A lot of issues can be resolved or avoided thanks to driver or firmware updates which contain both fixes and improvements. There are several ways to update the components in your Dell PowerEdge server depending on what you want to do.

Individual Component Update from the Operating system - All server models

These updates can be done under Windows (exe files) and Linux (bin files). When using unsupported OS, you can download the Support Live Image, which is Linux based, and install the update directly from the live image.

In order to update an individual component:

  1. Go to the Dell support site.
  2. Enter the Service Tag or select the model.
  3. Access the menu "Drivers and Downloads"
  4. Select the Operating System installed.
  5. Locate the updated file of the component (Driver or Firmware).
  6. Review the release notes to ensure there is no dependency to another update.
  7. Download and launch the file.

The file will be installed directly from the operating system. 

Example to update the BIOS of a PowerEdge R720

Individual Firmware Update from the iDRAC - Generation 12 and up.

The integrated Dell Remote Access Card (iDRAC) offer the possibility to remotely update firmware (one per one) using the "Update and Rollback" feature. It works even if the server is running.

This feature is independent of the OS. The iDRAC communicates directly with the hardware. A driver cannot be updated using this method.

  1. Go to the Dell support site.
  2. Enter the Service Tag or directly select the model.
  3. Access menu "Drivers and Downloads"
  4. Select the firmware to update.
  5. Download the .exe format (x86 or x64).
  6. Access the iDRAC Update menu.
  7. Upload the file into the Update field
  8. Apply update.

Whole system update with the LifeCycle controller - Generation 11 and up

The Dell™ Lifecycle Controller embedded technology on Dell PowerEdge™ servers gives the ability to update the system from within the system. Pressing F10 during the boot process opens System Services, which includes Platform Updates.

This article explains step by step how to update a server using the LCC.

Whole system update with an ISO image - All generations

Dell Support has created an ISO file containing a collection of latest firmware for a specific model. The update are done automatically after booting the server from the corresponding image without user interaction.

This tool is very powerful if you need to fully update a server with the minimum steps. 

All ISO files and the steps to use them are listed in this technical article.

The diagnostic tools to be used will vary depending on the component that needs to be tested as well as the generation your server belongs to.

Here is an article on How to identify which generation your Dell PowerEdge server belongs to.

Before running the hardware diagnostics

We recommend that you download a copy of the System Event Logs from your server (using OpenManage Server Administrator or the iDRAC).

Then you should clear the ESM or SEL (System event logs) to remove any old error message and get new error messages which will make the diagnostic easier.

Here are the instructions on How to clear the ESM log on a Dell PowerEdge server.

For 9th and 10th generation servers

A specific tool must be downloaded: Dell 32-Bit Diagnostics.

For 11th generation servers and upward

The diagnostic tool is embedded in the Server for ease of use.

You should take a screenshot of any error message that comes up to review when the diagnostics are completed.

For more technical content, you can refer to our online Enterprise Knowledge base.