Having problems with your Dell PowerEdge 1300 Server ?

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\015 Right in the middle of flashing the bios Friday a week "the 13th" my electricity supply got interupted (tripped at mains)Now the computer does not appear to do any post (expected under the circumstance)Is there any chance of recovering from this or do I go seek a shovel to dig a hole for the poor beast ?\015

Answers :

Good news, you can save the machine, although it may take a while. There are a few ways to do this. If you are lucky enough that the boot sector of your BIOS didn't get corrupt and your computer still posts and you can put in a floppy. Then all you have to do is follow your normal dos based flashing and it'll replace it no problem. Now...the problem REALLY arises when you’ve flashed your BIOS and the next thing you know you've received the black screen of death. No beeps, no video, power on, and that's it.....this is when you've officially turned your board into a circuit filled paperweight. If you happen to have the EXACT motherboard laying around then you'll be able to save yourself some money. It has to be the EXACT motherboard, no exceptions. If you have an NF7-S v2 then you need an NF7-S v2 board...period. There are a special set of tools you need to remove the BIOS, but if you're feeling brave and like to really take your chances like myself...then get a strong paperclip and bend a little hook at the end and I mean little. The bend needs to be maybe a quarter of an inch. You can then put this in one of the open corners in the socket the BIOS chip sits in. Use the little hook to get it under the chip and pry it out. This won't work if you use a small wimpy paperclip so make sure you get a big thick one that’s a little difficult to bend. Remember....a paperclip is metal....metal is conductive....if you stay in the little corner and get under the actual BIOS Chip you will be fine...avoid touching ANY connectors within the BIOS socket or anything around. If you use some electrical tape to thinly wrap the paperclip, you now have a rubber non electrically conductive BIOS removal tool! Remember don't just wrap the tape around the paperclip but also over the tip. It doesn't help to make the stick of the paperclip non-conductive just to leave a nice little tip for something to spark to. \015\012If you use some electrical tape to thinly wrap the paperclip, you now have a rubber non electrically conductive BIOS removal tool! Remember don't just wrap the tape around the paperclip but also over the tip. It doesn't help to make the stick of the paperclip non-conductive just to leave a nice little tip for something to spark to.
\015\012I've removed my BIOS chip with the system turned on many times using this method but don't come crying back if you stick in a paperclip and you get a nice jolt.

You can see a picture of the appropriate BIOS tool here:

It's the black pair of large looking tweezers.

That image came from this site www.cybercpu.net/review/bios_savior/index.asp

Which offers what is called a BIOS Savior which basically allows you to have two bios chips and if one fails then there's a switch that allows you to switch to a working separate BIOS....so yes essentially you have Dual BIOS, but only one is active at any given time.

Back to hot flashing....what this means is that you will be removing and replacing the BIOS chip while the system is 'hot' or otherwise...turned on. To hot flash your corrupted BIOS...you first need to remove the corrupted BIOS chip from your board. From here place in a non-corrupted BIOS chip. Remember...the BIOS chip you use has to come from the EXACT board that you have. So if you don’t have another copy of your motherboard you can order a new BIOS chip and when it arrives you can then use the Hot flash method to restore the corrupted BIOS and then you'll have two BIOS chips incase again if one gets a failed flash.

You can get Spare BIOS chips from excaliberpc.com

So now that you've got your new BIOS chip you can either pop it into your board and be happy with it and throw out the other BIOS chip or you could do the better nerd way and hot flash that corrupted puppy! What you'll need to do...is insert your new BIOS chip. Make sure that your floppy is first in the boot sequence. Also it's a good idea to go ahead and remove your IDE1 and IDE2 connections to ensure it goes to the floppy. DO NOT put in your floppy yet as we need to put in the corrupted BIOS chip before the disk starts. If the disk is not in there it'll simply say INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND HIT ENTER TO RESTART. Getting to this screen is perfect as you don't want the system to try and boot from your HD into windows and you just need it to sit at a part where the system is accessible and the floppy will still be accessible.. At this point you need to have your bootable floppy with flash utility on it near by as you'll be using it within 5 minutes. Before you put the floppy in, first remove the good BIOS chip currently in the system. This is where it gets dangerous especially with a paperclip. Your system has to remain ON as the only reason it was able to POST is because it had the proper BIOS in it. After the computer has POSTed the BIOS information is basically no longer needed so it's safe to remove the BIOS chip even when your system is on.

So hopefully at this point your computer should be on and wanting a disk to boot from in the floppy. Remove the good BIOS chip and replace it with the Corrupted Chip. Now you may insert the floppy disk and flash it just like you would normally do a DOS based flash. If you have the autoexec file that came with the flash utility, then as soon as you stick in the floppy it'll start up and flash your corrupted BIOS with the files you select and are hopefully the right ones. Hopefully the flash is a success and then will now have 2 working BIOS Chips with the exact same information on it. So in the future if another bad flash occurs you can once again hot flash the chip to restore it or simply put in the spare BIOS chip until you have time to hot flash it.
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