvertently updated the bios just because DELL recommends to do so.
Crash - blue screen then Win7 won't restart. I have run diagnostics (hard is all fine and memory is good). I have also attempted to recover the system to the state it was in before the issue. Nothing. 3 hours over the phone with DELL support. No help.

The issue that I have (apart from win7 failing to start) is that the laptop has a dual boot with Linux. I do not / cannot mess up with Linux (it works perfectly fine) any further.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks.
17 answers Last reply
More about win7 boot bios update dual boot
  1. Check your Sata settings, if you updated the bios it generally resets to factory defaults, if you installed with ACHI mode and then it reset back to ide or other modes it wont function. Check out these settings and let us know.
  2. vegettonox said:
    Check your Sata settings, if you updated the bios it generally resets to factory defaults, if you installed with ACHI mode and then it reset back to ide or other modes it wont function. Check out these settings and let us know.


    That was my first thought also. If Windows 7 was installed with the BIOS set to IDE or ACHI you need to make sure it put back to that mode.

    So the first thing I would do is go to the BIOS and change it to the opposite of what it is now and see if Windows 7 will boot then.
  3. bryonhowley said:
    vegettonox said:
    Check your Sata settings, if you updated the bios it generally resets to factory defaults, if you installed with ACHI mode and then it reset back to ide or other modes it wont function. Check out these settings and let us know.


    That was my first thought also. If Windows 7 was installed with the BIOS set to IDE or ACHI you need to make sure it put back to that mode.

    So the first thing I would do is go to the BIOS and change it to the opposite of what it is now and see if Windows 7 will boot then.


    Well if you weren't raiding then try the only other one in the list lol
  4. Hey guys,

    My knowledge about computers is basic.

    Can you please indicate to me in more details how do I access the BIOS in this case (which buttons?) or check the SATA settings?
    I have no idea what what option was used when I did the BIOS update early in the morning today. It was a blue screen with a table and it kept bleeping..

    Also please indicate if I am at rick of loosing the linux settings and data.

    Thanks
  5. When the computer boots up you should be able to hit F2(I think on a dell) to get into bios. As far as risk of data loss - you're ALWAYS at risk of a hard drive going bad. You should already have a backup so the risk is minimized. The instructions for updating the bios should have a step telling you to make a backup of your data because issues like yous happen.
  6. I am not sure what to do at this point..

    This is my work laptop. It took ages to build all the necessary stuff in linux. I'd rather have nothing altered. Data per se is easily copiable.. The environement, not.

    The BIOS update is a serious stuff. Why have I not been warned concerning the risks at download point?

    At what level in the BIOS do I have to revert to (old setting) the other setting?

    What about the SATA settings, how do I access these?

    Is there anyone who can help me..?

    Cheers
  7. Have you been able to get into your BIOS to check your system configuration settings?

    The first thing you need to do is go into your BIOS and see if the update was successful. Press the power button and immediately start pressing the Delete button. Once you see the POST screen there should be a line at the bottom of the screen that says something along the lines of "Entering Setup". If Delete doesn't work then it should be the F2 key.

    Once you are in BIOS look for the BIOS version and verify that it is the updated version. You may have had some problems if the BIOS update file you used was configured for Windows since you are running Linux. While you are at it, verify the system date and time are correct and manually update them in they are wrong.

    After verifying the BIOS version, the easiest thing you can do next is go to the last page of your BIOS settings and select "Load Setup (or Optimized) Defaults". Then press F10 and select yes to save changes and exit.

    If the system boots at this point then you should obviously be set. If you still have the same problem then turn the computer off and go into BIOS again.

    At this point you should look for something marked "Storage" or "Hard drive" setting. It should have 2-4 selectable options from the following list:
    IDE
    Legacy
    AHCI
    RAID

    If it is currently set to Legacy or IDE then switch it to RAID. If it is currently set to AHCI the switch it to Legacy or IDE. If the setting is currently RAID then you should definitely switch it to one of the other options.


    If you still can't boot at this point then either your BIOS update ruined your motherboard or you need to rebuild your Linux configuration so it can correctly interface with your new BIOS. If the BIOS update simply failed then you may still be able to complete it by making a BIOS update boot disk (flash or floppy drive).


    Without more detailed information from you there is no other aid we can provide. If you want to provide Some specifics like the model of laptop, version of BIOS you had and were upgrading to, Linux version/build, etc. then advice can be tailored much better to your specific situation.
  8. Thanks Isaiah4110
    I very much appreciate your help.

    Here are the secifics:
    Machine: DELL XPS 15Z
    Processor: Intel Core i7
    Dual boot (via grub.conf, partitions share MDR / same hard disk)
    Partitions:
    Windows 7
    Scientific Linux CERN 6.4

    The version of BIOS I updated to was: XPS L511Z System BIOS - Version A12
    The one I had before, I cannot tell for sure, probably a precdent one, most probably A10
    given the date of release.

    Please let me know if you needed more info.

    Here is a precision concerning the status of the Linux boot (given the present failure with Windows):
    Linux boots perfectly fine. No issues whatsover.

    Point of (major) concern: What is the risk of loosing Linux and its configuration if I attempt accessing the BIOS as you have recommended above.
  9. Ok, so is this a link to your exact model? You can try entering your service tag on that site to verify what exact model it gives you.

    As far as making changes in the BIOS affecting your dual-boot configuration, it shouldn't cause any issues. Your computer system BIOS is stored entirely on a small chip on the laptop's motherboard. modifying the BIOS will not make any changes to the hard drive or any of its partitions.

    Now, it sounds to me like this describes your current system configuration:

    Your laptop came with Windows 7 or 8 pre-installed. You divided the single installed hard drive into two partitions after initial setup and installed Linux on the new, blank partition to create a dual-boot configuration. Before you attempted the BIOS update, your computer would not immediately load a specific operating system, but would instead go to a screen asking your which operating system you wanted to load. You selected either the Windows OS or Linux and your computer would boot into the one you wanted.

    Now, assuming this is correct, what exactly happens when you first turn on the computer at this point?
  10. Yes, it is the model. Which I can also pull from the service tag number. I have used the latter to access the page of drivers and downloads on DELL, where the unlucky BIOS update was.

    The boot description is all correct. I have to choose to boot Windows (7) in case I needed to, the default would be to start Linux after 3 sec.
    if no action is attempted.

    After the BIOS "accident", Linux continues to boot normally as if nothing happened.
    If I choose Windows 7, the boot fails. Microsoft logo 4 little colorful balls will not come together as usual, then a very prompt blue screen
    displays which lasts too short to read what is says.

    At first failure, the system goes back to main menu (the first page where I need to select which operating system).
    Selecting Win7 again, leads to the black page with a header:
    Windows Error Recovery
    Windows failed to restart: A recent hard, soft change might be the cause...

    Startup repair cannot repair this computer automatically, contact DELL....

    I have already launched the automatic repairs..when it first happened, the latter didn't succeed in identifying the cause of error.
    I have attempted to restore the system to an earlier configuration where it was known to function normally. (a point before the fatal update).
    Startup manages to upload the config/settings successfully then askes me to restart the computer to apply changes. When I restart,
    the boot fails again.

    Thanks man.
  11. Ok. Given that information I would definitely recommend following my previous directions to enter and verify your your BIOS configuration settings. Give that a try and let me know what you find. Also, if you have difficulty navigating in the system BIOS then you write down some other information (menu options, etc.) available to you in the BIOS and post it here so I can provide more detailed/specific instructions.
  12. Ok, before I go there, here is what LINUX says (via $dmidecode | less):
    BIOS Information
    Vendor: Dell Inc.
    Version: A12
    Release Date: 09/07/2012
    Address: 0xE0000
    Runtime Size: 128 kB
    ROM Size: 2560 kB

    So it's the one I updated to..showing at least for LINUX

    UPdate:
    After accessing the BIOS here is what I have found:

    -System time: incorrect
    -System date: OK
    - BIOS version: A12
    - SATA operation: AHCI

    The same fundamental worry persists: whatever I do, I cannot afford to mess up with LINUX.
    This is to say that I didn't Load Setup Defaults

    I would appreciate if you could indicate how safe it would be to do so.

    Please let me know if you needed further info.
  13. Ok, first, as I mentioned earlier, the BIOS and all its settings are stored entirely on a small ROM chip on your motherboard. As such, none of the changes you make to it will have any affect whatsoever on the data stored on your hard drive. There are changes you can make that will modify the way that your hard drive and motherboard communicate, but at worst this will temporarily sever their ability to do so. The data on your hard drive, in both of your partitions will remain unchanged. From your earlier descriptions it sounds like you had to make a lot of configuration changes to your hard drive in order to get Linux up and running, so I can understand your concern. You can put those fears to rest, however, as the data on and configuration of your hard drive cannot and will not be changed by any modifications you make to your BIOS settings.

    Second, when you ran the BIOS update, you performed the install from within Windows, correct?

    Ok, the first thing I want you to do is correct the time error in your BIOS and try booting to Windows again. If it is more than just a couple minutes off then there is a chance that is the problem. Make sure the month, day, year, hour, and minute are correct then save and exit BIOS and try booting to Windows.

    If that still doesn't work then load setup defaults and try again. If Windows still won't boot then check the storage setting I detailed above. Again, it should be in AHCI mode or, if there is no AHCI option, then IDE mode, but not RAID unless you have two or more drives and set them up in a RAID configuration when you first configured the laptop (highly unlikely).
  14. Your are right. I updated the BIOS from win7.

    OK. I walked over there (BIOS) like on egg shells, scared to death to take a first step with changing
    the time.

    Here is how things were working before the fail. Win7 was always on a diffrent time zone (GMT). . I couldn't synchronize it with the internet time server. However, LINUX always displayed the correct time.

    Entering the BIOS now showed that the time over there was Win7 time (namely GMT). I have set it to current (my) time, saved and exit.

    No luck to reboot win7. Still fails.

    Logged to Linux and found that the time was affected and showed (GMT-7-7). Yes two time -7. I reset it manually hoping this will not happen again.

    I guess you will suggest I do the load default settings, next..I am too scared of the consequences, lterally scared.
  15. Give it a try with the setup defaults. In an absolute worst case scenario it would change the storage interface setting and Linux might not boot, but this will not affect any of the data or software on your Linux partition. All that would be required to bring Linux back in this case is going back into BIOS and changing the storage setting back to what it was. BIOS settings cannot break Linux and create the need for a reinstall/reconfigure.
  16. Isaiah,
    Thanks man for guiding through those terrible times :)
    The problem is presently fixed!
    Here is how (with aid from 3 IT technicians, lol):
    You were right to point to check/change the SATA settings. In this case, it was set to ACHI.
    First, changing ACHI to IDE + something else enabled booting to Win7.
    The drama unfolding after that was losing the boot conf. file. That is no route to Linux.
    What needed to be done after that was to access Linux via a disk copy of the same distro installed (through rescue mode).
    It took some command tweakings from the IT to get there and create a new boot file.
    Almost 2 hours of work.
    No more BIOS updates for me, even under death penalty..lol
    Thanks to all of you guys.
  17. ull said:
    Isaiah,
    Thanks man for guiding through those terrible times :)
    The problem is presently fixed!
    Here is how (with aid from 3 IT technicians, lol):
    You were right to point to check/change the SATA settings. In this case, it was set to ACHI.
    First, changing ACHI to IDE + something else enabled booting to Win7.
    The drama unfolding after that was losing the boot conf. file. That is no route to Linux.
    What needed to be done after that was to access Linux via a disk copy of the same distro installed (through rescue mode).
    It took some command tweakings from the IT to get there and create a new boot file.
    Almost 2 hours of work.
    No more BIOS updates for me, even under death penalty..lol
    Thanks to all of you guys.

    Excellent! I'm glad you hear you are back up and running, thought I'm very surprised that you aren't currently in AHCI mode with a Windows 7 computer. AHCI enables the full functionality of your SATA ports (options like hot-swapping).

    Seeing how Linux was running fine with the BIOS setting on AHCI mode, I think you should be able to make the switch and simply need to re-install Windows 7 on its partition. If it were me I would do it (as I'm an IT guy and hate not having full functionality of my components due to a minor case of OCD). If you are feeling brave then you should be able to do it (again, without harming your Linux partition) after a simple backup if your Windows partition data.

    If you don't feel like tackling that issue then I won't blame you, but if you do feel like giving it a go then I'd be happy to list out the steps I would recommend taking.
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