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HP Business Notebook PCs - Statement of Volatility

The purpose of this document is to provide general information regarding nonvolatile memory in the industry-standards based HP Business Notebook PC systems listed below and provide general instructions for restoring nonvolatile memory that can contain personal data after the system has been powered off and the hard drive has been removed.

HP ProBook Models
HP ProBook Models
HP EliteBook Models
HP ProBook 4440s
HP ProBook 6475b
HP EliteBook 2170p
HP ProBook 4441s
HP ProBook 6570b
HP EliteBook 2570p
HP ProBook 4340s
HP ProBook 6470b
HP EliteBook 8570p
HP ProBook 4341s
HP ProBook 4740s
HP EliteBook 8470p
HP ProBook 4545s
HP ProBook 4540s
HP EliteBook 8470w
HP ProBook 4445s
HP EliteBook 8570w
HP ProBook 4446s
HP EliteBook 8770w

HP Business Notebook PC products that use Intel®-based or AMD®-based motherboards contain volatile DDR memory. The amount of nonvolatile memory present in the system depends upon the system configuration. Intel-based and AMD-based system boards contain nonvolatile memory subcomponents as originally shipped from HP assuming that no subsequent modifications have been made to the system and assuming that no applications, features, or functionality have been added to or installed on the system.

Following system shutdown and removal of all power sources from an HP Business Notebook PC system, personal data can remain on volatile system memory (DIMMs) for a finite period of time and will also remain in nonvolatile memory. The steps below will remove personal data from the notebook PC, including the nonvolatile memory found in Intel-based and AMD-based system boards. Some of these steps are disclosed in the Maintenance & Service Guides available for HP PC products available on the product support pages at www.hp.com .

  1. Follow steps a through I below to restore the nonvolatile memory that can contain personal data. Restoring or re-programming nonvolatile memory that does not store personal data is neither necessary nor recommended.

    1. Enter BIOS (F10) Setup by powering on the system and pressing F10 when prompted near the bottom of the display, or press the ESC key to display the start up menu, then press F10. If the system has a BIOS administrator password, enter the password at the prompt.

    2. Select the File menu, then Restore Defaults.

    3. Select the System Configuration menu, then Restore Security Defaults.

    4. If an asset or ownership tag is set, select the Security menu and scroll down to the Utilities menu. Select System IDs, and then select the tag that has been set. Press the spacebar once to clear the tag, then press Enter to return to the prior menu.

    5. If a DriveLock password is set, select the Security menu, scroll down to DriveLock, then select DriveLock password. Select the desired hard drive. Click Disable protection, enter the existing master DriveLock password, then press Enter to confirm and return to the prior menu. Repeat this procedure if more than one hard drive has a DriveLock password.

    6. If an Automatic DriveLock password is set, select the Security menu, scroll down to Automatic DriveLock, then select the desired hard drive and disable protection. Repeat this procedure if more than one hard drive has an Automatic DriveLock password.

    7. Select the File menu, then Reset BIOS Security to factory default. Click yes at the warning message.

    8. Select the File menu, then Save Changes and Exit.

    9. Reboot the system. If the system has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and/or fingerprint sensor, one or two prompts will appear. One to clear the TPM and the other to Reset Fingerprint Sensor; press F1 to accept or F2 to reject. If the HP notebook model number ends in a ‘p’ or ‘w’ and includes Intel® Centrino with VProTM, reboot the PC and enter BIOS Setup by pressing F10 when prompted. Select System Configuration, then AMT Options. Then select Un-configure AMT on next boot. Select Save then Yes. Select the File menu, and then select Save Changes and Exit. Reboot the system and confirm that you want to un-configure AMT.

    10. If the optional Intel® Anti-Theft Technology (AT) was activated, contact the provider to de-activate it.

    11. If the optional Absolute® Software Computrace® management and tracking service was activated on the notebook PC, contact the provider to deactivate it.

    12. Remove all power and system batteries for at least 24 hours.

  2. Remove and retain the storage drive or clear the contents of the drive.

    1. Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

      Clear the HDD contents by using the HP Disk Sanitizer® utility or a third party application that, ideally, is U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) 5220.22-M approved. To run HP Disk Sanitizer, enter BIOS Setup by powering on the system and pressing F10 when prompted near the bottom of the display, or press ESC to display the start up menu, then press F10. Select the Security menu and scroll down to the Utilities menu. Select Disk Sanitizer and select the desired drive. For a higher level of protection, select Optimum.

      NOTE: This process will take a long time, and the amount of time varies based on the hard drive capacity.
    2. Solid State Drive (SSD)

      Clear the SSD contents by using the BIOS Setup Secure Erase command option, or by using a third party utility designed to erase data from an SSD. To run Secure Erase, enter BIOS Setup by powering on the system and pressing F10 when prompted near the bottom of the display. Select the Security menu and scroll down to the Utilities menu. Select Secure Erase and select the desired hard drive.

Non Volatile Memory Type
Amount (Size)
Does this memory store customer data?
Does this memory retain data when power is removed?
What is the purpose of this memory?
How is data input into this memory?
How is this memory write protected?
Real Time Clock (RTC) battery backed-up CMOS configuration memory (CMOS)
256 Bytes
No
Yes
Stores system date and time and limited keyboard controller data.
Use the F10 Setup utility or change the Microsoft® Windows® date & time.
This memory is not write-protected. HP recommends password protecting the F10 Setup utility.
Network Interface Controller (NIC) EEPROM
64 Kbytes (not customer accessible)
No
Yes
Store NIC configuration and NIC firmware.
Use a utility from the NIC vendor that can be run from DOS.
A utility is required to write data to this memory and is available from NIC vendor. Writing data to this ROM in an inappropriate manner will render the NIC non-functional.
Keyboard ROM
64 Kbytes (not customer accessible)
No
Yes
Stores firmware code (keyboard, mouse, & battery management).
Programmed at the factory. Code is updated when the system BIOS is updated.
A utility is required for writing data to this memory and is available on the HP website. Writing data to this ROM in an inappropriate manner can render the PC non-functional.
DIMM Serial Presence Detect (SPD) configuration data
256 Bytes per memory module, 128 Bytes programmable (not customer accessible)
No
Yes
Stores memory module information.
Programmed by the memory vendor.
Data cannot be written to this memory when the module is installed in a PC. The specific write protection method varies by memory vendor.
System BIOS
4 to 5 MBytes
Yes
Yes
Store system BIOS code and PC configuration data.
System BIOS code is programmed at the factory. Code is updated when the system BIOS is updated. Configuration data and settings are input using the F10 setup utility or a custom utility.
A utility is required for writing data to this memory and is available on the HP website. Writing data to this ROM in an inappropriate manner can render the PC non-functional.
Intel Management Engine Firmware (present only in models ending in a ‘p’ or ‘w’ or with Intel Centrino Pro technology
1.5 or 5MByte
Yes
Yes
Stores Management Engine Code, Settings, Provisioning Data and iAMT third party data store.
Management Engine Code is programmed at the factory. Code is updated via Intel secure firmware update utility. Unique Provisioning Data can be entered at the factory or by an administrator using the Management Engine (MEBx) setup utility. The third party data store contents can populated by a remote management console or local applications registered by an administrator to have access to the space.
The Intel chipset is configured to enforce HW protection to block all direct read/write access to this area. An Intel utility is required for updating the firmware. Only firmware updates digitally signed by Intel can be applied using this utility.
Bluetooth flash
2Mbit
No
Yes
Stores Bluetooth configuration and firmware.
Programmed at the factory. Tools for writing data to this memory are not publicly available but can be obtained from the silicon vendor.
A utility is required for writing data to this memory and is made available through newer versions of the driver if the flash requires an upgrade.
802.11 WLAN EEPROM
4kb to 8kb
No
Yes
Stores configuration and calibration data.
Programmed at the factory. Tools for writing data to this memory are not made public.
A utility is required for writing data to this memory and is typically not made available to the public unless a firmware upgrade is necessary to address a unique issue.
Web Camera
64K bit
No
Yes
Store Web Cam configuration and firmware.
Use a utility from the device manufacturer that can be run from Windows.
A utility is required for writing data to this memory and is typically not made available to the public unless a firmware upgrade is necessary to address a unique issue.
Fingerprint Reader
512kByte Flash
Yes
Yes
Stores fingerprint templates.
By enrolling in HP ProtectTools Security Manager.
Only a digitally signed application can make the call to write to the flash.

Questions and Answers

  1. How can the BIOS settings be restored (returned to factory settings)?

    1. Turn on or restart the computer and press F10 when prompted near the bottom of the display.

    2. Select File, then select Restore defaults.

    3. Follow the on-screen instructions.

    4. Select File, save changes and exit, then press Enter.

    NOTE:
    • Password settings and security settings are not changed when you restore the factory settings.
    • Restoring defaults will not change the hard drive (Serial ATA) mode.
  2. What kind of configuration data is stored on the DIMM Serial Presence Detect (SPD) memory module? How would this data be written?

    The DIMM SPD memory contains information about the memory module such as size, serial number, data width, speed/timing, voltage and thermal information. This information is written by the module manufacturer and stored on an EEPROM. This EEPROM cannot be written to when the memory module is installed in a PC. Third party tools do exist that can write to the EEPROM when the memory module is not installed in a PC. There are various third party tools available to read SPD memory.

  3. Does the “Firmware Hub for System BIOS” contain the BIOS program? Is this chip writable, and if so how?

    The Firmware Hub does contain the BIOS program and is writable. A utility is required to perform the write function.

  4. In some PC systems, the Firmware Hub for System BIOS is a flash memory chip so that updates can be written by the customer. Is this true for these BIOS chips?

    Yes, they are flash memory chips.

  5. What is meant by “Restore the nonvolatile memory found in Intel-based motherboards”?

    This relates to clearing the Real Time Clock (RTC) CMOS memory that contains PC configuration data.

  6. Does resetting the CMOS configuration memory return the PC back to factory defaults?

    The process of resetting the CMOS will return certain system settings to factory default but will not reset many of the system data and configuration defaults to their factory settings. To return these system data and configuration defaults to factory settings, refer to question and answer 1 and follow the instructions for returning the BIOS settings to factory defaults.

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