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My son has a Compaq Presario computer running on Windows 7 and he has brought it down to me cause it's 'not working'.

When I start up the computer I get a HP BIOS update that fails and keeps restarting with the same screens, only to fail every time.

I have read some forum posts that suggest taking it back to default settings – how do I do this when I cant get anything on the computer screen except for the update?

I'm a complete novice with computers.

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Depending on the error you are seeing, it could be a hardware problem that is preventing windows 7 from getting a chance to start or a problem with your windows 7 configuration/files. What is the failure text message that the "bios update" is printing? Do you mean the normal bios startup screen or has someone attempted to update the bios and it failed? If a bios update failure, see the specific HP model's documenation for how to recover the BIOS (possible with only some models). – jdh Mar 14 '12 at 21:28
Looks like you're not alone with that problem, and there is no real (handmade) solution for this. Either push that problem to someone that flashes bios regulary or to a HP dealer. – ott-- Mar 14 '12 at 22:09
Can you post a screenshot (with a camera) of the update screen? Depending on the bios used, it may be able to do a bios recovery which would entail putting a new bios image on a USB stick and using that to re-flash the bios. – Paul Mar 15 '12 at 0:03
@Sachin - Not entirely true. Some (most intel for example) motherboards have the ability to reload a non-functioning bios. This is typically done by setting a motherboard jumper, and using either a USB or CD loaded with the bios image, the bios can be reloaded. – jdh Mar 15 '12 at 3:20
@jdh You're right but AFAIK, you'd get this feature only if you've purchased dedicated motherboard (without packaged inside branded-PCs). – Evil Angel Mar 15 '12 at 10:08

Either you need to replace or flash the BIOS chip. As modern computers' BIOS chip is generally EEPROM, flashing would be fine. Flashing software is generally provided by manufacturer (check official website). You can also use universal flashing softwares like AwdFlash (Most Popular). Flashing is not that hard. Its a thing of double-click or single command. For example, -- to update BIOS (involves flashing) -- a novice Windows user could just downloads an exe file from manufacturer's website & run it.

You'll have to remove BIOS chip from motherboard & flash it using another PC with BIOS flashing hub interface (a kind of device used for connecting external BIOS). If you don't have that device, you can still use another PC for flashing: Just boot a PC & replace that PC's BIOS with your one (Hot Swapping) before executing flashing command. Then, flash it. Its a myth that -- for hot swap based flashing -- you should only use a motherboard of exactly same type (same chipset, same manufacturer etc.). In fact, you can use any motherboard as long as computer architecture is same (Probably, you shouldn't try inserting PC's BIOS in a Tablet).

If you don't have expertise of doing this, I'd recommend you to take your PC to service center of manufacturer.

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Have you tried flashing a USB with a Linux and booting off of that instead of the computers hard drive? If it works, you would have full access to the system and might be able to fix the problem from there. If you want to try that, a simple Google search for "live Linux USB" should get you good results.

Ubuntu mate is my personal favorite, and I actually single boot that, however the USB is the only way to go at this point since you are unable to access the computer. You could also from the USB remove the preinstalled BIOS, and flash your computer with SeaBIOS, which is openware. Just remember to back up your computer when booting into a Linux distro.

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