Downgrades: don't listen to manufacturers

c: | f: /

Everyone, it seems, is out to make a fast buck. Even so-called “reputable” big players like HP will willingly break your machine in the pursuit of cash.

Managed to hose an HP Proliant server at work today. It was having graphics issues — super-sluggish 2D window management performance. To be fair, it’s had those problems from day one, but it was being replaced with newer hardware and thus due for a clean build with a new OS which I hoped would fix things. It didn’t, but that’s a different story.

During the process of “try anything to get it to work” I upgraded the chipset, network, and graphics drivers along with the BIOS. That kind of thing makes me nervous because, if there’s a power cut or something goes wrong with the hardware mid-upgrade, the machine is toast. But it went well, except for one niggling issue: the fans came on and stayed on at full speed, constantly. And it’s a damn noisy machine.

Arse.

Did some Internet ferreting and the solution appeared to be to downgrade the BIOS from the 2010 version to the original 2009 version and downgrade the management tool too, as it was a “known issue” with certain hardware configurations.

And therein began the rabbit hole.

Don’t bring me down

It’s fairly old hardware, but I nipped back over to HP’s driver download page (from where I obtained the upgraded BIOS in the first place) and tried to find the two files the guy on the forum had recommended as a fix. There was no link to the previous version of the management tool, but I did find a link to the previous BIOS version. I clicked through to the info page… which reported I needed to have a paid HP support agreement to download the file.

What?!

So I can upgrade for free, but when HP’s flaky firmware fucks up the computer I need to pay them before I can put it back the way it was? I don’t think so…

Luckily the Internet had my back. The guy on the forum had helpfully given the .exe filenames of the two files. So I searched the web for those files and found a great site called FTPLike which scrapes the web for downloadable content. Tucked away on a corner of HP’s own servers were the two files I needed, freely available for download. And, had they not been available there for whatever reason, a few other people had them cached on their servers so I could have obtained them that way too.

W00t!

Downloaded. Downgraded. Problem went away.

So next time a web service tells you to buy a paid-for service to correct their mistakes, tell them where to stick said service.

Fancy more? Try:

Spout 'em if you got 'em

(required)

(required, never made visible)

(optional, linked with rel="nofollow")

(required)