UEFI BIOS Setup – SMBIOS 3.0 (XPS 9365)

DellWindowsReinstallationGuide is written and maintained by Philip Yip. 

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Contents

  • SMBIOS 3.0
  • Checking your SMBIOS Version?
  • Accessing the Boot Menu
  • Accessing the UEFI BIOS Setup
  • The UEFI BIOS Setup

SMBIOS 3.0

Dell have recently updated the user interface of their UEFI BIOS to make it touch friendly (akin to Windows 10 Settings). My XPS 9365 has this new user interface with an SMBIOS version of 3.0.

Checking your SMBIOS Version

This is best done by looking at system information.

Press [Windows] and [ r ] to bring up the run command:

In the run box type in

msinfo32

Then press ok.

The SMBIOS is shown as 3.0. If you have an older SMBIOS see here.

Accessing the Boot Menu

To access the Boot Menu power down your Dell, wait 30 seconds and then power up while holding down [F12]:

To the bottom left hand side is the Boot Menu and one can select the Bootable USB “UEFI Sandisk Ultra” in this case. Alternatively one can launch Diagnostics, Update the BIOS or Enter the Setup from the Right.

Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery is also present which should allow one to use Dell BIOSConnect to download SupportAssist OS Recovery which in turn will download a Windows 10 Factory Image and Reinstall the Factory Image. This is not working at present in my tests.

Accessing the UEFI BIOS Setup

One can access the UEFI BIOS setup from the Boot Menu as shown above.

Alternatively to access the UEFI BIOS setup power down your Dell, wait 30 seconds and then power up while holding down [F2]:

The UEFI BIOS Setup

1. General:

System Information: You can quickly access the system’s service tag and MAC Address:

Battery Information: You can see the health and charge status of your battery.

Date/Time: here you can set the Sate/Time and Date/Time format (UEFI BIOS only).

Advanced Boot Options: Here you can Enable the UEFI Network Stack. You could also theoretically Enable Legacy ROMs (after Disabling Secure Boot) but there is no point as there are no system drivers for Legacy Operating Systems such as Windows 7.

 

Enable/Disable Boot Devices: You can Enable/Disable specific devices from booting however in most cases if you are wanting to Boot from a USB you are better to use the [F12] preboot menu to initialise the Boot for a Single Instance. You can theoretically switch to a Legacy Boot (after Disabling Secure Boot) but there is no point as all Operating Systems supported on this model can utilise a superior UEFI Boot.

2. System Configuration:

SATA Operation: Here one can change the SATA Operation but as it is a laptop with only a single M.2 SSD the AHCI operation is the best to use:

Drives: Here you can Enable/Disable Drive Ports. As there is only a single M.2 SSD there is no point disabling it because you will not be able to use your computer:

SMART Reporting: Here you can Enable SMART reporting, it is disabled by default and is not necessary in most cases. This can be useful if you have a program to continuously monitor the performance of your drives in particular hard drive which this system doesn’t have.

USB/Thunderbolt configuration: Here you can Enable/Disable USB Ports. I enabled all the settings so I could look at the UEFI BIOS Setup using my TB-16 dock. Some organisations may want to set additional security to prevent data being transferred to USB devices and hence reduce the chances of infecting the OS from a USB flash drive.

USB PowerShare: You can Enable USB Powershare by default it is turned off. When you Enable USB Powershare it prevents devices siphoning power from your laptops ports if the laptops battery is below a certain level.

Touchscreen: Here you can Enable/Disable your Touchscreen.

Audio: Here you can Enable/Disable your Audio, Internal speakers and Microphone.

Keyboard: Here you can set the level of your Keyboard Illumination it is set as dim by default.

Keyboard Backlight on AC and Battery: Here you can set the timeout for your system to automatically turn off your keyboard’s backlight when your kleyboard is not in use and it is dark when your system is on AC or Battery respectively.

Unobtrusive Mode: When this is enabled all light, sound and radio emissions from the system are disabled. [Fn] and [F7] will toggle Unobtrusive Mode on/off when this setting is Enabled.

Miscellaneous Devices: Here you can Enable/Disable the Camera and SD Card.

3. Video

LCD Brightness: Here you can change the LCD Brightness on AC and Battery.

4. Security

There are a vast array of additional options essentially to restrict an unauthorised person accessing the UEFI BIOS setup or Booting from a USB Flash Drive (to change the Operating System) for instance if the device is stolen.

  • System Password: This will be prompted before the system can boot up, and load the operating system.
  • Setup password: The system will prompt for this password only when you are trying to access the BIOS settings.

Additional criteria can be placed to force frequent password changes and enforce harder to crack passwords. Most of these are disabled by default.

Computrace can be enabled in the UEFI BIOS setup. If enabled (one needs to also have the Computrace subscription) it essentially transmits the location of the device when it is on the internet to the police so if a device is stolen from a company it can be tracked.

5. Secure Boot

Secure Boot only allows code with a verified signature to Boot for example Windows 10. It thus allows Windows 10 to Boot alongside Windows 10 background security services which protect the system. In the past (particularly for Windows 7 and earlier) preboot malware was designed to hijack the Windows boot and disable Windows security compromising your system.

SecureBoot

Enable Secure Boot: In the past this was required to install Windows 7 as Windows 7 was never updated to support Secure Boot. This model does not have driver support for such Legacy OS and as a result there is no reason to Disable Secure Boot.

The Expert Key Management is for Advanced users to allow their own specific code to Boot (without Disabling Secure Boot).

6. Performance

By default all the performance enhancements are Enabled. I would not advice Disabling these.

7. Power Management

AC Behaviour Wake on AC: This wakes the system up from sleep as soon as you attach it’s power cable.

Auto On Time: This will turn your system on automatically at a set time per day.

AC Behaviour Wake on USB-C Dock: This wakes the system up from sleep as soon as you attach it to it’s USB-C Dock.

The following settings are not commonly used but essentially are for those that want to regiment the number of hours the AC adaptor will charge their system’s battery. Theoretically this could prolong your batteries life but requires organisation.

8. Wireless

Wireless Switch: This setting will determine if your wireless switch [Fn] and [Home] will toggle on/off wireless and bluetooth (default), just wireless or just bluetooth or do nothing.

Wireless Device Enable: This setting will allow you to specifically Disable Wireless or Bluetooth.

9. POST Behaviour

Numlock LED: Enables the Numlock LED on the embedded keyboard at post. This XPS 9365 doesn’t have a Numlock button on the internal keyboard.

Adaptor Warnings: The system will check the AC adaptor and battery is healthy by default and warn you if they aren’t.

 

Keypad Embedded: This system doesn’t have an embedded keypad.

Extend BIOS POST Time: There is no point in doing this.

Warnings and Errors: The system will perform a basic check of the system and prompt if it finds a problem.

Fastboot: For best results Fastboot should be minimal.

Fn Lock: This toggles the Media Buttons and Function Keys. It can also be toggled on and off by pressing [Fn] + [Esc].

If Disabled the top row of buttons when pressed will act as Media buttons – Mute, Volume Down, Volume Up, Rewind, Fast Forward, project, search, backlight on/off, print screen, insert and flight mode.

To get [F1] one will have to hold down [Fn] and press the [F1/Mute] button:

If Enabled the top row of keys will act as [F1]-[12] and [Fn] will need to be pressed to Enable the Media Keys.

Mouse/Touchpad: Here one can Enable/Disable the Touchpad/Mouse.

Sign of Life: When one Boots the Keyboard normally switches on immediately to indicate the system has a sign of life this can be disabled.

10. Virtualisation

Intel Processor Virtualisation technologies are Enabled by default there is no point in Disabling them.

11. Maintenance

Here one can assign their companies Asset Tag to the device:

Here one can view their Service Tag:

There is an option to Allow BIOS Downgrades, it’s Enabled by default.

The system will automatically try and recover it’s BIOS from the SSD:

Data Wipe: There is a means of securely wiping all internal drives using the UEFI BIOS setup. For more details see UEFI BIOS: Data Wipe for more details.

12. Manageability

There are no settings here on my system.

13. System Logs

Here one can access the power logs and thermal logs:

14. SupportAssist

These are Dell UEFI BIOS utilities which theoretically should allow one to recover their OS or Factory Image if their system cannot boot. I tried them out after performing a Data Wipe.

Dell Auto OS Recovery Threshold will begin to launch the Recovery Threshold if the system fails to Boot 1-3 times in a row. It will try and repair the install and if it cannot will launch preboot diagnostics.

BIOSConnect this seems to be a utility to restore a Factory OS Image from within the UEFI BIOS. It seems the hardware is in place to do this but the software is not yet finalised. In my testing it allows one to connect to the internet from within the BIOS setup (working). Then download Support Assist Files from Dell Servers (working) which in turn should download a Factory Image (not working) and automatically reinstall the Factory Image.