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Stuck while updating system BIOS


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#1 saluqi

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 12:20 AM

Scenario: Dell XPS 8700, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, fully updated.  Avast Premier, Malwarebyes Premium.

 

After backing up all data and imaging the system, etc., I went to the Dell support site.  First I downloaded and installed all the pending drivers (there were 5, because I hadn't done that in a very long time).  Then I downloaded the BIOS update A12 (the Spectre patch).  The BIOS on the machine was A08.  After closing all open programs I launched the executable BIOS update.  This went ahead in what seemed a normal way until it got to "Flashing ME now, please wait..."  That proceeded fairly quickly to 99% - and it has been stuck there now for at least an hour and a half.  Question arising: what to do?  Will this eventually clear itself and go ahead?  Or is this a hopeless catastrophe? Or is there something I might do to "unstick" it?

 

EDIT - this situation is still unchangd 12 hours later.

 

Needless to say I am posting from a different computer (my laptop).

 

I think I did something stupid, i.e. I failed to disable memory-resident monitoring programs (Avast, Malwarebytes,Wiinpatrol, CCleaner etc.)

FWIW I do have a bootable rescue disk, created by Macrium Reflect 7.


Edited by saluqi, 08 April 2018 - 10:35 AM.


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#2 dc3

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 12:28 PM

You can use a flash drive to install the BIOS. 

 

What is the manufacturer of this BIOS?


Edited by dc3, 08 April 2018 - 12:30 PM.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#3 saluqi

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 02:46 PM

This BIOS was supplied by Dell, via their Support page for this particular computer (and this particular service tag number).  The one previously installed was version A08.  The Support Page offered version A10 (dated last year, so before the Spectre affair) and Version A12, dated in February 2018, and explicitly stating it contained the Spectre "fix".  They supplied these BIOS updates in the form of downloadable .exe files.  The files are named XPS_8700_BIOS_A10.EXE and XPS_8700_BIOS_A12.EXE respectively.  According to the Dell support page instructions, those files are specifically designed to operate in a Windows/DOS environment.  Instructions are to run the file to install the BIOS update mentioned in the file name.  This installation process seemed to proceed quite as expected up to the point of flashing the ME.  That went to 99% complete, and then stopped.  It has been stopped now for about 16 hours.

 

The computer is fully functional at this point (in fact I am typing this reply on it), but if rebooted I suspect it might not boot correctly with a half-updated BIOS.

 

I can probably post a screen shot if that would be helpful.



#4 dc3

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 03:09 PM

Create a new restore point and try restarting it.  If the computer is operating normally the update may have actually finished, restart the computer.


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#5 JohnC_21

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 03:20 PM

A firmware flash should never take 16 hours. Something else I would have done would be to uninstall any AV software if I was updating through Windows but that's just me. 



#6 saluqi

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 03:57 PM

OK, set restore point and rebooted.  Computer booted OK, a tad slower than usual.  Took a quick look at Speccy, found a whole lot of what look like device drivers (many of them Intel) NOT installed on yesterday's date.  No installed updates more recent than 3/14/18. I can publish the Speccy report if it would be useful.  I seem to have forgotten where to look to see the current BIOS version.

 

EDIT  - msinfo32 says the BIOS is Dell Inc. A12, dated 2/5/18.

 

Anything else I should be doing to make sure there are no loose or broken ends?


Edited by saluqi, 08 April 2018 - 04:03 PM.


#7 JohnC_21

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 04:03 PM

Your BIOS version will show in your Settings. It can also be accessed from the command prompt. Section 3.

 

http://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/19/sln284433/what-is-bios-and-how-to-update-the-bios-on-your-dell-system?lang=en



#8 saluqi

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 05:03 PM

I didn't find it anywhere in Settings (maybe I didn't look in the right place?), but I did find it using msinfo32.  The BIOS version showed as A12, dated 2/5/2018, which is the most recent issue and the one that contains the mitigation for the "Spectre" vulnerability.

 

At this point I just want to know if there's anything else I should be doing to make absolutely sure all is now correct with this system.  Am I safe in assuming that if msinfo32 tells me the BIOS is version A12, that means the update did go to completion and nothing more need be done?

 

Should I suppose that all those drivers did not install yesterday because they were already installed?

 

Next project, update the BIOS on the Dell laptop - more cautiously <G>.  I've already located and identified (but not yet downloaded) the appropriate BIOS update file, again based on the service tag number for that particular laptop.  Have to do a bit of cleanup and backup there, although that laptop holds very few data files not also present on the desktop.

 

EDIT - I just ran a scan at the Dell Support site for this computer.  It said everything was up to date (including all drivers).


Edited by saluqi, 08 April 2018 - 05:09 PM.


#9 JohnC_21

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 05:31 PM

If the computer boots successfully and the BIOS shows A12 then everything is good to go. 



#10 jenae

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 06:09 PM

Hi, I noticed you mentioned you had  Avast Premier, Malwarebyes Premium.

 

You do not get improved security running two AV's, they will conflict with each other and cause system performance and stability issues.

 

You would be better served if you uninstalled both these utils (you would need to google for their uninstall util and run it, to be properly rid of them)

 

Use what most of us do now, windows defender and windows firewall, better integration and proven security.



#11 saluqi

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 07:07 PM

Thanks jenae.  I agree about two AV systems being in conflict, that is well known.  I'm also quite familiar with the tedious process of completely removing one AV system to make room for another.  MB is a little different, not exactly a true AV program, and is supposed not to interfere with any of the well-known AV suites (or with Windows Defender for that matter).  It is supposed to deal with some kinds of threats that lie outside the scope of standard AV programs.  As I understand it, Windows Defender is now so improved that a third party AV program (such as Avast) is superfluous (and therefore an unnecessary expense, apart from other considerations) and I am planning to make that change shortly.  I'll have to find other ways of handling a couple of the accessory functions (password manager for example) but that's OK.  I may or may not keep MB, depending on what I can learn and on what develops in the meantime.

 

Another  thing that has struck me here is that according to msinfo32 the BIOS mode on the desktop is now "legacy".  The mode on my Dell laptop (same age as the desktop, and nearly identical software outfit) is UEFI.  Question arising, did the BIOS upgrade change the BIOS mode on the desktop, and if so, why?  Or is there some other reason that the desktop should be in legacy mode?  Windows 10, by itself, is certainly UEFI compatible.  So am I missing something?

 

Thanks as always for enlightenment.



#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 07:23 PM

I ran into a problem with a poster where the computer would not boot because of a corrupted Malwarebytes driver called mbamswissarmy.sys and this was the free version. Maybe this was the full version before it went free. I don't know. The file was located in Windows\system32\drivers. 



#13 saluqi

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 08:08 PM

I've had Malwarebytes 3 Premium installed on 2 computers ever since it came out, and for a long time before that I had Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM).  Never had any trouble with any of them.  Pairing MB 3 with activated Windows Defender will be a new experience.  Some have suggested disabling the real-time scanning feature of MB when pairing it with Windows Defender.    That feature does not, however, seem to conflict with conventional third party AV software.

 

I found mbamswissarmy.sys in Windows/system32/drivers; it bears today's date.

 

There was a problem with a Malwarebytes update some time last year, I think, there was some kind of mistake in it.  If I remember correctly it didn't crash my computer but more or less stopped it from working.  As I remember a lot of people wee affected and it got some notice on the BC site..  The MB folks got it sorted out within a few hours and I was then able to update the MB installation and carry on.  Never had a problem since.  Maybe someone else remembers that event clearly.  For me it is a dim recollection in the now foggy past.



#14 Mason21

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 08:52 PM

I run Malwarebytes premium and Avast free. Bitdefender firewall. I have never had a problem running them at the same time. 



#15 jenae

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 10:24 PM

Hi, every developer of third party AV's tells you how well integrated into the system it is.. etc etc.... Malwarebytes uses technology developed some time ago and now superseded by MS, it does promote itself as a total protection suite, and you have no choice, the full version is downloaded and you have to opt out of it, after a period of time, to continue to use the free version.(which is only an malware detection and removal util) 

 

The fact is MS offer a better developed protection suite, the argument that somebody has used such and such for years without problems, can also apply to the millions who use defender without problems. 

 

The spring update contains new security features and will increasingly make third party AV's less attractive, and users will begin to learn they don't need them.






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