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Dell-boy BIOS not cushty

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My brand new Dell Inspiron 15 5510 laptop had an error this morning that I've never seen before.

When I turned it on, it said "BIOS corrupted" and then set about reinstalling all firmware.

After that, all seems to be well, no problems.

I just wonder if something is fundamentally wrong: bad memory or something.

Contacting Dell yielded nothing of any use: they only care that it's working now.

Any advice on how to check what, if any, underlying problem is present?


BIOS or Basic Input Output System is essentially a set of self test routines that allow a computer to perform rudimentary tests and to find the operating system on whatever media it's stored on and load it - it used to be stored in ROM, then EPROM, then EEPROM and now it's in flash memory.  Historically Dell has been ahead of most manufacturers in including fairly comprehensive hardware diagnostics in their BIOS, and to be honest, I've not heard of a system being able to diagnose a corrupt BIOS and fix it without manual intervention.

Systems do exist where provisions have been made for two separate copies of the BIOS to be stored, but this is typically not seen on consumer product, it's more common on enterprise grade servers, and even  those require a tech to swap a jumper.

Flash memory (where the BIOS is stored) does fail, there is nothing you can do other than swap the board out (which I would not recommend as Dell will simply replace it with a refurbished board) or wait for it to fail, which, if there is an underlying issue will happen sooner rather than later.

Rick Law:
Are you certain that it said "BIOS corrupted" and not "CMOS corrupted"?

CMOS corruption do happen when the CMOS battery runs down.  They are typically coin batteries.  Some BIOS has certain hardware settings stored in CMOS.  When that stored information is lost, the BIOS will "reinstalled" the detected hardware.

If it is CMOS battery, it would be repeatable.  Just let your laptop sit overnight (or less) without the main battery.  If the CMOS coin battery is near death, it will drain down and CMOS data will be "corrupted" again -- easier way to see is the CMOS clock no longer has the right date/time.

Replacing the CMOS battery is not too hard.  I found some info here:

Disclaimer on the link:  That is just one example and I don't know if the guy is good or not - or if his way even works, so don't take my link as endorsement.

Thank you both, that's very helpful.

Though I can't remember the message exactly, the error definitely had the words "BIOS" and "corrupted": I know becuase those two words brought me out in a cold sweat!

For the moment, I'm being a coward and hoping it doesn't recur. :-[

I've never seen a CMOS corrupted message (I've never see a BIOS corrupted message either), usually what it'll say is something along the lines of "CMOS checksum error" along with a prompt to either continue or enter the CMOS setup utility.


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