Dave, my wife’s pitching a fit… help me please! We have separate ‘putes ,and which one do I mess up? Hers…. I was updating the BIOS from emachines. That worked without a problem. Rebooted, and had an HP logo on my screen. I pressed F1 and F10, then the screen went black. All that was showing was a blinking “-” in the top left hand corner of screen. I can control-alt-del to get into the BIOS. The machine is running Windows XP… emachines wants it for about three weeks roundtrip to fix it. I’m going to keep it. Any ideas how I can fix it?
First off, run, don’t walk, and get your wife some flowers. Give them to her contritely and apologize for monkeying with her computer. Promise that you’ll do whatever it takes to fix it. Okay, that should buy us a some time to fix things!
Some basics to ensure we’re talking about the same thing: The Basic Input / Output System — the BIOS — is the part of your computer that runs the basic power-on tests, searches for – and hopefully finds – a bootable operating system, and hands off control of the hardware to that operating system, all in the first few seconds after the power has been turned on. The BIOS is typically stored in firmware on the computer, but can be updated through “flashing”, overwriting an existing BIOS with a newer version of the BIOS.
Now, on to your specific problem. If you can get into the BIOS configuration area, you should be able to find a setting in the BIOS called “reset to factory options” or “reset to factory defaults”. I surmise that’s all you need to do for things to be working properly.
I also have an eMachines PC running WinXP and I don’t see any HP logos upon bootup, so I’m wondering if you somehow tried to apply a BIOS update for eMachines with some HP hardware within on a computer that doesn’t actually have any HP parts?
If that doesn’t help you proceed because you can’t get into the BIOS in the first place, well, bad news. It’s darn tricky, and often impossible to fix a bad BIOS without simply replacing the BIOS chip. If that’s the case, well, you might be doing the dishes and laundry for a few weeks while your wife tries not to retaliate by destroying your computer since hers will have to go back to eMachines for the fix after all.
Before you call a divorce lawyer, though, it’s worth checking out some of the different online BIOS sources because some of them offer a “flash recovery” utility for damaged BIOS systems. Not sure about Emachines, but exploring Freebyte is good place to start.
If all else fails, you might pop over to Ask Leo and read his article on Flashing my BIOS failed, how can I recover?. Pay particular attention to the comments from other readers with their different suggestions for how to resolve the problem.
And good luck! Let us know how it all went…