…Sort of. It didn’t require using Windows
My BIOS was 4 years out of date. I thought it was time to update it. I went to the Dell Support page and noticed that they only had *.exe files available. I sighed and was initially frustrated because my initial supposition was that I was going to have to have a working copy of Windows to do the update. My last Dell Latitude, a D630, the BIOS updates required a lot of fiddling on my part. At the time, I would burn a special FreeDOS CD with the BIOS update EXE on it. I figured I would have to do the same with this computer. The good news is, that is not the case and it could be I am the last person to know this bit of information.
I am not sure how well known this process is, but the good news is, you don’t need Windows to do the BIOS update. Where I went to get the BIOS is here:
I searched for “BIOS”
After a bit of searching, I found this page at Dell.com that explains how to update the BIOS on Linux or Ubuntu systems.
In short, the way to do this is to take the downloaded BIOS update .EXE and put it onto a FAT32 formatted USB Drive. It is quite important that you use FAT32.
An easy way to check is to use Gnome Disks, Gparted or KDE Partition Manager to verify.
Once verified that you are indeed using FAT32, copy the BIOS update .EXE to the USB Drive.
Reboot the computer and one the Vendor image appears, press F12 for the One-time boot menu.
Then select BIOS Flash Update.
The flash update tool is a simple GUI. Select the button to the top right with an ellipsis.
Next, you will be presented with a file dialog GUI where you can navigate to the USB drive. Ensure you select the correct file and follow the prompts. If you do not see the file, select the drop-down tool adjacent File System:
Select the appropriate BIOS .EXE then OK
Next select Begin Flash Update.
The big warning is to keep your computer plugged into the “mains” and do not interrupt the process as it could possibly “brick” your system. The process takes a few minutes to complete and the computer will automatically reboot.
Assuming it all goes well, you really shouldn’t notice a difference as the issues being fixed are under the surface.
Just to check, that the BIOS is indeed now updated. I ran this in terminal:
> sudo dmidecode --type 0
Then you will get the resulting output.
# dmidecode 3.2
Getting SMBIOS data from sysfs.
SMBIOS 2.7 present.
Handle 0x0000, DMI type 0, 24 bytes
Vendor: Dell Inc.
Release Date: 06/13/2019
Runtime Size: 64 kB
ROM Size: 12288 kB
PCI is supported
PNP is supported
BIOS is upgradeable
BIOS shadowing is allowed
Boot from CD is supported
Selectable boot is supported
EDD is supported
5.25"/1.2 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
3.5"/720 kB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
3.5"/2.88 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
Print screen service is supported (int 5h)
8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h)
Serial services are supported (int 14h)
Printer services are supported (int 17h)
ACPI is supported
USB legacy is supported
Smart battery is supported
BIOS boot specification is supported
Function key-initiated network boot is supported
Targeted content distribution is supported
UEFI is supported
BIOS Revision: 65.24
I was just glad to see that 5.25″ floppy service is still supported. Just in case it comes up, I can still utilize it.
Due to my laziness and inhibition to use Windows caused me to avoid pursuing updating my BIOS. Dell, on newer systems (~2015 and later), have built in a service to perform these updates outside of the operating system and has removed or eliminated your excuses for keeping your system up to date and more secure.
I am glad I took the time today to figure this out and do the proper thing in keeping my system updated.
Playing in the terminal | dmidecode