I recently bought a Dell 15R 5521 Laptop with the sole purpose of installing Linux on it. Let’s be clear. I hate Windows 8. It’s the worst OS they have ever made. When I first played with it the learning curve was too high.

Anyway I got this laptop and I couldn’t delete Windows fast enough. Apparently I did it too fast because after i installed Linux I figured out the computer BIOS was way out of date. It was on Dell Version A05 and the current version was A12. There’s never a need to upgrade a BIOS when everything is working but alas I was having fan issues and sure enough BIOS A06 fixed them. Crap.

There are probably 10 good directions on the internet on how to flash a Dell Bios from Linux. None of them work on this laptop.

Well one of them did anyway. Here is what WORKS.

Find a Windows machine and make a system recovery disk. Go to the Control Panel, then System and Security, then Backup and Restore. Burn a System Recovery Disk.

Now Download the BIOS file you wish to upgrade and put it on an external USB drive. I first tried it with an SD card reader and it wasn’t recognized after boot. Then I put it on a regular external hard drive and it worked.

Now to the Linux machine...........

This is a bit unsettling but I’m telling you I tried every software hack in the book.......Boot to Freedos, Boot to Win Mini XP, write a Dell HDR bios file in Linux and apply their old BIOS update software......NONE of it worked.

What you have to do is disconnect the hard drive. I know this seems unsettling but if you can;t disable the hard drive in the BIOS (I couldn’t) you have to disconnect the hard drive or this won’t work either. In my case there was a panel on the bottom of the laptop that had two screws and had easy access to the memory and hard drive. I them removed two screws holding the hard drive in then simply slid it back an inch out of its connector.

Plug your external hard drive in with the BIOS update file on it in. Now boot with your Windows System Recovery disk by pressing F12 at boot and selecting CD as the boot device.

When it boots select “Use Recovery Tools That Can Help Fix Problems Starting Windows”. Then select “Command Prompt”.

Now find your drive. Mine booted to the X: Drive in a windows environment.

At tha prompt type C:

In my case nothing happened. Now try D:

It found a D Drive. Now type dir

Voila. There is my file. Now execute the file. In my case it was done by typing 5521A12.exe

That did it. It rebooted and flashed. After the flash boot in and make sure it worked by pressing F2 and checking the BIOS version.

Now shut down. Plug your hard drive back in and reboot into Linux.

And that’s how you do it.