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
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    141
    arrow-down
    1
    ·
    9 days ago

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

  • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    95
    ·
    9 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      30
      ·
      9 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      18
      ·
      8 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.

  • Takios@discuss.tchncs.de
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    87
    arrow-down
    1
    ·
    8 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      17
      ·
      8 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      16
      ·
      8 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
        link
        fedilink
        English
        arrow-up
        4
        ·
        8 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
        link
        fedilink
        English
        arrow-up
        1
        ·
        edit-2
        8 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
          link
          fedilink
          English
          arrow-up
          2
          ·
          7 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      14
      ·
      8 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
        link
        fedilink
        English
        arrow-up
        4
        ·
        8 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.

  • barsquid@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    85
    ·
    9 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      6
      arrow-down
      2
      ·
      9 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)

  • Echo Dot@feddit.uk
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    65
    ·
    9 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      12
      arrow-down
      1
      ·
      8 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.

  • fury@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    58
    ·
    8 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      23
      ·
      8 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      11
      ·
      8 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      3
      ·
      8 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
        link
        fedilink
        English
        arrow-up
        2
        ·
        8 days ago

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

  • Linkerbaan@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    50
    arrow-down
    1
    ·
    9 days ago

    This is a classical example of user error.

    They made the easily preventable mistake of buying HP.

  • Kyrgizion@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    35
    ·
    9 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
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      21
      ·
      9 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

  • davidgro@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    34
    arrow-down
    1
    ·
    9 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.

    • tibi@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      31
      ·
      9 days ago

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

        • Voyajer@lemmy.world
          link
          fedilink
          English
          arrow-up
          19
          ·
          9 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
            link
            fedilink
            English
            arrow-up
            4
            ·
            8 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.

  • Xanx@lemmy.zip
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    26
    ·
    9 days ago

    My wife’s Elitebook was also bricked by the most recent forced BIOS update.

    • barsquid@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      19
      ·
      9 days ago

      I have a no HP policy because of their printers and a no Samsung policy because of their TVs.

    • Fizz@lemmy.nz
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      10
      arrow-down
      1
      ·
      9 days ago

      I work at in a place that has 1000s of these piece of shit probooks. There is so much marketing about environmentalism yet these laptops are e-waste after 4 years if they even last that long. No one repairs any thing.

    • GreatAlbatross@feddit.uk
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      3
      ·
      8 days ago

      I tried to disable the atom cores on the £2000 laptop recently.
      It took me about 10 mins not finding it in the BIOS, to discover that HP just doesn’t have an option for it.

    • Blue_Morpho@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      2
      ·
      9 days ago

      What are your suggestions? The only reasonable choice I’ve found is the Framework. I’d prefer if I had more than a single choice.

      • CarbonatedPastaSauce@lemmy.world
        link
        fedilink
        English
        arrow-up
        3
        ·
        8 days ago

        I don’t buy enough laptops to answer that. My last purchase was an Asus which I’m happy with, but after their recent scandal with scamming customers on warranties I don’t think I’ll be buying from them again. But HP has such a terrible track record with laptops, printers, and just the way they operate in general for consumer stuff, that I would never consider purchasing consumer devices from them.

  • grue@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    27
    arrow-down
    3
    ·
    9 days ago

    after Windows pushes new firmware

    If a Linux distro pushed bad HP firmware, people would be blaming the Linux distro. Why does Microsoft get a free pass?

    • Echo Dot@feddit.uk
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      17
      ·
      9 days ago

      I think it’s HP that pushed the update though. So I’m guessing that it’s their driver that they broke not windows in general.

    • ikidd@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      16
      ·
      9 days ago

      It’s not really Microsoft’s fault, they’re just delivering what HP releases via the firmware update channel.

      I mean, Microsoft are a bag of dicks, but not on this one.

    • jj4211@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      5
      ·
      8 days ago

      Some Linux distros probably did push the bad HP firmware. Vendors push updates via fwupd.

    • corsicanguppy@lemmy.ca
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      4
      ·
      8 days ago

      They don’t get the blame, but they definitely will earn a conspiracy charge. They didn’t commit the crime but they drove the van.