I found this article that describes updating the BIOS, so I thought I would give it a try.
Here is the first command:
sudo apt-get install libsmbios-bin
Then, I ran the command to see what version my laptop was currently on:
Here are the first few lines of the output (the version is A07):
Libsmbios version: 2.2.13 Product Name: Inspiron 1720 Vendor: Dell Inc. BIOS Version: A07
On support.dell.com, I found that the latest version out there is A09. Then, I used wine to extract the header:
wine 1720_A09.EXE –writehdrfile
Sure enough, it created the hdr file:
$ ls *.hdr 1720_A09.hdr
Next, I loaded the module:
sudo modprobe dell_rbu
Finally, I ran the update:
sudo dellBiosUpdate -u -f 1720_A09.hdr
Here is the output:
Performing BIOS update... Update successfully staged. Reboot the system to begin BIOS update. No reboot option specified. The --reboot option is highly recommended.