Fix erratic touchpad on Dell E7240 laptop with Linux

I love my Dell E7240, it’s the perfect size for an always-with-you computer when you need a full keyboard to do real work.

However, I’ve been plagued with a bizarre problem when the cursor jumps wildly and erratically around the screen when you’re using the touchpad or are typing. I figured it was just my fingers grazing the touchpad as I typed, but then I stumbled across a post on Reddit which said that the BIOS was to blame. But back then there wasn’t a fix.

This morning I decided to see if there was a fix, and it turns out Dell released a BIOS fix just last week. I downloaded and installed it, and now my trusty companion is working 100%!

Since the BIOS update requires Windows or DOS to install, and I’m running Linux, I had to search around on how to do the BIOS update.  Here’s what I did.

What you’ll need:

  1. Your Dell E7240 with the AC adapter – make sure it’s running on AC power
  2. A USB memory stick that you don’t mind formatting with at least 512MB total storage

Follow these instructions to update the BIOS:

  1. Download the BIOS update
  2. Go to the FreeDOS homepage and download the 256MB FreeDOS image
  3. Follow the instructions on that page to install the image to the USB stick
  4. Eject the USB stick, then re-insert it
  5. Copy the Dell BIOS EXE to the USB stick in the root folder
  6. Eject the USB stick, and use it to boot your laptop
  7. When asked, you want to start an fdos session, and then select Load FreeDOS without drivers
  8. Run the Dell BIOS EXE
  9. Your computer will run the update (see images below for what it will look like while updating)
  10. Once done, boot into the BIOS and make sure that the BIOS version is A14.
  11. Boot back into your Linux OS and now your touchpad shouldn’t be erratic!

Dell E7240 BIOS update

Dell E7240 BIOS update