[SOLVED] Problem Updating BIOS for Dell Inspiron 531

BIOS/CMOSI was working on a Dell Inspiron 531 this morning, trying to update the Award BIOS from version 1.0.3 to the latest version, 1.0.13.

The computer originally shipped with 32-bit Windows Vista.
I decided to give 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate a whirl, and see how it all goes.  Besides a known issue regarding Away Mode (detailed and solved here), it works pretty darn well.

However, I was unable to flash the BIOS. At least, not as easily as the Dell Support site describes it.

As instructed on the Dell Support site, I downloaded the appropriate .exe installation file for version 1.0.13, saved it to the Desktop and ran it.
According to Dell, clicking on this file should open the update utility.  However, all it did was create a file, winflash.sys alongside the .exe file that I downloaded.

I’m not alone; this has happened to more than a few people.  And most seem to be using a 64-bit version of Windows 7.
Some failed suggestions for solving the problem include:

  • Close all programs, as the installation instructions state
  • Move the file to the C:\ directory and run it from there
  • Move the file to the C:\windows\system32 directory and run it from there
  • Run the .exe from a Command Prompt window
  • Run the .exe from a Command Prompt window, Run as Administrator



In my experience, the only thing that worked was to boot the computer using a live CD-based version of Windows XP via UBCD4win, based on the ingenious Ultimate Boot CD program.

I booted into the UBCD4win (which ran Windows XP, in 32-bit mode).  I then ran the .exe file, and successfully flashed the BIOS to version 1.0.13.  BAM!

Rather than rehash the directions to make a UBCD4win, there is a link to their website below.

NOTE: Creating this bootable CD using UBCD will require the installation disk for the 32-bit version of Windows XP, and can take a bit of time to create and burn to CD/DVD (maybe 30-60 minutes?).  But, it works, it’s cool, and having a UBCD around can prove quite useful!

UBCD4win Ultimate Boot CD Creation Instructions:




Click here to be whisked away, and view instructions.


  1. I have discovered on my own, after several, failed attempts to update the BIOS on Dell 531/531s computers, with any version of a X64 bit operating system installed. It’s just simpler to install any Windows 7/Vista/Xp X86 (32 Bit) Operating System Software to fix the Issue with Flashing the BIOS up to Version 1.0.13. You do not want to flash each version of BIOS on the Dell Inspiron 531/531S motherboards, either. This is a mistake that can cause you to end up having to replace the motherboard! Again, from experience, the steps to take are below.
    Installing BIOS on the Dell Inspiron 531/531S Desktop computers.
    1. Start up system. As it starts kick out CD/DVD tray, insert X86 (32 Bit) System Operating Software and push it back in. Boot from CD! Install the X86 (32 Bit) operating system. Don’t go through any trouble of doing the steps to enter any information. Just enter any name for the computer, skip all steps you can, hit next for other steps, hit next on password and recommend on last one. When it brings up the desktop screen, insert/plug in the device you have the 1531_1013.EXE update on, click on it and the software does the rest. It will restart on its own. Eject the X86 installation CD. Insert the X64 Setup CD and Re-install your X64 operating system. Simple as that!

  2. After trying without success to run the 1.0.13 BIOS update from a CD, I copied the .exe to a writable folder on the hard drive, ran it from there, and that worked.

  3. So if I update the bios with this method. Your saying it will work, same model. Also I am having dvd drive problems showing up. I’m sure this cure will help.

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