What if you need to access the BIOS on a yunohost device?

I run Yunohost on this machine spec:

                       Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-6100T CPU @ 3.20GHz, 800 MHz
                       Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-6100T CPU @ 3.20GHz, 800 MHz
                       Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-6100T CPU @ 3.20GHz, 800 MHz
                       Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-6100T CPU @ 3.20GHz, 803 MHz
graphics card:
                       Intel HD Graphics 530
  /dev/sdb             CT2000BX500SSD1
  /dev/sdc             ZTC-SM201-128G
  /dev/sda             HGST HTS541075A9

MP spec rev 1.4 info:
    OEM id: "A M I"
    Product id: "ALASKA"
    2 CPUs (0 disabled)
  SMBIOS Version: 3.0
  BIOS Info: #0
    Vendor: "American Megatrends Inc."
    Version: "4212"
    Date: "07/24/2019"
    Start Address: 0xf0000
    ROM Size: 16384 kB

If I need to upgrade or change BIOS settings I need access to BIOS but headless admin does not allow booting into BIOS.
So, I have purchased a wireless USB keyboard (Logitech) and an HDMI raspberry Pi screen from Amazon to be able to access BIOS when necessary.

QUESTION: has somebody in the yunohost community found a different solution?
Is there any software to access and edit the BIOS?
I know there are cli scripts to update the BIOS from Windows. Don’t know any script for Debian …
Changing settings in the BIOS: never seen a script or app to do that.
Just curious to know if I have spent money for no reason on screen and keyboard.

Thanks for reading and/or discussing this. Maybe it helps somebody else too

PS: the screen works perfectly on my server and I can access the BIOS via mouse and keyboard (wireless USB dongle).

how often do you change settings in bios? and how often do you update the bios?
Since I have run my server I didn’t go to bios once.

It’s an interesting problem.

BIOS, or more recently, UEFI, is too low-level to be of interest for Yunohost development. It is a totally different ‘world’. Too much low level in most cases for Debian as well. It is the one piece that is mostly provided by hardware vendors, even now.

I have a bootable USB stick with Freedos to run BIOS/UEFI updates when needed, I have not yet come across a hardware vendor that supplies Linux-based BIOS/UEFI updaters.

You probably investigated the best option for the keyboard and screen in your situation. If you want to make changes to BIOS/UEFI settings easily, I think it is a good solution. Carrying over a LCD screen for those few times, or carrying your Yunohost to a TV set, could have been a cheaper option.

Depending on the motherboard, there could be some out-of-band / lights-out-management hardware integrated; it allows access to many BIOS/UEFI settings without needing ‘physical’ access to your machine or the OS. It is often found on server boards (search for AMT, iLO, iDRAC or IMM, depending on vendor, to get an idea)

There are some other options to circumvent needing access to BIOS/UEFI when starting from scratch:

  • A growing list of motherboards is supported by Coreboot, thereby not needing BIOS/UEFI
  • ARM-based boards do not have a BIOS/UEFI; ‘smart’ vendors support uBoot, others cobble something together by themselves

In the end, @jarod5001 's comments stand:

  • Updates: most, if not all, vendors write in their Readme’s of BIOS/UEFI-updates “if it works, don’t fix it”, “only install this update if you are hit by any problems it solves”.
  • Settings: you might conclude that you, after all, still need that parallel port activated, even though you initially turned it off; or try to dig in a bit deeper again to see if there’s any option you can turn off to save a few more Watts power usage per year.
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Well, we had several power cuts recently and I had to set the “After a powerloss: turn on your PC” setting and recently a vulnerability needed a BIOS update.

My Amibios ASUS has a system for updating the BIOS directly via dhcp which is useful but resets the BIOS to defaults which I then needed to set again.
That were the main reasons for my solution.

Yes but my server is in my office and the nearest TV is in the lounge: a power supply box, the HDMI cable dangling from the TV, and my wife does not like trailing cables and untidy connections in our lounge!

Agreed… in my case I had built my miniPC as a Mackintosh and then decided to yunohost during the pandemic to stay in touch with family via Mattermost (privacy and security) as well as run a blog and software FuguIta guide and wiki. So, an ARM based RPI would have been much too small!
I used the miniPC because I had it lying around and Yunohost was perfect fit. Also I use a three disks array for storing the mattermost media and the Yunohost backups via restic.
Thanks @jarod5001 and @wbk for even reading and commenting! It actually used it and it works perfectly …

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That’s bad. Power cuts will kill your hard drives. A battery backup is a good thing (ups).

My server is an old laptop (broken screen) Server photo contest - #3 by jarod5001 , fortunately we don’t have power cuts but the laptop battery is enough to protect from shutting down the machine in case of power cut.
I placed it behind the TV and plugged the hdmi to the TV because it required a screen connected if I ever reboot the server.

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