Solutions Through IT

December 16, 2014

Dell Fingerprint Security Part two (Windows 8.1)

Filed under: Biometrics, Dell, Security, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 — solutionsthroughit @ 11:41

Last year I wrote a typically cynical post about how to get the fingerprint security working with Windows 8.  I upgraded to windows 8.1 in place, so didn’t have to worry about re-installing the software.  However after a slow SSD crash (that corrupted system files significantly enough to have very ‘wonky’ data) I chose to re-install rather than attempt to recover the backups (yes, the one backup set that I didn’t test was for my own laptop!).  Here’s a very quick rundown on how to get things rolling again.

For non-domain computers, you can simply install the software as per normal.  Download the 32 or 64 bit installers, drivers and firmware.

Upgrade your firmware first.  Do not re-install the firmware if the versions match.

I installed the ControlVault driver next, despite my previous post specifying that the driver should be installed last.

Finally, I installed the Data Protection Access and rebooted.

For Domain connected computers you either have to add a domain group policy or set a local group policy. 




May 27, 2013

Dell Fingerprint Security!?!

Filed under: Dell, Hardware, Rants, Security — solutionsthroughit @ 15:45

Holy Freaking Security Debarkle, Batman.  Just experienced one of THE MOST FRUSTRATING experiences with hardware that I’ve had for a long time.

First up: Finding the files to install.  Despite issuing the website with my service tag and OS, the support site didn’t want to give me the fingerprint software / firmware.  After trying to build a DOS based USB boot disk, to attempt to boot the DOS based (yes, it’s 2013, and you apparently can’t run a GUI installer to update the firmware for the BIOS), we actually find the GUI application that updates the BIOS.  After installing the Dell ControlVault Firmware, then we have to re-install the Dell Data Protection Access.  After this, we can finally install the Dell ControlVault Driver. 

After we’d sorted out the issues, configuring the Dell FIPS software for this notebook (mine no less!) took two IT guys well over two hours to fuddle their way into getting this working.  Dell, I shouldn’t be wasting MY time to fix YOUR lack of documentation. 

Some of the “fun” errors we had were “The original 6503 could not be located in the dynamic link library.” 


We couldn’t enable the fingerprint reader when there was a Microsoft Live account present.


We also couldn’t setup the biometric – because the system administrator had set policies that disallow biometrics.



Open control panel, and search for biometric.  Click on Change Biometric Settings.


Tick “Allow users to log on to a domain using their fingerprints”, and then Save Changes.


April 22, 2013

Windows 8 on a (non touch screen) Laptop

Filed under: Dell, Hardware, Windows 8 — solutionsthroughit @ 20:14

Have migrated to Windows 8 on the Dell M6600.  It’s running very nicely, with a SSD and 1TB HDD (storage and VM HDD’s).  Have found that the trackpad has gestures similar to those that you can use on a touchscreen.

I’m not a big fan of the sweep left, due to the way that I’ve been using the touchpad for years – I start in the corner, and sweep all the way across, which now switches from apps to applications, rather than moving the mouse pointer around!

I was going to hack into the registry to stop this from happening, but found that the touchpad software actually allows me to customise the settings (see below).  Happy!


April 16, 2012

Force Dell BIOS Updates

Filed under: Dell, Tools and Utilities — solutionsthroughit @ 20:16

I had to try to do a BIOS update today, using the windows recovery media (because I didn’t have and was too lazy to create/find/download) a bootable alternative.  Turns out the limited recovery environment doesn’t allow for the battery to be correctly detected, and was getting prompted to check that the battery was installed, and press OK.  Turns out it was, and I was, but it didn’t want to listen.  So the (not very well) kept secret is to run the BIOS update with a /forceit  to force the BIOS update to install. 

I would STRONGLY suggest that you read the updates/status/information/change log of every BIOS in between your current BIOS and the BIOS that you want to flash to – I discovered that going to revision A11 (for the E5510) has a pre-requisite of A09 or A10.  I don’t know what the implications of forcing A11 over the top, without having the required A09 or A10 would be.  Because I did read, I discovered the requirement, and didn’t blow the BIOS out of the water :).

UPDATE:  Also, please note that this can SERIOUSLY damage your laptop (to the point where you need to PURCHASE an new motherboard).  Do NOT proceed with this, unless you know what you are doing, and/or are prepared to pay for a new motherboard.  I am NOT (as always) responsible for people following instructions on this blog.

Stickers are great–sometimes!

Filed under: Dell, Ramblings, Rants — solutionsthroughit @ 18:04

Had to have a look at a machine with a failed HDD.  Apart from a fairly hot CPU, I was bemused by the bottom stickers (I’m too lazy to split these two stickers and put them on each individual RAM module) and concerned by the top sticker – IN BETWEEN THE CPU AND HEAT SINK!.  To Dell’s credit, this was probably put together by someone either new on the job (or just about to be retired) as this is the first one that I’ve EVER seen like this.  Same for the Dell tech and his bemused manager.  They also organised to ship out a new CPU, new heat sink in addition to the failed hard drive.  Kudos to Dell Pro support!


Yup, you’re not supposed to insulate CPU’s from the heat sink!


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