Updating dell firmware

Dell has several methods for updating their BIOS.

Working Approach

Out of all the different approaches, this is what I cam up with that successfully let me install the latest BIOS without taking a trip to the data center.

  • Install smbios-utils from EPEL

  • Download the BIOS package from the Dell website, here is an example

  • Rather than running what you downloaded, just extract the files, e.g. ./PER610_BIOS_LX_2.1.15.BIN --extract bios_files would extract the files to a directory named bios_files

  • The actual BIOS image is in the subdirectory named payload. Install it using the dellBiosUpdate program, e.g. dellBiosUpdate -u R610-020115C.hdr

  • Reboot

Unified Server Configurator Approach

A GUI that’s a part of the Lifecycle Controller. I think you get to it by pressing F10 for System Services during boot.


  • Able to update all firmware on the system

  • Fetches the latest version

  • No dependencies on installed OS


  • Must go to data center since console redirection does not work with it

  • Extensive downtime as updates are downloaded

Download Approach

Dell’s Drivers and Downloads page has BIN files you can download and run from within linux to update the BIOS. These are a combined shell script and archive. In theory, you just run them and the new BIOS is installed.


  • Can always get latest version


  • Must manually browse site and identify proper download

  • Only updates the BIOS, not other firmware

  • In my experience, this does not work. A report of the kind of error I ran into and some troubleshooting steps are here.

Dell “Hardware” Repository Approach

Dell officially maintains and supports a yum repository with rpms for their firmware and some tools for installing it.


  • Able to update all firmware on the system


  • Has software that is also packaged in EPEL, meaning you must assign a higher priority to this repository in your yum config

  • The repository is not kept up to date with the latest fimrware. It seems that it’s updated in batches every few months.

  • In my experience, this does not work. See these error reports over a period of months where the R610 BIOS update fails to install.

Dell “Firmware” Repository Approach

Matt Domsch from Dell maintains an unsupported yum repository just with BIOS updates. You need to install some other tools from Dell’s community repository (or maybe smbios-utils and firmware-addon-dell from EPEL would be enough, haven’t tested this yet) to use it.


  • Should always be latest version


  • The script that generates the repository is fragile and frequently breaks

  • Doesn’t seem to have all the BIOS I need, e.g. it didn’t find any updates for my R610s

Update: vwaelchli on reddit points out that you can also update the firmware by running wsman commands from the lifecycle controller.