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.

  • MisterFrog@lemmy.world
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    2 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.

    • Flaky@lemmy.zip
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      2 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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        1 day 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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          13 hours 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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      1 day ago

      At one point they didn’t suck so much, but everything has been infected with enshittification

  • Tuuli@lemmy.world
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    2 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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      2 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.

  • Trainguyrom@reddthat.com
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    1 day ago

    My experience when I worked in support for a device manufacturer is that if you get high enough in the support tree and can demonstrate that this effects you (and the support person will also have a matrix of affected devices) you’ll still get a repair/replacement outside of warranty for them bricking your computer with a bad update.

    We had a specific instance where a specific budget model of phone sold by Boost mobile would brick after a specific update for people who had subsidy unlocked it and taken it to a GSM carrier such as T-Mobile (this was shortly pre-merger) or AT&T. This update rolled out about 2.5 years after this devices release, so most customers were ~12 months outside of warranty. Since the scope of affected devices was so narrow our directions from the top was to replace affected devices regardless of warranty status, and the replacement would come with a standard 30 day replacement warranty

    So in short, I would expect HP to repair/replace affected devices that bricked after this BIOS update regardless of warranty status, but I would expect some amount of hassle in terms of reaching a specific support department before you get assistance and standard refusal of service for customer induced physical damage (smashed screen, smashed ports, mashed potatoes in the ports, badly bent, etc.)

  • Takios@discuss.tchncs.de
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    2 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.

    • barsoap@lemm.ee
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      2 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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        2 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.

    • vithigar@lemmy.ca
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      2 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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      2 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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        2 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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        2 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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          1 day 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.

  • CaptainBasculin@lemmy.ml
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    3 days ago

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

  • fury@lemmy.world
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    2 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.

    • DudeDudenson@lemmings.world
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      2 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

    • cmnybo@discuss.tchncs.de
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      2 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.

    • dorumon@lemmy.world
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      2 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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        2 days ago

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

  • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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    3 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.

    • corsicanguppy@lemmy.ca
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      2 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.

    • PlasticExistence@lemmy.world
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      3 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.

  • barsquid@lemmy.world
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    3 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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      3 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)

    • Kbobabob@lemmy.world
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      2 days ago

      What does a motherboard BIOS have to do with Windows other than that was how the update was delivered? I swear Lemmy loves to shoehorn Linux into any article that even mentions Windows.

      • CileTheSane@lemmy.ca
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        1 day ago

        What does a motherboard BIOS have to do with Windows other than that was how the update was delivered?

        So what does this have to do with Windows and Linux other than the fact that Linux wouldn’t have a mandatory unskippable update?

      • Flaky@lemmy.zip
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        1 day ago

        Just got back into Lemmy after a few months of not coming in (joined during the Reddit API protests), and yeah it really is lmao.

        If it’s the firmware update itself that’s faulty, the faulty update could’ve been applied on Linux, as HP uploads their updates to LVFS. If it’s the process that’s faulty (i.e. application corrupts memory while writing the flash), then the commenter might have a point given that Windows Update doesn’t discriminate between working and broken updates.

  • Echo Dot@feddit.uk
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    3 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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      2 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.

  • adarza@lemmy.ca
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    2 days ago

    we’ve had clients have their dell systems bricked from bios updates. it’s not just hp.

    at least dell (reluctantly) offered free repairs, even out of warranty, on those models at the time. ‘repair’ being motherboard swap plus shipping both ways if not covered by an onsite warranty plan.

    i still have one of those ‘repaired’ systems here. user gave it to us years after it got fixed. it just sat, unused, once they got it back as they bought a new one due to the lengthy turnaround they were quoted.

  • unphazed@lemmy.world
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    2 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.

  • Weslee@lemmy.world
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    2 days ago

    Jeez, I am currently trying to install Linux on my HP ProBook and having issues with it - one thing I noticed was my bios was last updated in 2014 so I was going to see if updating helped… Might hold off on that now