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KWlo
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Updating BIOS on HP Spectre x360 13-ac004na without Windows

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HP Spectre x360 - 13-ac004na

Hi there.


I'm trying to update the BIOS on my HP Spectre x360 - 13-ac004na. I'm not running Windows and it's proving a bit tricky.

 

On a Windows machine I've downloaded the BIOS update from the HP support site for my machine, and I've used this tool to create a USB flash drive. This all seems to have gone correclty and I have the update files in /Hewlett-Packard/BIOS/New on the drive as expected.


However, I'm not able to boot from this drive. I attempt to do so by pressing ESC during startup, then boot device options (F9), and select my flash drive from the list but I get a message which says:

 

"An operating system wasn't found. Try disconnecting any drives that don't contain an operating system. Press any key to restart."

 

I've tried two different flash drives, just to be sure.

 

So I've tried following a different route, using the instructions here on how to update the BIOS when Windows doesn't start: https://support.hp.com/us-en/product/hp-spectre-13-ac000-x360-convertible-pc/14039877/model/15304466...

 

The info here says to press F2 to enter the "Hardware Diagnostics UEFI Menu". I do this, but I only have 4 options here; "Memory Test", "Hard Drive Check", "Language" and "Exit". There is no "Firmware Management" or "BIOS Management" which the instructions say there should be.

 

I've also tried holding down Windows + B and pressing the power button with the flash drive in which someone else on the forums suggested I should try.

 

Can anyone help me with this? It's frustrating that there's not simply an "Update BIOS" menu in the BIOS settings as there usually is.


I'm trying to update my BIOS in order to allow charging from the USB C ports with a non HP charger which I've read is something HP issued an update for.

 

Thanks for any help.

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Huffer
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Yes the update BIOS from UEFI option depends on a diagnostic partition being on the hard drive and you likely do not have that partition since you are using Linux. 

KWlo
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Ah okay, thanks!

 

So, any idea how I can update the BIOS?

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KWlo
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Hiya. Any ideas what I should do next? Have I really just spent £1800 on a business laptop that can't update the BIOS without Windows?

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KWlo
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Okay. According to HP support Windows is required for BIOS updates and that's that.


I'm fairly shocked that in 2017 on a nearly £2000 laptop that this is the case.


If only HP hadn't deliberately crippled the USB C port to try and sell their obscenely expensive chargers in the first place I expect this woudn't really matter.


I'm just outside of my 30 day return period as well and have been told tough luck.

 

So if anyone is thinking of buying a Spectre who wishes to run Linux I'd suggest staying well away.

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Jeet_singh
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Message 6 of 11
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Hi @KWlo,

 

Thank you for posting on the HP Support Forums,

I have brought your issue to the attention of an appropriate team within HP. 

 

They will contact you shortly and 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 (such as serial numbers and case details).

 

If you wish to show appreciation for my efforts to help you out, mark my post as Accepted Solution.

And click on the Purple Thumbs up icon at the bottom of my comment.

 

Regards,

Jeet_Singh
I am an HP Employee

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TroyWolf
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So I am in the same boat. I just purchased an HP Spectre x360 15-ch011dx. I fired up Windows enough to do a minimal setup then used the Windows Media Creation Tool to create a Windows 10 install USB stick should I ever want to put Windows back on.

 

Then I tried out Ubuntu 18 using a USB stick long enough to fall in love (I've been using 16 and 14 before that for years).

 

Just like the OP here, I created the BIOS USB drive using the HP program, but this laptop's UEFI menu does not have those other options to do the BIOS update without Windows.

 

QUESTION I HAVE.....is IF I were to re-install Windows, would I be able to update my BIOS? Or is there a UEFI partition that is gone forever that was required?

 

The one issue I'm having is that occasionally the keyboard, touchpad, and touchscreen stop working....except in the menus! That's right, they still work in Ubuntu's top and side menus, but not anywhere else. So far, my only remedy is full OS restart. It seems to be an issue more if I play with the tablet mode--forcing those hardware items to shut off, then they don't always come back on when back in laptop mode. When this happens, the onscreen keyboard shows up but does not work either.

 

I was hoping BIOS update might address a hardware related issue around this....but the notes only suggest improving a heat situation. Wonder how serious that is if I don't update BIOS?

 

If someone found a BIOS update solution, please reply to let us know!

 

For what it's worth, I am very pleased at how well everything is working with this laptop and Ubuntu 18. All the function keys to manage screen brightness, keyboard backlight, sound, etc--all working. Even the screen rotation works. Touchscreen works well including multi-touch. In tablet mode, the keyboard shuts off as it should,  but sometimes they stop working altogether...so there's that.

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TroyWolf
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@Huffer makes sense, but when I installed Ubuntu 18 on top of Windows, I noticed a partition was left untouched. Here is what I see in the HP Boot Manager (after pressing F9 at the menu):

 

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

OS Boot Manager(UEFI) - ubuntu (KXG50ZNV512G TOSHIBA)

OS Boot Manager(UEFI) - Windows Boot Manager (KXG50ZNV512G TOSHIBA)

Boot From EFI File

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

 

Looking at that, you might think I have a dual-boot setup, but I don't. The screenshot below shows the 2 partitions, and the details for the small, "EFI System".

 

IMG_20180611_173639535.jpg

 

 

Based on this info, do you think I should or should NOT be able to do the UEFI BIOS Update using the HP-generated USB stick?

 

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KWlo
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Unfortunately I didn't find a solution, and sadly in 25 years of buying PC hardware HP turned out to be the worst company I have ever had the displeasure to deal with in trying to find a solution. 

 

The only final option I had was to sell my device for a significant loss on eBay just before Xmas.

 

I bought a Dell XPS 13 and I couldn't be happier.

 

I would implore anyone finding this message thinkin about buying an HP device to find another company. They are the absolute worst.

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TroyWolf
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@KWlo, Thanks for the reply! Tell us how you really feel about HP--don't hold back! :generic:

 

 


@KWlo wrote:

Unfortunately I didn't find a solution, and sadly in 25 years of buying PC hardware HP turned out to be the worst company I have ever had the displeasure to deal with in trying to find a solution. 

 


Personally, I don't get too upset when companies don't directly support Linux. The fact is, despite how good things are now with Linux, desktop Linux is still a relatively small niche. Businesses need to focus where they can make the most money--I get that. When I show up to a meeting with 20 developers, typically will be 19 Macbook Pro's and me with my Ubuntu. :smileyindifferent: While I don't get upset about it, it does force me to take my money somewhere else.

 

I'm SUPER happy with this HP Spectre x360 and Ubuntu 18.04! Even though I could still return for full refund, I'm going to keep it unless things go South in the next 2 weeks.

 

Back to the issue at hand! So we have 2 ways to update the BIOS:

 

Windows-only program
UEFI Management
#1 requires Windows installed

#2 requires the special UEFI partition...that may have been lost when installing Ubuntu? I wish an expert would reply to help me know how to understand if I have that partition still or not. I can see a small "UEFI" partition on my SSD, but is that what we are talking about here or not? Maybe the newer models don't actually have the BIOS Update option in the UEFI management?

 

I tried using a Win 10 Virtual Machine, but a VM does not have the real hardware access necessary to update the BIOS.

 

I'd love to work with an HP tech willing to take a really close look at this issue. I feel like the UEFI management BIOS update should still work, but I don't know how to get from here to there.

 

Thanks!

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