How to recover Dell Inspiron n5010 from failed BIOS update

Inspiron N5010 – erased BIOS – All is Black

There is in fact a way to recover the BIOS externally, and I just successfully did it on a Dell Inspiron N5010 after a failed routine upgrade from A09 to A15.  Since it was too hard to find the correct information online, I am posting the recovery procedure here to make it easier to find and to correct the misinformation that there is no BIOS recovery mode:

  1. On another PC, download the latest BIOS upgrade for your laptop (probably the same file you used that bricked your machine!).
  2. Copy the downloaded BIOS update file (as of this writing, N5010A15.EXE) to C:\Temp.  If you don’t have a Temp folder on the root of C:\, create one.
  3. Open a Command Prompt.  You can do this from the search bar.
  4. Type the following command and press [Enter]: cd C:/Temp
  5. Type the following command and press [Enter]: n5010a15/writehdrfile
  6. Type the following command and press [Enter]: n5010a15/writeromfile
  7. Connect a USB flash drive that’s 4GB or smaller in size.
  8. Format the USB flash drive in FAT (not FAT32).
  9. Open File Explorer to C:\Temp, and rename the ROM file to DQ15A15.rom, and the HDR file to N5010.hdr.
  10. Copy the ROM and HDR files to the USB flash drive.
  11. On your bricked Dell Inspiron N5010 laptop, remove the battery, unplug the power cord, and plug in the USB flash drive.
  12. Hold down the [End] key and plug the power cord back in.  The laptop should automatically power on.  Powering up by pressing the power button will not initiate recovery mode.
  13. You should notice an absence of beeping.  After a few seconds, the BIOS recovery screen should appear.
  14. Follow the onscreen prompts to reflash your BIOS.  Strange thing that happened to me, once the machine was functional again, the flash utility autostarted on the desktop and started flashing again right away.  It eventually failed, the machine rebooted, but it didn’t brick this time.  The laptop is now happily up to date and working as intended.

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