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Properly Extracting .HDR Files from Non-Packaged Dell BIOS Update Packages for use with Dell Client Manager

Created: 23 Apr 2007 • Updated: 07 Jul 2009 | 1 comment
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Eric Szewczyk's picture
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The purpose of this document is to explain the proper procedures for extracting .HDR files from non-packaged Dell BIOS Update Packages for use with any version of the Dell Client Manager (DCM). This is used in conjunction with updating the BIOS of Dell client models through policy based distribution with DCM and/or stand-alone package distribution through conventional methods.

Under normal circumstances, downloading Dell BIOS Update Packages that have been formatted for Windows/DOS from Dell’s Support website at will allow the DCM BIOS Upgrade policy to programmatically extract the .HDR file for use with DCM.

Figure 1 shows a properly formatted Windows/DOS BIOS Update Package for an Optiplex 745c obtained from the Dell Support website. Standard procedures for using this file with DCM are as follows:

  1. Download the BIOS Update Package from Dell’s Support website and place on the Altiris Server as shown in Figure 1.

    Figure 1

    Click to view.

  2. Click the Enable checkbox.
  3. After downloading the BIOS Update Package from Dell’s support website, click the Browse button from the DCM BIOS Upgrade Policy and browse to the downloaded file on the Altiris Server.
  4. Click Open.
  5. Select the appropriate collection.
  6. Click the Apply button.
  7. Figure 2

    Click to view.

You should now see a screen similar to Figure 2.

Now, in situations where the Dell BIOS Update Package is NOT formatted for Windows/DOS, there are some additional steps that need to be taken so that the DCM BIOS Upgrade policy can use the embedded .HDR file to properly update the BIOS of select clients.

Figure 3 shows the options available for a BIOS Update Package from Dell’s Support website for an Optiplex GX260. Notice the only options available are Floppy, Non-Packaged, and Hard-Drive. Neither of these formats will work with the DCM product to allow the .HDR file to be programmatically extracted from the Dell BIOS Update Package. For that reason, we have to take the necessary steps as defined later in this document to properly extract for use with DCM.

Figure 3

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Figure 4 shows an example of the error you may expect to receive when trying to use one of the non-packaged Dell BIOS Update Packages from Figure 3 with the BIOS Upgrade policy from DCM.

Figure 4

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Under normal circumstances and by design, you should be able to download and execute the non-packaged Dell BIOS Update Package with the following command line switch “-writehdrfile” to programmatically extract the embedded .HDR file for use with the DCM product. Customers have reported problems with being able to accomplish this task from a DOS prompt with the non-packaged update files. The end result is that the file executes and returns the command prompt, but does not produce the .HDR file. Figure 5 shows an example of a few Dell BIOS Update Packages not returning .HDR files.

Figure 5

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It is worth noting that the properly formatted Windows/DOS Dell BIOS Update packages are able to properly extract the .HDR file by issuing the “-writehdrfile” command line switch. For example, “O745C-010100.EXE -writehdrfile”.

To extract the .HDR file for non-packaged Dell BIOS Update Packages, follow these directions:

  1. Download the Dell BIOS Update Package for the specified Dell workstation model.
  2. From within Windows, right mouse click on the BIOS Update Package and set the maximum amount of conventional memory, expanded memory, and extended memory to the file as shown in Figure 6.
  3. Figure 6

    Click to view.

  4. From a DOS prompt, issue the command: <bios_update_package.exe –writehdrfile>. For example, “GX260A09.EXE –writehdrfile”.
  5. The command should now generate the .HDR file as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7

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Once the .HDR file has been produced, you may now proceed with using it in the DCM BIOS Upgrade policy. To do this, browse to the .HDR file in the policy, click Open, and then click the Apply button. The .HDR file should now reflect that it’s been properly uploaded to be used for policy based and/or stand-alone package distribution as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8

Click to view.

Comments 1 CommentJump to latest comment

KSchroeder's picture

Do you have a list of "standard" command line options to use with packaged Dell updates?  I'm thinking something like /quiet, /norestart, etc.

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