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Flammarion
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Posts: 5
Registered: ‎02-03-2019
Location: GB
Views: 566
Message 1 of 7

New Thinkpad 13 now a non-booting brick! HELP!!!

Hello everyone.


New to the forum. Have browsed many pages deep in the Linux section and found no solution. So here goes...


After a happy and fast performing start with with my new Thinkpad 13 (2nd Gen) running Windows 10 Pro (all fully updated), I started to get a bit sick of the slowdown in performance after a few months, and the seemingly ever increasing number of auto-running background tasks. So, I decided to to try a clean slate installation of the new Linux Mint 19.1 instead. And right away the fun begins.


Windows 10 doesn't make it easy to replace it with another OS. First you have to find out how to get around Fastboot. Then you are into Lenovo's custom BIOS to disable all the Secure Boot stuff in varous places within the BIOS.


All that done I finally manage to boot from USB into Parted Magic to merge my Thinkpad's 4 (yes four) partitions back into one in order to maximise hard drive space for Linux Mint. Then to flush the last trace of Microsoft from my hard drive I wipe both the MBR and the MPT and install fresh new ones. The single drive was then formatted with NTFS - as Linux distro's have no problem installing over that. And all was well at that.


I exit Parted Magic with my Mint 19.1 USB drive in place and reboot the laptop to start the installation of Linux Mint. All I get after the BIOS default booting screen clears is a flashing line cursor in the top left of the screen.


Exclaiming "Oh gosh!" (or words to that effect) and wondering what I must have missed I'm right back into the BIOS again. Boot order was locked by default and could only be changed by a supervisor - so created one by setting a supervisor password. Then discover there is another part of the BIOS that is difficult to access as the chance to accesss it only last onscreen for 2 seconds (nice one Lenovo - I changed to the max of 5 seconds).


Saved the BIOS settings and rebooted back into it with my new 32Gig Toshiba USB drive (loaded with a bootable ISO of Linux Mint 19.1) already in one of the Thinkpad's USB ports... and I'm back at the do-nothing flashing white cursor screen.

 

**bleep**?

 

I dug out an old Sony Viao laptop with an old version of Linux on it and tested my 32Gig bootable USB ISO on it, and it worked a treat, giving me a sexy Mint (Cinnamon) 19.1 (It's very nice BTW).

 

Scratching my head now I try to boot back into the Parted Magic USB drive. Nope.. same flashing white cursor. Same with my Plan-B 32Gig bootable USB ISO of Windows 10 Pro I had on standby - in case I had to put Windows back on the Thankpad.

 

I just don't get it.

 

Inside the Thinkpad BIOS it now even recognises my 32Gig Mint USB drive by name! And accepts it as No-1 in the BIOS Boot Priority list. Yet it simply refuses to boot from any kind of bootable USB OS ISO or utility suite.

 

Can anybody put me out of my now considerable misery and tell me what I am missing? And what I can do to fix it?

 

Meantime...

 

Best wishes to all.

 

PS: Typed from my 8 year old Sony Viao using Mint 19.1 Smiley Happy

 

 

timatgca
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Registered: ‎12-29-2016
Location: AU
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Message 2 of 7

Re: New Thinkpad 13 now a non-booting brick! HELP!!!

Just to clarify, you say "brick", but in fact BIOS is still working? A bricked laptop means no BIOS in my opinion.

It sounds to me that you simply have a laptop which can't find a bootable OS.

If I undestand correctly, you can't boot off a USB live disk?

 

Here is what I would do, so you can boot of a live disk, which is the first step to solving the problem.

 

Download ubuntu 18.10 on your old laptop, and burn it to a USB stick. I say Ubuntu 18.10 because when sh*t is going down, start with ubuntu. 

 

I don't know the Thinkpad 13, sorry, but somehow you should make sure that Secure Boot is off (makes life easier, sounds like you are confident this is done) and then make sure you only have UEFI boot enabled.

 

Then you have to boot from the USB stick; you need to access the boot device selection screen (potentially). On lenovo, this is typically F12 at boot, but it is possible for F12 boot selection to be disabled in BIOS as a security measure. 

 

Sorry, this generic advice, hope it helps.

 

In my life, using linux since v 0.9 (I am 50, my internet days go back to Australian being .oz, in the days when Gopher roamed the world), I have never installed linux on NTFS (ie /). This strikes me as highly unorthdox. I have actually never heard of anyone doing it, and I stand amazed that is possible; I shudder at the permission management. I would definitely stick to ext4 at this stage, and get all weird later (why NTFS?) 

 

hay207
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Message 3 of 7

Re: New Thinkpad 13 now a non-booting brick! HELP!!!

You can also try a live CD if usb fails, or even network install if that exists.

Flammarion
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Message 4 of 7

Re: New Thinkpad 13 now a non-booting brick! HELP!!!

Hi Tim.

 

Thank you very much for your most welcome response. Very much appreciated.

 

You are right. I should have use the term "soft-bricked" Smiley Happy

 

Wasn't too confident in the Ubuntu ISO suggestion as my Mint ISO had already proved itself bootable and healthy on my Sony laptop. However, I wiped mint from my USB and replaced it with Ubuntu (using UNetbootin) and it booted first time on my Thinkpad Smiley Happy Not at all sure why - but it worked, and I'm very grateful to you for the suggestion.

 

I didn't need the "EUFI ONLY" option in the bios. Ubuntu installed fine first time with the "LEGACY ONLY" option I already had selected during my initial wrestle with my soft-brick problem the day before. Additionally, the drive was still formatted in NTFS when Ubuntu installed as Linux live distro's simply ignore it and do their own thing anyway format wise in my experience. Sorry I gave you the impression that I was trying to install Linux ONTO a functioning NTFS drive when I was simply expecting Linux to overwrite it. Wish I was clever enough to manage it though, lol.

 

50 years young huh. You're just a lad to me lol, I'm 65 (how the hell did that happen?). The first computer I used was about 7 foot tall, 3 foot wide, and 3 foot deep. It was a monster by today's standards but it did it's job delivering essential ingredients to huge vats of dog-food gravy Smiley Happy

 

Thanks again for your help Tim. My thinning hair also thanks you Smiley Happy

 

Onwards and upwards...

 

 

Flammarion
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Message 5 of 7

Re: New Thinkpad 13 now a non-booting brick! HELP!!!

Hey Hay!

 

Thanks for your suggestions. Much appreciated. The Thinkpad 13 (2nd Gen) doesn't have a CD/DVD internal drive. Missed that fact during this soft-brick problem - so gonna get myself a slim, light external one for future use Smiley Happy

 

Onwards and upwards...

timatgca
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Registered: ‎12-29-2016
Location: AU
Views: 425
Message 6 of 7

Re: New Thinkpad 13 now a non-booting brick! HELP!!!

Glad it helped. Remember in future to let people know you've done a legacy boot (MBR), because this is really old technology and it won't be expected. I don't know for how much longer Ubuntu will support it.
EFI is better, plus it means you can use GPT partition tables.
You are not obliged to so Secure Boot with EFI.

And if you are reinstalling and in the mood for learning good things which you can only apply when installing, learn about lvm. It is very cool technology for managing partitions.
Flammarion
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Message 7 of 7

Re: New Thinkpad 13 now a non-booting brick! HELP!!!

Thanks again Tim for the additional advice. I have filed it all away in the back of my head for future use.  Especially the "lvm" bit. Again, much appreciated.

 

Onwards and hopefully upwards :-)

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