Thursday 14 September 2023

Recovering a Dell XPS 13 9310 BIOS (3 amber 6 white error)

Recovering a faulty Dell XPS 13 9310 Bios

A friend gave me an extremely nice 13" Dell XPS machine with all the bells and whistles: i7 / 16G / 1T. Super cool machine. The catch: It was a troublemaker from day one.
Apparently the machine had intermittent problems recognizing it's SSD. But what was more: It appeared very dead when I got it.
Sometimes the screen would cycle RGB colours, and the little light bar at the front would signal 3 amber and 6 white flashes.

Bios recovery

Here's what I did to get it back:

  • Downloaded BIOS_IMG.rcv version of the 3.18.0 Bios (use the service tag to find the right version)
  • Copied that to a FAT32 formatted USB-Drive
  • Plugged the drive in (in my case via a USB-C mobile adapter, but that is irrelevant)
  • While holding down CTRL and ESC, plugged in the power cable

I was toally amazed when the Bios recovery dialog came up! It apparently updated quite a few ROMs and left me with a responsive system.

Semi-fixed :-(

Only trouble: It still does not recognize the SSD. I swapped it out for another one, but no luck.
With the new Bios, I can change the boot order to start from an external drive, which makes the system sort-of useable as a desktop-laptop. A 16G i7 machine is nothig to sneeze at, but I am not prefectly happy with that.
From what I read on the net, my XPS 13 machine is not the only one suffering from that very same SSD-Problem. Obviously the bios upgrade was not the fix for it.
So: If anyone knows a solution to the SSD-problem, please let me know.