I recently needed to update the BIOS on a Dell Inspiron 630m laptop. The file, available from Dell support, is a DOS executable named MX51_A04.EXE.
I had two problems with this file: (1) Windows would not boot, so I couldn’t run the file using Windows. (2) The laptop had no floppy drive, so I couldn’t easily boot into DOS.
Now, one can solve this problem by booting from a FreeDOS LiveCD to run the file. But then you have to figure out how to get and run the MX51_A04.EXE file from within the FreeDOS environment. Various websites suggested methods using USB flash drives, but I couldn’t get this to work.
Instead, I was able to add the file to the LiveCD ISO image before I burnt the CD. Here’s how it worked:
- Download the FreeDOS LiveCD called fdfullcd.iso (153MB).
- Under Linux or Windows, install and run ISO Master.
- Load the fdfullcd.iso in ISO Master and then add the MX51_A04.EXE file to it.
- Save the modified ISO under a new name.
- Burn the modified ISO to a CD and boot from that.
- When you boot the laptop using this modified FreeDOS LiveCD, be sure to choose the LiveCD mode and not the install option.
- Once you have a DOS prompt, the command X: will switch you to the X: drive, where you’ll find the contents of the CD and the BIOS update file.
- Run it, cross your fingers, and reboot.