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Thread: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

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    Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    Several machines are available to custom order with “Intel vPro – ME Inoperable".
    Read more.

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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    We charge to enable features. We charge to disable features. Soon, we charge to think about features.

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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    The question is what do they consider being made "inoperable" if it's just a BIOS setting then charging £14 seems to be taking the michael, if it's flashing a different BIOS that removes the most egregious parts of the ME then it's a bargain.

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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozaron View Post
    We charge to enable features. We charge to disable features. Soon, we charge to think about features.
    That'll be $100 right there, please.

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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    "I had a quick look on the Dell site here in the UK and found that the 'Intel vPro ME Inoperable' option was actually free in the case of the Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme laptop."

    they offer other pc's to be disabled for free also.

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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    The question is what do they consider being made "inoperable" if it's just a BIOS setting then charging £14 seems to be taking the michael, if it's flashing a different BIOS that removes the most egregious parts of the ME then it's a bargain.
    From what I've seen, disabling it is an absolute pig as it's modular with presence in multiple bits and bats. The worst part about this "feature" is that if it doesn't detect its components that it'll shut your PC down after 30 minutes. The code for the ME is also secret so I'm not sure how they can disable it fully if they can't get to the code. I do not think this will be a simple BIOS setting but in order to disable it so it can not be used at all (even by a nefarious hacker) it will have likely required either changing the BIOS and flashing this new BIOS for you or using a chip programmer on a part of the system which I don't understand to remove the code whilst also disabling the 30 minute rule (I think some rather clever people did this on a HP laptop). If this is just turning off the BIOS setting then this isn't good enough - it needs to be disabled totally if you're worried about security. Turning off the BIOS setting is like locking the front door, you can still kick it in or pick the lock. I want the door bricking up and guarding by an old American man on a rocking chair with straw in his mouth and a shotgun. Honestly, I hate conspiracy theories but there is no excuse for this kind of thing on consumer products and it just has all the hallmarks of government "we want access to everyone" pressure on the company.

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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    I have seen some boards state that ME cannot be re-enabled when you toggle it to disabled.

    I'm guessing whatever mechanism that uses, is in use here.
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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    Quote Originally Posted by philehidiot View Post
    From what I've seen, disabling it is an absolute pig as it's modular with presence in multiple bits and bats. The worst part about this "feature" is that if it doesn't detect its components that it'll shut your PC down after 30 minutes. The code for the ME is also secret so I'm not sure how they can disable it fully if they can't get to the code. I do not think this will be a simple BIOS setting but in order to disable it so it can not be used at all (even by a nefarious hacker) it will have likely required either changing the BIOS and flashing this new BIOS for you or using a chip programmer on a part of the system which I don't understand to remove the code whilst also disabling the 30 minute rule (I think some rather clever people did this on a HP laptop). If this is just turning off the BIOS setting then this isn't good enough - it needs to be disabled totally if you're worried about security. Turning off the BIOS setting is like locking the front door, you can still kick it in or pick the lock. I want the door bricking up and guarding by an old American man on a rocking chair with straw in his mouth and a shotgun. Honestly, I hate conspiracy theories but there is no excuse for this kind of thing on consumer products and it just has all the hallmarks of government "we want access to everyone" pressure on the company.
    Exactly how it's done can be read here. In essence, you need to only enable one flag in the firmware (reserve_hap). Of course, doing that is the tricky part.

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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    Also a ggod explanation (and how to replace the firmware with Linux based firmware) here

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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    My XPS 9530, 9559 and 9560 all have "intel ME disabled" stickers inside the base, apparently that isn't enough though!

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    Re: Dell now offers PCs with Intel Management Engine disabled

    This isn't a recent development, at all. The trusty Latitude E4300 I bought back in 2009 had exactly the same purchase option - and when I replaced the motherboard a while later, on first startup there was a BIOS setup option that allowed you to chose whether to enable/disable the ME.

    So the article is factually correct, but insinuating it's a recent move on the part of the vendor is a bit wide of the mark.
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