Bios Update Questions

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  1.    #1

    Bios Update Questions


    Dell xps 15 9550


    Windows 10 Pro
    i5-6300hq processor
    8gb ram
    250gb ssd samsung hard drive. There is also a 32gb mini ssd hard drive that comes along with it? Im not sure how to explain this.


    But basically everything i download goes to my samsung ssd. I bought this laptop over 2.5 years ago in late 2016.



    I checked my bios and this is what it says



    Bios Version/Date Dell Inc. 01.00.07, 11/2/2015
    SMBIOS Version 2.8
    Embedded Controller Version 255.255



    Someone mentioned my bios is from the middles ages and i have to update it. I never did anything with bios. At the moment, i have bitlocker enabled with tpm unlock. And the windows 10 password.


    I'm told that first step i need to do is suspend bitlocker. That is all correct? I don't need to disable windows 10 password?


    I'm told i need to


    1. Suspend bitlocker

    2. Download bios

    https://www.dell.com/support/home/us...laptop/drivers



    Click view more and scroll to Dell XPS 15 9550 System BIOS. Click on download.



    3. Then once download is done, open the program. And let it do its things.



    Can others confirm here this is the correct process? Also make sure i have a lot of battery in my laptop and make sure its charged when im doing this? I read that this takes about 5 minutes. But for someone who never did a bios update... could it be longer and if so how long?


    When i do open bios and update it, there won't be questions i have to answer right? It will just do its thing? Then once its done... it would then restart and go to my windows 10 password login screen? That way i know that bios is updated correctly?



    I want to make sure of this because i read that if there are issues with bios updating... your computer can get screwed. Again I never ever made a bios update ever.


      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    #2

    "Someone mentioned my bios is from the middles ages and i have to update it."

    Phooey. I say,
    PHOOEEY.


    Unless you are highly confident that a BIOS update will solve some specific issue that you have, you are much better off leaving it alone. Updating would improve nothing and would be disastrous if it goes wrong---your PC might be completely unbootable.

    You are voluntarily taking a risk when there is no known benefit. What do you hope to gain? If you can only speculate about the benefits, you've gone down the wrong road.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    #3

    @ignatzatsonic


    Well the thing is I did bitlocker to encrypt my laptop. But i did not put a bitlocker pin or password. I only have the windows 10 password. Someone here on the forum says my computer is secure. Thus my main concern with encryption is


    1. Thief has access to my laptop and can view my information


    2. This is the bigger concern. A thief has access to my laptop and install malware/trojan/keylogger on it and leave my computer like nobody touched it. I log in as usual and everything i type whether its my keepass or email gets recorded and he can hack into everything of mine.



    A few people told me i have to secure bios and put a password on it. Also to disable usb boot. That way... my laptop would be safe from hackers if they were to get access of my laptop. But i didn't want to try to get into bios because that always scares me.


    I also notice my battery life on the xps 15 9550 is very bad. Some ppl say you can do this and that to make it better. Then someone asked me about bios and i said i never updated it ever. I then checked what bios i use... they told me the steps and it showed what i posted... thus i never updated it.


    Well have you done a bios update or ever did it? I thought it could improve the battery life. But the other thing is... isn't that good for security? My plan was to update bios... then afterwards... i go and put a password for bios to secure it and disable usb boot. Some ppl told me all these steps are very easy.


    But they did say if something goes wrong with updating bios update... it could be very bad.


    So you say don't do this? Well what about securing bios with a password and disabling boot? Is that safe to to do or not? Again, im very hesitant or trying things like that if there are risk. I took long time before i installed bitlocker but did it because someone on another forum was helping me via the forum posts.


    Well what percentage of ppl update bios? I thought very few ppl assuming they dont know much about security right? Again i never did anything like this... because that scares me. I asked the guy this and he said as long as you have it powered and connected to the power... 99.9 percent everything would be fine. You download it... then open the file and run it... and wait. He said it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes max. So he does make it seem like its pretty safe. Are you saying its much more risky than that when updating bios?


    But if i dont do that, is doing the secure bios with password and disable bio pretty safe then?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    #4

    I have no comments on Bitlocker, securing a BIOS, passwords, or the rest of your issues.

    My comments in my first post stand. If you can only speculate about the benefits, you've gone down the wrong road.

    You apparently have no reason at all to believe that changing to a new BIOS will solve anything. That is just rank speculation with no evidence. Just guessing, wondering, and hoping.

    You know the procedure has dangers. That's correct. For some reason, you want to take a risk for no known benefit.

    No one can stop you and maybe no one can change your mind. I don't know. I don't have anything more to say about it. I'm sure you can find people that will tell you a new BIOS will transform your entire world.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    #5

    Hi there. Well they asked me because i want to secure bios with password etc... they ask me to check my bios settings. Then i gave them that info and they said wow... you sure do not do anything about security based on that.


    Well i did read on battery issue that updating bios could make the battery last longer. The other thing is this. I got a dell powerbank for my laptop and it told me to flash bios first before using my powerbank. I did not because i didnt want to risk doing anything to it.
    But ppl tell me this is very simple and very safe... assuming you have battery on you laptop. So you had bad expeirence with updating bios or know of lot of others who update bios and screwed their computer? When you say screwed, you mean it no longer works and repairshop can't fix it and you can't replace it with a different hard drive?


    The guy told me that it will work 99.9% of the time and if it gets screwed... you are unlucky. So you dont think its anywhere near that percentage then right?


    Well i want to secure my laptop. That is my main concern. Im not sure if i need to secure bios with a password or not because several ppl say thats a must and i need to disable usb boot as well. Just having bitlocker enabled is not enough. But one guy told me here... my setup is secure already. So if i were to secure bios... wouldnt i need to flash bios since well my bios is beyond outdated? So could i secure bios with password and disable usb boot and that has no risk at all like a flash bios thing? If so, i would just do the secure bios and disable usb boot.


    Well they all say to update it... like its an easy simple process...
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  6. Posts : 25,429
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
       #6

    When Dell offers BIOS upgrades they display the importance with a description:

    Code:
    This package contains the Dell system BIOS update for Dell XPS 9550. BIOS is a firmware that is embedded on a small memory chip on the computer's system board. It controls the keyboard, monitor, disk drives and other devices. This update addresses the Intel security advisory INTEL-SA-00185.


    Code:
    Dell XPS 15 9550 1.8.0 System BIOS
    This package contains the BIOS version 1.8.0 for Dell XPS 15 9550. The package contains Intel ME firmware update to address Intel security advisories INTEL-SA-00125 (CVE-2018-3655), Intel-SA-00131 (CVE-2018-3643 and CVE-2018-3644) and INTEL-SA-00141 (CVE-2018-3657, CVE-2018-3658 and CVE-2018-3616). The package contains update for CPU microcode to address Intel Security Advisory INTEL-SA-00115 (CVE-2018-3639 and CVE-2018-3640). For more information regarding fixes and enhancements click View full driver details.
    Fixes & Enhancements
    Fixes:
    - Updated Intel ME Firmware to address security advisories INTEL-SA-00125 (CVE-2018-3655), Intel-SA-00131 (CVE-2018-3643 and CVE-2018-3644) and INTEL-SA-00141 (CVE-2018-3657, CVE-2018-3658 and CVE-2018-3616).
    - Updated CPU microcode to address Intel Security Advisory INTEL-SA-00115 (CVE-2018-3639 and CVE-2018-3640).
    - Fixed the TPM configuration on a TPM startup error during S3 resume.
    - Fixed the internal LCD display issue where it stays on after lid is closed.
    - Updated Intel ME Firmware to address security advisory INTEL-SA-00118 (CVE-2018-3627).
    
    Enhancements:
    - Improved startup stability when Thunderbolt Technology Support is enabled.
    - Prevents ghost key trigger while pressing multiple keys at the same time.
    - Improved system enter Hibernate duration time when Dell Thunderbolt Dock TB16 is connected.
    Version
    Version 1.8.0, 1.8.0
    Category
    BIOS
    Release date
    05 Oct 2018
    Last Updated
    05 Oct 2018
    Importance
    Urgent
    Code:
    Dell XPS 15 9550 1.7.0 System BIOS
    XPS 15 9550 1.7.0 BIOS
    Fixes & Enhancements
    Enhancements:
    1. Improved the stability for the file transferring within pre-OS USB LAN connection
    2. Improved keyboard typing experience with high typing speed.
    Version
    Version 1.7.0, 1.7.0
    Category
    BIOS
    Release date
    04 May 2018
    Last Updated
    04 May 2018
    Importance
    Recommended
    Code:
    Dell XPS 15 9550 1.6.1 System BIOS
    XPS 15 9550 1.6.1 BIOS
    Fixes & Enhancements
    Fixes:
    1. Updated to the latest CPU microcode to address CVE-2017-5715
    2. Updated Intel ME Firmware to address security advisories INTEL-SA-00086 (CVE-2017-5705, CVE-2017-5708, CVE-2017-5711 & CVE-2017-5712) & INTEL-SA-00101(CVE-2017-13077, CVE-2017-13078 & CVE-2017-13080).
    Version
    Version 1.6.1, 1.6.1
    Category
    BIOS
    Release date
    06 Feb 2018
    Last Updated
    06 Feb 2018
    Importance
    Urgent
    Code:
    Dell XPS 15 9550 1.5.1 System BIOS
    XPS 15 9550 1.5.1 BIOS
    Fixes & Enhancements
    1. Enhance audio quality when the brightness is adjusted
    2. Extending battery support
    3. Allows Dell Command Configure to implement the required Thunderbolt Sec Level settings without the need to access the BIOS.
    4. Fixed a Bitlocker recovery issue when Dell Thunderbolt Dock is connected to the system, and PCR1 is selected in the Bitlocker Group Policy
    Updated Dell Dock Port Type Classification in SMBIOS Table
    5. Fixed a Bitlocker recovery issue when Dell Type C Dock or Dongle is connected to the system, and PCR2 is selected in the Bitlocker Group Policy
    Improved PCR2 measurement consistency when a Dell Type C Dock or Dongle is connected.
    6. Updated the handling of pre-boot authentication information by firmware.
    Updated UEFI variable input validation.
    Updated the handling of 3rd party Option ROM loading.
    Updated SPI flash command configuration settings.
    Version
    Version 1.5.1, 1.5.1
    Category
    BIOS
    Release date
    14 Nov 2017
    Last Updated
    14 Nov 2017
    Importance
    Urgent
    Code:
    Dell XPS 15 9550 1.4.0 System BIOS
    XPS 15 9550 1.4.0 BIOS
    Fixes & Enhancements
    1. Fixes system defense with wireless parameter will cause ME failure
    2. System stability enhancements
    3. To prevent user update ME Firmware to blacklist 11.6 ME firmware
    4. Correct error message in Excalibur
    5. Fix Bitlocker issue on Win7 ultimate/enterprise
    Version
    Version 1.4.0, 1.4.0
    Category
    BIOS
    Release date
    15 Sep 2017
    Last Updated
    15 Sep 2017
    Importance
    Urgent
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    #7

    Updating your BIOS is no big deal. Every OEM provides utilities for end-users to do it. Of course there are risks - especially if there is power loss during an update, but that's not likely on a laptop. Dell also has a built-in BIOS recovery mode in case something does go wrong.

    There have been several security issues resolved in newer BIOS versions for your machine so I would recommend updating. And all you have to do is suspend Bitlocker and run the BIOS update utility. It will automatically reboot the machine and Windows will automatically re-enable Bitlocker upon the next boot. Even if you forget to suspend Bitlocker then it will just ask you for your recovery key, which you should have saved somewhere.

    That said, updating your BIOS is not necessary for what you want. If you want to protect your data from someone who may have gotten your Windows password then all you need is to set a Bitlocker PIN (not the same as a Windows PIN), which can't be obtained from a (Windows-based) keylogger. Change BitLocker Startup PIN in Windows 10 | Tutorials

    It is not necessary to set a BIOS password or disable USB boot because Bitlocker will prevent others from accessing your data if they try to access the drive from another OS.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    #8

    Hi there. Well i thought it wasn't big deal either but the person below mentioned it could be risky. Well because its a laptop it will have good battery charge on it. I understand a desktop would be risky if something happens to it.


    When you say its has built it bios recovery mode, can you explain this? Such as what do you do if something goes wrong? So if i never did a bios update ever, it should take pretty long or still less than 5 minutes?


    Well... i have pretty poor battery life on my laptop. I get max 1.5 hours even with battery at lowest power mode and 25 percent screen brightness. i read someone posted updating bios could improve battery life. Have you heard of this?


    No one has my windows 10 password. I mean i want my laptop protected in case someone gets access to it... turns on it and could view all my files and programs in my computer. But the main worry is they have my laptop. Put malware/keylogger/trojan on it. Then leave it there. I go log into my computer assuming nothing has happened to it... only to be typing everything in such as my keepass password, email password and everything else. I do not have that kind of threat ... but i mean if say my laptop got stolen or do turn it on and see certain things on my laptop and then want to install trojan/malware via usb or whatnot, am i protected now or not?


    So right now i encrypt bitlocker with tpm unlock and windows 10 password only. So you say if i make it TPM with pin as oppose to TPM Unlock, then it would be extremely secure? Thus a person would not only need my bitlocker pin... but also my windows 10 password?


    You say its not necesarry to set a bios password or disable usb boot. Two other people on another forum said if i don't do this, someone who has my laptop could take my hard drive out and put it in another computer and read it. Also they said something about cold boot attack etc. So they are both incorrect here? So basically they can not only not view whats in my hard drive and view my desktop... but they cannot just put a usb stick into my laptop and put malware/trojan/keylogger UNLESS they get into my desktop which would require either my windows 10 password or a bitlocker pin and windows 10 password if i add a windows 10 password?


    And if so, are you 100% sure about this? If so, why do other ppl say this then? One of those persons told me my setup as is... bitlocker encrypted tpm unlocked is stupid as that is the dumbest thing you can do. He also said if you didn't secure bios with password and disable usb... thats even worst etc. He said the windows 10 can be bypasssed in 2 minutes. I said how can it be if my bitlocker is encrypted and he seems to say it can be done. But a person here on this forum said... if you have bitlocker encrypted... they cant just reset the windows 10 password because its encrypted...
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    #9

    Hi there. The link you posted was to change the bitlocker pin. But i never even set a bitlocker pin up. I have it set to TPM unlocked...
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    #10

    Dell BIOS recovery: BIOS Recovery options on a Dell PC or Tablet | Dell US

    Updating the BIOS generally takes around 5-10 minutes. You will have to look at the BIOS release notes to see if there's any fixes that affect battery life.

    There is nothing certain about computer security. My opinion is that Bitlocker with PIN provides sufficient protection for most users. If you have a PIN then the BIOS password/USB boot/Windows malware issues are mostly irrelevant.

    I thought you could enable the PIN following those same steps but if not then there should be a tutorial on this site that shows how to enable the PIN.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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