Flashing the BIOS from the F12 One-Time Boot Menu

Summary: This article provides information about how to update or flash the BIOS using the F12 One Time Boot menu on Dell computers.

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The BIOS update can be initiated from inside Windows. If a Dell computer is unable to boot into the operating system, BIOS update can be initiated using the F12 One Time Boot menu. Most Dell computers manufactured after 2012 have this function and you can confirm by booting the computer to the F12 One Time Boot Menu. If you see BIOS FLASH UPDATE listed as a boot option, then the Dell computer supports this method of updating the BIOS using the One Time Boot Menu.

WARNING: BitLocker should be disabled before updating the BIOS or the BitLocker recovery key will be needed after the update.
NOTE: Only Dell computers with BIOS Flash Update option in the F12 One Time Boot Menu can use this function.

Download the BIOS update file and copy the file to a USB flash drive

  1. Browse to the Dell Drivers & downloads website.
  2. Identify your Dell product
    1. Click Download & Install SupportAssist to auto-detect your Dell product.
      Follow the on-screen instructions to install Dell SupportAssist. For more information, see the Dell knowledge base article Dell SupportAssist (formerly Dell System Detect): Overview and Common Questions.
    2. Or, enter the Service Tag, Express Service Code, or the Serial number of the Dell product and click Search.
    3. Or, click Browse all products to manually select your Dell product from the catalog.
  3. Select the Operating System that is installed on the Dell computer.
  4. Under Category, select BIOS.
  5. Locate the latest System BIOS.
  6. Click Download and save the file to your computer.
  7. Connect the USB flash drive to the computer.
  8. Open File Explorer (also known as Windows Explorer).
  9. Right-click the USB flash drive icon and select Format.
    WARNING: Back up all important data from the USB flash drive. Formatting the USB flash drive will permanently erase the contents in the USB flash drive.
  10. Under File system, select FAT32.
  11. Click Start.
  12. After the formatting process is complete, click OK.
  13. Browse to the location where the downloaded BIOS update file was saved.
  14. Copy the BIOS update installation file to the USB flash drive.
  15. After the file is successfully copied, proceed to the next step.

Updating the BIOS from the One Time Boot Menu

To update the BIOS from the F12 One Time boot menu.

WARNING: Dell recommends disconnecting any external devices such as external hard disk drives, printers, scanners, and so on (except keyboard and mouse) before updating the BIOS on a Dell computer.
WARNING: Dell laptops must have the battery installed and charged to at least 10% before you begin the BIOS update. Dell recommends connecting the laptop to the ac adapter before proceeding with the update process.
WARNING: DO NOT TURN OFF THE COMPUTER DURING THE BIOS UPDATE PROCESS. Turning off the computer during the BIOS update will cause irreparable damage to the system board (motherboard) of the computer. To learn more about updating the BIOS on a Dell computer, see the Dell knowledge base article Dell BIOS Updates.
  1. Turn off the computer.
  2. Connect the USB flash drive to the computer.
  3. Turn on the computer and tap the F12 key several times, until you see One Time Boot Menu.
  4. Use the arrow keys and select BIOS Flash Update (Figure 1).
    One time boot menu
    Figure 1: Selecting the BIOS Flash option on the F12 one time boot menu.
  5. In the BIOS flash menu, click the Browse button (Figure 2).
    browse button
    Figure 2: The Flash BIOS menu browse selection from the F12 menu.
  6. In the pop-up window, select the BIOS flash executable file that you copied to the USB drive. For example, E5450A14.exe. The file name varies (Figure 3).
    select the bios update file from the usb flash drive
    Figure 3: Selecting the BIOS flash in the pop-up menu.
  7. Click OK (Figure 4).
    click ok to confirm
    Figure 4 - After the BIOS flash file is selected, click the OK button.
  8. Click Begin Flash Update (Figure 5).
    click begin flash update button
    Figure 5: Clicking the Begin Flash Update button.
  9. When the warning message appears, read the message and click Yes to begin the BIOS update process (Figure 6).
    Figure 6: Clicking Yes in the Do You Want to Proceed warning box.
  10. The progress bar may go from zero to 100 multiple times. The BIOS update process can take up to 10 minutes, but generally this process takes two to three minutes (Figure 7).
    BIOS update progress indicator
    Figure 7: BIOS Flash Progress indicator.
  11. After the BIOS update is complete, restart the computer.

Article Properties

Affected Product

Laptops, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, XPS, Wyse 3040 Thin Client

Last Published Date

12 Mar 2021



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