I have a Dell Inspiron 3647 desktop with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa).
How can I check the bios firmware version from inside Ubuntu and update it (if necessary) without using MS Windows?
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Warning: electrical power outage during bios firmware installation may result in irreversible damage! Be sure to avoid it!
1. Update using Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) (available for some computers from 2015 onwards)
Go to the LVFS Devices Website and check the computer models available by this service. Until this point, Dell and Lenovo are the two vendors with the largest coverage.
If your computer is on the list, proceed with this section. If not, check the following sections of this guide.
Install fwupd (if not already installed):
sudo apt install fwupd
Start the daemon service:
sudo service fwupd start
Refresh the list of available firmware updates:
sudo fwupdmgr refresh
List devices connected and supported:
List updates available (for previously listed devices):
Install the firmware update (if available):
sudo fwupdmgr update
Reboot the machine to complete the update installation process.
If this section suited, you should be done at this point.
This is the newest and more convenient way to update bios firmware from within a GNU/Linux OS. It's an effort from many hardware vendors to offer the updates right out-of-the-box for Linux users. More information at Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS).
2. Check the installed bios firmware version
sudo dmidecode -s bios-version
3. Check the installed bios firmware release date
sudo dmidecode -s bios-release-date
4. Find the latest bios firmware version available for your computer from Dell
Be sure to check the integrity of the downloaded file by running a checksum:
sha256sum [/path/to/file.exe] | grep [SHA-256 hash informed on webpage]
If the output hash is printed in a different color (highlighted), like in red, your good to proceed.
5. Update using Flash Boot (available for computers from 2015 onwards)
This section is suitable if your bios offers the option BIOS Flash Update in Boot Menu (image below).
6. Update using FreeDOS (bios without Flash Boot feature - older hardware)
dirto list the directories and files available from the USB drive. You should see the bios executable file, besides the FreeDOS files.
Copying the downloaded BIOS executable to /boot/efi and then following procedure 5 (Starting the computer with F12 pressed to enter the BIOS Flash Update procedure) worked out for me as the most simple and reliable method to update the Dell BIOS. No hassle with booting FreeDOS, no hassle to get a USB stick mounted to the BIOS Flash Update (never worked for me on my USB-C only XPS 13), no need to temporarily changing anything of the BIOS settings.