General Question

Mr_Grimm's avatar

Need help with updating systems BIOS.

Asked by Mr_Grimm (361 points ) August 22nd, 2012

Hello my computer savy friends. I am in need of your help. Apparently, I have an out dated BIOS, or so Vista tells me. I know, Vista is terrible, I have installed Windows 7 on my laptop just so I could avoid all the problems, however I ran into even more problems. The OS that came with the laptop has the software and drivers to run all the gadgets that came with the laptop. (webcam, microphone, chipset drives etc.) Windows 7 has none of these drivers. So I have to bite the bullet, and deal with Vista. So thank goodness I have PC Wizard, because I’m going to speak in a more understandable language for us geeks, or intelligent gentlemen. Here is my laptops information. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read it. :)

Manufacturer : Alienware
Mainboard : CLEVO Co. M5×0N
Bios : Phoenix Technologies NAPA0001.86C.0049.D.06121416080000
Chipset : Intel i945GM/GME
Physical Memory : 1024 MB DDR2-SDRAM
Platform : Intel Centrino
Mainboard : CLEVO Co. M5×0N
Chipset : Intel i945GM/GME
Processor : Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile T5500 @ 1666 MHz
Physical Memory : 1024 MB (2×512 DDR2-SDRAM)
Video Card : Mobile Intel® 945 Express Chipset Family
Hard Disk : Seagate ST98823AS ATA Device (80GB)
DVD-Rom Drive : Slimtype COMBO SSC-2485K
Monitor Type : 142 inches
Network Card : Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG [Golan] Network Connection
Network Card : Realtek Semiconductor RTL8169/8110 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
Operating System : Windows Vista™ Home Basic Home Edition 6.00.6002 Service Pack 2 (32-bit)
DirectX : Version 11.00

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21 Answers

jerv's avatar

Looks like I have a little research to do when I get home….

I have to wonder though, doesn’t the manufacturers Support site have the latest and greatest drivers and BIOS?I know that’s how I keep my Toshiba up to date. They’ve updated my BIOS a few times over the last couple of years.

More when I get home from work and can use a computer instead of my phone…

Mr_Grimm's avatar

Yes, I thought the same thing, I went on alienware support, and all they have are the vista drivers for the camera, sound driver, card reader, and hotkeys. I have all of the discs that came with the laptop, and I have even updated everything as much as humanly possible. Windows even says all of the updates have been installed. Since dell bought out alienware, I thought, maybe dell can help, no such luck.

whiteliondreams's avatar

Can you add what bios is required? Is there a code or anything that the system provides? Bios upgrades are usually not OS dependent. Also, what model Alienware do you have?

Mr_Grimm's avatar

My Alienware model is Sentia M3450i, Vista did not provide me with any information on the bios that should be running on here.

whiteliondreams's avatar

Try this first. Again, bios upgrades are usually not operating system dependent, which means it’s usually the motherboard or a bus that requires an upgrade, not the operating system. Let me know if this site works for you. Sorry, make sure you go to webscan. I don’t have Windows, so it’s harder for me to troubleshoot.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

The site confirmed that I am in need of an updated BIOS.

whiteliondreams's avatar

What did it specify?
Was there anything that said what bios or which version?

CWOTUS's avatar

The only time I recall having an actual and honest-to-goodness BIOS upgrade (in the mid 80s) involved taking the computer to the manufacturer (it was a custom-built machine purchased from a one-man shop), where he removed the BIOS chip from the motherboard, took off a decal that was a designed part of the chip (to prevent light from hitting the ‘brain’ of the chip) and used a machine that shone a beam of light onto that brain to reprogram it. Then he put the decal back in place, replaced the chip in the machine and it ran fine, recognizing the new BIOS and proceeding happily from there.

I think they’re much simpler than this now, of course, but I believe it still involves contacting the manufacturer to get the proper upgrades. So. What has the manufacturer told you? Or have you even tried that route yet? (I think Alienware is owned by Dell, isn’t it?)

Mr_Grimm's avatar

BIOS Type: Phoenix
BIOS Date: December 14th 2006
BIOS ID: NAPA0001.86C.0049.D.0612141608 -None
BIOS OEM: 12/14/06
Chipset: Intel 27A0 rev 3
SuperIO: Unknown
Manufacturer: alienware
Motherboard: M5×0N

Mr_Grimm's avatar

And @CWOTUS Yes it is, as I have stated in a previous comment. I tried dell, my laptop was owned my alienware before dell bought them out. Dell needs the service tag in order to do anything to help me.

whiteliondreams's avatar

I must admit, I cannot find anything that would be resourceful, I apologize.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

@whiteliondreams No need to apologize, I thank you for the help you supplied.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I had a look at Alienware.com ‘s downloads (this is the site that has support for pre-Dell Alienware PC’s) and I can’t see any BIOS updates at all. As BIOS usually needs to be specific for the motherboard in question I am going to suggest that its not possible to update the BIOS.

When did Vista start telling you you needed to update the BIOS? and how? And does it have any effect on how the system runs?

jerv's avatar

@CWOTUS As an aside, most BIOS nowadays are patched by pure software, and my Toshiba does it right from Windows; no boot floppy required like ten years ago, no UV chip erasers or EEPROM burners required any more.

@Lightlyseared Yes, they do, so it’s possible that Dell dropped the ball there.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

@Lightlyseared well, it started telling me this the other day. It said windows found a problem, and showed me troubleshooting solutions. A BIOS update was listed. I have found online that I do indeed need to update it. My laptop is rather slow as well. It might be Vista, but I’m not sure. I am very very good about defragging files and keeping virus’s away, and I also run the boot-up memory check every now and then. My start-up files are kept to a minimum. I am quite strict as to what goes onto my laptop, let alone what runs on it.

Lightlyseared's avatar

OK I understand.

There are 2 reasons why you would want to update the BIOS. 1) you want to use a CPU that was released after the motherboard was made or 2) to solve a hardware issue. Windows is telling you to update the BIOS as a stock answer to a problem not because it knows that will solve this problem inparticular but because it sometimes solves problems (just like tech support will ask you if you’ve tried turning it off and on again). Your BIOS is out of date because… well becayse the computer is 6 years old… but (and this is the important thing) I doubt that it’s the cause of the problem you were having.

The BIOS is the program that sits right next to the hardware and directly controls it. Everything your computer does the BIOS controls. Vista tells the BIOS what to do – the BIOS tells the hardware. As the laptop has been working fine for years without this issue I doubt very strongly that its a BIOS issue. (If it were a brand new board just released last month for intels new CPU and chipset then yes it may be a BIOS issue – ASUS have released 3 updates for a board they released in July already but once they have the problems sorted out the updates will stop). I would stop worrying about updating your BIOS – as already mentioned I don’t think there is an update available and I don’t think it is the cause of your problems anyway. If the problem doesn’t happen regularly (ie you only saw the message once) then I would put it down to “one of those things” and forget about. Computers do ocasionally fall down for no reason. If it is happening regularly then I would look at the other suggested solutions.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

well, it happens every other time i start my laptop.. windows defender doesn’t even work, gentlemen this is a fine example as to why windows 7 came out so soon, Microsoft simply rushes everything. Vista was a rush, so they replaced it with windows 7, now 2 years later, windows 8. Problems occur more and more frequently that way… It’s like rushing a sandwich, if you take your time and make it, it will look amazing, if you rush through it, it will taste ok… but it will look and handle like crap, now take that crappy looking sandwich and fix it so it looks well enough to be glad you ate it. Anyone else see where I am going with this?

Lightlyseared's avatar

So did this happen every other time you started the computer since you first had it? Or is this something that had just started happening recently? Given that you have only just started looking for a sloution I am going to guess it only started recently so I doubt very much that this has anything to do with Vista being out rushed out. More likely the laptop has developed a hardware fault and given the Sentia was released back in 2006 it’s not that unlikely unfortunately.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

Very true

jerv's avatar

I believe that the average lifespan of a laptop is around three years.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

lol, and this one has surpassed that lifespan, given the fact that I need to replace the battery, the CMOS battery, and I would like to max out its ram to 4 gigs. Obviously I am going to upgrade the os to 64 bit vista so i can still use its gadgets.

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