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Windows 7: Beware the dreaded "white list" -- HP is guilty as charged

13 Jun 2013   #11
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Interesting...

Today I received a voice message from Hewlett Packard, in reaction to the e-mail I sent. It wasn't a robo-response. It was a real person who clearly demonstrated that she had read my e-mail and that she was personally elevating it to the appropriate management staff for consideration. She also invited me to call back and discuss it further, to provide any additional details I may wish to contribute.

This is not the HP that I was expecting. I wasn't able to call back today but will do so tomorrow. I'll report back here on what happens.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Jun 2013   #12
indianacarnie

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Thorsen View Post
Thank you for this info cytherian. I will keep that in mind if I need a new laptop as I value the ability to change out parts if anything breaks and I don't like being stuck with having to buy from the manufacturer at 3x the price vs. getting a better product elsewhere.

besides that point, I don't like supporting companies who implement unnecessary policies or restrictions with the intention of hindering the very customers they rely on.
My thoughts exactly! Very well said.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2013   #13
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Another update... I spoke with a direct representative from the HP Notebook product line. The conversation went for a solid 20 minutes and it was mostly a note taking affair for them, with my supplying some clarifications and more details. I was given their contact info, a new case number, and a promise that this information will be relayed to a technical representative of the product team to assist me further.

The next thing is what rather surprised me...


A few hours later I got a call back and HP is attempting to rectify the preliminary part of the issue I had faced (the WiFi card I bought was supposed to be supported by WASN'T for by the BIOS). This card apparently was sold in two forms, one for HP and one for "others". They are sending me, free of charge, a replacement WiFi card. This is really surprising, especially given how my laptop is no longer under warranty. I will know for certain once it is installed and operating (I'm expecting it sometime next week).

It still doesn't address the fundamental problem here, in that the white list is still in effect and I've not gained any flexibility here. And I do realize that the cost of the WiFi card is nominal for HP (can't cost them more than $5 for the part and $3 to ship), far cheaper than having a software team release an updated BIOS. So... what really matters most is how HP will be doing things going forward. THIS is what concerns me the most and I'm going to do what I can to help impress upon HP just how significant this is.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Jun 2013   #14
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

Let's see if the new card is an Intel one. This happened already in the past but they did supply another random brand card (within the ones accepted by the BIOS).

Hats off to you for the bravery.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2013   #15
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Gary View Post
I have an HP printer in the closet as I am not going to pay for the ink. The cartridges costs more than the printer.
Hi there
Thanks for the white list info -- I was thinking of getting a new laptop (yes even in these days of tablets some people STILL want a decent laptop) and HP was on my list. I'd never heard of the White list --thanks again for the info.

I shan't be getting one now -- I know the Wi-Fi issue isn't a priority for me but the whole idea that the peripherals can be controlled is not good -- what happens if for example they decide to block external USB drives later than a certain period or only allow specific SSD's to be fitted.

I don't have issue with HP printers --I don't print a lot anyway - but I think a lot of printers of ALL makes end to use expensive inks and it seems to me also the ink volume in the cartridges seems a lot less than they used to be.

You can often find considerably CHEAPER ink cartridges if you search the net -- some may be re-cycled but if they work who cares --I'm not printing special quality documents for The Smithsonian Institute. I'm perfectly happy with my HP deskjet 3520 -- I tend to use it as a scanner far more than a printer anyway and in a Sale in the UK it only cost me 32 GBP / 40 EUR. A set of cartridges lasts me over 6 months anyway --as I said I don't print much.

For Photo quality print I have a high quality Epson A3+ professional photo printer -- and for mega quality photo prints (from professional quality DSLR's) I'm not too bothered about the cost of the cartridges here --high quality archival quality photo paper is expensive too. I don't also print a lot but occasionally it's nice to have a few really top quality prints framed and on your walls.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2013   #16
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

OK, I have an update on all of this.


First and foremost... you can forget about modifying an RSA signed BIOS. It's a real mess. There are some enterprising hackers out there who know a thing or two about RSA security algorithms and can cobble together some hacks to get around it, but the result is generally not reliable. I read about a couple of people who had to pull their CMOS battery every 3 hours because of periodic lock-ups.

I abandoned my quest to modify the BIOS... mainly because HP stepped up to the plate. Here's what happened:
  • I wrote an e-mail to HP's 'executive complaint' representatives, describing the white list issue and the significant frustration it presents for the customer. After several days, I received a phone call from HP. They left a message because I could not take the call at that time. When I called back, they put me in touch with a representative from the HP Notebook division.
  • The rep from the HP Notebook division was not technical, but conducted a Q&A with me and took additional details from me. I made it clear that I was "not yet" soured with HP, but if I cannot get a good resolution I will likely not be a repeat customer. They took my details and forwarded them to someone in their technical department. I was given contact info and a ticket number so I could check on things.
  • Later that same day, the rep called me back and said that they had a replacement WiFi card for me. NO CHARGE! Mind you, I am out of warranty by over a year. This was the "HP sourced" version of the same WiFi card I had tried to install previously. Anyway, we confirmed the details and I was promised that a card would be sent in the mail free of charge.
  • HP had actually sent the WiFi card via Fedex, next business day. The call was on late Friday, so I would have to wait for it to ship on Monday and arrive Tuesday. It did arrive today.
  • The WiFi card was a little ambiguous. I found two different model numbers, depending upon where I looked. But worst of all, the default WiFi drivers would not function. I had to install the old card again and then seek out the drivers. I also found a Realtek diagnostic utility to help. Anyway, I got the software installed and the WiFi card started working. IMMEDIATELY I noticed an improvement. Whereas before I was getting 2-3 signal strength bars, I was now getting 4-5. An astounding difference.


So...

The Ralink RT5390 is junk. They may have better WiFi cards, but I opted for Realtek and got much better performance. My laptop sits 3 floors up from where the wireless router is. My Intel cards would show about a 3-4 bar signal strength, never touching 5 bars. The Realtek is clearly better. The card? RTL8188CE. It also shows up as RTL8192SE... which is supposed to be a 300Mbps card, whereas the RTL8188CE is 150Mbps. Whatever the case, I'm doing much better now.

Bottom line: HP customer service really stepped up. I'm very impressed. The white list issue is still there, but it's not as crippling as I expected. It may be that the card supplied is actually an RTL8192SE, but was firmware re-labeled to show as an RTL8188CE so that it would pass the white list check.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2013   #17
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cytherian View Post
OK, I have an update on all of this.


First and foremost... you can forget about modifying an RSA signed BIOS. It's a real mess. There are some enterprising hackers out there who know a thing or two about RSA security algorithms and can cobble together some hacks to get around it, but the result is generally not reliable. I read about a couple of people who had to pull their CMOS battery every 3 hours because of periodic lock-ups.

I abandoned my quest to modify the BIOS... mainly because HP stepped up to the plate. Here's what happened:
  • I wrote an e-mail to HP's 'executive complaint' representatives, describing the white list issue and the significant frustration it presents for the customer. After several days, I received a phone call from HP. They left a message because I could not take the call at that time. When I called back, they put me in touch with a representative from the HP Notebook division.
  • The rep from the HP Notebook division was not technical, but conducted a Q&A with me and took additional details from me. I made it clear that I was "not yet" soured with HP, but if I cannot get a good resolution I will likely not be a repeat customer. They took my details and forwarded them to someone in their technical department. I was given contact info and a ticket number so I could check on things.
  • Later that same day, the rep called me back and said that they had a replacement WiFi card for me. NO CHARGE! Mind you, I am out of warranty by over a year. This was the "HP sourced" version of the same WiFi card I had tried to install previously. Anyway, we confirmed the details and I was promised that a card would be sent in the mail free of charge.
  • HP had actually sent the WiFi card via Fedex, next business day. The call was on late Friday, so I would have to wait for it to ship on Monday and arrive Tuesday. It did arrive today.
  • The WiFi card was a little ambiguous. I found two different model numbers, depending upon where I looked. But worst of all, the default WiFi drivers would not function. I had to install the old card again and then seek out the drivers. I also found a Realtek diagnostic utility to help. Anyway, I got the software installed and the WiFi card started working. IMMEDIATELY I noticed an improvement. Whereas before I was getting 2-3 signal strength bars, I was now getting 4-5. An astounding difference.

So...

The Ralink RT5390 is junk. They may have better WiFi cards, but I opted for Realtek and got much better performance. My laptop sits 3 floors up from where the wireless router is. My Intel cards would show about a 3-4 bar signal strength, never touching 5 bars. The Realtek is clearly better. The card? RTL8188CE. It also shows up as RTL8192SE... which is supposed to be a 300Mbps card, whereas the RTL8188CE is 150Mbps. Whatever the case, I'm doing much better now.

Bottom line: HP customer service really stepped up. I'm very impressed. The white list issue is still there, but it's not as crippling as I expected. It may be that the card supplied is actually an RTL8192SE, but was firmware re-labeled to show as an RTL8188CE so that it would pass the white list check.
WOW! That's NOTHING like the experience I had when their monitor wouldn't rotate the image automatically when I physically rotated the monitor. The rep kept saying I would have to get a supposedly missing file from Acer (the manufacturer of the POS...er...computer I had) but couldn't tell me what the file was. Even when I pointed out that the computer was out of warranty and calling Acer would cost me money, the clown wouldn't budge. He wouldn't even escalate the ticket. That monitor was the last HP product I ever bought.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2013   #18
Solarstarshines

Windows 10 Home Premium 64bit sp1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Gary View Post
I have an HP printer in the closet as I am not going to pay for the ink. The cartridges costs more than the printer.
No they don't go to Costco refills are super cheap

@LADY I only buy Monitors I used before and with that being said I only trust ViewSonic I had Nice one that had ultra bright back in the day and Envison
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2013   #19
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Solarstarshines View Post
...@LADY I only buy Monitors I used before and with that being said I only trust ViewSonic I had Nice one that had ultra bright back in the day and Envison
I'm lusting after this one. Besides good reviews, it also has a display port and DVI inputs (which I need, especially the display port). I want to set three of them up with one in portrait and two in landscape and also feed my TV. I'm holding off for now in hopes it or something similar will get USB 3.0 hubs. Right now, the only monitor I've seen with USB 3.0 hubs is an ASUS and it gets somewhat less than glowing reviews.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2013   #20
Solarstarshines

Windows 10 Home Premium 64bit sp1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Solarstarshines View Post
...@LADY I only buy Monitors I used before and with that being said I only trust ViewSonic I had Nice one that had ultra bright back in the day and Envison
I'm lusting after this one. Besides good reviews, it also has a display port and DVI inputs (which I need, especially the display port). I want to set three of them up with one in portrait and two in landscape and also feed my TV. I'm holding off for now in hopes it or something similar will get USB 3.0 hubs. Right now, the only monitor I've seen with USB 3.0 hubs is an ASUS and it gets somewhat less than glowing reviews.
That is a nice one At the time I was looking
I wanted something like a 30 inch
I had a couple choices but I think I got a good deal it was $80.00 cheaper when I picked it up making it extra sweet
I happen to get a 27 inch not a 30 Btw a View Sonic
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 Beware the dreaded "white list" -- HP is guilty as charged




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