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What is BIOS and How to Update the BIOS on Your Dell System

Summary: This article provides information about what a system BIOS is and how to update BIOS on a Dell computer.

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


Symptoms

How to Update the System BIOS

Duration: 01:15
Closed captions: English only

Introduction to BIOS

BIOS also called System Setup is an acronym for Basic Input or Output System. BIOS is firmware that is embedded on a small memory chip on the computer's system board or motherboard. It acts as an interface between the computer's hardware and the operating system. BIOS contains instructions that the computer uses to perform basic instructions such as whether to boot from a network or hard disk drive.

When the computer is turned on, BIOS activates all the basic hardware that is required to boot the operating system including but not limited to:

  • Chipset
  • Processor and cache
  • System memory or RAM
  • Video and audio controllers
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Internal disk drives
  • Network controllers
  • Internal expansion cards

To access the BIOS or System Setup on Dell computers:

  1. Press the F2 key several times at the Dell logo screen during startup.

  2. Or, press the F12 key several times at the Dell logo screen during startup, and select BIOS Setup or System Setup from the menu.

NOTE: The BIOS interface may differ between different Dell computers. To learn how to navigate the BIOS on your Dell computer, see the User Guide of your Dell computer.
WARNING: The BIOS interface is designed for advanced computer users. Changing certain settings could prevent the computer from completing the power on self-test (POST), prevent the operating system from loading, or a potential loss of data.

Cause

No cause information is available.

Resolution

How to update the BIOS on a Dell computer

Dell recommends updating the BIOS as part of your scheduled update cycle. BIOS updates can often fix problems, add features, or both to the BIOS. BIOS update contains feature enhancements or changes that help keep the system software current and compatible with other computer modules (hardware, firmware, drivers, and software). BIOS update also provides security updates and increased stability.

Dell provides an easy-to-use self-installing BIOS update utility. Critical BIOS updates are also pushed through Windows Update.

WARNING: Ensure to back up your data before attempting to update the BIOS. Errors during a BIOS update may result in potential loss of data.
WARNING: Disconnect devices such as external USB drives, printers, scanners before updating the BIOS on the computer.
WARNING: Dell laptop battery must be charged to at least 10% before you begin the BIOS update. Dell recommends running the laptop on AC power before proceeding with the update process.
CAUTION: Disable BitLocker before proceeding to update the BIOS on the Dell computer. If BitLocker is not suspended, the next time you reboot the computer it will not recognize the BitLocker key. You will be prompted to enter the recovery key to progress, and the computer will ask for the recovery key on each reboot. If the recovery key is unknown this can result in data loss or unnecessary operating system reinstallation.
NOTE: You must be logged in as an administrator to install the BIOS update on your Dell computer.
NOTE: You must be logged in as an administrator to download and install the SupportAssist app on your Dell computer.

Before you begin, temporarily suspend BitLocker protection in Windows. Learn How to Enable or Disable BitLocker with TPM in Windows. BitLocker protection will resume automatically when the computer is restarted.

  1. Browse to Dell.com/support/drivers.
  2. Identify your Dell computer.
    • Click Download & Install SupportAssist to auto-detect your Dell computer. 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.
    • Or, enter the Service Tag, Express Service Code, or the Serial number of the Dell computer and click Search.
    • Or, click Browse all products to manually select your Dell computer from the catalog.
  3. Select the Operating System that is installed on the computer.
  4. Under Category, select BIOS.
  5. Locate the latest System BIOS.
  6. Click Download and save the file to your computer.
  7. Using File Explorer (also known as Windows Explorer), browse to the location where the downloaded file was saved.
  8. Double-click the downloaded BIOS setup file and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.
  9. The computer will restart and complete the BIOS update process.

Additional Information

Frequently asked questions

Click to expand a section below for more information.

To access the BIOS or System Setup on a Dell computer:

  1. Press F2 key several times at the Dell logo screen during startup.

  2. Or, press F12 key several times at the Dell logo screen during startup and select BIOS Setup or System Setup from the menu.

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To identify the BIOS version using System Information in Microsoft Windows:

  1. Press Windows + R key on the keyboard.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type msinfo32 and press the Enter key.
  3. In the System Information window, look for BIOS Version/Date (Figure 1).

screenshot of the bios version in system information
Figure 1: Screenshot of the BIOS version in System Information.

To identify the BIOS version using Command Prompt in Microsoft Windows:

  1. Press Windows + R key on the keyboard.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type cmd and press the Enter key.
  3. In the Command Prompt window, look for BIOS Version (Figure 2).

screenshot of the bios version in command prompt
Figure 2: Screenshot of the BIOS version in Command Prompt.

To identify the BIOS version using the BIOS interface:

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. Press F2 key at the Dell logo screen during startup.
  3. Under the Main or System Information tab, look for BIOS Version.

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BIOS update for Dell computers is available for download at https://www.dell.com/support/drivers. Critical BIOS updates are also pushed through Windows Update.

NOTE: BIOS update may not be available for all Dell computers.
  1. Browse to https://www.dell.com/support/drivers.
  2. Identify your Dell computer.
    • Click Download & Install SupportAssist to auto-detect your Dell computer. 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 .
    • Or, enter the Service Tag, Express Service Code, or the Serial number of the Dell computer and click Search.
    • Or, click Browse all products to manually select your Dell computer from the catalog.
  3. Select the Operating System that is installed on the computer.
  4. Under Category, select BIOS.
  5. Locate the latest System BIOS.
  6. Click Download and save the file to your computer.

Back to top

Dell provides an easy-to-use self-installing BIOS update utility. Critical BIOS updates are also pushed through Windows Update.

WARNING: Ensure to back up your data before attempting to update the BIOS. Errors during a BIOS update may result in potential loss of data.
WARNING: Disconnect devices such as external USB drives, printers, scanners before updating the BIOS on the computer.
WARNING: Dell laptop battery must be charged to at least 10% before you begin the BIOS update. Dell recommends running the laptop on AC power before proceeding with the update process.
CAUTION: Disable BitLocker before proceeding to update the BIOS on the Dell computer. If BitLocker is not suspended, the next time you reboot the computer it will not recognize the BitLocker key. You will be prompted to enter the recovery key to progress, and the computer will ask for the recovery key on each reboot. If the recovery key is unknown this can result in data loss or unnecessary operating system reinstallation.
NOTE: You must be logged in as an administrator to install the BIOS update on your Dell computer.
NOTE: You must be logged in as an administrator to download and install the SupportAssist app on your Dell computer.

Before you begin, temporarily suspend BitLocker protection in Windows. Learn How to Enable or Disable BitLocker with TPM in Windows. BitLocker protection will resume automatically when the computer is restarted.

  1. Browse to https://www.dell.com/support/drivers.
  2. Identify your Dell computer.
    • Click Download & Install SupportAssist to auto-detect your Dell computer. 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 .
    • Or, enter the Service Tag, Express Service Code, or the Serial number of the Dell computer and click Search.
    • Or, click Browse all products to manually select your Dell computer from the catalog.
  3. Select the Operating System that is installed on the computer.
  4. Under Category, select BIOS.
  5. Locate the latest System BIOS.
  6. Click Download and save the file to your computer.
  7. Using File Explorer (also known as Windows Explorer), browse to the location where the downloaded file was saved.
  8. Double-click the downloaded BIOS setup file and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.
  9. The computer will restart and complete the BIOS update process.

Back to top

If the computer cannot boot into or load the operating system, download the BIOS file using another computer.

NOTE: To learn how to create a bootable USB flash drive, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive using Dell Diagnostic Deployment Package (DDDP).

To install the BIOS, update using a USB flash drive:

  1. Create a bootable USB flash drive.
  2. Download the BIOS update file and save it to the USB flash drive.
    NOTE: Make a note of the BIOS update file for example O9010A12.exe.
  3. Power off the Dell computer.
  4. Connect the USB flash drive and restart the Dell computer.
  5. Press F12 key at the Dell logo screen to enter One Time Boot Menu.
  6. Using the arrow keys, select USB Storage Device and press Enter key.
  7. At the command prompt, type the full BIOS filename for example O9010A12.exe and press Enter key.
  8. Follow the instructions in the BIOS Update Utility screen to complete the update process.
NOTE: Newer versions of Dell BIOS may use long filenames. Rename the downloaded file to 8 characters or less to run the file in command prompt.
WARNING: Do not turn off the computer during the BIOS update process.
WARNING: Dell laptop battery must be charged to at least 10% before you begin the BIOS update. Dell recommends running the laptop on AC power before proceeding with the update process.

Back to top

See the Dell knowledge base article Updating the BIOS on Dell Systems With BitLocker Enabled.

WARNING: If BitLocker is not suspended before updating the BIOS, the computer will not recognize the BitLocker key after the restart. You will be prompted to enter the recovery key to progress on each reboot.
WARNING: If the recovery key is not known this can result in data loss or an unnecessary operating system reinstallation.

Back to top

A corrupt BIOS is one of the possible causes of your computer unable to complete POST or some times even boot into the operating system. BIOS Recovery tool is software that is designed to recover a corrupted BIOS based on Boot Block Technology. The software's main feature is to provide flexibility to recover the corrupted BIOS using a BIOS recovery file from the computer's primary hard disk drive or an external USB drive.

If your Dell computer or tablet supports BIOS recovery, you can recover the corrupt BIOS by using the BIOS recovery method on your Dell computer or tablet. See the Dell knowledge-base article How to Recover the BIOS on a Dell Computer or Tablet for more information.

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The information stored in the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System), known as ESCD (Extended System Configuration Data) can occasionally become corrupted due to various situations such as power events, incorrect settings by the user, hardware incompatibility due to a specific setting, or a No POST or No Video scenario. In these cases, it is sometimes necessary to reset the BIOS or CMOS (Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) to "Factory Defaults" or in other circumstances, clear the NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory).

To learn more, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Perform a BIOS or CMOS Reset and Clear the NVRAM on Dell Systems.

WARNING: The BIOS interface is designed for advanced computer users. Changing certain settings could prevent your computer from starting correctly, prevent the operating system from loading or a potential loss of data.

Back to top

The BIOS or UEFI firmware offers the ability to set lower-level passwords. This allows you to restrict a user from booting the computer, booting to a removable USB device, and changing the BIOS or UEFI settings without permission.

There are three types of passwords that can be set in the BIOS or UEFI firmware settings.

  1. Supervisor or Admin password - The admin password enables several security features. Enabling this setting restricts a user from changing the BIOS or UEFI firmware settings.
  2. User or System password - This setting restricts a user from completing the turn on self-test process without the correct password.
  3. Hard drive password - This option restricts a user from accessing the internal hard disk drive without the correct password.

To learn more about password settings in the BIOS or UEFI firmware and how to reset the passwords, see the Dell knowledgebase article General Hard Drive and BIOS Password Information.

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Helpful links


Out of Warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Browse to the Dell.com/support website and enter your Dell Service Tag and view our offers.

NOTE: Offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and China personal computer customers. Server and Storage not applicable.

Article Properties


Affected Product

Chromebox, Alienware, Inspiron, Retired Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, Chromebook, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Fixed Workstations, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

14 Mar 2022

Version

8

Article Type

Solution