back to article Dell BIOS update borks PCs

Dell's latest BIOS update is bricking some machines – apart from a power light, they refuse to boot up at all, say users. The Texan tech titan's own support forums are filling up with frustrated users who took the support assistant’s advice to download the latest program. Many of those who installed the update now cannot boot …

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WOW. This sort of thing usually happens with Lenovo. Not Dell. Was this Bios Update recommended by outsourced techs? That would explain it.

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Frank,

Another said, "Let's hope Dell fixes it for free, the Dell Update software that was prepackaged, might I say, reminded me to update constantly. So I did... Well, I am not very happy with the update, so 2 stars out of 5."

So it sounds like it was Dells own update software that mandated the update happened.

Steven R

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Wonder what they have to do to get zero stars?

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Used Dell update manage to update my PC.

It ran up huge online gambling debts on all my credit cards, burnt my house down as part of an insurance scam and ran off with my wife.

0.5/5 - updates installed very quickly.

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@theblackhand

Yorkshireman: You were lucky...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @theblackhand

>Yorkshireman: You were lucky...

Ey, mine were left in't shoebox, in't middle o'road underneath a lake. Bloody Amazon deliveries.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: @theblackhand

Cardboard box? You were lucky

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So to get zero stars

Wipe out the entire human race and turn planet earth to a blackened cinder?

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Re: So to get zero stars

But then they'd be getting zero stars by default, because nobody would be able to give them any, so that would be cheating.

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"Wonder what they have to do to get zero stars?"

Indeed. Wonky update bricks the machine, won't boot, no sort of fix, may be expected to pay for a repair. And that gets two stars?!?

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Re: So to get zero stars

"But then they'd be getting zero stars by default, because nobody would be able to give them any, so that would be cheating."

Not so, as there would be no one to observe the number of stars the quantity would be in a state of uncertainty.

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"Wonder what they have to do to get zero stars?"

Revert the system to Windows 8? At least an orange power LED looks nicer! :)

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Re: So to get zero stars

@Toltec

Schroedinger called. He wants his cat back.

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Re: So to get zero stars

turn planet earth to a blackened cinder

That would be a Class 6, to totally eliminate the stars would be an X3

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Re: VinceH

Quote of the week, sir!

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Go

Re: So to get zero stars

Zero stars is when the Dell Tech (not their cat, even*) uses the keyboard as a litter box.

* cat litter box still gets 1 star.

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Re: So to get zero stars

"Schroedinger called. He wants his cat back".

Maybe.

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FAIL

Not the first time

I remember a long time ago Dell sent out a server update for Netware that assigned all network cards the same MAC address.

Fortunately a colleague spotted it before the rest of the firm applied it....

Glad to see somethings never change...

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Re: Not the first time

Dell network drivers for 2900/2950 Windows servers, if you picked the wrong version from their site you had to do some serious registry hacking or rebuild the server.

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Rhymes with hell.

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Unhappy

It tolls for thee.

& knell

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FAIL

Ding Dong Dell

Seems more apt than usual at this time.

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Re: Ding Dong Dell

Ding Dong Dell

BIOS patch from Hell.

Who put it in?

...

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Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

It is generally acknowledged that BIOS updates should only be applied to fix a known issue. In this case, however, for some Dell systems, the issue is the Intel AMT remote security vunlerability: CVE-2017-5689

This affects at least one laptop to my personal knowledge: Dell XPS 15 9560

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Coat

Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

I think you can safely say that affected systems are no longer vulnerable to the Intel AMT remote security vulnerability. So full marks, Dell. Five star rating from me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

> BIOS updates should only be applied to fix a known issue

And even then only after you have properly tested the floppy controller and the drive, and made sure the disk is new (and not a freebie), there's no guarantee that you won't end up killing the machine.

After swapping out and checking everything, the primary suspect was the floppy controller having one last spurious fit before failing completely at exactly the worst possible moment, revenge for hardly ever being used.

AC, because the shame of needlessly killing an Alpha will haunt me for the rest of time without all the inevitable "helpful" suggestions.

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Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

On dells, HP, IBM(lenovo) when an authorized repair out replaces the MB they are suppose to flash the bios. It's part of putting the service tag in the bios. Doing this has bit me in the ass with and IBM desk top. I flashed the bios and poof. You could no longer boot of a SATA drive. Went through 3 boards before some at IBM figured out it was an bios issue not a defective SATA controller.

Oh and if I didn't flash the bios with our permission and some found out I would not get paid.

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Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

"And even then only after you have properly tested the floppy controller and the drive,"

WTF? It's too hard to load the data, then perform a CRC check to ensure it loaded correctly before trying to dump it into the Flash? What is this, the '90s?

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Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

It will also prevent infection from wcry and other nasty cryptolockers...

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Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

It is, same for the slightly older 9550 model, though I applied the BIOS update only a few days ago and everything went OK.

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Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

Meh, I blew up a brand-new Alpha because I forgot to switch the PSU voltage from 110V -> 230V prior to turning it on. Thankfully the expensive bits lived!

Still think I aged 10-years though...

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Making Flippy Floppy

Been a while since I've seen a BIOS update on a floppy. Or a BIOS update that would fit on a floppy, come to think of it. Or a floppy[1], for that matter.

[1] Which is absolutely not a cross reference to any railway-related topics on El Reg today

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Re: Making Flippy Floppy

I remember one of our feeder schools buying a hundred school PCs from dell. Each one had a switchable PSU (sold by their school divison). Their IT teacher phoned me up after a week due to each one blowing up, I advised him to glue gun the switches next time.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

FFS RTFPost "the floppy controller having one last spurious fit before failing completely"

Sometimes things fail even after verification and after a dummy run, and this was one of those, very much the point of what was said.

But thanks for the remarkably insightful comment, you can get off your horse now.

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Windows

Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

"And even then only after you have properly tested the floppy controller and the drive"

I'm sorry, the what now? If I can find any PC of any make that has a floppy drive within 100 yards of me, I will be mighty surprised.

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Re: Dell BIOS update may be a security fix

Oh! F*#&ING Dell!

What?

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>frustrated users who ... download the latest programme.

Well, there's the problem: BIOS needs firmware, not a copy of "Cheggers Plays Pop"

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WTF?

So who pays if you don't have the smarts yourself ?

I would assume most people reading this would be capable of using another source to Google to read up on how to fix it, and apply it (although I have to say I have idea how to recover a borked BIOS).

What about your man on the Clapham Omnibus who has to take a Clapham Omnibus to his local PC repairshop, and be charged by them to implement the fix ? Which could easily rack up to £100 before blinking.

This is on top of the fact that any time anyone loses on this isn't recoverable in UK law.

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Anonymous Coward

Hang them I say

Yours

Mr David Mail.

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"Dell's initial reaction was to tell customers they needed to buy new motherboards."

Sorry but if Dell Command Update offers you a BIOS update that then bricks the chip it is your responsibility to fix it Dell.

Just did a BIOS update on a E5470 and that is still working.

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"Dell's initial reaction was to tell customers they needed to buy new motherboards."

Sorry but if Dell Command Update offers you a BIOS update that then bricks the chip it is your responsibility to fix it Dell.

Presumably it was someone on work experience who gave out that advice. One hopes the grown-ups took over after that.

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The updates Dell releases don't affect the system
Then what is the point of them? If Dell borked the machines with an update they should be making good on the damage they have caused.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe just another mercenary marketing strategy?

Like Win10?

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Anonymous Coward

New business model innovation!

Got a warehouse full of obsolete parts and a risk of missing your quarterly earnings statement targets?

1) Release 'accidentally' corrupt BIOS update for all your out of warranty laptop models

2) Charge customers $250 a pop for a replacement motherboard

3) PROFIT!

Thanks Dell :D

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The solution is SIMPLE. Have the update software check:

IF

the machine is in warranty period + 7 days (7 for a reasonable time for the user to get with support)

THEN

warn user that the update could brick the computer, but it will be covered under support if reported before the end of the warranty period which is XX.

ELSE

IF

the machine is outside the warranty period - 6 months - 7 days

THEN

warn user that the update could brick the computer, and if so, Dell will sell them a new motherboard at a slight discount but they have to install themselves (or pay to have it installed), if reported before XX.

ELSE

warn user that the update could brick the computer, and if so, Dell will sell them a new motherboard at full cost and they have to install themselves (or pay to have it installed).

END IF

END IF

Copyright Bryan Hall... :-)

I doubt many users, especially those out of warranty, will click OK - saving everyone time and effort.

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Facepalm

Dell BIOS update borks PCs

Who wrote the BIOS update?

Who signed off on the release of the BIOS?

Is the BIOS on Dell PCs socketed or soldered in?

--

NoScript filtered a potential cross-site scripting (XSS) attempt from [https://forums.theregister.co.uk]. Technical details have been logged to the Console.

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1st rule of IT support is

Never ever update BIOS or drivers unless you are sure it will be of a benefit

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Re: 1st rule of IT support is

Drivers - no biggie, update them and if something b0rks, just uninstall and reinstall the previous version. Usually happens when a driver gives issues, but if it works, why fix it?

BIOS - I leave it well alone. Why fix it if it ain't broke?

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Re: 1st rule of IT support is

If a device has been working as expected for months then why would any sane person update them, you are asking for trouble. I stick by my statement if it has no proven benefits then leave it alone

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