It’s a bad start to the year for the PC industry. It kicked off with the damning revelation of critical vulnerabilities that affect almost all CPUs, from Intel to ARM, made in the last decade. Now HP is singularly having problems of its own that are totally unrelated to the Meltdown and Spectre exploits. The computer maker has just announced a recall of its lithium-ion batteries powering quite a number of its notebooks and mobile workstations because of their potential to become fire hazards.
HP says that it has received eight reports where such batteries have not just overheated but even melted or charged. Three of those led to property damage and even one first degree hand burn. Eight is far too many a number, so the company worked with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission on a recall.
The number of affected HP models is quite long, including:
• HP Probook 640 G2
• HP ProBook 640 G3
• HP ProBook 645 G2
• HP ProBook 645 G3
• HP ProBook 650 G2
• HP ProBook 650 G3
• HP ProBook 655 G2
• HP ProBook 655 G3
• HP ZBook 17 G3
• HP ZBook 17 G4
• HP ZBook Studio G3
• HP x360 310 G2
• HP Pavilion x360
• HP ENVY m6
• HP 11 Notebook PC
The affected batteries either came with these notebooks or were sold as accessories and replacements. HP also notes that while the HP ZBook Studio G4 didn’t ship with an affected battery, replacement batteries for the mobile workstation are affected.
HP urges owners of the listed devices to check if their batteries are included in the recall. If so, they are also instructed to install a BIOS update that adds a “Battery Safety Mode” which will allow the notebooks to continue working without a battery when plugged in.
UPDATE: An HP representative reached out to us with this statement from the company:
“The quality and safety of all HP products is our top priority. We recently learned that batteries provided by one of our suppliers for certain notebook computers and mobile workstations present a potential safety concern. We are taking immediate action to address this issue including a voluntary recall and replacement of the batteries. This action pertains to 0.1 percent of the HP systems sold globally over the past two years.
Customers can visit HP’s site to learn if their battery should be replaced. Impacted customers will have their batteries replaced free of charge and may continue safely using their device by placing the battery in Safety Mode and connecting to an external power source.”