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Update the Dell BIOS in a Linux or Ubuntu environment

Summary: Need to update the BIOS on your Dell with Ubuntu and Linux? This page will give some guidance.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content



Cause information is not applicable.


Flashing a Dell BIOS in a Linux Only Environment

As Linux and Ubuntu distributions are becoming more popular on Dell systems, there are more situations where a Linux only environment is present.

UEFI Capsule updates

If your system is listed at, This hyperlink is taking you to a website outside of Dell Technologies. then it supports UEFI capsule updates and can be updated natively within the OS.

Ubuntu 16.04 and later natively notifies you of new BIOS updates. When an update is available, a notification is displayed to flash the update.

Note: Other Linux distributions may need to have the capsule flashing tools manually installed. Check with your distribution vendor for more information.

If your system or Operating System does not support UEFI capsule updates:

  • For newer systems (post-2015), refer to Section 2 below.
  • For older systems and releases of Linux/Ubuntu, the process to create a bootable USB BIOS update is referenced in Section 3 and Section 4 below.

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Updating the BIOS on supported UEFI systems (2015 onwards)

BIOS Boot menu updates

All Dell systems from 2015 and later support flashing an updated BIOS from within the boot menu. Follow the directions below to update the BIOS on these systems.

  1. Format USB storage device.

    Users must format a USB storage device as FAT32 On Ubuntu 16.04 and later, this can be done by following these steps:

    1. Plug in a USB storage device such as a Memory Stick.

    2. Click or touch the Ubuntu dash icon.

    3. Type disks to search for the Disks application.

      Figure 1: Find Disks app


    4. Select Disks.

      Figure 2: Disks app


    5. Select the USB flash drive on the left. (1 in Figure 2 above.)

      Figure 3: Format Volume

      SLN171755_en_US__6format volume

      Note: On other Linux distributions, you may need to check with your distribution vendor for information about how to format the USB storage device.
    6. Look at the Partition Type below. (2 in Figure 2 above.)

      • If the partition type contains FAT32 it is already formatted properly.

      • If the partition type is something else, it must be formatted.

    7. Click the gear icon above Size (3 in Figure 2 above.)

    8. Select Format.

    9. Make sure that Type is FAT.

    10. Click the Format button.

  2. Download BIOS update:

    1. Visit to find your system.

    2. Select the BIOS update, and download using your web browser.

    3. Navigate to the Downloads folder, and copy the BIOS to your USB disk.

      Note: the BIOS flash ends in an .exe extension. Even though Linux cannot open it natively, the BIOS will deal with it properly.
  3. Flash BIOS update

    If the system is not already plugged into a power outlet, plug it in now:

    1. Reboot the system, and press F12 at the Dell splash screen.

      The One-time boot menu (Figure 4) appears.

      Figure 4: One Time Boot Menu


    2. Select the option to BIOS Flash Update.

    3. Navigate to your USB disk and select the BIOS you downloaded.

    4. Once the update has been completed, the system reboots automatically.

      Figure 5: BIOS Update


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Creating a USB Bootable Storage Device Using FreeDOS (Legacy Systems)

Warning:This procedure does NOT work on USB 3.0 only systems. This process is provided as a courtesy and requires the use of third-party utilities to create the bootable USB key. This process is not supported by Dell Technical Support. Proceed at your own risk.

For older versions of Linux and Ubuntu and on systems that are pre-2015, you must update the BIOS using the following method:

Note: This procedure may not work on systems that were not shipped with Linux factory-installed. This process is provided as a courtesy and requires the use of third-party utilities to create the bootable USB key. This process is not supported by Dell Technical Support.

Users must create a bootable USB storage device with FreeDOS on it to proceed with flashing the BIOS.

Note: Note again that this process is unlikely to work on systems that are unable to have FreeDOS or Linux factory-installed on it.

Download the following to the system before beginning:

  • The latest BIOS for the system found at
  • The FreeDOS Base ISO 1.0, found at SLN171755_en_US__2iC_External_Link_BD_v1
  • UNetbootin, which can be installed by going to the Software Center in Linux, and searching for UNetbootin and then installing it.

After UNetbootin is installed, run the program and select the Diskimage option. Set to ISO and then select the FreeDOS Base ISO file that was downloaded earlier.

Select the Type as USB Drive and the drive as /dev/sdb1 and click OK.

Use the image below as a sample of what the UNetbootin screen should look like.

Figure 6: UNetbootin screen


After this operation is complete, copy the BIOS .exe file to the USB storage device.

Now move on to Section 4

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Update the BIOS on Dell systems before 2015

  1. After the BIOS flash file has been copied, reboot the system, and press F12 at the Dell logo to bring up the "One-time boot menu"

  2. Select USB Storage Device to boot from the USB stick.

  3. Once the system reaches the boot menu, choose the fdos option, then choose safe mode.

Caution: Do not choose to Load FreeDOS to the hard drive, as it will damage the operating system.
  1. Once the boot sequence finishes, it displays an A: prompt.

  2. Switch the drive letter to B: or C: (The drive letter that is assigned to the USB memory stick.)

  3. Type in the filename of the BIOS flash file to begin the update process e.g. O9010A12.exe and press Enter.

  4. Once the update has completed, the system should reboot automatically.

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Additional Information

Article Properties

Affected Product

Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations, XPS 13 L322X

Last Published Date

19 Oct 2023



Article Type