what is Flashing process?

Greetings y'all. I just got a Windows 8 HP laptop and a strange thing happened. I was catching up on my shows on Hulu when a box popped up on my screen that said something like "Flashing Process. Keyboard and Trackpad will no [sic] respond. Process will be complete in 100 seconds." The show still ran in the background but there was no way to close the box. Indeed the keyboard and trackpad were useless. The 100 seconds counted down, but not by the second... after 1/2 hour it was still on 96 seconds! Eventually the screen hibernated and there was no way to wake it again. The fan ran hard constantly. I decided to let it do its' thing and checked on it in the morning. Same thing, screen wake was un-responsive, even the power button didn't work. I unplugged and took out the battery. When I started up again there was a screen indicating a BIOS recovery was taking place.

What the heck went on here? What is "Flashing process"? I've never heard of it before. It completely disabled my machine. Did I pick up a horrible virus (especially given the typo in the message box)?

That's what is sounds like to me, a Virus or at the least a trojan or worm. What AV are you running?

I'm running McAfee. It hasn't detected anything malicious. Nor has malwarebytes, spybot or superantispyware. HP says the "flashing" is a way to update and fix the BIOS. BUT it seems to be something that you have to ask the machine to perform rather than something that just normally happens automatically... I can't imagine how that might just happen.


Noob Whisperer
HP says the "flashing" is a way to update and fix the BIOS.
Hello and welcome to the forum.
That is correct, Flash or Flashing is a term used to describe updating a system's or a single device's firmware to something more current and up to date. But, as you seem to already know, does not happen by accident or automatically generally speaking and I would think that HP would know if they have some type of auto update utility on your system that would actually evoke a BIOS Flash. But any piece of hardware that includes an EPPROM can generally be written to or flashed (your CD/DVD, your NIC, your GPU, etc.,) but again these things do not usually happen automatically.
How is your system now? Are you seeing any negative side effects from the event? Has it happen before or since?
If the system, as your OP implies, is relatively new, and is exhibiting any continued weirdness, my suggestion would be to exploit your warranty and have it replaced.

Thanks for the explanation. Things seem to be operating normally but I'm reserving judgement and keeping a close eye!

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