Reflashing HP thin clients with an earlier image version – watch the usb card capacity!

I have had occasion to reflash a number of thin clients from HP – 5720’s with new versions of firmware. The process is relatively simple in that you download the 200MB or so file – run this executable and you get a number of options of what to do with the resultant image.

The problem I ran into was that the same Corsair 16GB usb card used to upgrade the version from the previous XPE edition (using SP37897.exe) could not be used to put it back to the older version once testing was completed. Running the older SP33234.exe from HP after download presented the normal dialog screen to create an iso image on disk , install on a usb key or set up for deployment from Altiris(?).

Selecting the USB option gave an error which suggested that the disk was faulty or not a large enough capacity for the image to be flashed. Being that it was 16GB I suspected that the program was unable to format to that size and was throwing the error incorrectly. After fishing through a range of other usb keys and finding that any that had a cdfs partition wouldn’t work since the HP client appears to boot off the first partition – I used an old freecom card 256M which worked fine.

So the moral is – don’t assume that the HP extraction and formating can cope with any size of usb key – probably 8GB would have worked but not any more.

However – I did find one bug with the previous version of XPE – changing the background colour of the administrative user actually changes only the area behind the icons on the desktop. Lovely.