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In Window HP Support Assistant Alert (or is it an Alert Lookalike?)


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#1 MML

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 11:08 PM

Back again :P

 

I was browsing the internet and received an in-window pop-up that looks exactly like an HP Support alert - it made a brief sound, and told me that I had program updates waiting for me on my computer).  Indeed, I do have HP alerts (mostly because they want me to update my software and I've been told not to do that).

 

I'm pretty certain it's just HP Support (and if it Is I'm taking previous advice to silence its notifications if it is), but if it's not what precautions should I take just to make sure it's not mal or ransomware?



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#2 Aura

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 11:18 PM

Hi MML :)

If you open the HP Support Assistant program, do you indeed have updates available and/or pending?

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#3 quietman7

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 01:37 PM

The HP Support Assistant is useful but can be a nuisance...

Can I remove the HP Support Assistant icon from my taskbar?

You can remove the HP Support Assistant icon from your taskbar, but HP does not recommend removing the icon. You would no longer receive notifications of pending actions through your taskbar, and you would not be able to go directly to some HP Support Assistant capabilities.

To remove the icon from your taskbar, open HP Support Assistant, select Updates and tune-ups. Then click Other settings on the bottom left and uncheck the taskbar options in the How would you like to be notified? section.

HP Support Assistant FAQs
How to disable the HP Support Assistant
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#4 MML

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 04:54 PM

I've definitely got a spate of updates: they're for Cyberlink Media Suite, Power2Go, UCam, a bios update, event utility, the graphics driver, Card Reader Driver, Audio, Network, LAN and Synaptics driver.

 

I should add that my computer just shut itself off of with no warning.  I was able to reboot as normal but when I did my kaspersky updates were rolled back to April 24th.  I updated my VP as normal, now last update is listed for today.



#5 Aura

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 04:57 PM

Then I guess it's safe to assume that the pop-up you received and sound you heard were indeed coming from the HP Support Assistant program. I have the same on my HP laptop, althought I don't usually install the updates unless they are criticals. Maybe you had Windows Updates pending and they had to install on restart.

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#6 quietman7

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 06:42 PM

Just disable it and use Windows Update normally. You don't need a third-party utility telling you updates are available.
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#7 rp88

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 11:19 AM

You probably don't want to install the updates which HP support assistant offers you, they are driver and firmware and BIOS/UEFI updates usually. under some settings HP support assistant might alos offer your windows updates, but it's better to do those through control panel and windows not through the HP tool. This type are risky to install so only users who really,really need them should consider installing this type. I have an HP computer and have disabled the HP updating within support assistant, I've also taken some other steps so it doesn't do anything in the background to waste processing power. HP support assistant is probably best to utterly disable, but it's also wise to leave it installed. Before following this disabling process you might want to use HP support assistant to make yourself some manufacturer's recovery media, and you might want to write down the various serial numbers it will show you.

I advise making a system image before following these steps, I did them on my machine and it was fine (better after doing these things infact) but just-in-case it's worth having an image to restore from if something goes badly. You can make them with a system image making tool built into windows 8, 8.1 (and probably 7). On windows 8 it is found at control panel--> windows 7 file recovery-->create a system image, on windows 8.1 it is at control panel-->file history-->System Image Backup. See explanation at http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/create-system-image-in-windows-7-8/ . If at any point you are unsure as to how to do something, describe what you have done, and what you don't know how to do in a post on here.

Firstly: go into HP suport assistant (you can have it as an icon on your task bar) and set it's updating settings to either completely off or to manual. Don't let it be automatic. Also there are settings within it to control whether it gives pop-ups or not, and whether it shows in the system tray, you can set these as you like, but I would sugegst having the button in the tray but not allowing pop-ups from it.

Secondly: install CCleaner and look under it's section about startup tasks, there is something called "HPgenoobe..." you should disable it. Also disable the startup for HP message service under this same list. Also report if you see any other HP related startup items and post a little list of what you see. Do not delete the startup tasks, just-in-case you ever do want to re-enable it in future(you might, maybe, disbaling is just as good as deleting but gives you a way back IF you ever want one).

Thirdly: go into task manager and go to the services tab, see the little link saying "Go To Services", click it and another window opens with a full list of services. Scroll to HPqwmiex and ,under it's properties, disable it (but don't delete it). Also disable HP support assistant service (HPSA service)(HPSA_Service.exe) by the same method. You might notice other HP related services as well, please post their names and details here. HPWMISVC(HPWMISVC.exe) is likely one of these other HP related services you will see, don't disable it (disabling this one might be a perfectly fine thing to do, but I haven't disabled this one so can't speak from experience about it, hpqwmiex and HPSA_Service.exe(HP Support Assistant Service) I have disabled and can say disabling them did no harm.).

Fourthly: restart the computer. When you turn it on again log in and open task manager (ctrl+alt+delte, though you might want to pin it on your task bar for faster access) and go to the details tab, write down the names of all the running rocesses as that list states them. Type those names into a post on here. Also go across to the services tab, see if hpqwmiex and HPSA service are still listed as running or as stopped. Report in a post on here which you saw.

At this point you should find there is one HP related process running in the task manager's process list, and one HP related service running under the task manager's services list(the process and the service should be named HPWMISVC, If I remember correctly, I'm not on an HP machine right now so can't check right now.), post the names in your reply. If this is the service and process I think it will be then it is one I did not disable, I am unsure what effect disbaling this one would have.

Once you have done this your machine should (though posting the lists of processes and services running will help me to be sure) be in the same state as my HP machine, which has HP support assistant installed should I ever need it but disabled so it doesn't run in the background, update itself or cause pop-ups. Note that once the machine is in this state then any time you open HP support assistant to check anything within it you will need to, after you're finished with it, go through some of these steps (atleast the third part involving services) and re-disable things. Any time you open the HP support assistant program from the system tray button you should go through the steps above again, some of the things you disabled might stay disabled others will need you to re-disable them.

It is quite conceivable that spam pop-ups online might try to pretend to be the HP support assistant, a lot of spam pop-ups do pretend to be messages from legitimate programs, but I suspect it mroe likely that you would get a real pop-up from the HP support assistant when compared to the chance of spam designed to look like it. And if you have the HP support assistant settings as defaults then you will get such pop-ups from HP. Performing the steps I describe above will let you know if the pop-up you saw was real or spam, if the pop-up was spam you probably wouldn't have the services/process/startups/tasks I describe, if the pop-up was real then you can expect the services/process/startups/tasks I describe to be found when you follow the steps.

Reagrding post #4: you probably didn't want/need all of those updates especially not the BIOS one. It's too late now to try undoing them, and assuming they didn't do any damage not worth bothering to undo them, but it's well worth disbaling the automatic functions of HP support assistant so this doesn't happen again. You might also want to uninstall some of those programs, if you don't use Cyberlink Media Suite or Power2Go or UCam then those programs can be uninstalled. You can post a list of your programs if you like (minitoolbox.exe from this site lets you do that very quickly in about 2 clicks or you can do it manually by opening up the list of installed programs in control pnel, writing down the names on paper and then typing them into a post) and we can suggest which you should keep and which you might want to uninstall.

Please note that throughout this post I have been discussing the updates provided by HP support assistant, windows also provides updates which are a whole other matter. Windows updates are controlled through the windows update options under control panel, different individuals have different preferences as to how these should be set. Windows updates and HP support assistant updates should not be confused with one-another. Some windows updates you definitely DO need as they are security patches, most HP updates you definitely DON'T need as they are firmware/bios/uefi/driver updates which only matter to a small subset of users with very specific system types.

If anything I have said here is not clear to you, ask before trying it. Better to wait and to it right than misread and do something wrong. If you aren't sure where to start, post a list of all your services (indicating which are running and which are stopped) along with a list of all your running processes (both available by writing down the names you see in the various tabs of task manager.).

Edited by rp88, 10 May 2015 - 11:22 AM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#8 MML

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 06:25 AM

Thanks for your help, everybody - I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have this board to come to.  Will try to silence the support assistant through your method rp88!  



#9 Aura

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 07:17 AM

No problem MML, our pleasure :)

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#10 quietman7

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 07:48 AM

You're welcome on behalf of the Bleeping Computer community.
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#11 rp88

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 01:12 PM

Have my HP machine on right now, I can confirm the exact process and tasks involved.

Image shows HP support assistant interface, your version might be black or grey instead of white, but buttons should be the same, image is from HP's site.
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf-JAVA/Doc/images/449/c03540524.jpg

First things first go into HP support assistant, if you have the big "blue circle with a white question makr in it" button on the far right end of your task bar click this to access the program (you might need to click yes to a few UAC prompts in the process). If you don't have that button the it should exist as an "app" to get into it if you have windows 8 or 8.1 (you didn't seem to say quite which OS you are using), this should be listed on the "start screen" which can be accessed from the "start button". If you can't see that app either then you will need to hunt for the program, perhaps by searching through your C drive for thigs which have the right sort of name. Once you have the program open*, go into each section of it in turn and disable anything automatic, also make sure to set all it's update settings to manual checking or being fully off. Go through the various parts "My Computer" button, "Updates and Tune-ups" button,... switching off automatic settings and disabling updating. And also go to the white "settings" link on the top right of the interface, under that make sure to disable any automatic options you find and to turn on the option to show a button in the task bar but turn off the option to show pop-ups. Whilst HP support assistant is open you should also pin it to your task bar. With this done you can close it. Restart your computer at this point, just to make sure all the settings you changed stay as you like them.

Then
The startup tasks you must disable through CCleaner (or you might be able to use the startup's tab of task manager but I find CCleaner better for this)are:
In the "Windows" tab, Program="HPMessageService" File="C:\Program Files (x86)\Hewlett-Packard\HP System Event\HPMSGSVC.exe"
In the "Scheduled Tasks" tab, Program="HPGenoobereminder" File="C:\Program Files (x86)\Hewlett-Packard\HP Registration Service\HP GenOOBE\HPGenOOBE.exe"

The services you must disable in the services window (accessed via "Open Services" in the services tab of task manager) are:
Name= "HP Software Framework Service" Description=(none shown) This is the one responsible for hpqwmiex.exe
AND
Name="HP Support Assistant Service" Description="HP Support Assistant Service" This is the one responsible for hpsa_service.exe

You will also notice a service called HPWMISVC, which is responsible for a process called HPWMISVC.exe. I do not know what would happen if this were disabled, I left it enabled on mine. If you disable it I cannot predict what the results may be. I think it might have something to do with "hot keys" but it might be something else entirely.

With all this done no part of HP support assistant should run in the background any more, but it is still installed incase you ever want to use it. Other than HPWMISVC there should be no HP processes or services running automatically after this point either.

Remember that if at any time you do open HP support assistnat you will have to go into the services window, and into CCleaner's startup manager to re-disable some of the services and tasks, just as explained above.

* If you haven't already then before starting to disable various functions of HPSA you should use it's facility to make recovery media, it will only let you make one copy of these. The type of media it makes are absolute last resort ones (full factory refresh, wipes your files, programs, system settings, everything) and system images should be used instead where possible, but these media are worth making.

CCleaner can be found here, make sure to check carefully for bundled programs as you install it, I think it might have the google toolbar bundled. http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download/standard After installing CCleaner you should use it's options to disable it's background running. You should never use CCleaner's registry cleaning functions, just stick to clearing temp files and disabling/enabling startups.

EDIT: IMPORTANT FINAL NOTE: once this is done make sure to go to windows update settings within control panel, I don't know whether you like them on "fully automatic" or "automatic download manual install" or "automatic check, manual download and install" but HP support assistant might change them when you are turning off all it's automatic features. Once You have finished disabling Hp support assistant, go into control panel-->windows update and make sure that updates are set back to the setting you like. HP support assistant tries to manage window updates as well as HP updates. Once HP support assistant is disabled you need to make sure windows updates (which you will henceforth control through control panel-->windows updates) are as you want them. Windows updates and HP updates are very different things, if you're happy with your current windows update settings you do not need to change them from what they currently are but after disabling HP support assistant you might need to put windows updates back to their current settings.

Edited by rp88, 11 May 2015 - 01:45 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB




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