Updating bios on my Dell Inspiron 1464

posted on June 12, 2010

Though Dell claims to support bios updates in Linux via their libsmbios project, it  doesn’t work with recent laptops. It is impossible to get a hdr file since the bios updates come only in a WinPhlash format, which requires a Windows installation. After digging the internet for some time, I finally came across this post, and this is how I upgraded my Inspiron 1464 bios from A04 to A08 :-)

  • Get bios from dell support site, in my case 1464A08_win.exe

  • Extract WPH bios image from the exe file by running it with wine or in a windows virtual machine wine 1464A08_win.exe

  • Get the dell patched plash16.exe utility, the original utility from biosman doesn’t work. Poke around dell’s ftp site for bios installers with DOS in the filename, and run the exe in dosbox. It will display an error but spit out the plash16.exe, requires a bit of trial and error (I used 1747A06_DOS.exe) ;-)

  • Create a bootable freedos usb flash drive, using the freedos base cd

  • Copy the BIOS.WPH and plash16.exe files to the flash drive

  • Boot the flash drive in single stepping mode, making sure to skip loading HIMEM

  • Keeping your fingers crossed, execute plash16.exe BIOS.WPH