Warning – Dell Inspiron 8500 Video BIOS Flash

So, a warning to all users of Dell Inspiron 8500 Laptops with the GeForce 4200 Go video card. Do not attempt to flash the bios on this video card using the Dell utility from their website. It doesnt work, and will brick your video card. When you download the utility, it appears to be nice and safe and made by nVidia. However, after you start it – it’ll tell you it’ll take a few seconds to flash. After minutes and even hours, that message won’t change. You have thus killed the bios on the video card. You can kill/close the fladhing program window, and still resume your windows activities but the system will not boot up again.

You have been warned

Update : Just looked at the download page again, it still says “Recommended”. I recommend you ignore this patch till they fix it. I’m talking to Dell support, and will update this entry with any information.

Update : Spoke to dell. They replaced the video card on the machine for free, and they will be investigating the bios update on the site that reads recommended. Thank you dell.

9 Replies to “Warning – Dell Inspiron 8500 Video BIOS Flash”

  1. Just found this out here. We’ll see if we can’t get Dell to help with the problem. Wish we’d read this before hand.

  2. I wish I had seen this last night. I downloaded the utility and now my computer is totally dead. It has power but it does not boot up at all. I called Dell and they treid to say that I must have dropped my computer. I have never dropped it and it was fine until I downloaded this utility which was recommended on their site.

  3. I’m afraid that Dell still hasn’t sorted out the video BIOS on their website as it has happened to me as well. Glad I have found this blog as I will refer it to them when I try and get them to pay for ‘their’ mistake.

  4. This has just happened to me when rebuilding a friends machine… I cant understand why they leave the update on there – card is bricked and dell are about to get an earful – stupid idiots.

  5. Dell were no help at all, moaned about warranty and all sorts of crap excuses.

    So I booted to a USB thumb drive and blind re-flashed the video BIOS using nvflash.

    Card is now unbricked thank F@*K! screw you dell and the horse you rode in on.

  6. Crispin:
    this has just happened to me. How did you fix this issue? could you please explain the steps you went through to resolve it?

  7. hey frustrated – you’ve got to mimick the steps as if you were blind – with no screen.

    Attaching a spare monitor doesnt work because the display still goes thru the bricked card…

    1. build a bootable to DOS USB flash drive – theres a HP util that does this – google it.

    2. copy the NVFlash util onto the drive with the correct rom to flash

    3. Then get a pen and paper and a working PC.

    4. Go through the steps on the working PC right up until you press enter for the NVFlash utility – noting down every keypress. DO NOT FLASH the working PC (obviously).

    5. Then put the flash drive into the 8500 and boot the machine – press F12 as it boots a few times then wait a couple of seconds – then press enter (I think) to try and boot from the USB Thumb drive.

    6. Now blindly follow your notes and press the right keys in order – I think I made a batch file called g.bat or something similar so that the only keypresses I had to make were “g” and then enter, and then I think the nvflash requires you to press “Y” but if you have made notes then you’ll know that.

    7. If you follow the steps correctly then NVFlash will do its thing and the machine will beep – reboot itself and then the display will work as normal.

    good luck!

  8. Same thing here.Someone gave me an 8500 to reload, and I ran that stupid utility for 3 hours and it just hung there. Now I have a boat anchor. WTF . I was going to attempt the blind flash but its not booting to anything at this point. This machine was perfect right before I flashed it. Anyone else get any satisfaction?

  9. OH MY F’N GOD! I found this tread after trying to get an old 8500 working just to run a telescope. Got everthing else installed and up and running in Windoze, then I ran the Dell graphics BIOS update and now it’s a f’n door stop. WTF DELL! I’ve been Mac for many years and now I have yet ANOTHER reason to stay in the Apple court. Every time I work on a Windows box this kind of stupid crap happens. I loose hours, sometimes DAYS of my life working at fixing EXACTLY this kind of crap on PCs. God bless you guys who stick with PC’s and Windoze, you’ll have a place carved out for you in heaven for putting up with this kind of nonsense. For myself, I’ll pay more for my Macs, but I’ll be taking that long walk on a beach while you guys are struggling with this kind of stupid shit. Say what you like about Apple computers, but in 17 YEARS of using Macs I’ve NEVER ran across this kind of mindless, senseless crap…

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