HP responds to complaints of secretly installing software on its laptops

HP laptops
On Tuesday, November 28, HP issued a statement regarding recent claims that the company secretly installs software on its laptops. The complaints stem from a recent awareness of a service called HP Touchpoint Analytics running on Windows 10 in the background. It’s reportedly now consuming large amounts of resources, bringing this service to the attention of privacy advocates due to its data-collecting nature.

But HP Touchpoint Analytics Client isn’t the only issue. There are complaints that HP Touchpoint Manager is suddenly appearing on HP’s laptops with the suspicious HP Touchpoint Analytics Client in tow without end-user consent. HP told Digital Trends that the two are completely unrelated and that HP Touchpoint Analytics is actually part of HP Support Assistant. In fact, HP Touchpoint Analytics isn’t anything new but became part of HP Support Assistant in 2014.

According to its listing in Task Manager, HP Touchpoint Analytics “harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint’s analytical services.” It appears to collect diagnostic-based, anonymous data each day and sends that data back to HP. But according to HP, that data isn’t delivered to the company unless the end-user provides permission.

Here is the HP statement it provided on Tuesday:

“It anonymously collects diagnostic information about hardware performance. No data is shared with HP unless access is expressly granted. Customers can opt out or uninstall the service at any time,” the company told Digital Trends. “HP Touchpoint Analytics was recently updated and there were no changes to privacy settings as part of this update. We take customer privacy very seriously and act in accordance with a strict policy, available here.”

In one of many emails, an HP representative said that the company recently updated HP Support Assistant along with the HP Touchpoint Analytics telemetry service. That is likely the source of the performance complaints: the latest update just isn’t working correctly on many HP laptops. The good news is that HP is hearing those complaints.

“With regard to issues around consuming resources/performance — HP Touchpoint Analytics has undergone rigorous performance testing, a variety of factors can impact hardware performance and we take all customer feedback very seriously,” the company told us.

As for HP Touchpoint Manager suddenly appearing on laptops, the company said that is not possible: the software must be manually installed. It’s a license-based service sold to businesses and corporations, and used by IT administrators to locate, lock, and erase a device if needed, troubleshoot devices by remote, and get device-based statistics. HP Touchpoint Manager was a stand-alone service until HP recently rolled it into its new Devices-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform, and discontinued the stand-alone version.

That said, this service suddenly appearing on consumer-facing laptops doesn’t make sense, and HP believes those reports are inaccurate. What could be the issue is that the underlying problem is the updated HP Touchpoint Analytics service in HP Support Assistant, and that customers and reports are confusing it with the unrelated HP Touchpoint Manager service for IT managers. The HP representative believes a mistaken identity may be at the core of the confusion due to a “slightly updated name.”

Still, there are complaints that continue to raise questions.

“I found HP Touchpoint Manager unexpectedly deployed on my PC earlier this week — obviously without my consent,” reports one laptop owner. “No sign of the installation via HP Support Assistant, it only appeared in Program & Features all of a sudden.”

“Got it installed automatically,” says another. “No idea where it came from and it installed itself in three different HP laptops.”


New ‘Battlefield V’ patch gives Nvidia’s ray tracing support a chance to shine

‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.

HP Spectre Folio vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The Surface Pro was the original take on the Windows 2-in-1, and it kicked off a trend. The Surface Pro 6 is the latest version, while HP's Spectre folio, constructed of leather and incredibly long-lasting, is its newest competitor.

Changing file associations in Windows 10 is quick and easy with these steps

Learning how to change file associations can make editing certain file types much quicker than manually selecting your preferred application every time you open them. Just follow these short steps and you'll be on your way in no time.

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.

Capture screenshots with print screen and a few alternative methods

Capturing a screenshot of your desktop is easier than you might think, and it's the kind of thing you'll probably need to know. Here's how to perform the important function in just a few, easy steps.

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?

These Raspberry Pi 3 bundles will cover everyone, from coders to gamers

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a low-budget computing platform capable of doing just about anything. We rounded up a handful of the best Raspberry Pi 3 bundles to get you started on a variety of DIY projects.