15 February, 2013

HP Fingerprint Reader working (again)

English: A finger print reader
English: A finger print reader (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
15-Feb-2013

I recently reinstalled Windows 7 in my laptop to fix the problem of not being able to run Windows 7 Service pack 1. So they say, in most cases in our everyday life, especially at work, there is no 100% cure or fix. And as almost always, when a solution is applied, it solves one, then out comes another. That is just exactly what happened to me.

And this is not the first time that the fingerprint reader in my HP ProBook 4430s wasn’t working.

The first time was a natural cause, the hardware failed – and it was under warranty that time. My machine was still under warranty, so I got it replaced. But that was only after finding out that it wasn’t working, and our user support endorsed me to liaise with HP support, where I was asked to do a step-by-step procedure, until it was finally declared that 99%, it was the hardware that failed.

And the procedure wasn’t one for the fainthearted: it involves some changes in the registry. So it is for somebody who can take the risk of wiping clean by format the HDD if something wasn’t done right.

Anyway, I followed that procedure to the letter, the reader was declared faulty, the replacement was scheduled, it was done, then the drivers were installed once again, or whatever thing the service guy did, I got my fingerprint reader working (again). So that was some time back in September 2012.

When I chanced upon Internet Explorer 10, and there was a shining promise of it to be the “best” internet explorer, I got so interested that I did not mind reinstalling Windows 7 OS, and as it turned out, all the other softwares that I already have installed currently in my machine. I should say it again, one solution proposed in the Windows forums to remedy the SP1 non-update issue is to do an InPlace installation of Windows 7, wherein somewhere in the installation process updates are supposedly checked, and believed that SP1 will be fetched and applied – but this did not happen. And it was a painful experience, because I have to do it twice – first, it was InPlace, and everything current was collated and dumped into Windows.old, and nothing was left, so that I had to repeat the installation, and the second time around, I did a format of the hard disc.

Anyway, that was done, and first that should be installed first right after Windows 7 OS are the drivers, and I was putting aside those for ProtectTools, primarily the fingerprint reader, because I have reservations about it, I’d had bad experience about it, so that I don’t want it to get in the way.

Anyway, when the driver for LAN and WiFi were done, I suddenly got the message that there are items fetched by Windows Update. It was a whole lot of it, and bunch after bunch, I let then come, applied them, and in the process, alternated Windows Update with driver installation.

I got Windows 7 Service pack 1 installed, so that I managed to install Internet Explorer 10. And yes, it was worth all the trouble in the world.

Now, I was happy reinstalling all the other softwares, but I noticed that I have been used to doing the swiping or sliding of my index finger when a log-in is required. I was almost going to contain myself with having to type my credentials every time, but I can’t get over it. So finally, I gave in, and I went to install ProtectTools Manager, then the drivers for fingerprint validation.

When I was done, I tried to make use of the fingerprint validation, and did it work?

No!

I thought, “What now?”

I went back to the e-mail communication that I had with HP support personnel, and I found, to my dismay, that it was only telling me how to uninstall drivers and manually delete folders and entries in the registry. It wasn’t something to guide me in doing the installation (and anyway, that was done already).

Now I am left to figure this out on my own, so naturally, the web is my first source of help. I searched. I checked a few articles, found some forums with the same question asked before, but on a different HP model. Anyway, the fingerprint reader software was by Validity, and even then, one link that pointed to downloading a driver, well, didn’t help. Then I found one that has a detailed procedure, and if that fails, another solution, a last recourse – Resetting the BIOS.
I’ve edited the registry a countless times, so what is BIOS reset to me?

After a few more tweaks and reboots, and no change on the fingerprint status, my next move was confirmed: RESET BIOS.

I went to that, and with not much time spent tweaking the BIOS, I even made the mistake of thinking that the active selection in the prompts is the black highlight (since the letters are clearer and easier to read). I was wrong, so even this one, I had to do two to three times.

I finally succeeded in resetting the BIOS, and having done nothing else, went to try if the fingerprint reader is working, and it was! That is, after setting up the whole thing in the ProtectTools again, but this is a breeze.

And I have to say, it was a big caution: before resetting the BIOS, make sure that you have other login methods, and not only the fingerprint validation, otherwise, you would be locked out of your machine.

So now I have Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 installed, Internet Explorer 10, and the fingerprint reader working. The three musketeers.

Hooray!

Reference:
How to get Validity fingerprint sensor working on Windows 8
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