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August 11, 2020

Very strange firmware update on HP laptop

Late last night, just after upgrading to Insider Fast Ring build 19025, Windows Update on my HP ProBook 470 G5 laptop (see title image) told me an HP Firmware update was ready, awaiting a restart to install it. I clicked Restart, not worried at all because all previous firmware updates had worked without any issues whatsoever .

The laptop restarted, went to UEFI settings and showed me it was applying the update. When it finished, another restart, but this time after showing the HP logo, nothing happened. Black screen, no cursor, no keyboard. Because Amazon Prime had released the fourth and last season of my all time favorite dystopia series The Man in the High Castle that same day, I’d thought I would just binge-watch the few first episodes, and leave the laptop alone, to see if it fixed itself during that idle period.

So I watched three episodes, for almost three hours. Nothing had changed. The laptop screen was still black. Next, I decided to do a hard reset. But, weirdly, after holding the power button down for several minutes, the laptop did not turn off. I tried this same maneuver several times, holding the power button down a minute or two each time. Nothing. The laptop was powered on, not booting, and I could not turn it off. Removing the power cord would not help me to resolve this quickly, I also needed to remove the battery. Removing the battery on this laptop requires removing the motherboard first, and I was not willing to do that when the laptop was powered on.

With another seven episodes of season four of The Man in the High Castle still to watch, I decided to go to bed and continue my binge-watch session until I fell asleep. I disconnected the power cord, and decided to let the laptop stay powered on until the battery ran out. At that point it was 5 AM my time.

I woke up just after 11 AM. Enjoyed my breakfast, two big mugs of strong coffee and four cigarettes. For the first time ever I was somewhat annoyed at how good the HP battery capacity is, because the laptop was still running. Pressing the power button one more time, nothing happened. Read my morning paper, surfed the Interwebs with another laptop, and finally, about an hour and a half after I woke up, the battery on HP laptop died and it turned off.

I reconnected the power cable, and pressed the power button. Everything was OK. The laptop booted completely normally, and I arrived on the Windows desktop in less than 30 seconds. Booting to UEFI settings, I can see that firmware update was successfully applied. Everything works just fine.

This is the best laptop I have ever had. Fast, reliable, everything works. But, for the first time ever, I could not turn it off. Also for the first time ever, I had to wait until its battery had no more juice. Very strange.

It was an interesting if supremely frustrating experience, something that I am totally unable to explain. I don’t even know where to start to look into what caused this.

Just one more case to stress the fact that computing really is interesting!


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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