[solved] BIOS upgrade?

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stevengarland
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[solved] BIOS upgrade?

Post by stevengarland »

I have a Dell e7240 that is 100% MInt Cinnamon 19.3, having been upgraded by me from Windows three years ago. A new bios became available this month and Dell calls it "urgent". Everything is working fine now with the bios I have. Would it be a good move to update the bios or not?

Thanks
Last edited by stevengarland on Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rene
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Re: BIOS upgrade?

Post by rene »

The new BIOS version addresses this one: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en ... 00233.html

That is, it comprises an Intel microcode update that mitigates a potential Spectre-esque sidechannel vulnerability. Said mitigations generally mitigate by destroying performance for the sake of defending against conceptual, not-in-the-wild attacks and I'm as such not a fan in the first place --- but more to the point here, microcode is stored in volatile memory on the CPU that's gone on every reset of the CPU and needs to be re-applied every boot. The BIOS can do so if it has the the proper microcode embedded but Linux (and Windows) also can and by default does (and do).

I.e., no, it's not essential for you. Not generally, but certainly not when you haven't disabled Linux applying the updated microcode on boot itself.

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Derek_S
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Re: BIOS upgrade?

Post by Derek_S »

Whether or not you want to update the BIOS is entirely up to you. Here's how:

From the following link: https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en ... -ultrabook

File Format: Windows/DOS
File Name: E7240A29.exe
Download Type: HTTP
File Size: 9.55 MB
Format Description: This file format consists of a BIOS executable file. The Universal (Windows/MS DOS) format can be used to install from any Windows or MS DOS environment.

Step 1.) Download File
To ensure the integrity of your download, please verify the checksum value.
MD5: 478a279679b9589b3cc026c3fdb4f379
SHA1: 6417ad508ed0148f5d5eea197e142ce499897772
SHA-256: 6c98c97e6f0bd557f7e7f800b34625adfc1c10af705e861a28cccd27cdd431a4

Updating the BIOS from BIOS Boot Menu (independent of operating system) BE SURE TO READ AND FOLLOW THESE NOTES

Note 1: Before updating the BIOS, ensure that you suspend BitLocker encryption on a BitLocker-enabled system. If it is not enabled on your system, you can ignore this step. For information about how to disable BitLocker, see How to Enable or Disable BitLocker with TPM in Windows at support.dell.com.
Note 2: Do not turn off the power or interrupt the BIOS update process during the update.

Step 2.) Installation
1. Copy the downloaded file to a USB drive. The USB drive does not need to be bootable device.
2. Insert the USB drive into any USB port.
3. Power on the system.
4. At the DELL logo screen, press F12 to access the one-time boot menu.
5. Select BIOS Update in the section.
6. Click Flash from file to browse the USB drive to locate the downloaded file.
7. Select the file and click Submit.
8. Verify the existing system BIOS information and the BIOS update information.
9. Click Update BIOS.
10. Review the Warning message and click Confirm Update BIOS! to proceed with the update.
The system restarts and displays a progress bar at the Dell logo screen. The system restarts again when the update is complete.
"Truth is becoming rarer and rarer as time passes. It is only a matter of time before it will cease to exist."

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stevengarland
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Re: BIOS upgrade?

Post by stevengarland »

"The Universal (Windows/MS DOS) format can be used to install from any Windows or MS DOS environment."

That sounds like I can't update the bios as I do not have the needed environment.

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stevengarland
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Re: BIOS upgrade?

Post by stevengarland »

Perhaps the better question to ask is, Does my Dell Latitude e7240, with 100% Mint Cinnamon 19.3, support UEFI updates. The answers I see on line are not very clear.

Thanks

dorsetUK
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Re: BIOS upgrade?

Post by dorsetUK »

Hi stevengarland

All rather beyond me but this may help https://www.dell.com/support/article/uk ... nt?lang=en

Jon

rene
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Re: BIOS upgrade?

Post by rene »

I detailed what your specific BIOS update consists of, that you may not want to update, and that you do not need to update given that Linux applies the same microcode on boot anyway. Derek_S detailed how to update your BIOS using the BIOS, i.e., independently of OS, if you want to after all.

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Derek_S
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Re: BIOS upgrade?

Post by Derek_S »

You do not need any operating system (Windows, DOS, or Linux) to flash the BIOS. On the e7240, you can flash the BIOS from the BIOS boot menu. Go back, read the link I posted, and re-read the instructions in my post. Just be sure to disable Bitlocker if you have it enabled and do not power off the machine during the process.
"Truth is becoming rarer and rarer as time passes. It is only a matter of time before it will cease to exist."

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stevengarland
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Re: BIOS upgrade?

Post by stevengarland »

Thanks to all. I did the bios flash without incident. Perhaps I didn't need to do it but I did. Since I have more than one laptop I am somewhat inclined to take a chance (after some good advice).

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