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Top Student
atihun
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎04-25-2012
Message 1 of 10 (2,690 Views)

HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

[ Edited ]

Hello,

 

I am extremely dissapointed with HP and how they lock down the BIOS.

 

I cannot add a wireless card that works in any other laptop I own (SONY, Dell), nor can I change from AHCI to IDE mode to perform updates to SSD drive.

 

With the BIOS locked, it makes the laptop not user friendly and not upgradeable.

 

Please unlock the BIOS so we can install valid Intel wireless network cards to take advantage of faster access points, and be able to update firmware on SSD drives.

 

If this will never be done, please let us know so we can stop purchasing HP laptops and buy a Dell instead.

 

Thanks.

 

Ati

Associate Dean
Mumbodog
Posts: 11,026
Member Since: ‎01-11-2010
Message 2 of 10 (2,672 Views)

Re: HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

Here are the FCC rules concerning this issue or certified wireless devices sold with notebooks. These federal rules apply to all PC manufacturers. How they interpret and enforce them is up to the PC manufacturer.

 

http://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2007/fcc-sdr-whitepaper.html

 

"2.1 FCC SDR Rules

On March 11, 2005, the FCC released a set of rules outlining an alternative method for certification of devices whose radio frequency and power characteristics can be modified by software (such devices are designated Software Defined Radio devices).1 The rules allow manufacturers who have certified under the new process to update the software on the devices without re-certifying the devices with the FCC.

The rules require any manufacturer certifying a device under the new process to take steps to prevent “unauthorized” changes to the software on the device that might alter its radio frequency and power parameters in a way that takes it out of compliance with the regulations known as FCC Part 15 regulations.2 The specific technology implemented to accomplish this task is left to the manufacturers seeking certification, although the FCC suggests several possible mechanisms that can serve as such “security measures.”3"

 

.

The implication is this: If the FCC thinks that a device does not prevent "unauthorized" changes to the it can obviously revoke its certification and followed by other consequences.

 

"Failure to Comply with FCC's Regulations
... The FCC has authority to assess a maximum forfeiture of $11,000 for each violation, or each day of continuing violation of its rules, up to a statutory maximum forfeiture of $97,500 for any single continuing violation."

 

 

.

While there's some truth in the FCC ruling, it should only affect wifi card vendors like Atheros, Broadcom, etc. and not HP, Of course, you could argue that HP is responsible for the Antenna design and layout, but that's just a tiny, tiny piece.

 


This whole "regulatory nightmare" is also the reason why wireless is such a problem for open-source operating systems (Linux, BSD, OpenBSD). It's because some hw vendors decided to implement the restriction in the drivers, as it saves them a lot of money since firmware code or hardware is much more expensive. So they can't really release an open-source driver without fear.

 

In the end HPs implementation of the bios restriction is mostly fear of fines.


Top Student
atihun
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎04-25-2012
Message 3 of 10 (2,665 Views)

Re: HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

[ Edited ]

The only issue is that HP uses the same wifi card that is not on a whitelist in this model in a slightly different model number without issue.

 

In addition, using a certified wifi card (i.e. Intel 6300N), would not put the product out of specification as Intel had to certify their card; not to mention it is the actual card and drivers of the wifi card that control the radio frequency and power characteristics. (http://www.qsl.net/kb9mwr/projects/wireless/modify.html)

 

How is it that Dell and several other brands have no issues with changing to another card (no 'whitelisting' in the BIOS)? If this was inded an issue, I'm sure they would be also covering their rears. BTW, that whitepaper is from 2007, and I could not find any FCC fines levied for such concerns. (http://www.fr.com/files/uploads/attachments/fcc/Q1-Q3-2011FCC-EnforcementMatrix.pdf)

 

And why lock out other features such as me controlling what type of mode I connect my hard drive (AHCI vs IDE)? 

To me, it's HP making their product less upgradable which ultimately forces owners to upgrade when they shouldn't have to. 

 

It's a shame the company that HP has turned into.  I remember the days when it was a solid company with amazing engineering and software.  We still have a few HP-UX (Unix) servers running that are almost 20 years old, that gets rebooted, oh maybe once a year. 

Associate Dean
Mumbodog
Posts: 11,026
Member Since: ‎01-11-2010
Message 4 of 10 (2,659 Views)

Re: HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

HP is a strange company when it comes to PCs these days, some models have advanced bios features, most do not, business line notebooks do, most consumer grades do not.

 

I was at San Francisco last month for the HP social summit and asked about bios features and they said due to the wide audience of inexperienced users of their products,, they disable that stuff to cut down on support calls due to noobs changing something and not know what they did or how to un muck it.

 

Sounds reasonable to a point, support is very expensive for PC manufacturers, last stat I had is $15 for every support call that is answered, whether it is 1 minute or 1 hour. If they pick up the phone its costs $15. It may be more these days, this figure is 2 years old, I got it from a Dell insider.

 

Some of the disabled features are really stupid, like ide mode, disable switchable graphics.

 

Some suggest offering a unlock feature in the bios, a multi keystroke or something to bring up the advanced bios, doubt it will ever happen.

Top Student
atihun
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎04-25-2012
Message 5 of 10 (2,648 Views)

Re: HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

I agree that probably 70% of the people using these consumer laptops don't know or will ever go into the bios.

 

Your suggestion would be a logical and fair compromise:

 

"...offering a unlock feature in the bios, a multi keystroke or something to bring up the advanced bios, doubt it will ever happen."

 

Any way to escelate this?  I know I am not the only one out there with this request.  Just search for "HP BIOS unlocking" and you'll find people that are already trying this with some limited success.

Associate Dean
Mumbodog
Posts: 11,026
Member Since: ‎01-11-2010
Message 6 of 10 (2,646 Views)

Re: HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

We have begged for this feature for years, its not going to happen  :smileysad:

Top Student
atihun
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎04-25-2012
Message 7 of 10 (2,643 Views)

Re: HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

[ Edited ]

Any other way for customers to escalate? Would getting a petition together help?

 

{Content Removed: legal discussion}

Associate Dean
Mumbodog
Posts: 11,026
Member Since: ‎01-11-2010
Message 8 of 10 (2,640 Views)

Re: HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

CA suit requires that consumers were "damaged" somehow, so this won't fly.

 

Like I said we have tried time and again for years, they won't do it.

Top Student
atihun
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎04-25-2012
Message 9 of 10 (2,635 Views)

Re: HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

[ Edited ]

{Content Removed: legal discussion}

 

If I knew that HP locked their BIOS, I wouldn't have bought the laptop.  Either they can buy my laptop back or provide us with a code to unlock the BIOS or create an unlocked BIOS.

Top Student
atihun
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎04-25-2012
Message 10 of 10 (2,617 Views)

Re: HP DV7-6195US Laptop BIOS Unlock

I love that: "{Content Removed: legal discussion}".

 

A little afraid of the ramifications??? :smileyhappy:

 

I will be creating an online petition. After that it's up to HP; and if they don't do what's right, then we can pursue "other means"...

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