Help! Updating Dell BIOS Firmware has Bricked My iDRAC!

Posted by Integrity Global on Sep 20th 2018

Help! Updating Dell BIOS Firmware has Bricked My iDRAC!

Help! Dell BIOS Firmware Updates Bricked My iDRAC!

Here at Integrity Global Solutions, we specialize in providing fully tested, high quality refurbished parts and supplies to our customers. Given that we work with a lot of customers who are replacing outdated items with next generation refurbished equipment, we’re familiar with some of the common issues that you might run into when attempting to integrate new equipment into your existing system.

One problem that we’ve seen customers run into is centered around the Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller, or iDRAC. The situation goes something like this.

Let’s say you’ve recently purchased one or more used Dell servers (or even a brand new one, as this problem can still occur with new equipment). You un-box your new server, and you’re ready to integrate it with your existing setup. First, though, you decide to ensure that the server is fully up to date when it comes to the latest firmware. That’s the smart thing to do, right?

So, you set up your server and start installing it with the latest firmware. Everything seems to be going fine, and eventually the process completes. That’s when you notice that the LED on your iDRAC is no longer illuminated. You try to install the iDRAC module, but it doesn’t work. And when you try to update it, nothing happens. You might even get a “doDepcheck Failed” error in response.

The “integrated” in iDRAC means that the remote access controller is integrated with your motherboard, which means it can’t be replaced on its own. You start to panic: what’s there to do?

Don’t worry. There are several things you can try before going out and getting a new motherboard. Let’s take a look at each of them in turn.

Enable iDRAC in Configuration Utilities

Before you try anything else, the first step you should take involves ensuring that iDRAC is enabled in Configuration Utilities.

As the server is posting, you’ll see the prompt for Ctrl + E in order to access the iDRAC6 Configuration Utilities screen. Once you’re in Configuration Utilities, scroll down to System Services and hit enter. Next, confirm that System Services is set to Enabled. If it’s set to Disabled, use the space bar to switch to the Enabled option. Finally, select Save Changes and Exit and reboot your server.

If this fixes your iDRAC problem, you’re done! If not, try the power reset option next.

Power Reset

One of the easiest things to try if you want to get your iDRAC back up and running is to simply do a power reset. First, unplug all USB devices from your server, including the optical drive. Next, remove all power cords. Then, press the power button in and hold it for 45 seconds. You might want to use the stopwatch on your phone to make sure you actually hold it for a full 45 seconds -- time can creep by slower than you’d think.

Once 45 seconds is up, release the power button and plug the power cords back in. Be sure to leave all USB devices disconnected. Now, reboot your system and check to see if the Lifecycle Controller shows up as enabled. If it doesn’t, power your system down and reboot it one more time. If two reboots haven’t fixed the problem, try the next tip.

The F10 Trick

This approach involves another method for attempting to fix the Lifecycle Controller functionality. When booting up your system, hit F10. You’ll be given access to the Lifecycle Controller. From here, you can attempt to update the Lifecycle Controller’s firmware. Once this is done, you can attempt the iDRAC update again. It’s a good idea in general to take this step before attempting to update the existing BIOS or firmware. Click here for more information on your Dell system’s Lifecycle Controller. If you find that your Lifecycle Controller is hanging after hitting F10, here are some helpful tips to overcome this problem.

Still no luck? The next tip might help.

Reset the iDRAC Using the "RACADM Reset" Command

If all else fails, you can try resetting your iDRAC using the “RACADM Reset” command. RACADM stands for Remote Access Controller Admin, and resetting your iDRAC with this method can sometimes solve issues related to the iDRAC failing to function. In particular, resetting the iDRAC is the best thing to do if you’re presented with a “Creation of Dynamic Partition Failed” error while attempting to run a Dell firmware update on your used or refurbished Dell server.

To perform a reset, first open a command prompt as the system administrator. Then, run the command “racadm racreset.” Note that in order for this command to work, OMSA (OpenManage Server Administrator) will have to be installed at the system host.

Once you’ve reset the iDRAC, retry your firmware update. If performing the reset has fixed your problem, the firmware should update and your iDRAC should function normally.

Check Your iDRAC License

If none of the above solutions have helped, it’s worth making sure that your iDRAC license is up to date. If you’re able to view the OMSA, you can check the iDRAC license section there to see what authorizations you currently have. If you’re unable to use OMSA, try booting into the Lifecycle Controller (using the F10 trick, as outlined above) and and check your iDRAC license there. If your iDRAC license is outdated, you’ll need to update it.

Get a Used or Refurbished Motherboard

Still no luck? At this point, you may need to replace your motherboard.

We all know how expensive new Dell parts and supplies can be. Fortunately, IGS offers high quality, fully tested refurbished Dell motherboards at affordable prices. In fact, we stock a wide selection of used and refurbished Dell parts and supplies, including Dell hard drives, PowerEdge processors and memory, Dell servers , PowerVault storage, and more. Click here to browse our full selection. Not sure what part you need? Chat with us now for assistance. We look forward to serving you!