Posts Tagged ‘HP Mini 1000’

The Saga Continues – My HP Mini 1000 and BIOS Passwords

May 12th, 2009 5 comments

Dear Lazyweb…

I have managed to set the BIOS password on my netbook (HP Mini 1000), and subsequently forget it. Since the techs want to charge me $25 more than the price of a new model to replace the motherboard – despite what the Maintenance and Service Guide says on page 34 – briefly, pull out the BIOS battery – I am looking at other methods.

There are murmurings around the interwebs about unhash passwords. If I knew what the hash function was, I would quite happily write a program to brute force the BIOS password.

Can anyone help? Once I get the netbook back, I intend to try pulling it apart, and removing the battery, but failing that, I’m at a bit of a loss.

Update: It appears that the battery was removed, since the laptop now complains about the date and settings being missing – but it still requests a password. According to the docket, the password is in EEPROM, and cannot be reset this way. Also, what I thought was the bios hash, is in fact the serial number. *sigh*

However, if I do replace the motherboard, is possible to import them from the states, at USD$170, which is less than half the price quoted to me.

UPDATE 13-July-2010: This page has turned out to be one of the most popular on my blog. So popular that it turns up in the top five google search results for “reset hp mini bios password”.

It turns out that there’s a bunch of companies that will generate password keys for based on the hash code. Since none of them contacted me via email, and instead tried to spam the comments as ‘concerned users’, I’ve deleted those those comments through, and below you can find the URL for Dogbert’s blog posting with code and programs (Windows and Python for everything else) to generate those passwords yourself. For free.

Note: I no longer have the locked motherboard, so I can’t tell if the programs on the above page works or not.

HP Mini 1000 – Further Impressions

March 3rd, 2009 8 comments

Having had my HP Mini 1000 (or technically, a 1004TU) for about a couple of months now, I thought I’d write up some of my impressions that turn up after the initial “Ooh! Shiny!” aspect has worn off. Some of these I touched on in my original post.

Firstly, I do like the machine, and the keyboard is nice to type on. It’s the first thing that people notice, and several people have commented on getting a similar model solely because of the keyboard. What they don’t notice is the lack of back light, luminescent keys glyphs, or anything that lets you use it in the dark. Immediately after that observation, everyone complains that the mousepad buttons are weird – though the layout frees up space, and I’m used to it now – and that they keep hitting the touch pad when trying to type – which I also still do after two months.

After a bit of fluffing, it appears that HP will send me my cash back. This is good, because frankly, I think the initial price I saw it for (NZD$900) is over priced. It’s good, but it’s not that good. What follows now is a list of my gripes that are only mitigated by the fact that I got it for a steal during a boxing day sale at 20% off ($720 minus a further $100 via cash back). These issues aren’t enough to make me chuck it on trademe, and go buy something else, but they are annoying, and worth noting for anyone thinking of buying one.

In the normal course of events, such as putting the device in a bag, it’s possible for the screen to touch the keyboard. This leaves marks on the screen, which is bad. To alleviate this problem, the unit comes with this weird cloth thing that you need to put between the screen and the keyboard when you close it. Naturally, you will lose this cloth, repeatedly. A couple of rubber stops at the top of the screen would have fixed this, but clearly HP has decided short term sales aesthetics must override the long term usability of not having a smudged grid pattern permanently etched into the screen.

The battery just scrapes in at three hours. This is high enough to be useful, but low enough to be annoying. In addition, it takes about as long to recharge, which is also frustrating.

The sound volume is all kinds of weird. It’s impossible to hear anything until the volume is cranked up to about 85%, and then the volume rises rapidly. This weirdness actually prompted me to hunt down the volume control resolution in gconf (/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/volume_step), and may have caused temporary deafness a couple of times.

The bizarre ports configuration is where this netbook really falls down. The combination 3.5mm head/microphone jack means that I can’t use my regular headset for skype. and the built in microphone is rubbish. The obvious solution is to use bluetooth, but HP clearly felt that it was important to get that extra 50 cents they saved by removing bluetooth from my model. Of course, it’s possible to use a USB bluetooth module, but this takes away one of the two precious external USB ports. There is a third one, but that’s recessed a good 3cm into the case simply so HP can ream you once more for their propriety-but-not-really HP Mobile Drive, which is really just a generic USB drive with some extra plastic on it. Rounding off this lazy rendition of embrace and extend is the expansion port on the left side, which, in theory – supports power, USB, VGA, and audio, thus allowing a docking station of sorts.
Except that I still can’t buy cables for it. So, I have no VGA out, or docking capability.
They even managed to screw up the camera.

Finally, the screen tilts back just far enough to make it virtually impossible to use while crashed out on a couch. Words cannot express how much this disappoints me.

Finally, the ethernet is kind of buggy. If it’s not plugged in when you turn the device on then, you don’t have ethernet. If you then unplug said ethernet cable, the kernel panics and the whole machine locks up. Awesome.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy with my purchase, but only because I managed to get it at such a low price. If I’d paid the full price of $900 or so, I’d be feeling somewhat ripped right now.

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HP Mini 1000 – First impressions

December 31st, 2008 Comments off

I have a new toy!

HP Mini 1000, Left View

HP Mini 1000

I’ve been wanting one of HP’s new Mini 1000′s since they came out. But, patience has proved to be a virtue, and instead of paying $900 retail, I managed to pick one up at the boxing day sales for $720, with another $100 off via cash back from HP. In my opinion, the Mini simply looks a lot nicer than the various offerings from Asus and Acer, and the keyboard doesn’t give me instant RSI.

Since I live in New Zealand, they won’t offer it with Linux, or the bluetooth option. No matter, one USD$4 mini USB bluetooth adapator and some careful netbooting later and these problems were solved. I purchased the 1004TU model that has an 8GB SSD instead of a 60GB PATA disk, because it means less moving parts to break and explode.

The Good
For a netbook, the keyboard is awesome. Every time I’ve showed it off so far, it is the first thing people comment on. The keys are 92% the size of those found on a full sized keyboard, and have a minimal bevel, making it actually possible for me to hit the right keys on the first attempt.

The screen is nice. It’s not amazing, but it’s big enough (10.2″) to read off for a while without making me blind, with a high enough (1024×600) resolution to allow full width web page viewing.

All hardware works out of the box under Linux (Ubuntu 8.10). I assume this is because HP released an Linux version of the same hardware, and it’s easier to use supported hardware on model, rather than having multiple hardware variants.

The Not-So-Good
The shortish list is; The single fan get quite noisy when the CPU is running at full throttle. There’s only two USB ports, HP has elected to have a single audio port for microphone and headphones – cellphone style, the network manager seems prone to dying occasionally (though this may be an Ubuntu bug), and the built in microphone seems to pick up environmental noise better than my own voice.

The webcam exhibits some odd behavior where it sets the brightness to zero, leading me to initially assume that it wasn’t supported in Linux. Standard webcam software controls will fix this, and Skype appears to be smarter about handling this particular problem than Cheese or Ekiga.

The clamshell design, while exceedingly pretty, limits the angle to which you can push back the screen to about 30 degrees from vertical. This turns out to be incredibly annoying if you using it anywhere except at a table or desk.

The Bad
The 3-cell battery only just manages to offer three hours of battery life when using wireless. Thankfully suspends works well enough, but it doesn’t bode well for when the battery inevitably starts to wear out.

Finally, it’s clear that HP has a love affair with proprietary ports. There’s this weird connector on the left hand side instead of a VGA port. In theory, this will eventually allow me to plug in kind of docking station type affair for ethernet, power, and video output. In reality, I can’t find the adapter on HP’s website. I also would have been much happier if the unit had shipped with a VGA or DVI adapter cable. As if that weren’t bad enough, HP has seen fit to include something they call ‘HP Mobile Drive’ on the rear right hand corner of the unit. To my eye, it look suspiciously like a buried USB port with a slightly non-standard pin out. Another USB port or second SD slot would have been a much better option.

Wrapping Up
It looks good, and it’s possible to type something of significant length. If you’re the cafe blogger or travelling office hopper, it’ll probably suit you incredibly well. Just don’t expect it to last through an international flight.

Categories: Tech Tags: , ,