If your notebook's BIOS becomes corrupted, such as from a failed BIOS upgrade or damage from a virus, then the computer fails to boot into an operating system. The computer may display the error BIOS APPLICATION ERROR 501 or simply stop at a black screen or beep. You cannot enter the BIOS Setup Utility or System Recovery screens, nor will the computer start from external storage devices.
When this happens, you might be able to recover the BIOS from an earlier version to restore basic functionality. HP provides an HP BIOS Restore tool on many notebook computers. This tool may or may not work in the event of BIOS corruption depending on many factors, but is worth trying in the event the BIOS has become corrupted.
Recovering the BIOS using key press combination
Whenever you upgrade the BIOS on your notebook, a copy of the previous version is stored in the HP TOOLS partition of your hard disk drive. Many HP notebook computers have an emergency BIOS recovery feature that allows you to recover and install the last known good version of the BIOS from the hard drive, as long as the hard drive remains functional. This emergency recovery feature is separate from the BIOS and is designed to work in the event of a catastrophic BIOS failure.
To recover an earlier version of the BIOS on your notebook:
- Turn off the computer.
- Plug the notebook into power using the power adapter.
- Press and hold the Windows key and the B key down at the same time while the computer is off.
- Still pressing those keys, press and hold down the Power button on the notebook for 3 seconds and then release the Power button and the keys.The screen remains blank for about 40 seconds before anything appears on the display. You might also hear beeping sounds. Eventually, an HP BIOS Update screen displays.NOTE:If the computer fails to display an HP BIOS Update screen, press and hold the Power button for 5 seconds to turn off the computer. Wait 5 seconds and try again. If, after repeated attempts, you cannot open the HP BIOS Update screen, your computer does not support this function or it has a hardware problem that is preventing the tool from opening.
- When the BIOS has been recovered, a Continue Startup button displays and timer counts down. You can click Continue Startup to restart the computer or you can allow the timer to reach zero and the computer will restart automatically.
- After restoring the BIOS, if the computer repeatedly displays a message that the BIOS has been reset, and then perform the steps in HP BIOS Application Selected is Corrupt or Missing .
- After restarting, Windows may display a message stating that the computer was improperly shut down or that a boot problem was detected. Read and respond to the screens to continue.
Recovering the BIOS using an external storage device
If the HP_TOOLS volume on your HDD has been deleted, a USB key with an HP_TOOLS volume can be used as an alternative. The key can be created manually or by using the HP UEFI BIOS Update SoftPAQ or the new HP UEFI Support Environment SoftPAQ and selecting the Create a USB key option. The USB key does not have to be bootable. However, this assumes the boot block is not corrupted in which case a repair is required.
To recover the BIOS on your notebook using the USB key:
- Plug the notebook into an AC adapter.
- Insert the USB key with HP_Tools installed into an available USB port.
- Press the Power button while holding the Windows key and the B key.
- The emergency recovery feature replaces the BIOS with the version on the USB key. The computer reboots automatically when the process is completed successfully.
You are now able to enter into the BIOS screens or Windows operating system after recovering the BIOS.