Upgrading modern Dell Server BIOS/Firmware

By Alasdair Lumsden on 27 Aug 2010

Upgrading Modern Dell Server

I’m from a rather old school way of doing things, and for years now I’ve updated the BIOS on our Dell servers by making a DOS boot disk image and mounting it via the iDRAC enterprise.

However recently Dell have stopped providing the images (or I’ve been unable to find them) and I started tearing my hair out trying to do the BIOS upgrade from a CentOS or Knoppix boot CD using their Linux installer.

However somehow one day I stumbled upon the “F10” option during the system boot screen. This magic option starts up a crazy embedded OS which can update all your firmware in one go – BIOS, RAID Card, NIC Firmware, iDRAC firmware – the lot. You just tell it which IP address settings to use, let it use the default Dell FTP server, and off it goes! Mad!

I have to say this is an incredibly cool feature. It’s very slow but mostly automated and a very welcome change.