Dell’s firmware flash process isn’t built for linux. They do have instructions posted here but this requires making a thumb drive bootable with FreeDOS. I tried these steps and didn’t have any luck.
Instead, I wanted to summarize a simpler solution and one that’s BUILT INTO THE LAPTOP (why they recommend a process that involves more complicated steps, I have no idea…).
To update the firmware, perform the following steps. You may need to be in UEFI boot mode in order for this to work given the file is copied into the /boot/UEFI folder.
- First, ensure your laptop is plugged in. The update won’t run without being plugged into the wall.
- Next, download the newest firmware from Dell’s site (at the time of this post on 8/13/2016 it was v1.4.4.
- Copy firmware to your /boot/EFI folder by using a terminal and running ‘sudo cp ~/Downloads/XPS*.exe /boot/efi’
- Reboot your laptop and hit F12 from the Dell splash screen
- Select BIOS Flash Update
- Click the ‘…’ button and select the XPS*.exe file
- Select Begin Flash Update
The 1.4.4 firmware lists USB-C fixes, among other issues addressed. Once I installed the firmware I was able to plug my external monitor in and it instantly came up (this did happen many times before, but sometimes I would have to plug the power into the laptop in order for this to work. YMMV but hopefully the newest firmware makes the USB-C rock solid. Dell’s release notes follow:
Fixes & Enhancements
2.Added Support for Pre-OS MAC Address pass-through support for Dell Docks and specific Dell LAN Dongles. Display of MAC Address pass-through value in BIOS Setup.
3.Improved Type-C device performance and stability