These Dell BIOS Updates Are Wrecking Alienware, Inspiron PCs

Dell Aurora R8
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

If you recently performed a BIOS update on a specific Dell or Alienware PC and came away scratching your head, you're not alone. Dell recently pushed out new BIOS updates for its Latitude 5320 and 5520 laptops, Inspiron 5680 desktop and the Alienware Aurora R8 gaming desktop. While these rather mundane updates typically go off without a hitch, customers instead reported endless boot loops, BSODs and other maladies that caused countless headaches.

Listed below are the BIOS versions causing problems for customers:

  • Dell Latitude 5320/5520: BIOS ver 1.14.3
  • Dell Inspiron 5680: BIOS ver 2.8.0
  • Alienware Aurora R8: BIOS ver 1.0.18

The users' problems are spread across multiple online channels, including the Dell Community and Reddit. One user, Dell5320, brought widespread attention to the issue in a Dell Community post. "After upgrading my 5320's BIOS to the new 1.14.3 version today, the laptop will not boot," wrote Dell5320. "When pressing the power button, the light on the button will show for around 10 seconds and then turn off again."

"I issued a user a new laptop yesterday, was working fine. She shut it off, got home, and it was dead," wrote j0ezonelayer on the Reddit sysadmin community. "[Dell] needs to fix this, because we have 100 users with 5320s and another 250 waiting to be issued."

Dell community member MiraiKei went on to complain about BSOD loops on an Aurora R8. "I've reset the CMOS, updated the bios, formatted the M.2 drive to reinstall windows with the Dell recovery USB drive, tried using media creation and I still get BSODs," wrote MiraiKei. "Surprisingly enough, I get BSODs with an empty drive running recovery from USB. Sounds like a motherboard failure from a forced bios update. Honestly, I kind of gave up."

For its part, Dell hasn't yet issued a formal statement on the problems. However, the company pulled the offending BIOS updates from its website so that they wouldn't terrorize other customers. Therefore, for those that unfortunately have already installed the BIOS updates and continue to have problems, the only workable solution is to perform a BIOS downgrade. Dell has two support articles [1], [2] to help users on that front.

At this time, it's best to simply avoid the above BIOS updates until Dell can get the bugs squashed. However, if the bug has already bitten you, perhaps Dell's recovery guides will get you back up and running until a fully-functional BIOS is released for the affected Latitude, Inspiron and Aurora R8 systems.

Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • husker
    You had me at "Dell... Wrecking Alianware..."
  • thepersonwithaface45
    Man, paying a premium for a brand aesthetic only to have their updates brick ya. That's messed up.
  • punkncat
    I have an Inspiron that the Support Assistant is installed on. It went through it's scan and popped up having to update the BIOS. I am letting it do it's thing and starts acting crazy right about the time I am scrolling on the desktop and saw this story posted. OooooO
    Thankfully, it turned out to be ok.
  • Heat_Fan89
    Make sure to disable "UEFI Firmware Capsule Updates" in the BIOS settings or Windows 10 will download and install BIOS updates via WU.
  • jelyon
    This issue has been going on for longer than the last half of this year. Dell did the same thing at the end of last year/beginning of this year to the Dell G5S laptops with AMD processors.

    Basically a person always has to be very careful with Dell bios because the "upgrades" they are supposed to do have a high chance of coming with some really unhelpful downgrades.
  • Exploding PSU
    I never knew laptops could have their BIOS updated. Maybe the tech I have are just too old. I have a Skylake-era Lenovo as my daily driver, and not once I've ever touched its BIOS (let alone updating it). I thought if it's not broken, don't fix it?