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I have a Dell XPS8700 which came with Windows8 that I quickly switched to Ubuntu.

Here is the current BIOS on the system Version: A09 BIOS Revision: 4.6 Release Date: 11/22/2014 ... Version: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770 CPU @ 3.40GHz

Is there any compelling reason to upgrade to anything more recent?

What is a decent way to update the BIOS on this system to a more recent one?

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  • You should read the release notes and figure if there is something important to you. Most likely not, and then you most likely should leave it alone. Off-topic here though.
    – user508889
    Apr 30, 2016 at 14:40
  • I had a very bad experience using the firmware (BIOS) update feature in Ubuntu 17.10, after rebooting the installation process started, after some minutes the computer stop responding, black screen, no buttons working. After around 45 minutes, I powered it off, and short story, DELL had to change the motherboard. Dec 5, 2017 at 0:46

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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:

  1. Eject the USB drive, then re-insert it so you can see the new FreeDOS file system.
  2. Copy your BIOS update file to the drive.
  3. Reboot, press F12 for the one-time boot menu, and boot from the USB Storage Device.
  4. Choose "fdos".
  5. Choose "4 - Load FreeDOS without drivers."
  6. 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:

upgrade.exe
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  • Thanks for the substantial answer. This question was motivated by the intermittent failures of a XPS8700 where it would simply stop updating the monitor or receive USB input from the keyboard and mouse. One of the suggestions was to upgrade BIOS to the latest. Nevertheless, I ended up replacing the motherboard and not it seems to work OK.
    – tamumiket
    Jun 5, 2016 at 16:31
  • That's fine, you don't need to provide a motivation for why you are asking a question. :) If you found the information good/accurate/useful, please consider upvoting and accepting the answer. Jun 5, 2016 at 16:35

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