On May 26, a user on HP’s support forums reported that a forced, automatic BIOS update had bricked their HP ProBook 455 G7 into an unusable state. Subsequently, other users have joined the thread to sound off about experiencing the same issue.

This common knowledge regarding BIOS software would, then, seem to make automatic, forced BIOS updates a real issue, even if it weren’t breaking anything. Allowing the user to manually install and prepare their systems for a BIOS update is key to preventing issues like this.

At the time of writing, HP has made no official comment on the matter — and since this battery update was forced on laptops originally released in 2020, this issue has also bricked hardware outside of the warranty window, when previously users could simply send in the laptop for a free repair.

Overall, this isn’t a very good look for HP, particularly its BIOS update practices. The fragility of BIOS software should have tipped off the powers at be at HP about the lack of foresight in this release model, and now we’re seeing it in full force with forced, bugged BIOS updates that kill laptops.

  • CaptainBasculin@lemmy.ml
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    6 days ago

    The idea of forced automatic BIOS update is dumb. BIOS only should initialize its required components and fuck off afterwards.

  • Takios@discuss.tchncs.de
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    6 days ago

    I remember warning labels on BIOS updates that basically said that if nothing is broken, don’t do the update because the risk of bricking the device did not outweigh any potential benefits. That vendors are now pushing mandatory BIOS updates through Windows Update is terrifying.

    • vithigar@lemmy.ca
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      5 days ago

      When I heard that BIOS updates were going out automatically via Windows update I had just assumed the devices in question must be using an A/B update scheme to prevent the risk of accidentally bricking the system, because obviously they should.

      Absolutely insane that’s not the case.

    • far_university1990@feddit.de
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      5 days ago

      Why can even touch bios from system? That sound like horrible attack vector. If can infect bios, no reformat or reinstall will remove virus.

      • Aux@lemmy.world
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        5 days ago

        You’re not touching BIOS from the system. The software just downloads a cryptographically singed binary and reboots into BIOS. Then BIOS checks if the file is ok and proceeds to flash itself.

      • Vilian@lemmy.ca
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        5 days ago

        attack vetor if the person has physical access to your device, or the bios connect to the internet, at that point fuck it

        • far_university1990@feddit.de
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          5 days ago

          No meant like if can infect system, could touch bios and infect, so make virus stay forever.

          Which sound horrible.

          Also Intel ME can connect to internet and is below BIOS. Agree, fuck it.

    • barsoap@lemm.ee
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      5 days ago

      They really, really, should be doing A/B systems. Or just have an absolutely minimum loader that can load from EPROM/flash or USB so when the system storage gets messed up, you can still launch the updater from USB. That bios loader doesn’t need to know more than how to talk to storage and shovel bytes to the CPU, maybe blink a LED, it’s simple enough to be able to be actual ROM, never needing to be updated.

      Wait, no: SD cards can talk SPI… it’s not going to be fast but it’s only a few megs anyway. The EPROM or Flash you’re using probably speaks SPI, already. You could literally make a system which can load the BIOS from SD card for the cost of a card cage and maybe a jumper. You could have gigabytes of bios storage for three bucks by using off the shelf cheap SD cards, forget A/B storage you could do the whole bloody alphabet and people could replace the thing easily.

      • nickwitha_k (he/him)@lemmy.sdf.org
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        5 days ago

        Here’s some extra fun: there’s a decent chance that you only need a cable with JST or DuPont connectors. I’ve seen a fair number of laptop motherboards with unused SPI headers/connectors just hanging out. My understanding being that they’re for possible accessories or, literally for flashing/debugging the bios.

  • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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    6 days ago

    At the time of writing, HP has made no official comment on the matter — and since this battery update was forced on laptops originally released in 2020, this issue has also bricked hardware outside of the warranty window, when previously users could simply send in the laptop for a free repair.

    I am not all that big on conspiracies, but this is HP, which is famous for screwing people over for as much money as possible and bricking perfectly usable technology, so if it turns out this was intentional, I won’t even be a little shocked.

    • PlasticExistence@lemmy.world
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      6 days ago

      As the enshittification of everything gains momentum, I could also see this as an intentional “oops!”

      But we are talking about HP. They are now and always have been completely incompetent PC makers. I had friends back in the early 2000s with broken HP desktop computers that I refused to work on because they were the hardest to get working again.

    • corsicanguppy@lemmy.ca
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      5 days ago

      I’d go Hanlon’s Razor on this, because I’ve seen some stunning stupidity. It’s not all evil when some of it is just plain dumb, because of incomplete testing and oversight, because they cut costs to save money, so the CEO gets a bonus, and ohhhhhhhh I see it now.

      It’s evil.

  • barsquid@lemmy.world
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    6 days ago

    Are we sure it is the BIOS? Perhaps these people have run out of magenta subpixels or their printer ink subscription has lapsed.

    • corsicanguppy@lemmy.ca
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      6 days ago

      Heh. Same HP. Though? I forget which company got what in the divorce. I think this one is the “code built by revolving-door sweatshops and who has budget to validate it” and not the “standing over the corpse of Print and hoping lock-in will keep customers” one. The two sides may sound the same but I’m sure there are differences.

      (Keeping score at home? A drunk sailor with a fist full of hundies still can’t buy anything off that horrendous website, so some things haven’t changed in the divorce)

  • fury@lemmy.world
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    6 days ago

    How do these things not have unbrickable A/B firmware partitions by now? Even I have that on a $2 microcontroller. Self-test doesn’t pass after an update? Instant automatic rollback to the previous working partition.

    • cmnybo@discuss.tchncs.de
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      5 days ago

      It’s pretty ridiculous not to have a way of recovering from a failed update.

      On my desktop, I just have to plug a flash drive with the BIOS image into a specific USB port and press a button on the motherboard. It doesn’t matter if the BIOS is broken and it doesn’t even require a CPU or RAM to be installed.

    • DudeDudenson@lemmings.world
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      5 days ago

      Hate to be that guy, but I bet someone somewhere did the math of how much extra profit they can get from people having their device bricked and just getting a new one vs how many of them actually do the warranty claim

    • dorumon@lemmy.world
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      5 days ago

      My motherboard legit does this. Though it’s probably more so it’s an industrial one with like 8 SATA ports than anything else.

      • Aux@lemmy.world
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        5 days ago

        Plenty of motherboards do that and plenty of laptops. It’s just HP sucks big time, not only their printers. Fuck HP.

  • Echo Dot@feddit.uk
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    6 days ago

    No one should buy HP products anymore. Seriously everything they make is terrible and then they break it more when they get bored of you and want you to buy another one.

    • slumlordthanatos@lemmy.world
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      5 days ago

      Thing is, all the other major manufacturers are just as bad or worse.

      As a PC technician, HP still somehow has the best service and support, which speaks volumes about how bad everyone else is. Dell’s support tools are a generation behind HP’s, and Lenovo’s build quality is atrocious. Not to mention Lenovo’s technician support is so badly fragmented and poorly run, they default to having the customer send the device in for repair and avoid sending an on-site technician just so they can avoid dealing with technician support. Speaking from personal experience, getting to the right person when I have a problem or need to order additional parts is like pulling teeth, and even if I manage to reach someone, they’re usually equal parts incompetent and unhelpful.

      And Apple doesn’t even want to service their stuff.

      These days, you have to pick your poison.

  • Linkerbaan@lemmy.world
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    6 days ago

    This is a classical example of user error.

    They made the easily preventable mistake of buying HP.

  • Tuuli@lemmy.world
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    5 days ago

    I had Windows push a bios update on my HP omen desktop. It completed the update but wouldn’t get back up after restart. The fans went crazy for a moment and then it was dead. Luckily I had warranty left. They replaced processor and motherboard. Good job HP/Microsoft.

    • Ballistic_86@lemmy.world
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      5 days ago

      HP is the one responsible here, Windows is just the delivery service HP uses to deliver their updates.

      I’m all for hating on Microsoft, but you don’t blame the UPS driver for delivering a bomb to your house.

  • MisterFrog@lemmy.world
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    5 days ago

    This is interesting. Not a lawyer, but I’d encourage anyone in Australia to demand a free repair under Australian Consumer Law because the company bricked the laptop. I’d guess it would fall under the Acceptable Quality consumer guarantee, since the fault was caused directly by the manufacturer.

    Not sure how you’d go about proving that, but you could then just take it to your state tribunal, like VCAt in Victoria and file a small claim.

    Not a lawyer, not legal advice, but something to think about if you’re in this situation.

  • Kyrgizion@lemmy.world
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    6 days ago

    since this battery update was forced on laptops originally released in 2020, this issue has also bricked hardware outside of the warranty window, when previously users could simply send in the laptop for a free repair.

    I hope HP aren’t surprised when they get accosted with bricked laptops through their execs’ windshields at random intervals…

    • SirSamuel@lemmy.world
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      6 days ago

      If i knew of any execs near where i live they would be getting a front row seat to my reenactment of the Office Space printer scene.

      It’s rare for me to viscerally hate someone just for existing, but if i met an HP exec I would have to exert quite a bit of self control to not beat them until I lost feeling in my hands

  • unphazed@lemmy.world
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    5 days ago

    This happened to me on my daughters Lenovo. Got a windows update overnight. Updated while traveling in the car. Wouldn’t boot. Apparently the BIOS updated and there was no fix. Had to send gor a replacement under warranty. Sent it off, took 8 weeks to get it back. Wasn’t even the same serial number, just a replacement with no sdd.

  • davidgro@lemmy.world
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    6 days ago

    After the first 4 words of the title I was assuming it was intentional - Glad it doesn’t seem to be, but HP’s reputation is just that bad.

    • Flaky@lemmy.zip
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      5 days ago

      Most people are more likely just looking for any sort of laptop to buy and aren’t caring about the make of laptop. (unless it’s Apple, of course)

      Yet to see a HP loyalist… and I hope I don’t lmao.

      • solsangraal@lemmy.zip
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        5 days ago

        Most people are more likely just looking for any sort of laptop to buy and aren’t caring about the make of laptop

        absolutely. there are also people who believe “a car is a car” and then are shocked that a hole has rusted through the floor of their brand new dodge

        i gave up trying to advise people on researching brands and quality before larger purchases–they don’t care

        • Flaky@lemmy.zip
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          4 days ago

          oh god. A friend of mine who works in IT just had to deal with them and their customer support, they had him wipe the drive and now they’re wondering why they can’t get logs from Windows anymore.

    • nifty@lemmy.world
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      At one point they didn’t suck so much, but everything has been infected with enshittification

    • Omega_Jimes@lemmy.ca
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      5 days ago

      They’re very inconsistent. I’ve had an x360 since 2020 and, aside from the hinge being weak, it’s still going. I’m also pretty careless with my equipment. My wife uses it now.

      But then, I’ve seen more than one like yours that has seemed to evaporate like a cheap t-shirt.

      • spaghettiwestern@sh.itjust.works
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        5 days ago

        HP has known the hinges are defective since they introduced them. There are so many people having problems a class action suit was filed about it.

        • Yuri addict@ani.social
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          5 days ago

          Hp means Hinge problem as every single one of their laptops have some problem with their hinges

      • michael_palmer@lemmy.sdf.org
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        5 days ago

        I have an HP 530 from 2007, and its hinges are fine. I upgraded it to 2 GB of RAM (I have core2duo model) and installed Linux Mint. I use it at work to open the corporate web portal and watch youtube, which is only possible with a modern web browser.

      • terminhell@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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        5 days ago

        Check the torq of the hinge screws. They tend to come loose over time and can rock a little. This can cause the plastic to break that holds the female standoffs that it attaches too.

    • axo@feddit.de
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      5 days ago

      That problem has every consumer laptop. Lenovos Ideapads and Thinkbooks do the same. As well as the Asus, Acer, etc notebooks from the cheaper end.

      I do those hinge repairs from time to time for customers and its rarely a thinkpad, elitebooks, probook, etc.

    • andros_rex@lemmy.world
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      5 days ago

      They don’t play well with Linux. Occasionally my HP laptop will turn back on SecureBoot with no warning. There’s also like a full minute of delay between opening the thing and keyboard strokes registering. (Iirc, HP is so Linux hostile it’s not really supported by Arch)

      • Anti_Iridium@lemmy.world
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        5 days ago

        Mine will start immediately after shutting down. I have never found a solution other than holding the power button

      • spaghettiwestern@sh.itjust.works
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        5 days ago

        Must depend on the model. I’ve been running Mint on that (repaired) X360 for years without significant problems outside crappy Realtek wireless module issues.

    • terminhell@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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      5 days ago

      If it’s not a touchscreen, it’s fairly easy to repair. Still shouldn’t have broke in the first place, but it’s just the back panel cover.

      I’ve repaired hundreds of laptops across multiple vendors on all kinds of damage, fwiw.

      • Aux@lemmy.world
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        5 days ago

        Touchscreens are also easy to repair, they just have two more wires in the ribbon, that’s all.

          • Aux@lemmy.world
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            5 days ago

            Yeah, agree. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Some companies are just lazy, sadly.

            • terminhell@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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              4 hours ago

              There’s been a few models I’ve tried repairing in the field, and it would have required a likely damaging of the end of the WiFi antenna wires (at the very least). Some will have this effectively thick copper tape that’s soldered onto the end of the WiFi wires, and the glue is very aggressive.

              And again, some you can peel off without too much trouble, but some not as easily. Granted the vast majority of my repairs were onsite at the customers home/business.

    • tibi@lemmy.world
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      6 days ago

      Microsoft should also be to blame here. Sending BIOS updates via automatic windows updates should not be a thing.

        • Voyajer@lemmy.world
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          6 days ago

          Not sure when the sentiment changed, but it used to be heavily recommended against updating the bios on any computer unless there was a specific feature or fix your computer needed.

          • jj4211@lemmy.world
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            5 days ago

            Sentiment changed when the “BIOS” became a component for enforcing security architecture via “SecureBoot” and also Bitlocker sealed to PCRs only does so much if the BIOS code is vulnerable. Now they really badly want a “trusted” chain from some root of trust until the OS bootloader takes over. Problem is that the developers have historically enjoyed being in a trusted, single user context for decades and so the firmware has been full of holes when actually pushed.