08-03-2017 07:15 AM - edited 08-03-2017 11:41 AM
EDIT: Had build numbers wrong. The original build I installed was 1607 and I am updating to 1703. Edited this mistake in the text below as well.
Hi everyone -
I am having one heck of a time with these ThinkCentre M90p units when trying to upgrade to the latest (Creators) build of Windows 10. They keep losing the MBR and thus show the primary partition as "RAW" instead of NTFS as it should be. This happens about half way through the upgrade when the system reboots. It comes up to a BSOD 0XC000000F immediately upon attempting boot - this is, of course, because the primary partition is unreadable.
Now, I have seen at least 8 of these systems do the exact same thing. All hardware passes diagnostics with flying colors, so I know it's not a failing hardware issue. I have done some Googling and have found where other people are having a similar issue, but none of them mention this particular model of Lenovo ThinkCentre.
To test further, I did a FRESH install using an Anniversary build (1607) and then ran the latest upgrade to Creators (1703) from inside the freshly installed 1607 build. The same problem occurs every single time. Any ideas? I know some of the posts I've found online state that running Windows in UEFI mode with GPT takes care of the problem. The issue is that these units do not support UEFI (at least from what I can tell...)
Thanks in advance for any assistance that you can provide!
08-06-2017 03:54 PM
According to the Lenovo specs page for this vintage 2010 M90p machine, max hard drive size was 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB and 1TB. For sure that means MBR and not GPT, but it's also 1TB or smaller. Is your drive acceptable?
This is a "legacy BIOS" machine, not UEFI. I'm honestly suprised you could have even gotten Win10 installed, much less the significant upgrade 1607 and dreams of 1703. There's only USB 2.0 and not USB 3.0. There's only SATA-II and not SATA-III. Also, max memory of 4x2GB=8GB PC3-10600 1333MHz DDR3. That's lots of limitations for Win10.
The machine and its BIOS was from 2010, built to support WinXP, Win7 and Vista. No mention of Win8 much less Win10.
08-07-2017 06:09 AM
Hi there, and thank you for the reply.
The hard drives in these systems are 500GB. They have 4GB of RAM - a couple have 8GB. Yes, they're still legacy BIOS only - no UEFI... But they easily meet (and very much exceed) the minimum requirements for Windows 10. I've had old Core 2 Duo systems come in that are running Windows 10 quite well. These systems are running first gen Core i7 CPUs. The real key is to have at least 4GB RAM and a decently fast hard drive. Microsoft designed Windows 10 to run on nearly anything that can run Windows 7. More information regarding minimum requirements here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-specifications#system-specifications
So, these systems running Windows 10 isn't by any means out of reach. They actually run beautifully until a build upgrade is applied...
08-07-2017 09:46 AM - edited 08-07-2017 11:39 AM
I'm sorry to say that Intel doesn't support your processor for Windows 10:
Which is why the latest drivers you can find for the Intel Chipset and Intel Graphics processor for your processor is for Windows 8.1, and why with each major release of Windows 10, which evolves further away from Win 8, become more problematic for systems with those Windows 8.1 drivers.
If/when you find a solution to making your system work, please come back and post it here, I'm sure there are others that would appreciate it. Thx.
08-07-2017 08:52 PM - edited 08-07-2017 08:58 PM
Just saw this same issue happen on two of my customers M90p 5536 machines today.
Microsoft update insisted on installing updates before machine could be shut down or restarted.
Never successfully completed the update process before rebooting to BSOD error screen.
Figured I could remove drive from computer and connect via a SATA / USB bridge cable to another computer and transfer user data to another computer. Unfortunately, primary drive partition now shows up as RAW and no data can be copied off from it.
There is no excuse for Microsoft update to wipe out drive partition like this. If an update can't succeed because hardware isn't capable enough or because there is no driver available for a certain hardware component, fine then fail the update and let user return to prior version. And worse case if computer can't boot because some files that are needed to boot got messed up during the failed update attempt, I can even accept that, but to make the drive entire drive unreadable even when connecting the drive to another Windows computer, that's just plain unacceptable.
I know that there have been a lot of security vulnerabilities and ransomware attacks lately that have put Microsoft playing strong defense by releasing lots of patches and updates, but come on, between features that have been broken in Microsoft Outlook (i.e. search and file attachments) and now drives that have been wiped out, it seems like it's Microsoft's automatic updates that I need to fear more than any threat from malicous software...
08-07-2017 09:05 PM
Hey there -
Glad to see someone else bringing attention to this issue. I've just had another customer machine come in with the same issue again today. All of your data *should* be safe though! I've been able to relatively easily recover the MBR to get the drive readable again. It won't boot, as Windows is half finished installing, but the user folders and program files are available to backup. To make it readable again (just to pull data) simply boot to a Windows 10 disk (CD or flash drive). Click Next on the language select screen. On the next screen, click Repair your computer. Then click Troubleshoot. Then choose Command Prompt. From there, try to switch to the D drive (type D: and hit enter). Most likely it'll say it's unreadable. Next, type chkdsk D: /f and hit enter. This will recover the backup MBR and make the drive readable again. Allow the chkdsk to finish, then shut the system down, pull the drive, and grab whatever files you need, noting that your files will all be inside the Windows.old folder.
This really is a MAJOR pain in the rear. These systems should be MORE than capable of properly running Windows 10. I've just been telling my customers that I'll have to reinstall back to Windows 7 to get them back up and running, as I cannot risk this happening yet again with the next build update. It's sad.
It also can't really be a driver issue as a fresh install works perfectly.
Talk about frustrating!
08-08-2017 07:16 AM
Thanks for the info a-ics about being able to recover the data from the command prompt of the Windows 10 repair using chkdsk. I hadn't gone that route as I had instead removed the drive(s) from the computer(s) and connected them to a working Windows 10 computer via USB/Sata hard drive docking station. Windows didn't recognize the partition and immediatley suggested formating it, which of course I avoided. So, I had started going the route of using data recovery tools to run a scan on the partition and identify the folders and data that could be recovered.
But, now I see that I can go to command prompt on the working computer and run the chkdsk /f with the drive connected via USB rather than have to do the Windows 10 Repair routine with the drive installed in the ThinkCentre computer. So, this will make the partition readable and I can copy the data off that way, which is much preferred.
So, now I am trying to think about an actual solution to make my client whole again.
Although, I do have another ThinkCenter M90p that is still working because it hasn't gone through the Microsoft Creator's update and I can clone this image to the other computers to get them going again, it seems like this will be a very temporary fix as Microsoft will eventually want to push out the Creator's update again to all these computers.
So,since we can't prevent Windows 10 update from automatically wanting to update these machines to the creator's update, we are in a situation in which these computers will all eventually self brick themselves (or at least make themselves unusable until they are re-imaged).
So, I am thinking I may just want to spend the time transitioning to different computers that won't have this issue.
Although, I find it curious that you are saying that a clean install of the Windows 10 creators edition on these computers will actually work. So, I guess that is another option, to just manually install Windows 10 Creators version and then reinstall apps and copy back user data. But as you said, the risk is that a couple of weeks from now when Microsoft pushes out a set of updates on patch Tuessday, the same issue could happen all over again. So, may be best to switch hardware now. I really don't want to roll back to Windows 7 as that also seems like a temporary solution and a step backwards.
08-08-2017 07:33 AM
Any time - Happy I could help. I've done a lot of research on this subject as I've sold a TON of these systems, so naturally I'm going to be dealing with this for a while. (Along with unhappy customers.) I know that these aren't the only systems having this issue, but the issue does seem to be pretty few and far between as a whole. I just figured with this particular model of ThinkCentre, it's easy to replicate the problem for testing as it happens EVERY TIME.
My theory is that somehow Windows 10 has a detection script that checks to see if the system is running in UEFI/GPT mode or classic BIOS/MBR mode during the installation process. On this particular unit, it's incorrectly detecting GPT and thus is corrupting the MBR causing this problem. Keep in mind, this is just my guess, but either way, it would be nice to have a solution.
The chances of a true solution being reached are pretty slim, I'd imagine. The problem is that these systems are considered "legacy", even though they still function perfectly and perform beautifully for business use. Yes, they're older, but they're certainly not ready for the landfill by a LONG shot.
So yeah, the only 100% guaranteed solution is to downgrade them to Windows 7, as I don't believe Lenovo engineers (or Microsoft engineers for that matter) will bother working to fix Windows 10 upgrades on a platform that is considered "legacy".
If you plan on running Windows 10 on them, then I'd probably just recommend replacing the computers (which is, of course, what both Lenovo and Microsoft are hoping you'll do.) It's simply not worth the headache of having the exact same issue occur next time Microsoft decides to release a new build.