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Updating BIOS UEFI When Windows App Fails

So, I’ve got this Dell Venue Pro 11 7130 hybrid tablet. It’s a pretty nice little machine, actually. If memory serves I bought it in 2013, so it’s an older tablet. The recent Spectre/Meltdown firmware updates made it a bit wonky, though. It won’t restart normally. I have to yank the battery and temporarily disconnect the AC power, to get it to boot at all. When I saw a recent BIOS update (A23) for that unit appear I was hopeful it would fix that issue. But when I tried to run the Dell BIOS flash utility in Windows 10, it failed because of the reboot hang. That’s why I sought some way of updating BIOS UEFI when Windows app fails for that machine.

How to Go About Updating BIOS UEFI When Windows App Fails

I knew there had to be some way to update the BIOS even if I couldn’t do it inside a running Windows OS. Sure enough, by poking around the Dell Forums, I learned that there’s a pretty easy and straightforward way to do this. All I had to do was to download the BIOS update file — named 7130_A23.exe, prosaically enough — copy it to the root of a FAT32 USB flash drive, and point the BIOS flash utility at that file in an alternate boot. Sounds pretty easy, right?

What sounded easy in theory turned out more challenging in practice. First, I had to find another Dell Forum thread that clued me into the trick of holding down the volume up button on the left side of the tablet, just after getting the haptic feedback when pressing the power button on the tablet’s right side. That brought me into a menu that included flashing the BIOS as one of the options. Then I had to figure out — by inspection, as it turned out — that the device with the file I was after was named FS4. Once I identified the 7130_A23.exe file, and told the PC to flash the BIOS, it succeeded in updating the machine to the A23 version. Here’s proof:

Updating BIOS UEFI When Windows App Fails.SIW

Once I got the right instructions, and figured out how to execute them, the BIOS UEFI flash was easy.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Did I get my BIOS UEFI flashed? Yes. Did it fix my reboot problem? Alas, no. I still have to yank the battery and disconnect AC power to get it to restart/boot. But at least I figured out how to use a UFD to flash the firmware. I think I also eliminated one potential cause of the issue, too. Hopefully, some upcoming Windows version or new Dell firmware patch will fix this. We’ll see. And so it goes, here in Windows world!

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