It was a deceptively easy thing to do. I simply popped my Dell service tag into the Dell web site on http://support.euro.dell.com/support/ and downloaded the BIOS file that was recommended for my machine from the Dell website. I downloaded the file to my laptop, followed the installation instructions which were:
- Click Download Now to download the latest BIOS file.
The File Download window appears.
- Click Save to save the file on your desktop. The file downloads to your desktop.
- Click Close if the Download Complete window appears.
The file icon appears on your desktop and is titled the same as the downloaded BIOS update file.
- Double-click the file icon on the desktop and follow the instructions on the screen.
Now before I go further, I should tell you that I have been updating the BIOS on computers since the now very old PC-AT - PC's that were based on the Intel 286 processor running at a staggering 12MHz. I'll also add that I had never had a problem with a BIOS update before. Not ever. Until now... What happened?
The software (WinPhlash) begins by backing up the old BIOS to a file on your hard disk and then proceeds to erase / reprogramme each 'block' in the BIOS memory, counting down from 84. My laptop got to 'Erasing block 69 of 84' and stopped.
There is a feeling of both hot and cold that flows down your neck at this point, believe me. What next? Do I sit and wait? Do I turn the computer off? Because the danger is that it would not turn on again (hence the term 'bricked'). Luckily I have more than one computer, so there was an anxious search on the Internet for 'failed Dell Studio BIOS update' and 'Failed Dell BIOS recovery'. I found that a nice person called "Kizwan" on the Notebookreview.com forum had had similar issues and I followed through with his recovery procedure which was as follows:
- Prepare a USB flash drive using a program called Wincrisis and a suitable BIOS version
- Unplug the power from your 'bricked' laptop
- Disconnect and remove the battery
- Plug the prepared USB flash drive into the laptop
- Press and hold the End key
- Plug in the power cord
- Release the End key. At this point the battery indicator light should light up amber or orange. No buttons work - not even the on/off power button!!
- Wait for a while. After some minutes, the battery indicator will start to flash orange and white. This is good. It means the laptop recovery is working.
- Once the recovery process is complete the laptop will reboot itself and Windows will restart.
The last step here is to breath a huge sigh of relief. Huge respect and thanks to Kizwan for this. The forum thread with this and a whole lot more info about the Dell Studio 1557 model is here
http://tinyurl.com/32ndobg (Go to page 135 and thread #1344)
There you go. All recovered and back to full working order. Thankfully.