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11-10-2021 12:57 PM
@zfChen -- why are you trying to update the BIOS? What specific problem are you trying to solve, and why do you think that a BIOS Update is a "cure-all" ?
I have seen far too many threads on this discussion forum like "After BIOS Update, my computer is a brick", due to a failed BIOS Update.
My advice is to NOT try, unless your research shows that an update will address your specific issue.
11-11-2021 06:27 AM
Itsmyname's strict recommendation, to keep existing BIOS unless an update will address a specific issue in that specific PC, requires serious discussion.
- In HP Knowledge Base https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c00007682 it is stated:
Updating the BIOS is recommended as standard maintenance of the computer.
- Whenever I applied for HP support for my Z820 workstation, under warranty with continued carepacks for several years, the first requirement by HP support technicians was always that I should update to latest BIOS and only then deal with a specific hardware issue, sometimes utterly unrelated to system BIOS (e.g. memory training errors, NVIDIA display card failure, LSI MegaRaid SAS controller PCI-E card (not on-board controller!) failure, etc.
- HP publishes a list of Fixes by each new BIOS update. Most of them fix issues that HP actually discovered, so is there reason for users to wait till they also experience those issues and only then update BIOS?
Having said that, I personally have not yet updated my new HP Z8 G4 workstation: BIOS is still v02.63, and O/S is still Windows 10 Professional for Workstations Version 2004 build 19041.804.
[I do let Norton Internet Security update regularly; I think the preinstalled HP Wolf Security is also automatically updated regularly through the Internet by HP].
So, is it recommended to keep BIOS and O/S as they are, unless this workstation encounters a specific issue known to be fixed by a specific update?
11-11-2021 10:18 AM - edited 11-11-2021 10:25 AM
First, there are security updates much more frequently being released by HP in their BIOS updates, in addition to actual significant bug fixes in the BIOS. In this day and age giving advice to not do BIOS updates is far off the mark, in my opinion. You just need to learn how to do it safely, and we only upgrade BIOS from within BIOS. This involves reading the instructions and following them. For the method we use the BIOS .bin file update is placed properly on a USB thumb drive which is plugged in when the computer is off, then power on and boot into BIOS, and use the built in method for BIOS to update itself. This all happens before the operating system/applications loads so it is safe. From the Z440 era onwards the BIOS .bin file is placed inside the deepest of a series of 3 properly named folders on the thumb drive. If this is done properly BIOS knows where to find the .bin file. It is in the manual, and instructions are included in the BIOS update SoftPaq. You may want to have a computer savvy friend do this for you.
Second, not sure if you know what your BIOS version is... you state "BIOS version is 00.13.00". That is nowhere in the list of prior or current BIOS versions for that computer, shown below. The current one, released 5/31/21, is 0.2.16.00 Rev A, and the earliest one listed by HP is 02.01.06, released 5/31/18... 14 releases total. You only need to use the most recent one because all the prior improvements over the years will be rolled into that one:
11-11-2021 10:19 AM
@joselso -- is there reason for users to wait till they also experience those issues and only then update BIOS?
First, for over 90% of purchasers of a computer, they don't change anything; if it works, it works for the lifetime of the hardware. So, unless they make some hardware changes (new graphics card, upgraded processor, new RAM, et cetera) they will not have a need to update the BIOS to accommodate the new components.
Second, given the number of failed BIOS updates reported on this discussion forum, resulting in "bricked" computers, it is wise to avoid a BIOS update.
Third, most home-computers are connected to a cable-modem (or DSL-modem) are routers that automatically offers a "firewall" that blocks all unsolicited incoming network traffic. So, any BIOS updates that are security-related can only be exploited if the computer has a "public" IP-address, not a "private" IP-address that is assigned by the router. Anti-virus software will protect against the exploit of some vulnerabilities in non-updated BIOS firmware.
Fourth, most BIOS updates are NOT done when the computer is connected to a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), allowing a risk of a "power-bump" or power-outage during the update process that aborts the process. HP does not seem to mention that any BIOS update should be done "behind" a UPS.
> Having said that, I personally have not yet updated my new HP Z8 G4 workstation
"Do what I do, not what I say" ???
11-11-2021 10:48 AM
Attached below is the HP History file from the latest SoftPaq for this BIOS update (converted from .txt to .pdf) showing the "Enhancements" and "Fixes" for the complete series available for this business class HP computer. Pop that open and see if you'd like to ignore all of those improvements in both security and function. Some will wish to ignore; others will want those. HP does not put these out for jollies.
11-11-2021 11:04 AM
@SDH -- a few comments:
- Unless the computer is in a "managed" network (where the company has an I.T. department that remotely updates all its computers) the "Intel Management Engine" is never used.
- If the owner of the computer has no USB-C devices, that update may not be needed.
- Unless the computer boots from a corporate "boot-server" (connecting over Ethernet), the PXE features are not needed.
- Most home-networks use IPv4 and "private" IP-addresses, not any IPv6 features.
I did not check how to exploit any of the vulnerabilities referenced in those CVE reports.
Yes, there are no "jollies". When private computer-researchers discover a vulnerability, the onus is on HP (and the other manufacturers) to properly address those vulnerabilities, even though some of those vulnerabilities were found only in the "laboratory", not "in the wild".
11-11-2021 01:39 PM
To itsmyname :
I feel I can rely on HP BIOS updates more than on Microsoft Operating System major updates (Windows 2000, XP and 7 Service packs, and semi-annual Windows 10 version updates).
Therefore, I always back up data and create updated System Images before accepting such major Windows Updates.
In my old IBM 6868 workstation and in my aging HP Z820 I used external USB hdd’s and external tape drives (recently with Acronis Cyber Backup Advanced Workstation 12.5) to back up data and create regular System Images.
For my present HP Z8 G4 I intend to use Synology NAS appliance for – hopefully – more stable and safer backup.
In modern HP workstations with built-in boot security measures, there is some linkage between UEFI (BIOS) and Operating System, so in my view it is advisable to update first to latest HP BIOS before letting Windows 10 latest version replace the existing Windows 10 version.
So, until I install the Synology NAS device in the near future, I defer updating both BIOS and Operating System in my HP Z8 G4. In the mean time I rely, as you rightly noted, on a Check-Point firewall router appliance as well as on Norton Internet Security and on HP Wolf Security (preinstalled in HP Z8 G4).
You are right, of course, in requiring stable electricity supply during BIOS updates (and during any important software application activity). I have been using UPS (On-Line versions) with all my workstations since year 2002.
11-12-2021 02:19 AM
@zfChen -- I have a PROdesk 480 G5 MT BIOS version is 00.13.00, Download initial BIOS release, cannot update.
Updating the BIOS can improve the system security, but writing "cannot update" is not a good technical description of what happened when you tried.
Were any error-messages produced? Did you update from within Windows, or did you create a bootable CD/DVD, and boot from that media, to apply the update? What is the URL that you used to download the BIOS?
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