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Scott Matusow

How to recover from a bad flash for Alienware M18X R2

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Download the original Alienware unmodded A03 bios from Dell at Drivers and Downloads | Dell [united States] The file is named "M18R2A03WIN"

Extract the contents of M18R2A03WIN to a new folder named "Alienware recovery" anywhere on your useable computer. In there you should have a bunch of files. (9 in total)

Look for the one called QBR10EC.fd

Rename this file to M18R2.hdr

Place the file M18R2.hdr on a formatted fat32 usb stick on its own.

Thats it. Blind created

 

Recovery process:

To do the recovery process you need to remove your m18x r2 battery.

Unplug the back power cord as well

Plug the usb stick with the file M18R2.hdr in the M18X's e-sata port

Now hold down the END key (located above the numbers key pad) at the same time while your holding the END key plug in the power cord only, you will hear the fans turn on full bolt.

Release the end key and wait

After a few seconds once the file is read from the USB stick you will hear 20 or 30 beeps (sounds like a garbage truck reversing)

After the beeps stop the m18x will shut down and reboot itself. ( 1 or 2 times depending)

Once reboot all will be back to normal A03 bios.

Connect the battery back if you wish after successful boot.. That's all folks, things should work now unless you bricked the EC controller, which is hard to do.

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Scott, Thank you very much for this post.

I was using the M18x R1 guide to do the blind BIOS recovery, did not go anywhere.

Thanks for sharing the R2 guide, it saves my R2 from a bad BIOS flash.

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Scott, how did you get the bad flash? I am probably going to flash my bios soon. Any 'don't do advice' ?

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FYI: CMOS clear as it was told to me by Alienware support for my R2 was to unplug both AC and battery and hold the power key down for 30 second. Hook up the AC adapter and hold down the Fn key while pressing the power key, do so until the machine reboots a second time. Let go, and there you have it, a reset CMOS for those that choose the wrong BIOS settings.

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Download the original Alienware unmodded A03 bios from Dell at Drivers and Downloads | Dell [united States] The file is named "M18R2A03WIN"

Extract the contents of M18R2A03WIN to a new folder named "Alienware recovery" anywhere on your useable computer. In there you should have a bunch of files. (9 in total)

Look for the one called QBR10EC.fd

Rename this file to M18R2.hdr

Place the file M18R2.hdr on a formatted fat32 usb stick on its own.

Thats it. Blind created

Recovery process:

To do the recovery process

you need to remove your m18x r2 battery.

Unplug the back power cord as well

Plug the usb stick with the file M18R2.hdr in the M18X's e-sata port

Now hold down the END key (located above the numbers key pad) at the same time while your holding the END key plug in the power cord only, you will hear the fans turn on full bolt.

Release the end key and wait

After a few seconds once the file is read from the USB stick you will hear 20 or 30 beeps (sounds like a garbage truck reversing)

After the beeps stop the m18x will shut down and reboot itself. ( 1 or 2 times depending)

Once reboot all will be back to normal A03 bios.

Connect the battery back if you wish after successful boot.. That's all folks, things should work now unless you bricked the EC controller, which is hard to do.

Thank you for posting this Scott Matusow. I don't have the R2 I have the M18x R1 and appreciate you posting your directions and solution to blind recovery of M18x R1. You contribution is definitely noticed and you will have no doubt saved many users the headaches of a bricked system. Thank you.

- - - Updated - - -

FYI: CMOS clear as it was told to me by Alienware support for my R2 was to unplug both AC and battery and hold the power key down for 30 second. Hook up the AC adapter and hold down the Fn key while pressing the power key, do so until the machine reboots a second time. Let go, and there you have it, a reset CMOS for those that choose the wrong BIOS settings.

Thanks I knew to remove power and battery and hold power button tl remove power from the motherboard but had not known of the suggested key and power button combo. Thanks for posting this enantiopure.

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Hi,

I tried updating to A08 today, and it bricked. Never bricked a computer before, in my whole life, just one printer as it so happens.

I followed your proceedure to the letter, and it reads the USB key, then reboots, and the beeps run forever, not stopping after 20 to 30 times as you suggested.

When I disconnect power, and try to boot, the beeps continue as before.

Any further ideas for me?

I'm out of my home country, so support may be thin on the ground for me from Thailand just now, and I'm off to Saudi on Sunday, so it is going to make returning this machine even more difficult.

All suggestions are welcome.

Thanks in advance for your help...

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It may take a lot longer than 30 beeps, just be patient and wait. 5-6 minutes or even more.

Try again and this time just wait.

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Can I blind flash back to A03 from A08? Or will I have issues.

From Personal experience.... Always use the A03 Stock firmware when blindflashing... And most importantly be patient... Wait until it restarts itself... It will be beeping more than 20x's (its more like 80 or so in my case) ... Just wait it out... when in doubt... WAIT. Pulling power cable will end up in brick.

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I'm trying to recover from a failed A08 flash, I follow the procedure, and after plugging the cable in with END pressed, I get the high-speed fans that come on instantly and it looks like the USB on the E-SATA port is initialied (quick flash on the thumbdrive), but nothing happens after that. I don't see it trying to access the file (tried both A03 and A08 binaries as the M18R2.hdr) but no beeps, no more USB access.

When I try to power on the laptop normally, it only cycles through a series of 7 beeps over and over with no display.

The USB stick is FAT-32 (so the capitalization shouldn't matter, but I copy/pasted the filename precisely), tried a second stick to no avail as well.

Any helpful suggestions? (Dell is planning a service call, but I'd rather not have a 3rd party by-the-hour guy climbing through the guts of the system -- no offense, of course, to those in similar vocations, but in my experience the overall the competency of the people they have sent to fix stuff over the years is.. varied, to put it politely).

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Oh... bad luck. The recovery can't work in case the PXE is messed up. What you could try is clearing the cmos memory of the bios and try again, but I'm sure that it won't make a difference in your case. Seems you did everything properly according to your description... you changed the file extension to .hdr, right? Not just .hdr in the filename... (stupid question, just want to double check).

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Oh... bad luck. The recovery can't work in case the PXE is messed up. What you could try is clearing the cmos memory of the bios and try again, but I'm sure that it won't make a difference in your case. Seems you did everything properly according to your description... you changed the file extension to .hdr, right? Not just .hdr in the filename... (stupid question, just want to double check).

Pretty sure the filename is right, and a Dell tech talked me through the CMOS reset. But I'm sitting here staring at it and I'm going to give it a few more attempts before letting whatever butcher they're sending out touch my baby!

Thanks so much for putting this information out there! Even if I can't get it to recover, we know now that Dell knows that seven beeps are send a new motherboard time. Here's to hoping no one else will ever have to hear it!

[2012-11-05-EDIT so as not to double-post - No luck, now trying to find the status with Dell and they have no record I ever called them over the weekend. I can tell already that this is going to be fun ;)]

[2012-11-07-FINAL EDIT - Motherboard swapped out as of today and I'm back up and running. The tech mentioned he's already done two others this week due to the same issue, so hoping they got things sorted out with that update.]

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Hi, i'm going to try use this procedure to revert my Bios from A08 down to A03 so as to then go on to the unlocked bios. Any precautions you guys recommend before I make the jump ?. Thanks

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Hi, i'm going to try use this procedure to revert my Bios from A08 down to A03 so as to then go on to the unlocked bios. Any precautions you guys recommend before I make the jump ?. Thanks

did it work for you?

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Hi, yes, just to update my previous post, it can take a LONG time for it to recover.

But it works.

I'd say something more than 6 mins if I remember correctly. And what a happy day it was to see the M18x R2 post again.

Thanks again.

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Holy Crap!

I just updated to the unlocked A05 and had a look around the new settings. Didn't think I had changed anything major, didn't touch anything I wasn't familiar with and ended up with a silent half-brick. Took the battery out, bottom cover off and cleaned all of my fans/fan covers/vents/grills with q-tips and ISO, unplugged the BIOS batt and let everything dry out thoroughly while I watched some of Federer vs Tsonga.

Anyhow, screwed it all back together, this time I got 5 beeps meaning my BIOS batt was disconnected. Took the bottom cover off and somehow I hadn't inserted the plug completely -.-

Back together,..

5 Beeps again,...

Ended up making a recovery USB key with A02, FIXED! Hurray..

Flashed back to the unlocked A05 and going well so far but I dare not touch anything this time Q.Q

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Download the original Alienware unmodded A03 bios from Dell at Drivers and Downloads | Dell [united States] The file is named "M18R2A03WIN"

Extract the contents of M18R2A03WIN to a new folder named "Alienware recovery" anywhere on your useable computer. In there you should have a bunch of files. (9 in total)

so I downloaded the same file with link provided, extract it with WINRAR and gets 12 files in total.. the hell?

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Had an issue where my Soundblaster Recon disappeared in Device Manager after updating drivers through Win8 update. Followed the Dell instruction to. Bios update. So i tried with A10, A09 as well as unlocked A10 with no luck. So i figured i would do a blind flash bavk to A03. I forgot to take out the battery when i did it but it went through the series of beeps. When it finished and reboot, i now get 7beeps which indicates CPU fail. WTF. Before i switch out CPU's. Any other ideas.

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Thank you for this post.

I was wondering what i could do in case of bad bios flash, and now i know that it is possible to downgrade to A03 bios in case of problem.

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heres something I noticed and might help

sometimes blind flash wont work after inserting flash drive, hold END key and plug in power cord it'll turn on but just shuts down after. this issue normally happens and will always shut down when the power button has no light. resetting BIOS to default seems to do the trick though and can blind flash afterward

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My only advise for flashing is when you do it make sure to do it 1 card at a time. Worse case is 1 card gets a bad flash and you just pop it in the secondary slot boot up with the other one in the main slot and boom you're on your way. Hasn't failed me yet doing it this way. Never had to do a blind flash yet. Knock on wood.

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Download the original Alienware unmodded A03 bios from Dell at Drivers and Downloads | Dell [united States] The file is named "M18R2A03WIN"

Extract the contents of M18R2A03WIN to a new folder named "Alienware recovery" anywhere on your useable computer. In there you should have a bunch of files. (9 in total)

Look for the one called QBR10EC.fd

Rename this file to M18R2.hdr

Place the file M18R2.hdr on a formatted fat32 usb stick on its own.

Can me send anybody this extracted files?

I can not found the file M18R2A03WIN. Only i found the file M18R2A03_ZPE.exe, but i can extract this file.

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Can me send anybody this extracted files?

I can not found the file M18R2A03WIN. Only i found the file M18R2A03_ZPE.exe, but i can extract this file.

Here you go: [ Download: M18xR2-BlindFlashFile.zip ]

Edit: Oops... forgot to set the sharing flag. That's fixed now. Anyone with the link above should be able to download it now.

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