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Can't access BIOS on Dell Dimension E521 after BIOS update

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Anonymous
August 24, 2009 1:10:42 PM

After I tried to update the BIOS version for my Dimension E521 from version 1.1.10 to version 1.1.11 the system will not turn on. Can't even access the BIOS screen. The diagnostic and hard drive leds do not turn on. I tried all the recommendation from Dell support, from changing jumper settings to unplugging components, but to no avail. Can someone help me solve this problem?
August 24, 2009 2:41:39 PM

Did you lose power or have an interrupt during the flash?
Anonymous
August 24, 2009 6:20:57 PM

aford10 said:
Did you lose power or have an interrupt during the flash?

No I did not lose power while updating the BIOS, in fact the update application stopped responding for a long time. I just stopped the application because it wasn't responding and continued using the computer with no problem. When I turned the PC back on only the power led, optical drive and fan were working, no Dell screen appeared, just black screen and monitor showing "no signal" message. I just hope there is a way of restoring the BIOS to its original state. Thanks for trying to help.
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August 24, 2009 6:31:48 PM

You may find the resetting the bios to the default using the jumper or removing the cmos battery will fix that.

If not, they may be able to help
http://www.badflash.com/
Anonymous
August 24, 2009 6:51:40 PM

aford10 said:
You may find the resetting the bios to the default using the jumper or removing the cmos battery will fix that.

If not, they may be able to help
http://www.badflash.com/

I already tried using the jumpers to solve the problem, I also removed the battery but only for a few hours. Do you think I should remove for a longer period of time?
August 24, 2009 6:57:58 PM

nope...to reset it, it would only need a minute.
August 25, 2009 4:52:07 PM

Have you tried a system restore? It is a long shot but quick and easy to try.

Most likely you screwed the bios beyond simple repair and will need the services of someone lie Badflash.com - as recommended above by Aford - or taking your computer in to a shop that can replace the bios chip.

From your description, it appears you were updating the BIOS from Windows - you said you just stopped the BIOS application and continued using the computer. You should NEVER flash the BIOS from Windows - and your experience is exactly the reason why. You should check your computer manual for other options to flash from within the BIOS or using a floppy drive, if you have one.
Anonymous
August 26, 2009 1:50:54 AM

rockyjohn said:
Have you tried a system restore? It is a long shot but quick and easy to try.

Most likely you screwed the bios beyond simple repair and will need the services of someone lie Badflash.com - as recommended above by Aford - or taking your computer in to a shop that can replace the bios chip.

From your description, it appears you were updating the BIOS from Windows - you said you just stopped the BIOS application and continued using the computer. You should NEVER flash the BIOS from Windows - and your experience is exactly the reason why. You should check your computer manual for other options to flash from within the BIOS or using a floppy drive, if you have one.


I cannot access system restore, not even the screen with the dHell logo appears, just a black screen with "no signal" message on the monitor. According to dHell you can flash the BIOS through windows, I've done it before. Do you know of any motherboard I can use to replace the bad one? My main concern is that dHell uses proprietary parts, the Motherboard is not ATX for sure, neither the PSU. dHell has the same Motherboard refurbished for $200 which is ridiculous, with that money I could buy a new system. Sending the PC for repair is out of the question, I am not willing to waste money in this piece of garbage unless it involves the purchase of new good quality parts. My system is a Dimension E521. Thanks.
August 26, 2009 8:13:07 PM

You said you tried all the recommendations from Dell Support. How did they leave it? Did they say it was not repairable?
Anonymous
August 27, 2009 1:49:04 AM

rockyjohn said:
You said you tried all the recommendations from Dell Support. How did they leave it? Did they say it was not repairable?


I followed instructions from their website, and the last option is the ordering of a new motherboard, which implies that it must be replaced. They want $200 for a refurbished one. I am not spending a penny on this piece of garbage and dHell is not getting my money in the future. I am building my own PC or buying a HP, I had one that lasted 9 years of heavy usage. I just wanted to see if someone could come up with another solution. Thanks
August 27, 2009 3:57:12 PM

so wait... does the system still boot ?

or it does nothing?

$200 is way too much to pay to "repair" that system... some 521's go for $200 and less on ebay.

My only dell i've had just die like this was an optiplex gx620... hard drive showed errors, so i replaced it and reinstalled windows and when I installed XP SP3, it installed and did it's reboot and after that the system would not boot at all!

Other than that though, I've had tons of great dell systems that run like champs.
August 27, 2009 8:07:35 PM

aford10 said:
This board will boot is compatible with your current CPU and RAM. It's a mATX board, so it should fit in your case without issue.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

tech specs and support list
http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=K10N78M%20P...


Afford:
The two links above are to two different boards with similar numbers. The second, "Pro", is an mATX mobo with 2 memory slots. The first is ATX with four memory slots. I assume then you are recommending the second since it is mATX - although a shame it only has two memory slots.

For the thread starter (sorry cannot see your name at the moment) please provide specs on your memory - # of sticks, size, type and speed, manufacturer, model, and manufacturers number. It would be nice to get a board that will work with youir memory.
August 27, 2009 9:24:43 PM

My fault. I copied and pasted the asrock board into newegg and that's what came up. I didn't look past the 8200 model name. Yes, the 2nd board is an mATX and will support the CPU and RAM the OP currently is using.

The OP has the AMD line that I linked above. It comes with pc4200 (DDR2 533).
Anonymous
August 28, 2009 9:40:06 PM

itadakimasu said:
so wait... does the system still boot ?

or it does nothing?

$200 is way too much to pay to "repair" that system... some 521's go for $200 and less on ebay.

My only dell i've had just die like this was an optiplex gx620... hard drive showed errors, so i replaced it and reinstalled windows and when I installed XP SP3, it installed and did it's reboot and after that the system would not boot at all!

Other than that though, I've had tons of great dell systems that run like champs.

Nope. The system does not boot at all. Only the optical drive and the system fan (at full speed, sounds like an airplane taking off), work. The power led turns on too, but system does not boot. Not even the dHell logo appears, just black screen. I own two more dHell systems, one is as old as the one that just died and the other is a laptop, I also had a HP that lasted almost ten years of heavy usage and never had a problem with it. I am disappointed with dHell products, when you invest over $500 for a new system you expect it to last at least five years. Never again I will buy from dHell.
August 29, 2009 3:46:39 PM

You are right. Don't buy another Dell. How dare they sell a single computer that does not last at least 5 years. Every one of the millions they sell should last at least that long. Gee even if you use it for only 8 hours a day, five year is only 14,600 hours. Any machine capable of doing millions of calculations per minute should last a measly 14,600 hours without breaking down. How much is millions per minute times 60 minutes per hour times 14,600 hours? Dell needs to guarantee that everyone of those components built by others should last at least 5 years. Course to have a guaranteed zero rejects for 5 years means to build things for an average life of 20 years but that is not too much to ask is it? Dell should have a massive quality control program to ensure the integrity of its components. But off course not charge the customer for it because then they would not buy the computers. Dell shareholders should donate the cost just to keep their customers happy.

And never mind that Dell comes out near the top on customer satisfaction surverys.

The Mac Magazine reported on a survey of consumer satisfaction, just released this month rated Apple number one and Dell number two, ahead of HP, Gateway, Compaq, and others.

http://www.macworld.com/article/142341/2009/08/acsi.htm...

PC Mag used to do an annual survey also. The latest I could find was 2007. The results are similar to the above survey. Apple is first, PC Mag includes home-built which ranks second, and Dell is third - ahead of all other manufacturers.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2182831,00.asp

But you don't want to clutter up your decision with facts. Much better just to base your decision on your own limited, anecdotal experience. After all the thousands that reported favorable experiences with Dell may all have been lying.

Finally, anyone with more than nominal experience working with computers knows that you NEVER flash BIOS from Windows. You are just asking for problems doing that. But you arrogantly reject that basic wisdom while offering as evidence the fact that you have done it successfully before. Well I am sure there are a lot of people that get away with drunk driving lots of times. But that does not make it right, less dangerous, or any less a very stupid thing to do. Drunk drivers that think they are driving safely are only fooling themselves. Do you drive drunk?

What is especially sad here is that you created your own problem and now are blaming Dell and calling them childish names. Your attacks based on anecdotal information tell us little about Dell - given the millions of systems they have sold - but a lot about you. And I am sure you will continue to blame them despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Anonymous
August 29, 2009 5:43:16 PM

rockyjohn said:
You are right. Don't buy another Dell. How dare they sell a single computer that does not last at least 5 years. Every one of the millions they sell should last at least that long. Gee even if you use it for only 8 hours a day, five year is only 14,600 hours. Any machine capable of doing millions of calculations per minute should last a measly 14,600 hours without breaking down. How much is millions per minute times 60 minutes per hour times 14,600 hours? Dell needs to guarantee that everyone of those components built by others should last at least 5 years. Course to have a guaranteed zero rejects for 5 years means to build things for an average life of 20 years but that is not too much to ask is it? Dell should have a massive quality control program to ensure the integrity of its components. But off course not charge the customer for it because then they would not buy the computers. Dell shareholders should donate the cost just to keep their customers happy.

And never mind that Dell comes out near the top on customer satisfaction surverys.

The Mac Magazine reported on a survey of consumer satisfaction, just released this month rated Apple number one and Dell number two, ahead of HP, Gateway, Compaq, and others.

http://www.macworld.com/article/142341/2009/08/acsi.htm...

PC Mag used to do an annual survey also. The latest I could find was 2007. The results are similar to the above survey. Apple is first, PC Mag includes home-built which ranks second, and Dell is third - ahead of all other manufacturers.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2182831,00.asp

But you don't want to clutter up your decision with facts. Much better just to base your decision on your own limited, anecdotal experience. After all the thousands that reported favorable experiences with Dell may all have been lying.

Finally, anyone with more than nominal experience working with computers knows that you NEVER flash BIOS from Windows. You are just asking for problems doing that. But you arrogantly reject that basic wisdom while offering as evidence the fact that you have done it successfully before. Well I am sure there are a lot of people that get away with drunk driving lots of times. But that does not make it right, less dangerous, or any less a very stupid thing to do. Drunk drivers that think they are driving safely are only fooling themselves. Do you drive drunk?

What is especially sad here is that you created your own problem and now are blaming Dell and calling them childish names. Your attacks based on anecdotal information tell us little about Dell - given the millions of systems they have sold - but a lot about you. And I am sure you will continue to blame them despite all the evidence to the contrary.


I am sorry to hurt your feelings, I have UPDATED the BIOS from windows using Dell applications before, which are DESIGNED to be used while running Windows so people without the knowledge of doing it outside windows (which by the way are most of their customers) can do it on a very easy way.This is not the first time I do it. THESE APPLICATIONS ARE DESIGNED TO RUN ON WINDOWS. You can update your BIOS version using such applications. An application designed to update your computer shouldn't kill your system. I had an HP computer that lasted 9 years and I updated the BIOS on that computer about three times, without issues. And yes I created my own problem for not listening to thousands of people complaining about dHell and its proprietary parts, low quality support and components. Just remember that when a company does business it is the bad things about that stick on people's minds.
August 29, 2009 9:05:11 PM

Quote:
I am sorry to hurt your feelings, I have UPDATED the BIOS from windows using Dell applications before,


1. You have not hurt my feelings, whatever gave you that silly idea? You apparently like to think you have much more power and affect on people than you do.

2. How many times do I have to repeat it? While you may have had some successful experiences updating your BIOS through Windows - most experts STRONGLY recommend against it because of the increased risk of upload failure and the strong possibility that it if it fails you mobo may never work again - or at a minimum require an expensive changout of the bios chip on the mobo.

All you have to do to confirm this is google a few articles - I found these right away:




PC HACKS
Upgrade Your Flash BIOS
TIP
"Some BIOS upgrade programs are available for use under Windows, which, although convenient and more user-friendly, has the risk of failing due to a crash, conflict, or other instability within Windows. I recommend using a DOS-based BIOS upgrade program if it is available."
http://oreilly.com/pub/h/2253


Thread on NVNews about this
"Default Flashing your BIOS in windows is dangerous.
Sadly I had to learn this this hard way. I attempted a BIOS flash on my Abit IP35-E to fix an annoying double boot issue the board had. Instead of digging out my old floppy drive and doing it the good old way, I decided to give Abit's Flash Menu program a go.

"The system locked up half way through the process. On reboot I'm hit with the dreaded Bootblock screen. After making countless system boot disks with Autoexec files to reflash, I just gave up and ordered a DFI LanParty DK P35-T2RS.

"So don't make the same mistake I did out of laziness and rely on some windows program for BIOS flashing, and definitely avoid Abit's Flash Menu."
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=119213

Here is another thread on the same subject with warnings about flashing through Windows and reports by those who had problems doing it
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cf...
__________________

So you go ahead and keep flashing with Windows - and I truly hope you have no problems. You might be one of the lucky ones, but more likely, the more you do it the greater liklihood of experiencing a failure. But please do not suggest to others that they follow your bad example, they might not be as lucky as you.

Anonymous
August 31, 2009 3:41:22 PM

The expert said it all, "use a DOS base BIOS update IF AVAILABLE", dHell offers the update through the user friendly application the runs on Windows and it's supposed to run on Windows, they don't have DOS based updates. dHell technicians should make sure the application runs smoothly on a windows environment. And as I said before, I updated my HP Pavilion a310e at least 3 times in a period of 9 years without a single issue, and yes, I ran the update on windows.
August 31, 2009 9:04:34 PM

Forgive me. I should have realized that your updating the BIOS three times on one computer using Windows certainly proves its safety with all computers and operating systems. Yes, just forget what everyone else says about the danger. You did it safely three times so they all most be wrong.

And yes, Dell must be a horrible computer manufacturer since you had problems and it does not matter that many other surverys as well as anecodatal reports say otherwise.

Hmm - I think I see the common thread here. You base everything on only your experiences and what the rest of the world says means nothing. Well since nothing I say will make any difference, I will leave you with misguided notions.
August 31, 2009 9:15:06 PM

Can't we all get along?

Play nice Rocky :) 
Anonymous
August 31, 2009 11:54:07 PM

rockyjohn said:
Forgive me. I should have realized that your updating the BIOS three times on one computer using Windows certainly proves its safety with all computers and operating systems. Yes, just forget what everyone else says about the danger. You did it safely three times so they all most be wrong.

And yes, Dell must be a horrible computer manufacturer since you had problems and it does not matter that many other surverys as well as anecodatal reports say otherwise.

Hmm - I think I see the common thread here. You base everything on only your experiences and what the rest of the world says means nothing. Well since nothing I say will make any difference, I will leave you with misguided notions.

I'll explain to you in a different way, perhaps this time you understand. The "experts" say to "use a DOS based upgrade application when available". There is no such kind of application offer by dHell, only windows based BIOS update applications. And yes, everyone knows that there is nothing that is 100% guaranteed to work, that applies to everything. But when you sell products in this high competitive economy companies must try to minimize those mistakes, I feel that HP is better than dHell through my experience alone, I am not saying that dHell sells only garbage computers, just that HP is better. Another issue with my dHell computer is that is not ATX standard, which makes it very hard to upgrade the components.
September 1, 2009 6:33:02 AM

NO, what the experts say is:

1. Don't flash your BIOS unless you absolutely need to because you have a problem you cannot fix any other way and a BIOS update will fix it.

So what was the problem you needed the BIOS update to fix? I went to the Dell website to try to see what the 1.1.11 was designed to fix and could not find that one listed - just 1.1.10 and earlier. Would you please also provide a link to 1.1.11.

2. If you have to update a BIOS, do it from within the BIOS not from Windows.

Now I understand that Dell unfortunately does not give you that option. Which means you are forced to use a more dangerous method - increasing the risk and making it more important that you only do updates when absolutley necessary.

Then after choosing to do a risky BIOS update, you had problems doing the update so you just closed down the application. At that point your BIOS has probably been screwed up but your computer was still working on the O/S.. Knowing that, you should have attempted to repair the situation before shuting down which would then require the computer to address the bad BIOS to start up. You could have tried again to load the BIOS, or failing that to use system restore or setup.

But taking things from where you are at now, have you asked Dell if it is possible for someone - them or a third party - to replace just the BIOS chip on the computer to get it to work again, and how much that might cost?
September 15, 2009 2:29:35 AM

If you can manage to boot a proper "Crisis Floppy" you may be able to save your original motherboard. Search for that term on google. I *BRICKED* my Compaq notebook after hex editing the bios and flashing it. I was able to *UNBRICK* it with the Crisis Floppy. The idea is there is just enough of the BIOS at the front end (16K?) that knows how to flash itself from a floppy. If you clobber the rest of the BIOS it doesn't care.
Anonymous
November 23, 2009 12:17:24 AM

I had the same problem you did. Just reset the bios, but leave it for like a whole day, that's what I did, goes with the saying "good things come to those who wait."
Anonymous
December 4, 2009 2:01:24 PM

had this problem and it bloody got on my goat. In my view it is a Bios issue, had tried everything else then downgraded my bios from ver 1.1.14 to 1.1.11 and it worked straight away. Question, Dell Support the purpose is. ??
July 22, 2011 3:19:10 PM

Hi everyone unfortunately I have the same proplem with Dell Dimension E521 BIOS, so, please, can somebody who solved this problem succesfully share with expirience?
Thank you/
!