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HOW TO: Create a BOOTABLE USB Flash Drive to flash AW BIOS updates under DOS

Discussion in 'Alienware' started by BatBoy, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    *This thread linked in AW General Info sticky*

    On occasion, AW will release a BIOS update which is not an executable under windows or will release one which includes both the Windows EXE and the files to flash the BIOS under DOS if the user so desires (sometimes, its just an .iso which you have to burn, in which case this would not apply of course).

    A frequent question is: How do I create (easily) a bootable USB drive in order to flash my BIOS?

    I spent quite a bit of time in the past searching for the easiest way to do this. I finally came across the following method which is very easy and can be done in under a minute.

    REQUIRED:
    Format Tool , MiniDOS files
    Archive here: BOOTABLE FLASH DRIVE.zip

    1. Download the above archive
    2. Extract it to your desktop
    3. Insert your USB flash drive
    4. Launch the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool
    5. Give the Flash Drive a name (example: USB FLASH STICK)
    6. Check the checkbox for Quick Format
    7. Set the File System to the FAT option (Note, if you do not see FAT, reference this post by katalin_2003)
    8. Click on 'Create a DOS startup disk', select the radial for 'using DOS system files located at:', click the '...' button and point to the directory (part of the downloaded archive) titled "MiniDOS".
    9. Click Start

    DONE.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now that you have a bootable flash drive, copy over the files for the BIOS update. I suggest the following:

    1. Save the BIOS files in their own directory on the flash stick. Example: 'M11xR1_A05'. I do this in order to save the various BIOS revisions so I can re-flash another version if needed.

    2. Now, to boot, insert the USB stick and power up the system. Be sure to depress F12 @ the BIOS to bring up the one time boot menu. Select the option to boot from USB STORAGE and hit enter.

    Your system will now boot using the USB Flash Drive.

    NOTE: You will see a prompt to enter current system time and date. Don't worry about this - just hit enter until you hit the C: prompt.

    3. Once at the C:\ prompt, change the directory to the BIOS update. If you used my suggestion, the command would be:

    cd M11xR1_A05

    remember, 'cd' stands for change directory.

    4. Once you have changed the active directory to the one with the BIOS update files, execute the batch file to update the BIOS. (typically this is F.BAT). Dell will usually list how to execute under DOS within the instructions listed on the BIOS download page.

    If at any time you need to review the contents of the active directory, type 'dir' (for 'Directory') to list the contents.

    NOTE: This USB flash stick will not support other DOS based functions. It is designed simply to get you into DOS and put you at the C:\ prompt.

    If any of this sounds confusing to you, stick with the instructions listed by Dell (burn .ISO, flash from windows, etc.) on the BIOS download page.

    Enjoy.
     
    Qing Dao and reborn2003 like this.
  2. tyranus7

    tyranus7 Notebook Evangelist

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    I went through hell doing this. Because I didn't have a regular USB storage devide, only had my cellphone. Only the files extracted from an ISO of FreeDOS helped me and I was able to boot from my cellphone and flash the A06 Bios. Good guide anyway using the HP utility seems to be the easiest way to do this.
     
  3. spradhan01

    spradhan01 Notebook Virtuoso

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    It doesn't work in 64 bit.
    click the '...' button and point to the directory (part of the downloaded archive) titled "MiniDOS".

    It says-
    The user supplied DOS system files are not compatiable with FAT32.
     
  4. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    Not sure what you mean... I had no issue doing this and I am running W764. ;)
     
  5. spradhan01

    spradhan01 Notebook Virtuoso

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    It gives me this error.

    The user supplied DOS system files are not compatiable with FAT32.

    Screenshot:
    [image=500]http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2051/fataj.jpg[/image]

    never mind....
    It was because of the FILE SYSTEM
    I had FAT32 which should have been FAT since it is less than 4 GB(I had 2gb flash drive).
    Now it works fine.

    @Batboy: You might wanna update this info just to make sure that other don't get confused.
     
  6. Bloodydream

    Bloodydream Notebook Guru

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    Ooo thanks, I had the same problem however I don't remember seeing the option for just FAT, only NTFS and FAT32. I give it a go again. :)
     
  7. spradhan01

    spradhan01 Notebook Virtuoso

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    If you have a flash drive < 4gb, you will get the FAT.
     
  8. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    FWIW, I used a 1GB flash stick and a 2GB.
     
  9. spradhan01

    spradhan01 Notebook Virtuoso

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    Strange!!!:confused: :confused:
     
  10. Anggrian

    Anggrian Notebook Evangelist

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    does this works for m15x?
    i stuck at number 3 for entering command to change directory
    it keep says "CHDIR failed for 'M15xR1_A09'"
     
  11. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    Keep it simple.. just use the CD command and not CHDIR. Start again - boot up the system with the USB stick and then -

    Once at the C:\ prompt, change the directory to the BIOS update. The command would be:

    cd M15xR1_A09

    Yes, it will work on the 15x and any other system. The boot usb stick is not system specific.
     
  12. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    This is a good thread, BatBoy. I just happened to notice it in your sig and visited out of curiosity.

    People have asked me for help with this multiple times. Now I can just point them here instead of explaining it time and again. Having the downloadable archive is also pretty swell. Thanks! I'll have to come back and add a rep for you tomorrow, as I'm fresh out for today.
     
  13. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    No worries... glad its being used. This is the quickest way I know of at this point to create a bootable usb stick... Enjoy.
     
  14. JMJsquared

    JMJsquared Newbie

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    No PE Builder, Installation Disc, etc.
    Nice, simple walk-thru.
    Mathematicians call that "Elegant".
    Thanks!
     
  15. xeroxide

    xeroxide Notebook Deity

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    great guide, wish i saw this prior.

    i ended up using a utility called UNetbootin which allows you to install freedos onto a usb stick. its amazing isn't it... no matter how advanced we get in terms of OS, we somehow always have to revert back to DOS for something as basic as flashing a bios.
     
  16. katalin_2003

    katalin_2003 NBR Spectre Super Moderator

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    Yep, there's no FAT option above ~3.25Gb.
    If you are using a larger key like me (4Gb):

    1. Download THIS. (PM me if link gets broken)
    2. Extract it to your Desktop
    3. Follow BatBoy's steps but instead of loading the files from the "MiniDos" folder choose the folder you just extracted. (Win98boot).

    cheers
     
  17. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    Updated post#1 with katalin post and added FAT file selection note.
     
  18. Alek123

    Alek123 Notebook Consultant

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    Well , i wanted to try the Test Bios Throttling fix here but i can't seem to make the MiniDOS work.

    I followed all instructions but as i boot from the USB , it shows me "FreeDOS FAT Kernel" and that's all , it gets stuck there.

    Any help? :-??
     
  19. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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  20. Alek123

    Alek123 Notebook Consultant

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    Nope , i tried hitting enter , still nothing. Pressing buttons around eventually leads to Beeping sounds on key hits. It's just stuck on "FreeDOS FAT Kernel". I have tried reformatting the Flash Drive and following the instructions again... Nothing. :(

    Sorry for my signature , i will try to resize it.

    Edit : By the way , to do that fix , is it really necessary to update from DOS? Isn't safe mode enough?
     

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