Is there any compelling reason to upgrade to anything more recent?
I wouldn't say there are compelling reasons, however performing an upgrade might be wise. I had a Dell laptop some years ago and I upgraded its firmware because they improved the power management and it showed.
Therefore, you should check out the Dell website for the changelog and then decide for yourself. Upgrading firmware and other "low-level" software is usually a good idea, but the final decision is yours.
What is a decent way to update the BIOS on this system to a more recent one?
The Ubuntu community help contains a good explanation of the process. In particular, the Dell Bios page explains how to perform the upgrade using FreeDOS. Here are the relevant steps:
Follow the directions here to create a FreeDOS USB drive: http://chtaube.eu/computers/freedos/bootable-usb/
After you've done that:
- Eject the USB drive, then re-insert it so you can see the new FreeDOS file system.
- Copy your BIOS update file to the drive.
- Reboot, press F12 for the one-time boot menu, and boot from the USB Storage Device.
- Choose "fdos".
- Choose "4 - Load FreeDOS without drivers."
- Execute the BIOS update.
Regarding the last step, executing the
.exe file is similar to what you would do in the terminal. Assuming the file is called
upgrade.exe, you will run this at the FreeDOS prompt: