Dell Mini 9 Hardware Issues / Problems Inform everyone on any issues or problems with your Dell Mini 9 hardware.

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  (#91) Old
Jeanie070 Jeanie070 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Default 02-12-2014, 07:34 PM

Originally Posted by fbyte View Post
If you don't want to play with the Linux and dd, I found a Windows version of the Phoenix critdisk.bat tool that allows you to directly create a recovery flash disk using a USB stick (instead of the floppy)

The "trick" is that the boot in the recovery disk is kind of special, it loads the MINIDOS.SYS file which is the one that would execute the PHFLASH16.EXE and load the BIOS.WPH.

Just run WINCRIS.EXE, leave the default values and press "start", it would create a bootable (recovery) usb disk.

I've add the latest A05 bios to the zip file, so it would give you the Fx function keys (if it works)

fbyte, you are a genius!!!!! Worked for me like a charm. Thought I had lost my little mini after a bios update from the Dell site. OMG, you are a GENIUS. This totally worked for me but not on the first try so I had a learning curve like all the others. This is what I did:

1. Downloaded the zip file from fbyte's post to PC running XP
2. Inserted my thumb drive into my PC running XP
3. Ran the wincris.exe from fbyte's zip file
4. Didn't change any of the parameters in wincris.exe window, just pressed Start
5. After formatting my thumb drive, wincris.exe prompted me to remove my thumb drive and plug it back in. Once I did, the files I needed were all on the thumb drive.
6. Unplugged again from the PC running XP and plugged in to the port on the power cord side, farthest away from the power cord (towards the front of the mini).
7. removed battery, removed power cord, pressed Fn and B simultaneously
8. Plugged in the power cord
9. Pressed the power button
10. Released Fn and B when I heard the first beep

There were a series of more beeps long and short in nature until the system rebooted and now I"m good to go!!!!! Took only a few minutes for the reboot to start after the series of beeps (maybe 3-4 minutes tops), but the beeps were intermittent throughout the process so I knew something different was happening this time around - from the other times when I'd only hear two beeps...

OMG, THank you Thank you and Thank you fbyte!!!!!
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  (#92) Old
mliffers mliffers is offline
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Default 04-10-2014, 11:24 PM

I hope people with clue are still monitoring this super old thread!

I found my Mini 9 the other day, dusted it off and proceeded to bring it back to a usable state (it had a preview version of Windows 8 on it).

Unfortunately, it froze during a BIOS update and I've tried using the instructions in this thread to bring it back. Mostly, it works, except that it only beeps a few times, finishing with one low-pitched, rather rude sounding beep that sounds like it's telling me where to go.

Unit definitely doesn't reboot back to a usable state. Any suggestions?
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  (#93) Old
mliffers mliffers is offline
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Default 04-11-2014, 09:50 AM

I've managed to solve the problem.

I decided that the noises were my Mini telling me that it didn't like the BIOS.WPH file, so I grabbed the A07 BIOS update from the Dell site, took the BIOS.ROM file, put it on the USB drive and renamed it to BIOS.WPH. Lots of beeping later, I have a fully-functional netbook again.
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  (#94) Old
waylo waylo is offline
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Default Just a huge thanks! - 09-06-2014, 05:03 PM

Such an old thread, but I am sooo lucky that it was here!

I was setting up my Mini 9 to be used as a home webcam surveillance device and had been happily installing XP on it. The win-based A07 BIOS update seemed like a good idea... NOT. It 'froze' after I started the executable--I explicitly did not hit FLASH after running it. I had in fact pressed the 'advanced' button, looking into what options were available.

I should have known something was awry when the keyboard was unresponsive, but the mouse would still work, and the power button was completely disabled. Maybe a failsafe measure built into the windows-based flash.

Of course, failsafes can be bypassed
After a dramatic battery pull and attempt to reboot, I realized what had happened. Maybe it had started flashing the BIOS right away with no notice and I had aborted mid-BIOS flash.

So many people here have posted their personal tips, so I will as well.

I used the file on this thread post #13 by @fbyte. There was another site referenced by Fbyte but the link there was long-gone (and also required linux?)

Many users here posted about using the .bat file and modifying it, changing drives, etc. I tried many variations of that and always got a DISKETTE READ ERROR at the very end after it copied over the 3 main files. This was regardless of whether I was on Win7 or XP.

Re-reading Fbyte's initial post, I tried running the WINCRIS.EXE on Win7. This did not produce a bootable disk, even after experimenting with compatibility modes. This was even after displaying success messages. Maybe further experimentation with compatibility modes would have worked.

I finally tried running WINCRIS.EXE on a XP machine, and this was what finally worked. There should be 3 files on the drive after a successful run. On the Win7 machine, even though it said success, there were NO files on the drive. I used a very old 128mb flash drive. The procedure was exactly as was described in many posts previous. I'll add some more observations re: the booting process not previously described on this thread:

1. Remove battery and power cord
2. Plug in usb drive. I had to plug mine into the furthest away from the power on the left, or the right. Directly next to the power cord didn't work.
3. Hold FN+b and plug in.
4. A very brief flash of the 2 LEDs is seen.
5. Press and release the power button (still holding FN+b)
6. After a few seconds there's a single beep. Some recommend holding the Fn+b until the beep.
7. The USB drive should show some reading activity
8. If the drive is formatted and run correctly, there are a series of higher pitched beeps. Happy beeps! This will probably go on for a minute or two. Then it reboots, POSTS, etc.

It is not working if:
  • The USB drive reads briefly (5 seconds) and then stops with no further beeping - disk doesn't have the right formatting or files.
  • The USB drive reads on and off, accompanied by a long beep and 2 short beeps. This pattern of beeps will go on forever. Again, wrong formatting or files. This happened when I tried switching to a 256mb drive (but before having stumbled across running WINCRIS on an XP machine)

The recover file from www just would not work for me.

Hope this helps anyone else stumbling around.

Last edited by waylo; 09-06-2014 at 05:06 PM.
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