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Can't downgrade bios on HP laptop.


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#1 teesy

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 05:29 AM

Hi. I recently updated the bios on my HP-15 laptop to F38 (by insyde) - this laptop uses the Windows 10 home OS.

 

I did it because it is the new bios update that addresses the "spectre" issue. I figured if there were any issues with it I would be able somehow to rollback or simply flash an older bios back on to the computer.

 

Anyway, the bios seems to have slowed my computer a little and also has it running slightly hotter. So I tried following the instructions on the HP site to roll back/downgrade the bios but so far no luck.

 

First I tried to rollback - two different ways to do this.. one with some key presses (win key +B + power) and another by booting, pressing esc, then F2 for diagnostics and then firmware... and press rollback. Neither of these work.. it states that there is no file for last good bios.

 

So then i tried to create a recovery USB flash drive. This is done by downloading the bios you want (in my case F25) and double clicking it which will bring up a bios update utility with 3 options. The first would allow you to update the bios through windows but it is not available since the bios is not an update but an older bios. The second is the recovery usb option which involves installing bios to the flashdrive which renames it to HP Tools. So then you shut down computer, put flashdrive in USB port. Then press and hold win key +B and then at same time press power for 2-3 seconds and release power while keeping on win key and b. A bios related screen should then shortly appear. So I did that and nothing ever happens. It just doesn't work.

 

The third way involves putting the files somewhere on your computer and then you get them somehow but I didn't understand it and didn't want to mess with it.

 

I went to the hp forum to see if they could help. It was suggested that the bios could have a kind of lock on it to prevent it from being changed but basically they didn't know for sure. I noticed that many people had problems downgrading the bios in the past there doing a search. Seems like the instructions don't produce results "lock" or not.

 

Anyway, I was wondering if any knows of any kind of generic way to downgrade the bios or any other suggestions. Thanks.


Edited by teesy, 13 March 2018 - 05:34 AM.


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#2 DavisMcCarn

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:06 AM

Download the F25 BIOS or go to the folder where (hopefully) the upgrade created a backup file (they're usually named .BIN files)  Extract the former or, if the backup file is in the BIOS upgrade folder, copy the file to a FAT32 formatted USB drive.  With that drive plugged in, try the WinKey+B+Power method and see if it lets you locate the file on the flash drive.


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#3 teesy

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:17 AM

Hi DavisMcCarn.

 

I have the f25 bios downloaded from the HP site.

 

I think the only way to extract it is through setting up the USB recovery flash drive. After doing that, when I look in the USB recovery flash drive, it has  one folder in it called Hewlett Packard. In that folder (i have to double click it) are two more folders, one called Bios and the other BiosUpdate.

 

In the Bios folder there are three more folders, one called Current, New and Previous.

 

Current has 5 bin files and 5 .s12 files in it. The other two folders, new and previous, are empty.

 

In the Biosupdate folder, there are 10 files with various extensions in it...  nothing with bin.

 

That's it.

 

So what could I do with this to make it work exactly? I'm not sure where I would find the folder that created an backup file during the upgrade in terms of that option. Thanks.


Edited by teesy, 13 March 2018 - 07:35 AM.


#4 Guest_Joe C_*

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:24 AM

Try creating a Bios Recovery Flash Drive from watching this you tube video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3S3KgcT-Ao



#5 teesy

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:26 AM

Hi Joe. I've tried that and that is how you create the recovery USB flash drive the contents of which I describe in the post above yours.

 

But the second part of doing it - there is another video here:

 

 

turn off computer, hold win key plus B and Power etc does not initiate the bios downgrade. Nothing happens.

 

I'm thinking maybe because it comes upon a folder in the flash drive and not files directly? I don't know.


Edited by teesy, 13 March 2018 - 07:41 AM.


#6 DavisMcCarn

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 08:34 AM

In the creation video AND in my first posting, The flash drive needs to be formatted as FAT32 which generally won't be the case on newer flash drives.  Right-click on the flash drive and choose properties to find out.  What filesystem is on that drive?


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#7 teesy

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 10:22 AM

It's definitely FAT32.. it won't create the recovery flash drive without it being so.

 

It will offer to format it for you to make it fat32.. in the case of this particular drive.. i believe it was fat32 to begin with:

 

Format of USB recovery drive:

 

Attached File  Capture.PNG   12.9KB   0 downloads

 

What's in it (please see earlier post for explicit description):

 

Attached File  Capture2.PNG   14.52KB   0 downloads

 

 

The initial screen before you create the usb recovery drive or update to a new bios:

 

Attached File  Capture3.PNG   17.28KB   0 downloads


Edited by teesy, 13 March 2018 - 11:14 AM.


#8 Guest_Joe C_*

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:07 PM

I do not think FAT 32 works in anything over 2gb (file size limitation with FAT32)



#9 Tomhere

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:18 PM

Hi. This is teesy. I was having problems with this old teesy/teesey account - kept asking for validation and wouldn't send me the email then it blocked me from posting and seemed to have removed my images so i just created this new account TomHere. It's working great.

 

Thanks Joe... I'm going to see if I can pick up a 2gb flash drive and I'll give it a try.


Edited by Tomhere, 13 March 2018 - 12:20 PM.


#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:28 PM

Actually the maximum volume size of FAT32 is 32GB using Windows to create and format the partition. Even higher if you use a third party partition program. The maximum file size on FAT32 is 4GB.

 

https://www.howtogeek.com/235596/whats-the-difference-between-fat32-exfat-and-ntfs/

 

 

Edit:

Then press and hold win key +B and then at same time press power for 2-3 seconds and release power while keeping on win key and b. 

Per the below link after releasing the power button the Windows and B keys are also released.

 

1.    Turn off the computer.

2.    Plug the notebook into power using the power adapter.

3.    Press and hold the Windows key and the B key down at the same time while the computer is off.

4.    Still pressing those keys press and hold down the Power button on the notebook for 3 seconds and then release the Power button and the keys

https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Hardware-and-Upgrade-Questions/BIOS-DOWNGRADE/td-p/2377965


Edited by JohnC_21, 13 March 2018 - 12:36 PM.


#11 Tomhere

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:33 PM

Okay so in terms of the flash drive I should use to make this successful, what should i do?

 

According to the HP usb recovery flash drive creation utiility, my 16gb one - that one required no change in format as fat32 is default, is correctly formatted and able to affect the bios. I also earlier tried it with an 8gb one that also is fat32 by default and that didn't work.

 

Should I format them to something else with windows and then format them back to fat32 with windows?

 

Should i just get a 2gb drive and try it... I think I'm going to do that anyway lol. I'll let you guys know if it worked.


Edited by Tomhere, 13 March 2018 - 12:42 PM.


#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:41 PM

I don't think you need anything else to format fat32. Rufus creates a bootable FAT32 flash drive using FreeDos but I'm not sure that's what you need. I don't think you can flash UEFI firmware using DOS but I could be wrong.

 

Did you see my edited post on releasing the Windows and B keys after releasing the power button including the link?



#13 Tomhere

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 01:01 PM

I did.. I tried that early on and it didn't work. I also tried win key and v which I read somewhere else.


Edited by Tomhere, 13 March 2018 - 01:02 PM.


#14 Tomhere

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 01:18 PM

I gave it another try and it didn't work.

 

What happens whether I keep holding the win key and B down after releasing power for 3 seconds or release all at once is that the screen stays blank and the fan revs a little - not quite as loud as a bios update. The fan is quick to come on anyway since the new bios - running a little hotter. Also, the caps lock key flashes white in one second intervals with a little break in between. I get the impression it is trying to read the flash drive but after ten minutes of it spinning its wheels, I give up and remove flash drive and press power for 5 seconds which takes me out of that mode and then I try again and eventually just let it start up normally.

 

I can also if I wish at any time unplug the laptop, take out he flash drive, power down laptop with power button and it has no effect on anything during this screen blackout time... i imagine if some bios updating was really going on these things might be catastrophic.

 

I've thought about letting it sit there for a good half hour (even though indications are this is a relatively fast procedure) but I don't want to stress the computer more.

 

Added:  Maybe it really is locked by HP. It's an important update and maybe they don't want people to change it (which sucks if so). My bad for updating without waiting to see how it is working out first. If it proves problematic maybe they will unlock it in future. If it is locked, I can't find anything that indicates it is in the descrlption of the update.

 

Bios can be found here:  https://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/swdetails/hp-15-f000-notebook-pc-series/7137590/model/7582579/swItemId/ob-206558-1

 

More Added: Actually in the read me they call it a critical update (spectre fix) so maybe for this reason they won't let it be downgraded?

 

The only reason I wonder if this is not the case is I've found other threads in the past on hp where this downgrade procedure failed. I haven't read any success stories at all... but its possible they were critical updates too. I don't know.


Edited by Tomhere, 13 March 2018 - 02:22 PM.


#15 JohnC_21

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 02:25 PM

I saw the below video and it seems a flash drive with the previous firmware is not required. Only doing the key combinations will revert to the previous firmware. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpiGUojtr3E

Have you tried the key combo without the flash drive attached?






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