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:

bash

  1. [root@cent1 ~]# dmidecode --type bios
  2. # dmidecode 2.10
  3. SMBIOS 2.3 present.
  4.  
  5. Handle 0x0000, DMI type 0, 20 bytes
  6. BIOS Information
  7.         Vendor: Dell Computer Corporation
  8.         Version: A04
  9.         Release Date: 10/08/2003
  10.         Address: 0xF0000
  11.         Runtime Size: 64 kB
  12.         ROM Size: 512 kB
  13.         Characteristics:
  14.                 ISA is supported
  15.                 PCI is supported
  16.                 PNP is supported
  17.                 BIOS is upgradeable
  18.                 BIOS shadowing is allowed
  19.                 ESCD support is available
  20.                 Boot from CD is supported
  21.                 Selectable boot is supported
  22.                 EDD is supported
  23.                 Japanese floppy for Toshiba 1.2 MB is supported (int 13h)
  24.                 Print screen service is supported (int 5h)
  25.                 8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h)
  26.                 Serial services are supported (int 14h)
  27.                 Printer services are supported (int 17h)
  28.                 CGA/mono video services are supported (int 10h)
  29.                 ACPI is supported
  30.                 USB legacy is supported
  31.                 BIOS boot specification is supported
  32.                 Function key-initiated network boot is supported
  33.  
  34. Handle 0x0D00, DMI type 13, 22 bytes
  35. BIOS Language Information
  36.         Installable Languages: 1
  37.                 en|US|iso8859-1
  38.         Currently Installed Language: en|US|iso8859-1
  39.  
  40. [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.

bash

  1. [root@cent1 ~]# dmidecode -s bios-version
  2. A04

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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