Bypassing error -144 WinPhlash on a Dell Vostro 1520

Categories DIY & Repairs

Background:
Long story short – I decided to refurbish a couple of old laptops as giveaways for charity. For this I partly needed to update the BIOS which due to a dead battery caused Dell’s supplied tool WinPhlash.exe to panic (error -144). Error -144 is short for not having more than 10% of battery juice and/or not having a proper charger connected.

Steps:

  1. Create bootable USB-stick with either FreeDOS or MS-DOS using e.g. RUFUS
  2. Download and copy phlash16.exe to the bootable USB-stick.
  3. Download and run the BIOS update binary provided by Dell and await error -144. Locate the BIOS.ROM file (usually C:\Windows\Temp\...WinPhlash…\BIOS.ROM
  4. Copy BIOS.ROM to the USB-stick and rename it to BIOS.WPH
  5. Reboot from USB-stick into Free-DOS/MS-DOS
  6. From the prompt C:\>  type and PHLASH16.EXE and hit ENTER
  7. Stay put and don’t disconnect power until the machine reboots!

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