HP bricks ProBook laptops with bad BIOS delivered via automatic updates — many users face black screen after Windows pushes new firmware

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.

If you’ve ever updated the BIOS manually on a PC, you may recall that there are usually warnings against making such updates while not charged, not powered on, or running background tasks that may interfere with updating system files. The BIOS is generally understood to be one of the most sensitive components of your system, with unexpected issues likely to result in crashes or even bricked systems like our main example.

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. Some users are pointing out that these auto-updates are so overzealous that they’ll even start on a laptop that has just booted with minimal battery power reserves. This seems to be one of the more common causes of upset, as well.

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. Forum users reporting on the issue claim that no help from HP seems to work, only specialist ROM programming hardware seems to have the potential to fix the issue, so far.

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. A few users also seem to be reporting similar issues with some HP desktops, but HP ProBook 455 G7 laptops seem to be by far the most impacted.

Hopefully, HP will take action to right their wrongs here, soon. Your paying customers deserve better than to get forced updates that break the hardware they paid you for, 2020 laptop or not. This kind of practice certainly won’t bring them back to you whenever they decide it’s time to buy a new Ultrabook or pro laptop, particularly considering the professional branding and focus.