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HP staff allegedly blames Microsoft's Windows Update as firmware bricks ProBooks

HP logo with red background

Firmware and BIOS updates are always risky, and it is always recommended to be careful when installing one. When things go south for some reason, they can lead to bricked PCs and other problems. Although HP ProBook 445/455 G7 (launched in 2020) owners say they did not do anything wrong while a new update was pushed to their systems, they found themselves with notebooks that no longer work.

The firmware causing these issues is version 01.17, and currently, it has been removed from HP's support website, with the last available version being 01.16.00 Rev.A. The following mail was seemingly sent by HP to a service center in response to the reports (via KnutD):

We have encountered an issue where HP has removed the BIOS from hp.com/HPIA. As a result, please refrain from updating any more PCs until further notice.

To assist with our investigation, we would like to borrow two PCs to send to our lab in the USA. If this is feasible, could you please provide the following information:

Contact person with phone number and email address
Complete pickup address
Serial numbers of both PCs

Please ensure the customer packs the PCs in suitable boxes. I will send DHL shipping labels and custom papers to facilitate the pickup as soon as possible. Remember to remove the SSD to ensure no customer data is shipped with the PCs.

We aim to send both PCs to our lab in Houston, USA, as soon as possible for further analysis.

Apparently, an HP service and repair technician put the blame on Windows Update for offering and delivering the buggy firmware. However, this seems unlikely as multiple HP customers say they received it from other channels, such as HP's Support Assistant app or the official support website.

User Wojtek0586 on HP's support forum writes:

.. we have the same problem. Currently, 6 computers are broken this way. HP Authorized Service suggested that the BIOS in the Windows Update patch is faulty, but installing version 1.17 straight from the BIOS, via the Internet or using Support Assistant, the effect is the same.

The service technician replaced the motherboard and updated the BIOS from version 1.14 to version 1.17. Upgrading from versions 1.15 and 1.16 causes the problem.

This, however, does not mean that the patch was not delivered by Windows Update as another user, Fiwkfcw434 attests, though it has also been removed by Microsoft since:

Here is a one more. After windows update (required to restart) and bios upgrade a black screen shown with a noisy fan. Laptop HP ProBook 455 G7.

Regardless, the good news is that HP seems to be well aware of the issue, but the bad news is they seemingly want to charge people €400 for that (will be different in the US). User Ginestet writes:

I opened a ticket with HP to request a repair. They then sent me a quote of around €400 for the replacement of the motherboard, which I refused because I don't intend to pay for HP's mistakes. They don't want to know anything because my PC is no longer under warranty, leaving the consumer to pay for the damage caused by HP. I find this unacceptable for professional machines. At this point, I can no longer trust HP, especially with the updates they provide.

We will have to wait and see how the situation develops and whether HP offers free replacements for those who are no longer in warranty.

Source: HP forum (1, 2, 3)

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