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2 Bronze

Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

Got my XPS 13 DE i5 Skylake.

I did a fresh install of Ubuntu (not a Dell image, just an ISO downloaded from the usual Ubuntu repos). I'm wondering what the "correct" way to set up a Dell DE system is. Are there drivers I should be installing, any PPAs and packages I should install? The hardware seems to work I guess; not sure if there are any drivers the system came preinstalled with. When I go to the Dell downloads page and put in my service tag, all I get are windows EXE files 😞

Also, how would one perform hardware upgades? I saw on the downloads page that there is a BIOS upgrade available, and I may or may not have a thunderbolt chip upgrade available as well. These were EXEs. What do?

Is there a treasure trove of documentation on how to handle Sputnik

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11 Replies
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2 Bronze

RE: Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

Hi i agree with the need of information how to handle the OEM image and more generally how to take care of sputnik machines. I got a precision and am facing two similar issues :

- after updating, upgrading and installing the applications necessay for my work, the system is getting more unstable than before (occasional freezes, failure to resume from suspend, or unity bugs). If I had a standard Ubuntu image I woud go for a fresh install but with the Dell image, I am not sure what to do.

- I also noticed there is a BIOS update available for the Precision but am not sure how to install : on the one hand, there is a detailed procedure here :https://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/19/SLN171755/en

On the other hand, Jared answered in this thread :http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/os-applications/f/4613/p/19681223/20899279#20899279

"For Skylake XPS 13 and Precision 5510/XPS 15, you can update the BIOS from within any Linux so long as you are UEFI booting and have the necessary kernel patches (4.2 or later would) and tool set (fwupdate, fwupd and dependencies)."

It seems like a different procedure.

Btw I don't have kernel 4.2, which does not come as an update for 14.04 : should I install it then ? I do not want to jeopardize further the system's stability.

I hope Dell engineers, who are making an awesome job, can come with more guidelines/info. Online support is mostly directed at windows users...

Cheers

A

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2 Iron

RE: Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

I have the 2014 XPS 13 DE (Sputnik) model 9333, upgraded to Ubuntu 15.10 with a clean install. My desktop computer is on the same version. With both, be sure you go to

System Settings -0> Software & Updates -> Additional Drivers

and select whatever proprietary drivers Ubuntu provides for your hardware. In some cases (like my 2014 XPS 13) the drivers are all in the upstream kernel and this section will be empty.  In other case (like my 2015 desktop) it is essential to use the Ubuntu-supplied video drivers to make things work (in my case, an EVGA/NVIDIA GTX 960 card).

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2 Bronze

RE: Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

Does anyone have any instructions on how one might complete a bios update? I have a 4.4 kernel and thus should be able to do it.

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1 Copper

RE: Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

Hi,

I think the easiest method is to: copy the exe file into /boot/efi/, reboot and press F12 to get to the boot selection screen, then select BIOS UPDATE (or similar - can't remember the exact wording!), navigate to where you put the exe file and select it to perform the update. 

This is also described here (in case I've got something wrong): wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Dell_XPS_13_(2016)#BIOS_updates

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2 Bronze

RE: Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

I'm bringing this thread back up because it seems like there is a huge problem here. It seems that there is no documentation on how to get/install whatever software Dell is working on to improve their Ubuntu-supported laptops, if you so happen to format your computer and need to install from scratch, which is a totally normal thing to do.

I'm assuming Dell has some drivers and utilities and whatever that they're working on, otherwise there wouldn't be any work for anyone to do, if you could just install stock Ubuntu and have everything work perfectly.

So, that software... how the heck do you get it? Is there a download link somewhere? Is there a PPA? I went to Dell's download page, put in my service tag, and got Windows EXE files and no DEB files or anything similar.

If you need to format the computer, are you screwed? I'm still within my 30 day return window, should I send it back since I need a reinstall and Dell gives me, an IT professional, no way to do so?

And there's no documentation written on doing a BIOS/EFI upgrade either? The other guy in this thread gives some rough advice, but how about a clear step-by-step published by Dell themselves? Assuming someone who buys a Linux laptop can figure it out is total ***.

I mean is Ubuntu supported on this machine or not? Support is a post-sales process as well.

I still think there must be a trove of Sputnik-related documentation that I haven't found yet, there must be, this is a retail product by a company worth tens of billions of dollars.

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1 Copper

RE: Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

Also interested!

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3 Argentium

RE: Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

I still think there must be a trove of Sputnik-related documentation that I haven't found yet, there must be, this is a retail product by a company worth tens of billions of dollars.

Yes but with a team that just has a few individuals.

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3 Argentium

RE: Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

Now that 16.04 is out, you don't have to worry about anything. You can just do a fresh install. You don't need any extra drivers. The Sputnik team has done a good job of upstreaming their contributions.

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2 Bronze

RE: Correct procedure for OS reinstall, and how to update hardware?

I've found that everything works except USB-C. I'd love to know what I need to do to get that working with 16.04.

Now that 16.04 is out, you don't have to worry about anything. You can just do a fresh install. You don't need any extra drivers. The Sputnik team has done a good job of upstreaming their contributions.

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