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Laptop BIOS won't install

Tags:
  • Laptops
  • BIOS
  • Floppy Disk
Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
September 13, 2008 5:20:24 PM

I've got a dell 4150 laptop. It does not have a 3 1/2 floppy drive. There is a 'M1004' error that pops up when it's trying to boot. Dell has a fix for this but it needs to be installed via a 3 1/2 floppy. So I went to the store and bought a USB floppy drive, installed the drivers, made the floppy disc with the 'fix' and set up the old BIOS so that the boot order would be Floppy, CD/DVD, hard drive. However when I went to boot up it just bypassed the floppy

So I recorded the files on a CD and then booted up that way. It bypassed that too :sweat: 

Ditto when I try to install an updated BIOS :( 

What should I try next?

More about : laptop bios install

a b D Laptop
September 13, 2008 8:57:48 PM

So your machine has a BIOS error when it starts, but it still boots?

You can try restoring the BIOS to default settings, that may overwrite any errors or whatnot in the BIOS.
September 13, 2008 9:03:21 PM

frozenlead said:
So your machine has a BIOS error when it starts, but it still boots?
Yes, after you press F1 it continues to boot.

Quote:
You can try restoring the BIOS to default settings, that may overwrite any errors or whatnot in the BIOS.
[/quote]
Quote:

Not trying to restore the BIOS, trying to update it. According to dell, that is the only thing that will remove the error message.


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a b D Laptop
September 14, 2008 2:58:12 AM

That doesn't mean it won't work - there's more to Dell then just solving your problem, they have to cover themselves too.

However, since your BIOS doesn't seem to recognize it's boot order, I suggest you reset the BIOS anyway.

Did the floppy's seek light turn on and the heads move when you tried it? (you would hear a quite distinct sound, usually they aren't quiet.)
September 14, 2008 4:31:56 AM

frozenlead said:
Did the floppy's seek light turn on and the heads move when you tried it?

Not until after windows was fully booted (desktop).
a b D Laptop
September 14, 2008 5:01:01 AM

Okay, then your BIOS didn't actually search for it. Like I said, reset it to default. See if that helps. Does your BIOS support USB upgrades?

Also, please stop quoting my every post, it's really annoying.

And you shouldn't have to install drivers for a floppy drive, by the way, it should work automatically with Windows.
September 14, 2008 6:05:54 AM

Reseting bios didn't help. Bios does not support USB.

I know that the BIOS will see a bootable CD. I'm going to try to see if I can make a bootable CD with the new BIOS on it. I just need to find out what files to include on the CD.
a b D Laptop
September 14, 2008 4:27:42 PM

Even if you could, it won't help. DOS doesn't recognize CD drives without installing DOS first, which would format your disk.
September 14, 2008 5:19:13 PM

I have other programs that are bootable with this laptop, so it's not a DOS issue. I just need to know what files to include on the disk before I burn it.
a b D Laptop
September 15, 2008 2:03:13 AM

Have you ever updated a BIOS before?

Unless the manufacturer gave you some bootable utility that automatically flashes the BIOS, or gives you a windows-based utility, you need DOS to do the job. Other programs are bootable, sure, fine, but they don't have the capability of flashing your BIOS, do they?
September 15, 2008 6:05:46 AM

Yes many times, but they were with a floppy.
September 15, 2008 1:44:32 PM

frozenlead said:
Even if you could, it won't help. DOS doesn't recognize CD drives without installing DOS first, which would format your disk.
Misleading. One can update from a CD just fine-- especially when using floppy emulation on said CD. (Nero can do this automatically).

So yes, you can use a CD to boot to a "DOS" environment and update a BIOS (I do this on Dell servers, which almost never have floppy drive and especially for the older ones that cannot boot via USB).

DrDOS is my preferred flashing envronment.

[EDIT: wonky space bar]

September 15, 2008 3:39:54 PM

Thanks dwellman, appreciate the help :) 

I have Nero. Is there anything that I need to click on when I burn the CD to get floppy emulation, or does it do it by itself?
September 15, 2008 5:27:21 PM

Create CD Bootable or Boot (somewhere in that left column)-- its been a while and I no longer have a copy of Nero installed anywhere to check.

There's a check box for Floppy Emulation and a place to select the image. The Nero image works ok, I suppose, but I generally try to use a DrDOS image (like from bootdisk.com and use a program like winimage to extract and/or recreate the floppy image into one that Nero understands)

EDIT: I think the Nero Image will grant you access to the CD-ROM as a drive letter . . I don't remember. Like I said, its been a while, but I've used this method to flash firmware on laptop optical drives as well.
a b D Laptop
September 16, 2008 1:57:08 AM

I didn't know you could make bootable DOS cd's, I stand corrected there, however, that doesn't change the fact that DOS cannot recognize CD drives without being installed :p 
September 16, 2008 2:21:15 PM

Well. . not exactly. DOS doesn't have to be installed just loaded into memory. Works pretty much like any Live CD. As long as the boot files are on the appropriate sector on the optical disc, a BIOS will load the media just fine.

Swallowed my pride and looked at what Bart has to say about it:
Quote:
Clean Bootable CD-Rom (for BIOS upgrade) [updated! may 6, 2005]

People ask me if it is possible to create a bootable CD-Rom to update/flash their BIOS, on a system that has no floppy disk drive. I realize that some new PC's nowadays also don't have a floppy drive so this problem may affect more people in future... I have re-done this CD, so that it will be easier to use (single download package). It uses an updated version of BCD and BFD.
This Clean Bootable CD-Rom can be used for flashing your BIOS or other programs that need to be run from a "clean-booted" Dos operating system.

The steps to create are:
Download Clean Boot CD package v2.0 (596KB) and unpack it into any directory you like.

Add your own files, needed to upgrade your BIOS, to the cds\clean\bootdisk\ folder. You have about 2.5MB available space on the bootimage (the CD uses 2.88MB floppy emulation). Do not add your files to cds\clean\files\ folder!
Optionally you can edit the file cds\clean\bootdisk\autorun.bat and append a line to automatically run your flash program.

When you're done customizing, run "build-clean.cmd" to build your ISO image and burn it to your CD writer.

Warning: Use this Clean Bootable CD-Rom at your own risk!
http://www.nu2.nu/bootcd/

Also, I forgot about another useful utility: the virtual floppy drive. Sometimes, depending on how you create you bootable CD, a program might ask for a bootable floppy to be inserted into your floppy drive. Well, what if you don't have one? Enter the virtual floppy drive. There are a couple programs floating around the Interweb; but, the one I've used most often is the aptly named Virtual Floppy Drive [current version: 2.1] from VM Back.

[EDIT: Duh! You might also like or need ISO Recorder. On Vista, allows one to burn DVD iso, as well.]
a b D Laptop
September 16, 2008 10:01:46 PM

I was referring to diskette DOS...
September 17, 2008 1:20:27 PM

diskette. . . .