[SOLVED] How to re-flash the corrupted BIOS of a Dell Laptop using a USB drive

This is the latest version of the How re-flash the corrupted BIOS of a Dell Inspiron Laptop article.


There is, however, no guarantee that the following method will also work for you, as reading this sentence you agree that I am taking no responsibility of any damage caused by the following procedure.

How to Recover from a disastrous BIOS update?
How to Flash a Corrupted Dell Inspiron Laptop BIOS?

Simply follow this procedure to re-flash failed BIOS update on a Dell Inspiron (n5010 model in my case) laptop. Presumably the following method also works on almost all other Dell models.

Phase 1.

  • First of all you have to download the correct firmware from Dell Official Website:
  • Use Windows Command Prompt (run as administrator) to extract the required firmware files.
  • C:\>cd /Downloads
  • C:\>N5010A15.EXE /writehdrfile
  • C:\>N5010A15.EXE /writeromfile

  • Rename the newly created N5010A15.HDR and N5010A15.ROM files to N5010.HDR and N5010.ROM.
  • Format an USB thumb-drive to FAT and copy the N5010.HDR, N5010.ROM files on it. You do not need to create bootable USB drive.
    *UPDATE: most of the time I hear feedback about this method people add a comment that they formatted their USB thumb-drive to FAT16 as the FAT32 file system did NOT work.

Phase 2.

  • Shutdown your faulty laptop if is is still running with the black screen.
  • Remove the battery
  • Remove the CMOS battery
  • Disconnect the power supply.
  • Insert the USB drive in the USB port.
    *UPDATE: According to the feedback on this method most people use the left USB socket, as the rest of the USB sockets might not functioning at this state.

*Note: There are few cases reported about not active USB ports. Simply try to use other USB port if you notice or suspect that the system cannot read the USB drive from the port you plugged it. Use USB drive with activity LED if you have one, the blinking LED will confirm that the system reads data from your USB drive.

Phase 3.

  • Press and keep hold the END key on the keyboard for your faulty laptop.
  • Plug the DC power connectors (power plug) into the laptop.
  • After a few seconds your faulty laptop will start itself and will re-flash its corrupted BIOS and automatically reboot.
  • You can release the END key after the flashing process started. A USB drive with an activity LED can confirm that the BIOS flashing process started. The complete re-flashing process will take no longer than 60 maximum 90 seconds.

Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


I am taking no responsibility of any damage caused by the following NOT TESTED procedure. Try this PhoenixTool method when the /writeromfile and /writehdrfile commands are not give you any result.

This procedure never been tested by myself, however quite a few people were asked me about how to extract ROM files from other system BIOS files without the /writeromfile and /writehdrfile commands mentioned above in my step by step guide. 

Let’s take an example of Inspiron N7010 BIOS. In this case the usual /writeromfile and /writehdrfile commands will not work.
You’ll need 7-Zip or Universal Extractor and PhoenixTool to extract/create rom files from the R301250.exe System BIOS file.

Phase 1.

  • Download the R301250.exe (2969 KB) file from the official source ( http://www.dell.com/support/home/uk/en/ukbsdt1/drivers/driversdetails?driverId=R301250 )

Phase 2.

  • Extracting the 7010_A11.EXE (7944 KB) file from the original R301250.exe (2969 KB) file using Universal Extractor (source: https://www.legroom.net/software/uniextract ). In numerous cases 7-Zip able extract exe files as well.

    the result

Phase 3.

    • Extracting *.rom , *.bin files using PhoenixTool 2.73 (Phoenix/Dell/EFI SLIC Mod v2.73 , source: https://forums.mydigitallife.net )
    • In the PhoenixTool select and add your 7010_A11.EXE file as the Original BIOS, then set Manufacturer to Dell and add the DELL.BIN SLIC file (this can be found in PhoenixTool273/SLIC21 folder)
    • Note! In order to extract rom files, you’ll need to tick/select from Advanced options under control options “Extract modules when verifying” then press done and verify. It will then create a DUMP folder next to your 7010_A11.EXE file.  Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 required for PhoenixTool 2.73.
      PhoenixTool 2.73

Useful resources:

  1. AT24C01A EEPROM datasheet
  2. DELL EMC System Update for Windows and Linux
  3. Flashrom or Qflashrom
  4. Superiotool – Detect which Super I/O you have on your mainboard
  5. Official Dell BIOS Recovery options
  6. Dell: What is BIOS and How to Download and Install the latest BIOS?
  7. Dell: 64-bit BIOS Installation Utility
  8. RW-Everything
  9. PhoenixTool 2.73

The reason behind writing this BIOS recovery article is provide some helpful info/advice/starting point to everyone facing with the same issue. If you feel that this procedure helped you to save time / money as you were able to successfully recover your corrupted BIOS, you can make a small donation to my BTC address 15JmQsaxyaxsEZf5WJVDxibLkLJFWtz83y . Your support is greatly appreciated.

This work (How to re-flash the corrupted BIOS of a Dell Laptop using only a USB drive, by Roland Ihasz) is free of known copyright restrictions.