Normally when I buy a PC laptop the first thing I do is update the BIOS via default Windows install, and then blow away Windows with a fresh Linux (Fedora) install.

That's the case now, just bought a Dell Precision M4700, updated the BIOS and now, seeing a bunch of firmware updates via Dell support site, am not sure if it's worth the bother (i.e. if supplied firmware will only benefit a Windows OS).

So, is firmware independent of OS? If yes, then presumably a Linux install can take advantage of the firmware updates.


  • The BIOS is the first thing that starts the PC... So any OS that starts after it potentially benefits, especially from the BIOS working correctly.
    – Chris S
    Feb 15, 2013 at 22:41
  • BIOS update taken care of already, talking about device firmware (wireless card, SSD, etc.) Feb 15, 2013 at 22:44
  • In what way on earth is this question off topic? While the answer is likely obvious to those who voted to close it, the question might be of some value to those of us who, while google'ing for an answer to said question, were not able to find any definitive answer as to the dependency relationship between OS and installed firmware. Feb 15, 2013 at 22:53
  • 1
    Off-topic for this site, you could try SuperUser. Anyhow, firmware should be installable under any OS (for example, HP Servers can install firmware inside Windows or from a Proliant Boot disk). The drivers however will be OS-dependant.
    – tombull89
    Feb 15, 2013 at 23:13
  • @tombull89 thanks for the clarification, forgot about SuperUser. Feb 16, 2013 at 0:36

2 Answers 2


In general, I try to keep firmware updated to the released level of that the manufacturer distributes. I especially try to apply any CRITICAL firmware releases. It IS worth the bother to keep up-to-date and out of trouble.

  • +1, fair enough, nothing critical listed, but sounds like there may be some benefit. It's now or never as Fedora is going on to-be-formatted drive shortly. Feb 15, 2013 at 22:46

Yes the firmware controls the hardware so many updates will benefit all OS platforms. Some updates might be specific to fixing bugs that only happen under windows though.

The flashing software might only work under windows or might be a bootable cd or floppy image.


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