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How to Flash the BIOS or UEFI on a Dell Desktop or Laptop with a USB Flash Drive or Thumb Drive

Summary: Information about how to update your BIOS on a Dell Desktop or Laptop computer using a USB thumb drive and the boot once menu.

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Article Content


The BIOS or UEFI can be updated, also called flashing the BIOS, from the F12 boot once menu, outside the operating system.

This can be useful when your computer is not booting to the operating system or when the BIOS .exe file fails to start the flashing process.

Affected computers

  • Any Dell computer with a USB port and access to the One Time Boot menu.
If your Dell computer does not support updating or flashing the BIOS from the One Time Boot menu, learn: How to Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive using Dell Diagnostic Deployment Package (DDDP)

A USB flash drive and a computer that is connected to the Internet are required for the following steps:

Warning: Dell Technologies recommends disconnecting any devices like external hard disk drives, printers, scanners before updating the BIOS.
Warning: Dell laptops must have the battery installed and charged to at least 10% before you begin the BIOS update. Dell Technologies recommends connecting any laptops to AC power before proceeding with the update process.
Note: You must have administrator privileges on your computer to use the following instructions.
  1. Browse to the Dell Drivers & Downloads page and identify your Dell computer using the Service Tag or Express Service Code.

  2. Select the Operating System.

  3. Under Category, select BIOS.

  4. Locate the latest System BIOS.

  5. Click Download and save the file to your computer.

    Drivers Page

    (Figure.1 Support Site Drivers Page)

  6. Is the flash drive larger than 32 GB? (Microsoft set a 32 GB limit for a FAT32 partition. Most Linux operating systems use exFAT based file systems.)

    • No, ensure that your flash drive is formatted as FAT32 when you open File Explorer and right-click the Flash drive and select Format.

      Format Drive

      (Figure.2 Format Drive)

    • Yes, you can still use PowerShell commands to format larger drives with FAT32:

      1. Open PowerShell with Administrator Privileges from the start menu.

      2. Type the following command into the PowerShell window and press the Enter key.

        format /FS:FAT32 #

        # must be replaced with the drive letter assigned to your flash drive.

  7. Copy the BIOS update file to the newly formatted USB flash drive.

    Copy to Drive

    (Figure.3 Copy to Flash Drive)

  8. Plug the USB flash drive into the computer that you want to flash the BIOS to.

  9. Turn that computer on and enter the boot menu by tapping the F12 key at the Splash screen as the computer starts up.

  10. Under OTHER OPTIONS, select BIOS Flash Update.

    Boot Once Menu

    (Figure.4 Boot Once Menu)

  11. On the update screen, using either the mouse pointer (if available), or the Tab key, highlight the file name of the BIOS. Click it or press the Enter key.

    BIOS Update Screen

    (Figure.5 BIOS Update Screen)

  12. The filename would be populated in the Current Path: and the BIOS Upgrade File: fields. Use either the mouse or the Tab key to highlight the Flash Upgrade button. Then click the Flash Upgrade button or press the Enter key.

    BIOS Update Flash

    (Figure.6 BIOS Update Flash)

  13. The BIOS flashing process is going to start, and the progress would be shown on the screen.

Note: To learn more about updating the BIOS on a Dell computer, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Dell BIOS Updates.

Additional Information

Article Properties

Affected Product

Alienware, Inspiron, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

22 Dec 2023



Article Type

How To