Dell Poweredge 650: Determine BIOS Version From Linux

I have a development server, which is a Dell Poweredge 650, running CentOS Linux that is used for testing PostgreSQL database replication via log shipping and recently the server has been crashing after only running for a couple hours from a kernel panic. One of the things I wanted to verify is if there is a new BIOS version available but first needed to verify the current BIOS version installed. Below is information on how to determine what BIOS version a Linux server is using while the server is running.

Use dmidecode To Determine BIOS Version In Linux:

The dmidecode application is a DMI table decoder which basically provides the DMI table information in human readable format. In the output information from dmidecode you can determine what BIOS version is installed on the server which in this instance is a Dell Poweredge 650. When using the –type switch you can specify “bios” to greatly reduce the output so you can easily see the BIOS version installed on the computer.

Dell Poweredge 650 BIOS Version Output:

[root@cent1 ~]# dmidecode --type bios
# dmidecode 2.10
SMBIOS 2.3 present.

Handle 0x0000, DMI type 0, 20 bytes
BIOS Information
        Vendor: Dell Computer Corporation
        Version: A04
        Release Date: 10/08/2003
        Address: 0xF0000
        Runtime Size: 64 kB
        ROM Size: 512 kB
                ISA is supported
                PCI is supported
                PNP is supported
                BIOS is upgradeable
                BIOS shadowing is allowed
                ESCD support is available
                Boot from CD is supported
                Selectable boot is supported
                EDD is supported
                Japanese floppy for Toshiba 1.2 MB is supported (int 13h)
                Print screen service is supported (int 5h)
                8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h)
                Serial services are supported (int 14h)
                Printer services are supported (int 17h)
                CGA/mono video services are supported (int 10h)
                ACPI is supported
                USB legacy is supported
                BIOS boot specification is supported
                Function key-initiated network boot is supported

Handle 0x0D00, DMI type 13, 22 bytes
BIOS Language Information
        Installable Languages: 1
        Currently Installed Language: en|US|iso8859-1

[root@cent1 ~]#

Notice there are two bios versions output including the SMBIOS and the BIOS itself. The one we are interested in here is the Dell BIOS version which in this case is A04.

Output BIOS Version Only Via Linux CLI:

If you simply want the BIOS version output you can use the below syntax with dmidecode.

[root@cent1 ~]# dmidecode -s bios-version

You can see that this matches the BIOS version we obtained from the first command that outputs BIOS details including vendor, version, release date, and other details about the BIOS itself.

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