HP BIOS update renders some ProBook laptops expensive paperweights

Customers not amused

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 its way down via Windows Update or HP's own Support Assistant and leave some computers irrevocably borked. Some reported the screen going forever black, while others noted that the computer's fan also seemed to ramp up. After the update, the computer was left in an unusable state for all affected.

According to HP's support site, the last supported BIOS and System Firmware update is 1.16A. One user reported that updating from 1.14 to 1.17 appeared to be OK, but going from 1.15 or 1.16 to 1.17 resulted in the problem.

The Register contacted HP, but the supplier did not respond.

While one user stated that "HP needs to find a solution to prevent bricking all these PCs," others have taken matters into their own hands. One managed to revive their Probook 445 G7 by unsoldering the BIOS chip from the motherboard. Though we salute such bravery, the approach is unlikely to find favor with all affected users, wondering how something that could so comprehensively break their machines ever made it out into the wild.

As a customer said: "HP deserves a red flag for such careless and neglecting attitude of putting not thoroughly tested BIOS upgrades online and forcing them onto our machines."

That particular seventh generation laptop turned up in 2020 so it is out of warranty for many. However, with an AMD Ryzen 7, up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to 1 TB of storage, it's more than sufficient for today's productivity applications, which makes the fault all the more frustrating.

Another user noted that HP had quoted €400 for a replacement motherboard, "which I refused because I don't intend to pay for HP's mistakes."

We will update this article should HP issue a statement on the situation. ®

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