Tale of a Biosphobic

Tale of a Biosphobic – My experience with a BIOS update

Tale of a Biosphobic

Like any other  self proclaimed geek/hacker/computer freak/crazy PC guy in this world  i too like the latest and greatest in my computers always 🙂
But the day I feared the most was here ,
“The day to Update the BIOS in my laptop”
Why I fear a BIOS update ? well time for a little (somewhat long) flash back,
“B/W circle thing – for flash back”
YEAR:2005 Month:OCT
Rewind the time 5 years back (2005), I was a nearing the proclamation of being a geek, to my credit was my computer hours of  5 years, I had my sweet p3 (993Mhz)machine for over 5 years ( since 2001), I just started with linux…the peaceful  Ubuntu 5.04 with text based installer !! I was happy …playing games with my Nvidia Geforce card with 128 MB VRAM
( How I got that card is a whole big story, I will keep it for another day !!),
I knew very well that my machine was outdated yet I loved her very much, Yup I called my machine IRUS. Everything was fine till that dreaded day….

I went to Intel site to check out drivers for my motherboard (intel 815 ) by then intel has archived drivers for my motherboard 
When I was meddling with the files there, I found a whole new file which,
I have never used before, it was the great “BIOS update file”.
well for a budding geek, the world was to explore…it was neither a fault of mine nor that of intel. I read all available documentation for updating the BIOS using that file.
All I was thinking was about the performance increase when the BIOS was updated, so there I was ready to click that dreaded file, I did not know ..what that 2MB file could do to my precious computer. The READ ME just that the clicking the file in windows xp would update the BIOS of my motherboard with 3 restarts.
I clicked the file, it was the last day I saw my IRUS   my IRUS shut herself down,
I waited for her to start again..but she never did. After I waited for hours,
I knew that BIOS update did not go as I planned. I removed my cabinet cover and tried to revert the settings using the Jumper, but it was in vain I guess old motherboards do not support full  revert of the BIOS. I tried all possible methods to fix my IRUS and wake her up, I even tried the most unacceptable thing for a geek to do ” I called  a PC mechanic to fix my issue” most of them did not know that the BIOS was up dateable by user  I tried to fix her using BACKUP BIOS from bootable cd’s and floppy’s,
I slowly came to realize that My IRUS is leaving me alone in this evil world of boredom !!
I never felt so bad, I was in bed 24*7 (yeah of course I woke up for my food  ) , I was very depressed, My dad came to me and told me ” He would buy me a new PC ” Suddenly the world was not so bad as I thought !!
( As we say in our regional language tamil ” Enaku andha dealing romba pudichirundhudhu” ) means I liked that dealing  . From that moment my mind was set on building the latest and meanest machine in the town 
Over next few  weeks I bought the latest Pentium Dual core 3.4 GHz processor, built a machine with 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM, intel 945 mother board and 17″ widescreen viewsonic LCD monitor, 250 GB HDD, and my most favorite  Nividia 7600 GT XXX edition (factory overclocked graphics card) which my dearest sister bought me from germany  . I call my machine MACUBEX .I started to use  Linux full time, as I went for my RHCE classes too ( or atleast tried to go !! ).
well what for the BIOS in the new motherboard ?? I did not repeat the same error which I commited previously , this time I updated my BIOS as soon as I bought my new motherboard, so that it is covered under warranty.
Infact I updated my BIOS 2-3 times over the next few years !!
Year 2008 month JAN – My  sister got me a brand new Dell Inspiron 1520 Laptop !! I configured it with 2.0 GHz core2duo processor, 2GB 667 MHz RAM and Nvidia 8600 GTM graphics card.I call this machine Andrian.
I have been with Linux, pretty long now and I was moving away from my windows dependency (Except for the games!!). I was slowly entering into a whole new scene ” THE MIGHTY HACKINTOSH ” thanks to my friend Hari (He urged me to learn about installing mac in X86 machines).

“Enough of the Flashback,Coming to the present”
“Once again the B/W spiral-circle thing”

YEAR: 2010 Month :Jan
Iam well into the Hackintosh(dial www.hackintosh-india.com to see your self) scene, I have finished my college. Both MACUBEX and ANDRIAN run mac OSX full time. MACUBEX has Leopard 10.5.8, Andrian has snowleopard 10.6.2. I also run Ubuntu 9.10 in my Andrian for ethical hacking stuffs.
It has been two years since I  got my Laptop, the battery is nearly dead and I also want to check out my options for processor and RAM upgrades,
I checked out dell website….there it was my good old friend the ultimate “BIOS” .
Just now I remembered, I never updated my BIOS in my Laptop !! a big OMG!!
My warranty has ended a year ago, well anyways it is not going to stop me from updating my BIOS…so here Iam ready to meet face to face with my worst fears !!

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I downloaded the BIOS, it was a windows executable…holy SHIT!!. and
I don’t have any partitions left for a windows, I recently converted all partitions to HFS+ for OSX in my laptop. I finally decided to install windows to my external HDD (12 GB USB HDD made with an old toshiba HDD,thanks to my friend hari again   ) the HDD is too less for  Vista or Windows 7, So I decided to go with Xp. I booted with XP cd,
I did not get to the graphics, might be due to my graphics card being to latest for that old OS, the I tried with XP64 it booted well yet after first phase of install the second phase did not startup cause of External HDD issue with the MBR.
Iam not going to give up without updating my BIOS, I said myself. So later yesterday I searched for xp live cd’s and USB bootable xp builds. I queued them up for a download and went to sleep.  Today morning I built USB bootable XP flash drives to update my BIOS, but it proved worth less as the Dell BIOS update file did not work in XP live distro’s  I sat thinking about my next plan and there I got it,
How can I miss that for so long ? yes it might be my solution, it is Dell supports Linux!! Oh yeah it does? It was the first top OEM to bundle ubuntu with it…so is there a way to update BIOS via Linux?? Consulted my trusted ally google , I found few firmware upgrade tools to Update BIOS from linux, but almost all of them were depreciated.
I searched little longer and found that Ubuntu has built-in BIOS update tools and libraries with it !! Yuppie Hi-Fi to Dell and Ubuntu !! I went through Dell Linux wifi and installed the necessary files for a BIOS update.
I executed all necessary commands,
I was at,  #reboot   It was the moment of,
“DO or DIE”

I pressed ENTER, there came the BLACK screen,
My past fears came into my mind, the seconds looked like  hours, I wanted to see my dell BIOS screen, but it wont boot OMG…my worst fears came true I guess,
The  Screen went Gibberish, the gibberish slowly engulfed my whole screen…I heard my laptop FAN running at it’s maximum speed…I guess my processor temperature would have been more that 100 deg C …I was sitting Idle…I still hoped to see my BOOT loader (Chameleon)…but as seconds passed by  I realized  if I don’t shut my Laptop down by hard ware shutdown ,My Andrian is going to be in smoke for sure 

I hardware shutdown my Laptop, my heart was heavy…my mind was blank…
I pressed my Laptop switch, hoping to see some signs of life . . .my heart beat was fast…..and there it was..

booted into my Chamelon bootloder and showed me my mac and ubuntu !!
yuppie I could not believe my own eyes !! what the …..XXXXX ..wowie !!
here Iam today much relieved from my BIOS phobia, thanks to dell and Ubuntu.
And thanks to you for reading my tale of a BIOSphobic  😀

Author: indiandragon

Developer, Hacker, Researcher

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