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Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update

Can someone please, once and for all, tell me how to officially get notified of driver, BIOS, and other system updates for Dell computers? I recently had some issues with the April 2018 Win10 update which caused me some grief. After extensive back and forth, Dell Support told me to update some drivers. Funny, because Dell Update never told me of any drivers that needed updating. I was told by Dell Support that the Dell Update program, which used to alert me to driver, BIOS, etc. updates, was being phased out for a newer version of Dell SupportAssist. Fine, whatever. Dell SupportAssist is a bloated piece of garbage that has many issues, but if that's how it's going to be, sure. This all went down back in May 2018.

Fast forward to yesterday and I'm on my wife's laptop (same model as mine--Inspiron 15 5579) and I run the SupportAssist to see if there are any updates. There are a couple of driver/system updates. I tell SupportAssist to download them. It attempts to, but doesn't. Again, SupportAssist fails to a) notify me of updates and b) to actually install said updates. I go to the support page for my laptop and download the alleged updates to install manually except, what's this? It's the same version that's already installed! For both packages! OK, that's weird, why is SA telling me that I need to update if I'm already up to date? Not only that, but I also see there is a new BIOS update that SA completely failed to tell me about (as did Dell Update, v2.x).

Great, so, whatever. I download and manually install the BIOS update. I go back into SA to scan again for updates. SA keeps telling me there are two updates for various drivers. I've already updated everything manually. It's almost like the alert for updates won't "clear" from SA. I can't rescan without installing what I already installed, and when I attempt to install the updates from SA, it just sits there saying it's trying to download or whatever. So I uninstall SA and reinstall and now it's telling me there are no updates. OK, cool, I'm good to go.

However, I also noticed on the support download page that there was a brand new (v3.x) version of Dell Update! What?! I was told by Dell Support that Dell Update was being cancelled. I prefer Dell Update because it was smaller and it worked great when I first set up my laptop in November. But they wanted to unify under SA, I was told. So why the new version of Dell Update?

Anyway, I install the new version of Dell Update and it now detects some new updates! They're optional, but I'm getting so confused and frustrated with this process I need some clarification here.

1) What is the best way to get automatic notifications for updates to my system? Is it Dell SupportAssist or Dell Update?

2) Why do none of these programs seem to be telling me when new updates actually get released? Why am I still forced to either run the programs manually to find the updates or to go to the support webpage and manually search for new updates? The whole point of these programs is to be automatic.

3) Why am I seemingly unable to actually download/install updates from either SupportAssist aor Dell Update? I can manually download them just fine from the website and installation goes without a hitch from there.

4) Why does Dell Support seem to give unclear, inaccurate, and/or inconsistent messaging on any of these programs? Why was I ever told Dell Update was going to be phased out when clearly it is still being updated?

5) Why does SupportAssist still have a popup in non-admin user accounts (see https://www.dell.com/community/Windows-10/Dell-Update-Problems-User-Account-Control/td-p/5187506/pag...) for more info? I've used the workaround in that thread, but can you guys actually fix the issue, please?

I have two of the same Inspiron 15 5579 laptops and they both have the same issues with lack of notifications for updates from either SupportAssist or Dell Update. Both laptops are running the most up to date software for both apps (SupportAssist =, Dell Update = 3.0.0).

I really want to get to the bottom of this. It shouldn't be so hard to keep my computers up to date using your own, pre-installed, in-house software, yet here I am. I've uninstalled and reinstalled SA so many times I've lost count. Even your own Support Team has done it, yet here I am, unable to get notifications that there are updates to either of my laptop unless I'm manually checking, and even then I'm unable to actually get said updates without needing to manually download and install them from the website. Can someone, anyone, please clarify on the points above and set the record straight on the best way to get automatic updates?

16 Replies
2 Bronze

Re: Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update

I have 2 5759's for my wife and me and I am setting up 2 5770's for a couple of friends.

As best I can tell, going forward Support Assist will do what had been done by combinations of:

  - Support Assist Remediation

  - Support Assist

  - Dell Update

Support Assist Remediation I believe was installed by a package called Dell Foundation Services which I believe also installed all the Data Vault Services.

A year ago Dell changed Support Assist to displace Support Assist Remediation and Foundation Services the update failed to remove Support Assist Remediation.  That produces MSI Installer Event 1035 messages whenever these services run.  

The best way forward:

Remove Dell Support Assist, Dell Support Assist Remediation, and Dell Update.  Do a full shutdown (from a CMD:

shutdown /f /t 0 ) - not just the power button.

After the reboot, install Support Assist.  It is not clear that the new Dell Update is needed.  I have installed the latest Dell Update and it seems to do very little - notably it does not create a Dell Update Service as the old one did. Since it installed cleanly and left no debris, I have left it.  Don't forget to reset the credentials on the Support Assist service.


Your Windows Application Event log should be clean as far as MSI Installer 1035 events.  You may get a warning event from SupportAssist regarding an attempt to set something.  Does not seem to matter.  Support Assist seems to work ok.  My wife and I both have the same glitch that Support Assist reports our support as lapsed but the Dell website shows everything ok - Dell support is looking at it.

Personally, I find Support Assist useful though it is fragile.  It has never **bleep** up driver updates or BIOS updates.

Good luck

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1 Nickel

Re: Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update

Thanks for this info. Per your feedback, I went ahead and uninstalled all things related to Dell Support Assist/Remediation/Update and went ahead and did a fresh install of just SA. Some things of note:

1) I purchased my laptop in November 2017. It came with all three of these programs preinstalled. I've worked with Dell Support multiple times and they've uninstalled and reinstalled the SA components a handful of times. They've never been consistent on their messaging about what these programs do, which versions are current, where they're supposed to install from, etc. It's incredibly frustrating, and I know I'm not the only one suffering trying to sort this out.

2) In the time I've had this computer, I've never once received an automatic notification from SA that there is an update. There have been multiple updates, but the only program that ever gave me an automatic update notice was the older version of Dell Update, which had the tray icon. That used to pop up and say "updates available" now and again, then I'd click it, stuff would install, and all would be well. That is the simplicity I want and have yet to see with SA. I can't possibly be doing it wrong because even after Dell Support set it up, it never gave me notifications, and has clearly missed them.

3) I have yet to actually install any updates via SA. Maybe I'm impatient, but even after it said it found some updates, it seemed to take forever to try and download/install them. Dell Update used to do it straight away. I don't know why SA seems to hang up. These are not large files. It should take seconds to download and there should be a progress bar. Instead, it seemingly just sits there not doing anything. Manual install goes exactly as you'd think it would, which is to say straight away it does its thing.

4) When I did run SA earlier today, it found "updates" that had already been made, while missing others (e.g., BIOS, which was actually two versions behind). Right now it's not showing any updates that need to be made, but I don't actually feel like I can trust it. Why is it missing updates that have been posted for days, if not weeks? Where is the notification even supposed to show up?

It is my understanding that programs like SA are supposed to streamline the update process and make troubleshooting easier for the lay person. I'm not usually in need of these kinds of programs, as I'm plenty capable of figuring out most issues myself, but it's nice to get a heads up that there are updates so I don't have to manually check all the time.

The fact that Dell can't seem to get a clear message out there about what is going on here, let alone get a pre-packaged software app to work correctly is annoying. If I have to manually scan and update anyway, I may as well go back to Dell Update, since it doesn't need to run all the time. No point in wasting any resources, no matter how few, if the program isn't going to do what it's supposed to do.

There's supposed to be a new version of SA coming any day now, which they say will address the non-admin user rights issue/pop-up, but they've said that before, too, and it still persists without the posted work around. My dad's new desktop had the same issue. I'm reasonably certain his computer probably isn't updating itself, either. I'll find out when I visit in a few days.

Is there anyone from Dell here that can clarify in an official capacity what these programs are and aren't supposed to do, and which we should/should not have installed to maintain current updates via notifications/automatic downloads?


EDIT: So randomly my wife's laptop just displayed a notice that an update was available from Dell Updates v3.0. This is weird, because I see nothing running in Task Manager, other than SA. The idea of this is welcome, because now it is functioning as v2.x did, but with no tray icon. This is especially weird because if I go to the taskbar settings, I can see "DellUpTray.exe" in the list of icons that can be toggled, but neither the "on" nor "off" positions will actually display an icon in the system tray. Likewise, I see no actual file called DellUpTray.exe on my PC.

Screenshot is attached. Notice "DellUpTray.exe" is set to on, but it shows nowhere in my tray. What gives here? I've uninstalled and reinstalled this a few times now, same issue.



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2 Bronze

Re: Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update

Based on your comment, I re-installed Dell Update and within a day got a notice to install a driver that is not even listed for my 5759's service tag <Service tag removed>

although it is listed for generic 5759 systems (http://downloads.dell.com/published/pages/inspiron-17-5759-laptop.html) which covers all variants of 5759's ever produced.

SupportAssist says I am fully up to date.

I contacted Dell support and had a very frustrating session with some guy who basically just wanted to close a ticket and get back to his nap.  Understandable given that they are 12 hours out synch with us.

His points:

  - don't install anything if you are not having problems (yet DELL tools and web site can state an update is recommended or urgent)

  - don't install anything that Support Assist does not recommend (so why have DU?)

  - keep DU because it installs drivers (so does SA including BIOS)

  - keep DU because it installs drivers that are generic whereas SA does drivers that are specific to my configuration (nonsense - there are dozens of generic drivers that are not applicable to my system so why would DU want to download them and install them)

  - don't install a driver if SA does not say you need it (apparently he does not read what he writes....)

  - etc... more of the same ...

DELL refuses to fix either SA or DU or resolve conflicts between the two or even to acknowledge that there are problems.

I happened to notice I was missing a driver that the web site indicated was urgent post Win10-1803. Neither SA nor DU picked it up.

When I first started buying Dell systems, I ignored the tools and checked the web site directly.  Then for a while DU was generally useful.  The SA came out and was ok.  Now both are questionable and buggy in many ways (installation conflicts, broken functionality (missing updates, incorrect wrt warranty status,...)) so I am going back to depending on checking the web site manually and using SA as a quick check in case it detects something I miss.  I am uninstalling DU - it seems to be dangerous.  At least SA will not install anything on its own as far I know.

Dell tech support is a shadow of what it was a few years ago.  I discovered an issue with a couple of 5770's I was setting up for non-technical friends.  Others had hit it as well and it seems to apply to all 5770's but it took over a month for Dell to even acknowledge there was an issue (20-30 system event messages per second when using wifi) and I was then told by a tech support supervisor that since wifi was working that DELL did not care about the problem - he was blunt - if the boot up diagnostics don't fail then he did not want to talk to me.  I contacted a product manager in the US I had met through these forums a few years ago and he took over the issue and it is now being pursued by component manufacturers (either qualcomm or rivet networks I suspect).  This guy is great but he should not have had to get involved.

Lenovo is looking increasingly appealing from a price perspective - no experience with their support - I had thinkpads in IBM days and tech supt was great.

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1 Nickel

Re: Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update

Quick update here. I still have SA and DU installed on my machine, both current versions AFAIK. Dell Update periodically tells me there is something I need to install. I've been opting to go to the service website and check myself. If confirmed, I'll download and install manually. That said, there is still no consistency between SA and DU. SA has not been notifying me of any updates unless I manually check, and even then it usually tells me it is fine. However, both have missed BIOS updates, even with manual scans to check for important updates. Bottom line: I don't think either is dangerous. However, they both seem extremely limited in usefulness/reliability. I'm finding I just need to check for updates manually on the proper service page and install what I think makes sense from there. If any problems start cropping up, I guess I'll have to troubleshoot manually for new drivers, etc. One nice thing is that at some point there was a patch from Windows Update that fixed my black screen booting issue. I believe the last major Win10 update introduced a bug that appears to have been conflicting with SA, as the change log notes for this specific Windows update indicated there was some conflict between the last 1803 update and certain vendor diagnostic software. Must have been directly related to SA, since I didn't have anything else running (other than Malwarebytes, but there were no reported issues from other MB users). Oh, Dell... going private doesn't seem to have fixed any of your issues. Not sure I'd trust Lenovo after so many spyware issues. Personally HP hasn't wronged me, but they aren't exactly known for quality support. I really don't know who else to turn to moving forward. Everyone seems to suck to some degree. That said, would be nice if Dell could at least be consistent with the advice they do/don't give out, as currently there is none.
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1 Copper

Re: Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update

I’m helping a client with some IT stuff, and stumbled upon this article. I could not stop shaking my head in sympathy for you guys and bewilderment at OEMs. I literally created an account on here just to write this post and get reply notifications if you respond. I’m bewildered by you saying you don’t know who else to turn to moving forward. Please please please take a look at Apple. I’ve been on a MacBook Pro since 2011 and it’s been so amazing. NEVER deal with stuff like this. Ever. Just saying. Even if you installed Windows on a Mac (to use a particular piece of software), you’d still have a better experience. Worth a shot!
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1 Nickel

Re: Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update

Was in my Dell account today trying to figure out what the many different downloadable Dell software programs are for. FYI ... the web site page for 'Drivers & downloads' now has a new(?) resource at the bottom of the page for 'driver notifications' where you can create a 'subscription' to be emailed of updates available for any of your computers registered in your account.  Have no experience with it yet beyond registering but thought you might like to know/try it out (if you don't already). 

I myself was wondering on the difference between Dell Update, Dell Command-Update and Support Assist... which brought me here. 

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Re: Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update


Below is the information you are requesting. 

Dell Update


Dell Command. | Update replaces DCSU and is a part of the Dell Client Command Suite. It provides a 2-click solution for getting all the latest drivers, firmware, and BIOS updates for your Latitude, Optiplex, and Precision systems.


Support Assist

For my notes, click my username and send me the pc service tag number via private message.



Social Media Support
To help us troubleshoot, send us via a private message: Dell PC or Monitor Service Tag number
Out of Warranty Support
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1 Nickel

Re: Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update

I've read through the entire thread posted by quadriflax and I can relate to all of these same issues. I was becoming so confused as the original poster revealed that I contacted Dell support to express my deep frustration along with the many questions I needed answers to involving SA and Dell Update.

The tech spent an exhausting 4 hours uninstalling and re-installing support assist as well as the standalone product Dell update. This re-installation occurred just a few weeks (I'm estimating) prior to when quadriflax posted the original thread "Dell Support Assist vs Dell Update"on July 2, 2018.

I was told Dell had just released a 'new' version of Support Assist that hadn't been released or made available to Dell customers at that time. Upon the successful installation of the new version of SA by the Dell tech support, I haven't experienced the conflicts between SA and Dell Update that I once did back in the late spring of 2018.

However, the reason for posting this reply is because I wanted to share some particulars that the new version of Support Assist did not and still has has addressed in subsequent updated versions of SA  :

1). The ongoing problem with the latest version of SA is that once SA is opened and a notification of a new update is available, it will install 'urgent' updates (such as a BIOS update), however SA will fail in any attempt to install 'recommended' updates from SA (for example, Intel Rapid Storage Technology). The failed attempt by SA requires the 'recommended' updates to be installed manually on the Dell Support website. But once the update is successfully installed manually, the alert notification in SA for those updates that were just manually installed won't "clear" from SA. 

2) SA will not notify the user on every urgent update that is available. I am not saying this is the case all of the time. But if the user periodically checks in SA to 'Get Driver's and Downloads' and SA does not provide available urgent updates to download at that time, the user can sometimes find urgent updates on the Dell's support website that are actually available to download, by entering their service tag and checking the box that states "show urgent downloads only". It appears to be that the same SA buggy problem recognized by quadriflax in the July 2018 post involving urgent updates still exists. I've since received updates to the SA re-installed package which Dell tech support manually installed back in the late Spring of 2018. I'm currently running the SA version of installed on 11/6/2018.

3.) The last issue I want to mention is (and it's not certain if there is any correlation with SA) that my notification tray will at times show a notification for an available update for a driver if I hover over that icon, which SA does not recognize as an available update for a driver.

I recall Dell tech support telling me after re-installing SA that Dell Update will not try to provide notifications to updates nor offer updates to download drivers even though the standalone program is still installed on my XPS 8930, Special Edition. For all intents of purposes, It's basically idle. Since it doesn't cause conflicts with SA available updates any longer that previously led to the frustration, I don't even know Dell Update is there.  

It would be greatly appreciated if you were to respond to the issues on SA that I mentioned because it's never been made clear on whether either 'Urgent' updates or 'Recommended' updates for drivers should be manually downloaded on the Dell Support site when entering the Dell tag, or whether to wait to install only those drivers that SA makes available. Most of the tech support persons I've talked to (except one person), all have chanted the same mantra: "Do not download any driver updates that are not made available through SA.

Thanks in advance

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2 Iron

Re: Dell SupportAssist vs Dell Update

Same issue here I keep getting notices that Dell has two updates I click ok to install and nothing happens a day or so later I get the same notices. As Per online downloads I'm up to date on everything??

Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 -7386
Samxung 970 Evo 1TB SSD 2nd SSD 512 GB Hynix
Kit-Dell Dock WD15,US,130W,1.1C,MDP
Windows 10 Pro
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