Force downgrade Alienware Area-51m Bios (or any alienware) to locked lower versions

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by S.K, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. S.K

    S.K Batch 80286

    Reputations:
    364
    Messages:
    929
    Likes Received:
    1,084
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Here is a brief guide on how to downgrade your BIOS and bypass any version based "locks" that are in place from Dell.
    1. Enable file extensions in File Explorer Options on your Windows (Start -> File Explorer Options -> View -> Uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types" and hit OK.
    2. Download your required Alienware BIOS version from Dell website and rename it to BIOS_IMG.EXE. Now the fun part:
    3. Place the BIOS_IMG.EXE file that you just renamed into the root of a drive, say C:\ drive for example.
    4. Start -> Run -> CMD (right click and select Run as administrator)
    5. Type C:/ and hit Enter. It will take you right to your C drive root where the BIOS_IMG.EXE file is located.
    6. Type the following command: BIOS_IMG.EXE /writehdrfile and hit Enter. It will create a file named BIOS_IMG.HDR on your C drive. Rename that to BIOS_IMG.RCV as we'll use this as a recovery image. Both images are essentially the same.
    7. Now, you have to create Dell Diagnostic USB stick. For that, use this article and SKIP steps 7-10 in it.
    8. Copy BIOS_IMG.RCV from your C:/ drive onto the USB root. Make sure that the following 3 files exist on USB root when you are done: BIOS_IMG.RCV, DELLBIO.BIN and DELLRMK.BIN. DO NOT DELETE THE REMAINING FILES!
    9. Now turn off your computer and plug the USB stick into the left USB port beside the thunderbolt 3 port.
    10. Press and hold CTRL + ESC and press the power button to boot into BIOS recovery mode. Keep holding the two keys after releasing the power button until you reach the recovery screen. Once there, use the recovery option to flash BIOS.
    11. Download and store away the files that you think might be needed in the future into a local storage or your email account just in case Dell makes any changes to them in the future. ;)
    12. DONE!
    13. Do at your own risk. If you screw something up, I will not take any responsibility! This procedure works right now but may or may not work in the future.
    Original post was made here, but I am posting a separate thread for it as per request from a lot of people who are continuously looking for it in the main owner's lounge and can't find it.
     
  2. DeeX

    DeeX Liquid Hz

    Reputations:
    250
    Messages:
    1,711
    Likes Received:
    900
    Trophy Points:
    131
    Awesome, Thanks m8!
     
  3. luciela

    luciela Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    17
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    26
    @S.K Amazing guide, Followed it not too long ago and it worked perfectly! I know the community will certainly appreciate your efforts. A few additions for those who may experience some of the whack I did:

    1: If for some reason you enter a USB that's old or isn't being detected (for whatever reason) by DDDP.exe like this:
    [​IMG]
    You can just drag and drop the 5 files that the link S.K provided in Step 7 to your USB (also transfer your BIOS_IMG.RCV file). Once you drag and drop these 6 files total to the USB, you will likely only see the 3 files S.K mentions in Step 8. That's perfect, it will work as intended.

    2: If you are doing this reactively as a result of being forced firmware versions up, make sure once you complete the BIOS reset you:
    a) Open your search or hotkey Win+Q/Win+S and type 'disk cleanup'
    b) Open the Disk Cleanup app and select your root (C:\) drive and hit Ok
    c) Underneath the 'files to delete' section click the 'Clean up system files' at the bottom left of the window. This will likely require you selecting your root drive again.
    d) It will now show Windows Installation Files. Select those in the 'file to delete' section and delete them

    The reason for this (it appears) is even after you have disabled capsule updates, if the firmware is downloaded it can be initiated again. The next time I booted my PC post 1.3.2 flash it pushed my firmware back up to 1.5.4. I re-did the flash to 1.3.2 a second time and then cleaned the files using the steps above and got rid of the leftover Windows Installations. Hope this can help any wonky situations like what I experienced.
     
    pathfindercod, Fire Tiger and S.K like this.
  4. S.K

    S.K Batch 80286

    Reputations:
    364
    Messages:
    929
    Likes Received:
    1,084
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Nice work there!
     
  5. Jonnypho

    Jonnypho Newbie

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    On my last unit I was trying to go from 1.6.2 to 1.3.2 and ended up corrupting the bios. Followed the instructions to a T and started the flash process and about 50% of the way through the unit turned off and never came back on again. Started blinking one red and two blue.

    Has anyone downgraded from 1.6.2 with this process?
     
  6. S.K

    S.K Batch 80286

    Reputations:
    364
    Messages:
    929
    Likes Received:
    1,084
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Downgrade to 1.5.0 and then go to 1.3.2 from there onwards.
     
  7. ssj92

    ssj92 Neutron Star

    Reputations:
    1,976
    Messages:
    3,947
    Likes Received:
    4,839
    Trophy Points:
    331
    From my testing 1.5.0 performed same as 1.3.2 so even downgrading to 1.5.0 is fine
     
  8. kyussmanchu

    kyussmanchu Notebook Consultant

    Reputations:
    13
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    51
    Trophy Points:
    41
    I have downgraded to 1.3.2 twice in the past week (without issues), turned off the UEFI setting to update bios via windows update and STILL, my system shows bios version 1.5.4. Am I going nuts??? AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
     
    KozE likes this.
  9. Cryzer

    Cryzer Notebook Consultant

    Reputations:
    63
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    29
    Trophy Points:
    41
    I'm trying to downgrade from 1.2.4 to 1.1.9 (13r3) but I am just getting: ROM Image Signature is invalid / ROM Image update denied. Thought it was cuz locked bios ver. but it still happened if I converted 1.7.0 to .rcv. Maybe the size of the usb drive is messing with this? I am using a 32GB stick for all of this.
     
  10. KozE

    KozE Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    9
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Is this guide still valid ? Nobody experimented issues with it ? Planning on giving it a try this week-end.
     
Loading...

Share This Page