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zBook Studio G3 - DEATH BY INTEL ME FIRMWARE UPDATE

HP zBook Studio G3
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

WARNING!!!

 

DO NOT INSTALL THE INTEL (CORPORATE) MANAGEMENT ENGINE FIRMWARE COMPONENT UPDATE!!

 

http://h20566.www2.hp.com/hpsc/swd/public/detail?sp4ts.oid=8934841&swItemId=ob_159465_1&swEnvOid=419...

 

Intel Corporate Management Engine (ME) Firmware Component (American, International)

11.0.0.1194 Rev.A
1 Dec 2015

 

We purchased 5 of these laptops for our engineering department and I was against a tight timetable to get them deployed (next day). I started working on getting one all setup with the software needed and then I would simply clone that one to the other 5.

 

I did a clean install of Windows 10 and installed all the drivers from HP's site. Then I ran Windows Updates until everything was up-to-date. I disabled Windows Defender. Now all that was left was to update the BIOS, Intel ME and Thunderbolt firmware using the utilities dowloaded from the drivers page. The BIOS installed fine, but it's a really weird update process. Makes beeps and lights blink while its working. There is no progress bar to let you know if it's actually doing anything. At one point the beeps stop but it's really still working. Then it boots and updates another part of the system and so on. Anyway, that all worked out fine. No issues with the update and back into Windows 10.

 

Then I ran the Thunderbolt Firmware update and a command window opened saying that it could not find the controller. It didn't look like it did anything after that point and just closed.

 

Finally I ran the Intel Management Engine firmware update utility. It open a command window and says it's loading the file and verifying it and so on. Then it writes the file to flash and takes a minute or two doing so. Once it's done the command window closes and back to business as usual........until you reboot. Once you do, the system is toast. It won't boot. Black screen, the fans kick into high speed and the CapsLock and NumLock lights do a slow 5 blinks meaning there is something wrong with the motherboard. I start a support chat session with HP.

 

They tell me to unplug the battery. To get to the battery you need a T-8 Torx bit and you have to unscrew 11 screws in order to remove the fan grill and bottom cover (base plate). I did that and disconnected the battery. Reconnected it after a couple minutes and tried booting. Nothing, same thing. The support agent told me an onsite technician would have to be sent out to replace the motherboard.

 

While the bottom cover was opened I noticed that there are two little LED lights near the SSD. There are supposed to be diagnostic lights and I found a section in the Service Manual that states if one of the LEDs are lit, the motherboard has to be replaced. This LED turns on a few seconds after connecting power to the laptop or pressing the power button.

 

I asked the support agent if they knew why this happened but they didn't know.

 

So, I had 4 more laptops to work with. I took the SSD out of the dead laptop and put in into a brand new one fresh out of the box. Booted up and on the Windows 10 desktop. This laptop also had v1.03 BIOS on it so I ran the BIOS update and rebooted. All is well. At this point I questioned myself whether or not to perform the other firmware updates. I figured I had a 50/50 chance and I'm the type of person that just plain needs to know if it was a fluke or if there really was something seriously wrong with the Intel ME firmware update. So it ran that first instead of the Thunderbolt update. The Intel ME update did the same thing as before, opened a command window, verified and then flashed.......and after a reboot I had another dead laptop.

 

At this point I shook my head and frowned while looking at the HP logo.

 

I tried calling support but their zbook/notebook department was closed as of 10 EST. No phone support or chat support. I'd have to wait until morning to place a warranty call for this second dead laptop.

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I will ask to have your issue escalated to the appropriate team within HP.

 

If you really want to say thanks, click on the Thumbs up icon .
If your problem is solved or question answered by my post, please click the Accepted Solution button in that post.

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@techniker

 

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 Forum.
 
I work on behalf of HP
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@techniker wrote:

WARNING!!!

 

HP, PLEASE VERIFY THAT THE INTEL ME FIRMWARE UPDATE IS A LAPTOP KILLER AND TAKE IT OFF THE DRIVER DOWNLOADS SECTION!!!

 

We purchased 5 of these laptops for our engineering department and I was against a tight timetable to get them deployed (next day). I started working on getting one all setup with the software needed and then I would simply clone that one to the other 5.

 

HP, PLEASE VERIFY THAT THE INTEL ME FIRMWARE UPDATE IS A LAPTOP KILLER AND TAKE IT OFF THE DRIVER DOWNLOADS SECTION!!!

Like to mention here this is HP user forum not Official HP support ticket. So what your asking can't be done here as well. FYI.

-------- Looking for HP driver support When Windows 10 O/S isn't Supported ------
Windows 10 drivers may be available through Windows Update

Click 'Learn More' below for steps on using Windows Update to determine what drivers might be available for your product. Please be aware that HP does not guarantee Windows 10 drivers will be available from Windows Update.
Learn more
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a HP USER community forum.
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BTW, Millions of folks have gone back from Win10 to their prior O/S -- something you don't hear about from MS. by WAWood but ALL to TRUE
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Those that want HD Gaming should plan to invest in a Gaming Laptop to handle those requirements. Eamples GTA V or Crysis 3.
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techniker Tutor
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I've been contacted by HP regarding this issue and they are taking actions in order to identify and resolve the problem. There are HP employees that read these forums and sometimes it help to post such messages. I have cases open for the 2 laptops and so far they've been very helpful in escalating the case to the appropriate channels.

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Looooopy Student
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Hi,

 

I made the same misstake updating the frimware on my computer and now is also toast.

I have tried a hard reset by removing the battery but its still the same issue so its defenetly the firmware that is crap.

 

I am getting the "Failure - System Board Error" (caps lock and num lock keys will both blink five times) and the fans spins up to max.

 

So how should this be resolved, should I open a ticket to get some assistance?

 

 

 

 

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techniker Tutor
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An onsite HP service technician replaced the motherboard in one of the two laptops this morning. I'm working with HP engineers to find out why this is happening.

 

Place a call to HP support and get a case started. They will have to schedule an onsite service technician to replace the motherboard.

 

I'll let you know as other solutions develop.

Tutor Joseph_G Tutor
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Hello,

 

I do apologize you are running into this issue. I am actually with HP Support and was informed of your post.  I'm going to message you, if you could you please respond it would be greatly appreaciated.  It will have my contact information.  

 

Regards,

 

Joseph

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J_DE Honor Student
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I ran into exactly the same problem. Is there really no other way to fix it than replacing the mainboard?

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techniker Tutor
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As far as I know, replacing the motherboard is the only way right now. The engineers are looking into the problem and maybe alternative solutions. 

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