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We have a stack of old Dell R610s. we need to update the BIOS and drivers, but the servers have no OS on them, and the Dell downloads page only has windows executables for the various updaters. We understand the only way to do this is by downloading the 11GB Dell Server Update Utility ISO image.

The question is, if we do manage to download it, how do we use it? It's to big to be burn it to a DVD. Is there some method of burning it to a USB stick, and will the R610 with an ancient BIOS boot of this (USB is not in the list of boot devices).

There seems to be 3 ways to update a Dell server, all of which have issues.

  1. Use the 11GB iso. We have not been able to download this as it keeps failing half way through, and the download manager from Dell wont install. If we did manged to download it, it is not clear how we would use it, as it won't fit on a DVD, and we dont know how to make it work with a USB stick.

So this option is not looking like it will work.

  1. Use the UEFI built in DRAC thing. Hit F10 on boot, and there is the option to select a FTP repository which gives a list of updates, including "Dell 32 Bit Diagnostics, Dell OS drivers Pack, Dell lifecycle controller etc. However, when you try to "apply" the updates, each one comes up with

    "The updates you are trying to apply are not dell authorized updates"

Then it tries to install them, then comes up with :

 "update failed: ...."

Looks like it is not possible to update the system using the lifecycle controller if the firmware is too old, and it is not possible to update it if you have no OS. See this article: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/servers/f/177/t/19475476

  1. Use the Dell Repository Manager. This would not work with SUU packages on a USB stick because the Lifecycle Manager was too old to read them. In the end we used a "Linux" driver bootable ISO image burnt to a DVD (was about 1GB), which worked!
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You can use Dell Repository Manager which will allow you to download drivers/firmwares for specific server models.

It will allow you to export these drivers/firmwares as a bootable Linux ISO image, burn it and use it to update your servers.

Alternatively you can export the drivers/firmwares as Dell SUU (Server Update Utility) packages to some directory and copy it to an USB storage media. Then plug it in your server, start your server, press F10 during POST to access the Dell Lifecycle Controller and from this UEFI interface you will be able to update your firmwares.

  • Thanks Christophe. It says the repository manager is only for systems running windows. Our dell servers have on OS, and will never run windows, unfortunately. Or is it saying the repository manager only runs on widows? If so will it run on a windows 8.1 laptop? – eos May 21 '15 at 8:37
  • I just read the repository manager info, and it says it creates windows executable update pages. This is useless, as our servers dont have windows on them (they have no os, as the bios is too old) – eos May 21 '15 at 8:39
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    You can run the Dell Repository Manager from any Windows computer, I run it on a Windows 8.1 laptop :) – Chris May 21 '15 at 8:39
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    Dell Repository Manager can create both Windows and Linux packages and most importantly Firmware packages that will be used from the Lifecycle Controller interface (which is before OS boot, you can even upgrade firmwares of servers without an OS installed). – Chris May 21 '15 at 8:40
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    I use the Data Center version and it works fine. – Chris May 21 '15 at 9:24
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download the alternative dos based bios install utility if its available, sometimes it is, then make a unetbootin flash drive. http://unetbootin.github.io/

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