Recovering from a failed BIOS update on a Dell Latitude E6500

While working on a friend's Dell Latitude E6500 I decided to update the BIOS, just for kicks. After using the Windows executable to kick off the update, it eventually failed. The computer wouldn't boot (not even to the BIOS splash screen). Instead, it would simply emit one beep, then turn off. Usually, it would turn itself back on, spin the CPU fan, then turn off again. Finally, I found some instructions in the DELL forums (http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/t/19506901) to recover from the failed update. In summary:
  1. Download the BIOS installer from the dell website. For example, http://downloads.dell.com/FOLDER01530518M/1/E6500A29.exe
  2. Drag and drop the file to a CMD window, hit space once, then type /writeromfile
  3. Drag and drop the file to a CMD window again, hit space once, then type /writehdrfile
  4. Rename the .hdr file to include just the machine name, in this case E5600.hdr
  5. Put on a FAT32 formatted USB drive
  6. Remove the battery
  7. Plug in usb to the left side slot (try each other slot if that doesn't work)
  8. Hold end key and power button, then plug in power cord.
The computer then read the file and repaired itself. Presumably, this works by using "Boot Block protection":
Most BIOS manufacturers (Award, Phoenix, AMI and Insyde) now include an option known as Boot Block protection. The Boot Block sector is write protected, thus it can only be damaged if the flash utility is explicitly directed by a command line switch to overwrite this EEPROM memory range.

Another post for a Vostro laptop contains very similar instructions: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/p/19593398/20675627#20675627.

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