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Nova38
Level 3
9 7 0 22
Message 1 of 4
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Solved!

Multiple Errors on top end Specter x360 15''

HP Recommended

Preface:

To clarify the intent of this thread I would like to make it clear that this is not intended as a "rant". I am aware that the community guidelines prohibit " "Rants", "slams", or legal threats against HP, another company or any person.There are two goals of this post. The first is to get guidance from the community on how to resolve any of the issues listed under current issues, so if they return after the laptop is repaired I would have more ways to troubleshoot them.  The second is to hopefully get a moderator to bring my issue to the attention of an appropriate team within HP. In order to facilize both of those goals I have toughly documented the issues I have been having bellow.

 

TOC:

  1. Forward
  2. Product Information
  3. HP support issues
  4. Current Issues
    1. Screen Display burn-in like effects, Backlight, and weird lines 
    2. BSOD: "DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL"
    3. Active Pen digitizer
    4. Assorted Hardware issues

 

1) Forward: 

To whoever reads this, thank you. I intend to provide a full description of the issues effecting my laptop bellow. If you have any advice on ways to resolve the issues with the laptop or with HP support please let me know. Before I get to that I would like to briefly express the complete and utter frustration at HP and my experiences with this laptop. Almost 2 years ago, just before I started college, I decided to purchase the highest end Specter X360 15” laptop. With the student discount I spent over $2,100 on the Laptop and a 2-year care pack with accidental damage protection. I need a laptop that was both portable and powerful enough to run CAD, Virtualization, and other software that I needed for my undergrad studies in Computer Engineering and to work on achieving additional Cyber Security Certifications.  I have lost count of the hours I have spent in total trying to debug and troubleshoot the issues that have occurred over the lifetime of the device. I do know that over the past 5 months I have spent well over 100+ hours and had to send it to HP support to fix it twice, it is currently at a repair center. I will get into my grievances with HP support at the end. For now, all that is important is that due to a reoccurring BSOD I sent HP the laptop for a week at the beginning of the year to fix it. Then fast forward 2 months and not only has the issue reappeared but an even more frustrating and hard to describe issue most likely related to the other issue has reared it ugly head. 

2) Product Information:

My laptop in a Specter x360 15" (model Number 15t-ch000 CTC). I believe that this model number covers all of the custom configurations of the 15" 2018 model; see bellow for the specific specs of my laptop. Total cost of Device and extended warranty was over $2,100.

  • Windows 10 Pro 64
  • Intel® Core™ i7-8705G (3.1 GHz, up to 4.1 GHz, 8MB cache, 4 cores) + Radeon™ RX Vega M Graphics (4GB dedicated memory)
  • 16 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM (2x8GB)
  • 1 TB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD
  • 15.6" diagonal 4K IPS micro-edge BrightView WLED-backlit touch screen with Corning® Gorilla® Glass (3840 x 2160)
  • HP TrueVision FHD IR Camera with Dual array digital microphone (dark ash silver)(for i7-8705G)
  • 6-cell, 84 Wh Lithium-ion Battery

 

3) Troubles with HP Support:

I have had to send my laptop to HP Support 3 times. So far, I have been very disappointed with the results.

The first time was a few months after I had purchased the device: about midway through a semester I believe. It due to a clicking sound that the palm rest had any pressure applied to it. I sent it in and it the issue seemed like it had resolved. Until it came back a few weeks’ latter. From what I have read it was a relatively frequent problem with this model. I didn't send it back to have the issue resolved again as going a week and a half without my school laptop was incredibly difficult and stressful. 

The Second time was in January of this year. It was just after the beginning of me starting the PWK - a cyber security class/lab environment that costed around $1000 for 90 days. For the class I had to spend more time on my laptop which unfortunately coincided with an increased in computer crashes caused by the graphics driver throwing the error code DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. After it had crashed twice in the same day – wiping out hours of work – I decided to send the laptop in for a repair. I did this because in its state it was untenable for me to continue to use it for my class, and more importantly I couldn’t afford the downtime during this semester. After a week or so the laptop was returned to me and for about 2 months it didn’t give me that error.

In the middle of march things went downhill fast: deteriorating into even worse of a state than before. (see bellow of the present issues) That cheches up to the present day. During a chat with HP Specter Support hotline I was reassured that HP didn’t have any internal reports that would indicate that the time the repair would take would be impacted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, I explained how vital having a powerful functional laptop is to being able to complete all of my course load as it had all moved online. In response the Support technician again assured me that it would probably take only a few days to a week or so for it to be fixed. He also told me he would flag the work to be expedited so that the repair would take as little time as possible. With those reassurances in mind I decided to send the laptop in for repair last Sunday night. I spent several hours preparing a though 19 page document explaining all the issues that I was currently facing, proof of the problem, and all the steps I had taken in the 100+ hours I had spent on trying to get it machine to function properly. They received the package on Tuesday morning, they then updated the repair order to have an estimated return date of this Thursday.

I was thrilled until I got a text at 7:40 that night saying that the repair order’s eta had been pushed back till 5/15/2020, and to call 1-800-HP-INVENT “if the delay isn’t acceptable.” I then immediately checked the HP customer support page to validate the new Estimated delivery date. While confirming that I notice the order status had changed from in repair to “Please contact HP” So, I called them at 7:45pm and just got back a recording saying that that phone support was only available from 8am-8pm. Note that the recording never specified a time zone. Assuming that they were using central time – as it is the time zone the repair center it was sent to and I are I – it was not yet even 8pm. Frustrated I had no choice but to wait till I woke up today to call them back. After spending an hour on hold, and no indication of where in the queue I was, I decided to try to use that Chat support option.

After a long discussion that ended up being not particularly helpful, I was told a few notable things. First, I was told that the delay was due to a part shortage. After I pushed for more information, I was told that they would put in a request to expedite the repair process: something the first HP representative had said he would do at the start. Then I was told to “ill raise a request now, since no request has been raised previously. in case it is not a satisfactory response you get please reach out to us; we will find alternate solutions” (this is from the transcript of our conversation.)  This was confusing for two reasons: I had already been told on the phone that that request had been made at the beginning; and that I found the solution not satisfactory which is why I had contacted HP support in the first place.

After I made it clear that in no world was a month’s delay was workable, I asked about the other available options HP had to fulfill their end of the Care Pack terms and conditions (found at http://h20195.www2.hp.com/v2/GetDocument.aspx?docname=4AA6-7320ENUS). In particular I asked about the other options laid out in section 2 subpoint c that says that “. At our discretion, we will either: i. Repair your product, or ii. Provide a replacement product with equal features and functionality that is new or equivalent to new in performance and reliability, or iii. Provide a refund equal the purchase price paid for the product.” I was then told that only way the other two options would be able to be used is if after this repair if the issues reoccurred, I could call in an get my case escalated. Never mind that I had spent over 100+ hours poring over log files, minidumps, and researching the bug and had documentation of every step I had gone through to resolve the issue; or that they had already tried replacing the whole system board last time and “Performed Extensive Testing

After over 30 minutes into that chat I was then told that apparently the part shortage was resolved earlier that day, and that all that they could do was raise a request about expediting my case. Which makes as to why my repair delay had been changed the night before to 5/15/2020 perplexing. If there was a shipment of the parts they had a shortage arrived today, then there is no reason why they would not have been aware of its status the night before. Furthermore, if they knew the parts were arriving today, or any time soon, the extension of the repair window makes no sense.

I had them put in the second request to expedite it as it was the only option that I could get the person to give me. I would have let the matter rest if not for the fact that have I not received a email or text confirmation that the request had been made on my repair order, and there is no visible sign on either the repair order status page or the new Dashboard that it had been made. (there was a new case ID made on the dashboard from me using the chat option, but it errors out when I try to get any info on it.) I had been told that I would get an update form the service center that has my laptop in 24 hours. However, seeing as I had already been assured that HP would flag this repair as expedited, I am more skeptical about wither or not the request had been made.

HP-OpenCase-NotWorking(4-16).jpg

I am very disappointed by the customer service I have received thus far on one of the top end laptops in one of HP Premium Lines of laptops.

 

 

4) Current Issues:

1) Screen Display burn-in like effects, Backlight, and weird lines 

a) Description of Issue

This is the newest issue having started in the middle of march. This issue is incredibly frustrating as it leaves the only way to use the laptop to plug it into an external monitor then disable the internal screen. This means that I can’t move around to a different chair or to my bed while spending 18+ hours a day on it doing schoolwork. It Is hard to describe exactly what the issue with the screen is. There is something wrong with the onboard intel graphics. In windows there is the appearance of bring sections reflecting up and affecting UI elements. In addition, there is apparent ghosting of windows that stay on the internal screen on the screen for long periods. It shouldn’t be possible for elements to temporarily leave ghost images. The screen is an LCD not a plasma/OLED screen, so it is not burn in. I will go into more depth in the steps section, but the issue occurs only on the internal display in windows/on PC windows advanced boot UEFI boot menu. It doesn’t occur on the BIOS menu’s, a fresh windows installer, or a live Linux disk booted over us.

b) Proof\Demonstrating of Issue

i) Display Ghosting

DisplayGhosting1.jpgDisplayGhosting2.jpg

 ii) Weird lines on laptop display in windows

DisplayLines1.jpgDisplayLines2.jpgDisplayLines3.jpg

 

 

b) Steps taken to debug/Troubleshoot the issue.

I am not certain about the cause of this issue. I have spent dozens of hours looking for any info on related incidents of graphics drivers. All I found was one HP support thread that had a link to a YouTube video of a specter x360 15 inch that was experiencing the same issue. To the best of my knowledge after hours of debugging I believe the issue lies in either the interaction between the Intel graphic part of the CPU die and the driver or is a flaw in the firmware of the LCD controller and the intel driver. I have come to this conclusion though the following steps:

  • The issue doesn’t appear to be any physical damage to the LCD panel or wires that connect it to the driver, as demonstrated by:
    1. The issue only appears in windows after it has installed drivers, either manually from hp website or via windows update.
    2. The issue doesn’t appear in windows safe mode
    3. The issue doesn’t appear in the BIOS or the HP UEFI troubleshooting boot options.
    4. The issue doesn’t appear when a Linux distribution (I tried ubuntu and fedora) are booted off a USB drive.
  • The issue has something to do with the Intel HD graphic driver for windows:
    1. When booting into safe mode the driver is not loaded and the lies do not appear
      1.       In addition to checking the device manager to verify that it had not loaded the fact that no additional monitors function is also an indication that it the Intel driver is not loaded as it is the driver that hands the output of video to additional displays which do not show up when in safe boot
    2. The issue is not present on windows before the driver is installed. The issue is not present during a clean wipe of the windows partition and reinstallation using a USB windows image. It only reappears after the install of the driver. This also makes the windows recovery environment exhibit the same lines as shown in Figure 7.
  • The issue is more than just a bad driver install, as demonstrated by:
    1. The laptop has been reset everyway that it is possible to reset. I used the fresh start feature built into windows, a dirty reinstall (i.e. I didn’t format/reparation the windows partition) using a windows recovery, and a clean reinstall (i.e. I reformatted the widows partition so that no trace of old files would exist).
    2. I have installed every driver that I could find for it. That entailed me trying for every driver installing it without first removing the old driver and then trying by properly uninstalling the driver before installing the different one.  I tired the one that is listed on the HP support page (25.20.100.6373 Rev.B of Intel High-Definition (HD) Graphics Driver (Windows 10 v1809) released on Mar 19, 2019). I also tried the generic driver for CPU model from Intel. Additionally, I obviously tried the driver that was installed via windows update. Furthermore, I moved the laptop to the windows insider track temporarily to get the next feature update and any beta drivers that might exists for the laptop and the issue persisted.
  • The issue probably has to do with the circuitry driving the internal LCD as implied by:
    1. The issue only exists on the internal display. The issue doesn’t appear on either of the two separate monitors that I use. One plugged into the HTMI port and the other to a USB C hub that has HTMI out.
    2. If it was solely a software driver bug, like the framebuffer being corrupted in memory before the imbedded intel GPU redraws the screen or something of that sort, then it should also occur on external monitors that also rely on the Imbedded GPU to drive them. As the AMD graphics card that is also present is a switchable graphics card and not a completely descript implementation the external monitors should be running off the intel GPU.
    3. That leaves the issue potentially being in the communication between the CPU’s imbedded GPU and the display panel driver circuit. So there is something probably wrong with the die of the CPU or something inside of the display driver that is breaking the communication with the panel driver circuitry.

2) BSOD ( DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL)

a) Description of Issue.

This issue was the reason that I previously sent this laptop in for repair in January. This is an issue with the AMD graphics Card/Driver. This is less apparent then the first issue as it sporadic, but it is more damaging to the overall usability of this laptop. This issue can have days to weeks go between it showing up, but it has been a reoccurring error for over a year now. The issue is not caused directly by any particular action. It has happed when under light workload like simply having an explore window open and only OneDrive working in the background. However, the issue seems to pop up more frequently when I am doing more intensive tasks. It has crashed more frequently when I use virtualization technology, CAD software, and games. The second two make more since as they are utilizing the GPU to compute things and any flaw in the GPU itself or the driver would create instability. The first one on the other hand makes far less sense as the virtualization software I have used (VMware Workstation, Virtual Box, Vagrant, Docker, Hyper-V) for the most part doesn’t even utilizes the switchable graphics AMD card as the tasks they are doing only require virtual CPU and Memory from the base system and use the INTEL driver to compute graphics related tasks. This bluescreen has occurred about 5 times since I got my laptop back, the first time being around 2/15/2020. I have photos of three times it occurred that will be included bellow. Additionally, even though I have had to completely reinstall windows several times I have a few of the memory dumps of the errors for which I will include output from analyzing them in winDBG. The only issue that has not occurred from the last time I sent it in is the CMOS chip has not given me an error. Though that didn’t happen till several months after the first time I got this error.

 

b) Proof\Demonstrating of Issue

 i) Photos of blue screens

BSODBSOD

BSODBSOD

BSODBSOD

 

Log of errors Before last servicingLog of errors Before last servicing

 

 

 

 

 ii) Summary of memory dumps (see spoiler)

Spoiler

------------------

KEY_VALUES_STRING: 1

 

    Key  : Analysis.CPU.Sec

    Value: 3

 

    Key  : Analysis.DebugAnalysisProvider.CPP

    Value: Create: 8007007e on SPECTERX360

 

    Key  : Analysis.DebugData

    Value: CreateObject

 

    Key  : Analysis.DebugModel

    Value: CreateObject

 

    Key  : Analysis.Elapsed.Sec

    Value: 28

 

    Key  : Analysis.Memory.CommitPeak.Mb

    Value: 72

 

    Key  : Analysis.System

    Value: CreateObject

 

ADDITIONAL_XML: 1

 

BUGCHECK_CODE:  d1

 

BUGCHECK_P1: 30

 

BUGCHECK_P2: b

 

BUGCHECK_P3: 0

 

BUGCHECK_P4: fffff804972df419

 

READ_ADDRESS: fffff8047c4fb388: Unable to get MiVisibleState

Unable to get NonPagedPoolStart

Unable to get NonPagedPoolEnd

Unable to get PagedPoolStart

Unable to get PagedPoolEnd

fffff8047c40f368: Unable to get Flags value from nt!KdVersionBlock

fffff8047c40f368: Unable to get Flags value from nt!KdVersionBlock

unable to get nt!MmSpecialPagesInUse

 0000000000000030 

 

BLACKBOXBSD: 1 (!blackboxbsd)

 

BLACKBOXNTFS: 1 (!blackboxntfs)

 

BLACKBOXPNP: 1 (!blackboxpnp)

 

BLACKBOXWINLOGON: 1

 

CUSTOMER_CRASH_COUNT:  1

 

PROCESS_NAME:  MsMpEngCP.exe

 

TRAP_FRAME:  fffff80480479950 -- (.trap 0xfffff80480479950)

NOTE: The trap frame does not contain all registers.

Some register values may be zeroed or incorrect.

rax=0000000000000000 rbx=0000000000000000 rcx=0000000000000000

rdx=0000000000000114 rsi=0000000000000000 rdi=0000000000000000

rip=fffff804972df419 rsp=fffff80480479ae0 rbp=fffff80480479b90

 r8=0000000000000013  r9=ffffb3850363c630 r10=ffffb3850363c020

r11=fffff80480479c88 r12=0000000000000000 r13=0000000000000000

r14=0000000000000000 r15=0000000000000000

iopl=0         nv up ei ng nz na pe nc

atikmdag+0x14f419:

fffff804`972df419 488b4930        mov     rcx,qword ptr [rcx+30h] ds:00000000`00000030=????????????????

Resetting default scope

 

STACK_TEXT:  

fffff804`80479808 fffff804`7bbaf729 : 00000000`0000000a 00000000`00000030 00000000`0000000b 00000000`00000000 : nt!KeBugCheckEx

fffff804`80479810 fffff804`7bbaba29 : fffff804`7c4ed310 00000000`00000001 00000000`00000000 fffff804`998c0016 : nt!KiBugCheckDispatch+0x69

fffff804`80479950 fffff804`972df419 : 00000000`00000000 00000000`00000000 00000000`00000000 00000000`00000000 : nt!KiPageFault+0x469

fffff804`80479ae0 00000000`00000000 : 00000000`00000000 00000000`00000000 00000000`00000000 ffffb385`03617fc8 : atikmdag+0x14f419

 

SYMBOL_NAME:  atikmdag+14f419

 

MODULE_NAME: atikmdag

 

IMAGE_NAME:  atikmdag.sys

 

STACK_COMMAND:  .thread ; .cxr ; kb

 

BUCKET_ID_FUNC_OFFSET:  14f419

 

FAILURE_BUCKET_ID:  AV_atikmdag!unknown_function

 

OS_VERSION:  10.0.19041.1

 

BUILDLAB_STR:  vb_release

 

OSPLATFORM_TYPE:  x64

 

OSNAME:  Windows 10

 

FAILURE_ID_HASH:  {0252e3ed-fc29-a2ca-0f7a-b32a5492113a}

 

Followup:     MachineOwner

---------

 

 

 

C) Steps taken to debug/Troubleshoot the issue

After some research, The issue is due to a "DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error in the atikmdag.sys (atikmdag.sys from my research has to do with the AMD graphics card driver.) However I believe that the issue is more than just a software issue (I will get to the steps I went though to debug the issue in a moment.) Due to the times before I sent my laptop in to HP I believe that it is a faulty motherboard as, before the last time it was repaired, around half the time I get a BSOD the CMOS chip that contains the settings for the bios gets corrupted and I have to go in and return on settings that I need to be able to use this machine as a development environment.   As there is not a way that software should be able to change any bios settings from a booted operating system (the only way is to interrupt the boot up process in-between the bios post and when it hands the over to the windows UEFI bootloader) the issue is unlikely to be an software bug, and is most likely a faulty motherboard or other component. While the CMOS chip has not given that error again it is worth noting as it didn't occurred until moths after the issue first appeared. While the CMOS chip has not given that error again it is worth noting as it didn't occurred until moths after the issue first appeared. 

 

A brief run down of the troubleshooting steps I have taken include resting my laptop via the recovery partition on the laptop (a hard factory reset), using windows 10 "fresh start" feature - Both the format the hard drive and the keep my files modes - also, using a windows ISO to reinstall - again once doing a dirty install where the old user files where preserved, and a clean install by first using a GPART ISO to format the windows partition and then using the Microsoft ISO to preform the install.

 

I have tried uninstalling the drivers for the graphics card and other components then reinstalling via drivers from HP support. I have tried to install drivers straight from the manufacturer of the parts instead of the drivers from HP. I have installed the drivers straight from HP. I have tried to change the settings of the graphics driver and just about every permutation of driver and full resets that is possible.

 

3) Active Pen digitizer problems 

a) Description of Issue.

This issue has occurred for the majority of the almost 2 year life span of this device. When using the device as a pen input via the included HP active pen there is occasionally a jump in a line where then pen doesn’t get recognized for a split second. This doesn’t occur every time a line is drawn on the screen, but it is frequent enough that using this device in tablet mode to take notes was incredibly difficult.

 

b) Proof\Demonstrating of Issue

 i) Photo from OneNote showing the result of attempting to draw straight lines using the Active Pen

Active Pen line scipping.jpg

 

 

C) Steps taken to debug/Troubleshoot the issue

 

I relatively certain that this is an issue to do with the digitizer as I have tested the following potential alternative causes and none of them appear to be the issue.

  • The HP Active pen – The pen uses N-trig technology (now called I believe Microsoft Pen Protocol) meaning that it should work fine on other devices that also support this protocol. Thus, after using it extensively on my surface pro 7 the pen doesn’t exhibit the same jumping effect.
  • The technique of my use of the active pen - This might have been a problem if that way I wrote tended to slightly lift up the pen or another similar quick of the way I write. However, this is most likely not the cause of this issue as I have used the same style of writing on my surface pro and have not seem similar problems. This issue has also been experienced by others who have occasionally drawn on this display

Furthermore, I have reason to suspect that it is the digitizer at fault as other N-trig pens also exhibit this behavior when used with this device. I have used both the latest iteration of the surface pen and a surface pen that was realized back with the surface pro 4 (they have different levels of pressure sensitivity).

 

 

3)  Assorted Hardware Issues

  1.  

a) Description of Issue.

I have had issues with getting the internal SD-card reader and the lower of the two usb-C\thunderbolt 3 ports to work. As of right now the SD-card reader is unusable. After steps detailed bellow the USB C port seems to be working. Before it would not pick up the USB-C to HTMI converter or the USB C to USB C phone charger I use.

 

b) Steps taken to debug/Troubleshoot the issue

The main way I have tried to remedy these hardware issues has been though the resets as mentioned in early issues and mass driver installs. In addition, I checked the device manager to see if I could locate a device that was missing a driver or otherwise showed a error. Those where ineffective at remedying the issue with the SD-Card slot. The USB-C port stopped working last week, refusing to even charge my phone. However, after booting into safe mode to triple check the screen lines issue didn’t happen in safe mode, I tried plugging in my phone to the nonfunctional USB C port. It then begin charging the phone. After rebooting into windows, the port has now continued to both charge my phone and transfer data (both to a flash drive and over HTMI).

 

  1. Past Issues
    1. Chassis clicking
    2. Overheating
    3. Windows Update 1809
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
asmita6658
HP Support Agent
HP Support Agent
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Hi @Nova38

 

Welcome to the HP Support Community. 

 

I have brought your issue to the attention of an appropriate team within HP. They will likely request information from you in order to look up your case details or product serial number. Please look for a private message from an identified HP contact. Additionally, keep in mind not to publicly post personal information (serial numbers and case details).

 

Thank you for visiting the HP Support Community. 

 

Please click “Accept as Solution” if you feel my post solved your issue, it will help others find the solution.

Click the “Kudos, Thumbs Up" on the bottom right to say “Thanks” for helping!

 

Have a great day! 

Asmita
I am an HP Employee

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asmita6658
HP Support Agent
HP Support Agent
14,452 14,454 1,434 1,721
Message 2 of 4
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HP Recommended

Hi @Nova38

 

Welcome to the HP Support Community. 

 

I have brought your issue to the attention of an appropriate team within HP. They will likely request information from you in order to look up your case details or product serial number. Please look for a private message from an identified HP contact. Additionally, keep in mind not to publicly post personal information (serial numbers and case details).

 

Thank you for visiting the HP Support Community. 

 

Please click “Accept as Solution” if you feel my post solved your issue, it will help others find the solution.

Click the “Kudos, Thumbs Up" on the bottom right to say “Thanks” for helping!

 

Have a great day! 

Asmita
I am an HP Employee

View solution in original post

Nova38
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Thanks you! 

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JeffHelp
HP Support Agent
HP Support Agent
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Hello,

 

I may have missed it but could you please provide your serial number.

 

Best regards,

Jeff Christopher 
Executive Escalations
I am an HP Employee 
 

I work for HP
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