back to article HP BIOS update renders some ProBook laptops expensive paperweights

A BIOS update from HP is bricking some of its computers, and customers are potentially facing hefty bills for replacement hardware. A thread of woe in the company's support forum details the problem, where a 1.17 BIOS patch appears to break laptops – in this case, the ProBook 455 G7. According to users, the update can make …

  1. cyberdemon Silver badge
    Devil

    Did someone from their Printer dept work on this BIOS?

    Non genuine HP electron detected at charging port. This laptop will now self-brick

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    If there is a good reason to believe the BIOS update did this, there should be free fixes no matter the age. Time that big companies are forced to fix software bugs of any sort.

  3. Alumoi Silver badge

    Citizen, you WILL buy new hardware. One way or another.

    1. Alf Garnett

      If I owned one of the affected machines and HP had that attitude, I might very well buy another machine, but it sure as hell won't be an HP.

  4. hj

    The more I have to work with HP laptops, the more I appreciate Lenovo!

  5. t245t Silver badge
    Terminator

    Update and pray ..

    Update and pray .. because there's no way of undoing the potential damage, 21st century technology my a(r)se.<br><br>

    --

    Taylor Swift should be studied like Jonathan Swift” :o

  6. Conundrum1885

    Brickage

    Hi, this might be why some of the OhHellNo SFFs are failing seemingly at random.

    Seems that the cause may be a specific piece of hardware left plugged in during restart drawing too much power.

    End result is a $400+ brick.

    In my case, the symptoms suggested a CPU failure but CPU tested fine in another system as did the RAM.

    You'd think that just reprogramming a chip would fix this but it alas isn't that simple as the chip is "special"

    and not a standard unit.

    Complicating this is these units requiring the special thermal sensor on the RAM chips without which it won't

    initialize at all.

    Some of the MFFs of the same era also had an annoying habit of running the processor at less than its rated FSB

    with the multiplier also turned down so it ran terribly slow: Updating BIOS fixed this.

  7. karlkarl Silver badge

    > Customers not amused

    I'm pretty sure some customers are amused. It means now a bunch of dirt cheap machines "for spare parts" will hit places like ebay.

    The manufacturers even advises people *against* updating their BIOS if the machine is functioning as intended. It is a compulsion for people at this point.

    1. t245t Silver badge
      Terminator

      Update via Windows Update or HP Support Assistant

      I have no control over when “My Computer” decides when to update. Now it seems that applies to BIOS updates.

      --

      @karlkarl:

      >> Customers not amused

      > I'm pretty sure some customers are amused. It means now a bunch of dirt cheap machines "for spare parts" will hit places like ebay.

      > The manufacturers even advises people *against* updating their BIOS if the machine is functioning as intended. It is a compulsion for people at this point.

    2. Julian 8

      If it comes down via windows update, it's not as if the user has hunted down a bios update and applied

  8. Sam not the Viking Silver badge

    What happened?

    I used to buy HP laptops (and, to a point printers) because 'they just worked'. Where my colleagues bought other stuff they were plagued by work-arounds, fixes and tweaks to keep things rolling, I somehow managed to operate without fuss or stress. My programs and links worked without interruption. Data was retrieved and flowed. On-site, off-site, in the Test area, complex data collection and analysis provided solutions to some (to my mind) extremely complex issues. The laptop(s) were a great tool, a real workhorse: reliable and predictable. What more could I ask for?

    Then, about 12/15 years ago something went seriously wrong. The new workhorse trundled out of the stable and ate hay. It ran hot. It shut down unexpectedly. Slooowwww..... Niggling errors occurred. Data was lost. FFT's became slowFT's. It wasn't the (my) software because..... it wasn't. The laptop was forever phoning home despite being off any network or remote connection.

    An update/replacement HP was no better.

    A move to IBM/Lenovo solved the issue. I haven't bought an HP machine since, personally, for business or for my staff. (There's enough already been written about HP printers.... No further comment....)

    1. DanceMan

      Re: What happened? Who to use next?

      Happy user of MX Linux on old laptops here, currently on T510/520. This appears to be a hinge point where keyboard and other changes on subsequent Lenovo Thinkoads make them less desirable. Any comments from those similarly inclined as to alternatives? Dell? or stay with Lenovo since HP si shooting itself in thr the foot.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: What happened? Who to use next?

        I rather like the smaller Dell Latitudes - the ex-boss ones that end up recommissioned on the bay for stupid cheap at three years old or so. I've found them generally reliable (sad batteries easily replaced, memory and storage upgradeable, minor problems when SWMBO insists on picking them up by the screen, but hey...)

        I don't do games, but use them for CAD, PCB design, software, and general home use. Running Mint.

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: What happened? Who to use next?

          Yep Dell Latitudes off lease also work for me. Change the HDD for an SSD, max out the RAM, install Linux Mint :-)

    2. red floyd

      Re: What happened?

      <quote>Then, about 12/15 years ago something went seriously wrong.</quote>

      The something that went wrong was Carly Fiorina. It just took a few years to bleed through.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: What happened?

        Her and her successors.

  9. Evilgoat76

    From the company that brought you

    The DV2000 series and it's brethren where the GPU fell off the board and denied all knowledge of the issue for years while recalling them in other countries for the same issue

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Time for a class action lawsuit

    or other legal action.

    IF HP won't fix it then they could be falling foul of consumer protection laws. They might be able to get out of a warranty fix but consumer laws win every time.

    1. CorwinX Bronze badge

      Re: Time for a class action lawsuit

      Car analogy...

      You take your car to be serviced at an official dealership.

      Mechanic recommends an oil change. You agree. He uses the wrong oil and your engine presently seizes.

      Not his problem because you consented to the work. See how that flies in court.

      Same deal here - you agreed to install HP's recommended software and it bricked it - pretty sure the law says they have to fix it.

      Also reckon they could fall foul of some anti-hacker laws if someone pushed it - distribution of harmful software etc.

      1. IamAProton

        Re: Time for a class action lawsuit

        Agreed... not! now they push their garbage bios updates through windows update (as if the new fancy-pants mouse-enabled bios wasn't already bad enough). unless you disable updates from within the bios itself (and trust me, settings are lost from time to time) you are gonna get aligned with the program and be thankful

      2. Julian 8

        Re: Time for a class action lawsuit

        Dunno, I expect to have to download a bios update from whatever site it tool, not windows update

        Drivers are one thing, bios is another

        So do they blame Microsoft ?

    2. Martin Howe

      Re: Time for a class action lawsuit

      In the UK, Computer Misuse Act 1990 could also apply.

  11. Blackjack Silver badge

    There is a reason I never try a bios update on a computer that's already in use.

    1. Julian 8

      All my machines at home are in use, so would be no good here

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Honesty is better to not update the bios unless you really need it, like wanting to upgrade to Windows 11 or something like that.

  12. alain williams Silver badge

    HP knows that most will not bother ...

    to take them to court as the cost of litigation (legal costs, bother, etc) will exceed the cost of a new laptop.

    OK: you might get costs but what with the time waste you lose big time.

    The best thing to do is to make sure that the world knows what shits HP are.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: HP knows that most will not bother ...

      Does your jurisdiction have a small claims court/route/whatever? In general such a process enables your to (a) put in the claim yourself (b) obliges both sides to pay for any legal representation they make themselves so the other side can't threaten to bankrupt you with expensive lawyers.

      1. hayzoos

        Re: HP knows that most will not bother ...

        Even better. Some jurisdictions do not allow lawyers in the small claims courts. Many a judgement by default has occurred in such jurisdictions when an officer of the corp. failed to show. Collecting on the judgment is another battle.

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "putting not thoroughly tested BIOS upgrades online"

    I'm sorry, HP is just using Redmond's modus operandi : let the user test it . . .

  14. Alf Garnett

    Class action lawsuit time

    Since HP's update fscked the computers, HP has an obligation to repair the affected machines with no expense to the owners with the possible exception of shipping. If HP refuses to do this, I hope somebody gets some bloodthirsty lawyers and sues the pants off them.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Class action lawsuit time

      Why except shipping? Since the fault is HP's, HP should be responsible for the complete costs of repair whether in warranty or not. Including, if relevant, consequential loss to a business.

      (If I crash into your car, me (or my insurer) are responsible not only for fixing it, but towing it to the body shop.)

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Class action lawsuit time

      If there's a small claims route available that might be a better option. Otherwise there's liable to be a big settlement, most going to the lawyers and pennies to the claimants. Consequent damages - loss of income etc might exceed the limits, however.

  15. weirdbeardmt

    Machines being out of warranty ought to be irrelevant here.

    The failure is caused by the (update) service provided by HP and if it is as described in the article borderline negligent.

    (I may need to pay you to service my car but if you accidentally smash a window it’s on you to fix it.)

    Either way they should be insured against the risk.

    (Unless something in the Ts & Cs of the update service expressly says they don’t warranty that the service won’t brick your device. And nobody would be surprised if it did say that…)

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      (Unless something in the Ts & Cs of the update service expressly says they don’t warranty that the service won’t brick your device. And nobody would be surprised if it did say that…)

      I would consider that unreasonable and if a court agrees it would render the term null and void. Just because you can put anything you want in T&C or a contract doesn't make it enforceable or binding.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Especially if the update was forced by HP via Microsoft.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The failure is caused by the (update) service provided by HP and if it is as described in the article borderline negligent."

      Yes. Not only might it come down as a Windows Update which you can, at best, delay for 7 days before being forced to install it, but if you run the HP Support Assistant, it marks firmware updates as "critical", which the proverbial "man on the Clapham omnibus" would read as "I must install this or my system will break or be insecure." HP don't have a leg to stand on in this instance, although IANAL this is not legal advice, seek advice from a qualified and practising solicitor/lawyer :-)

  16. PeterM42
    FAIL

    What is it with HP?

    First their printers become unusable, their desktops were SLOOOOOWWWW and now their laptops.

    Are they trying to justify getting out of the PC/printer business by upsetting customers?

    I volunteer with a computer help group and always groan when someone says they have an HP printer.

    When they ask what should they buy, I say "Anything BUT HP."

  17. Steve 114

    HP ZBook

    Upgraded Bios when offered by HP 'support assistent' screen last week, before the alert. Luckily, it worked - with several restarts and worrying pauses. But I did notice that first screen gave the option to create a 1mb partition to offer a bios rollback. Never heard of such a thing so clicked 'no'. Close shave without that?

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: HP ZBook

      Work computer is an HP ZBook. They control the horizontal, vertical, and all updates from the Mothership. If it bricks, they can replace it.

  18. MichaelGordon

    HP have a history of this sort of thing. A few years ago an HP BIOS update bricked several hundred laptops across my employer's operations; the next few weeks saw constant presence of HP engineers on site replacing motherboards. I've also had an HP desktop brick itself after a BIOS update; that was fixed by disconnecting the BIOS battery and letting the machine sit for 10 minutes before reconnecting the battery.

    What I've learned from this and other HP-related nonsense is to never, ever buy an HP computer for personal use and to recommend that friends who ask for advice don't either.

  19. lauren111

    Suddenly Black Screen Yesterday

    Hi everyone,

    I’m so frustrated to be dealing with my perfectly working HP laptop just suddenly going black-screened yesterday!!!!! I got my laptop back in Dec 2022 and it has genuinely worked perfectly ever since then (no slowness, no glitches, no issues at all), but all of a sudden it seems to have given up on me. By “given up” I mean that yesterday, while I was using my laptop, the screen just went black and I couldn’t turn it on again. Bear in mind, I’ve never had any physical or water damage to my laptop, it was charged up, and wasn’t overheating - I say all this because it means that the issue was not caused by any irresponsibility or misuse on my part.

    I have been talking to a HP support assistance via WhatsApp all day and all he has said is that they will take it in for repair. He doesn’t answer any of my questions about WHY my laptop is having this problem - I imagine because it’s something on HP’s end causing it! I told him that I have an active Care Pack warranty - a lot of good that seems to be doing, as he’s said that I’ll only have the repair work covered if my laptop has no physical or water damage (which I already told him it didn’t!!!). Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like a scam waiting to happen: telling us it should be covered, then sending us a hefty bill after the repair work’s already been done - and for something that’s not even our fault!!!!

    It’s just so frustrating - if this is because of a faulty update, why did they not test it first????? Rather than costing us regular folks a lot of time and possibly money!!!!

    Anyone have any suggestions on what to do - should I contact HP via call (I feel like I might get my point across better)? Should I just get a new laptop - which I shouldn’t have to, as I’ve only had the laptop since Dec 2022!!!! Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)

    (P.s. apologies for the rant - I imagine some of you feel the same)

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