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I guess I've had automatic Dell updates on since I bought the machine. Which I'm OK with, in principle.

But I thought that BIOS updates had to be manually triggered.

Nevertheless, opened my machine this morning and it was saying that it was in the process of updating the BIOS with BIOS Guard.

I'm a bit concerned, given the risk of something going wrong and bricking my machine. Is it normal for machines to update the BIOS spontaneously? Was there a serious security patch recently?

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  • What makes me think the firmware was updated was the message "Updating BIOS with BIOS Guard. Please don't turn off your computer" I presume that it can do what it wants. What I wanted to know is if anyone knew what this update was about. – interstar Apr 24 '19 at 16:10
  • It happens to be a G3. But I assumed that if Dell was sending out some kind of security upgrade in the last month, it would go to everyone rather than to particular models. I understand perfectly that I can uninstall the Dell software to stop this happening. That wasn't my point. What I wanted to know is if anyone who knows about such things, knows if Dell are sending out BIOS updates at the moment, and why. Perhaps this isn't the forum for that. But I figured SuperUsers would be the best bet to find someone who knew. – interstar Apr 25 '19 at 23:07
  • modern PCs use UEFI, not BIOS. And the UEFI on my Acer laptop has been updated by Windows update once or twice. Even later generations of BIOS have ways to recover after a failed flash so it shouldn't be a problem – phuclv Apr 26 '19 at 5:27
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Dell automatic update software can update the BIOS. I believe the most recent title for this software is Dell Update. Previous versions may be called Dell Support Assist.

If you don't wish it to install BIOS updates, you can view the settings.

Dell does not have some hidden backdoor in your computer, but uses normal update software that also has the capability to install BIOS updates.

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Many modern computers use a feature called UEFI. It’s the new enhanced BIOS. Read here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.partitionwizard.com/amp/partitionmagic/uefi-vs-bios.html.

To paraphrase, uefi acts as a “middleman” between the firmware and the OS. What this means is that the BIOS can now be updated via [insert vendor]’s app in Windows. There’s no need to save the new BIOS update file to a floppy disk, burn it to a CD, etc.

If you don’t want to update your BIOS without your consent, please review the EULA for Dell’s auto updates.

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    UEFI itself is the firmware, not the middleman between the firmware and the OS – phuclv Apr 26 '19 at 5:26
  • BIOS have always been able to be written to from within the OS. Some OEMs didn't support this, but most mainstream computer brands have offered BIOS updater packages that ran entirely in Windows for far longer than UEFI has been around. – music2myear Apr 26 '19 at 14:29
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Check your Windows Update history. I have been noticing Windows Update installing BIOS updates recently on a new Dell laptop. The reason for this was the following setting in the BIOS:

Inside Dell's BIOS Setup there is a setting called "Enable UEFI capsule firmware updates" (it is usually under the updates/recovery section)

This option controls whether the system allows BIOS updates via Windows Updates.

Note: Disabling this option will block BIOS updates from services such as Windows Updates (or Linux Vendor Firmware Service)

As others have mentioned, Dell Support Assist or Dell Update (if it is installed) may also install BIOS updates automatically.

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