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37 Posts

07-29-2012

BE

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ThinkPad E530 not booting - no more startup menu in the bios

2017-06-17, 17:33 PM

Hi dear forum members,

 

I have a serious problem with my E530 type 3259, running Win10, latest BIOS 2.58 in UEFI mode and expressCache with mSata SSD.

 

The laptop was doing some Windows updates and because I had to leave, as soon as it restarted and I saw the bios splash screen I shut down the computer (1 short press on the power button, it went off a moment later).

Today, the laptop does not boot anything anymore except for the diagnostic screen (all tests pass), it is stuck at the splash screen with the message "To interrupt normal startup, press Enter. ".

 

I can still access the BIOS by pressing F1 but the boot menu with the startup options is gone! (see picture)

Same issue as HERE and HERE on the forum.

 

More information & what I tried:

- I always set a supervisor password on the BIOS and disable the F12 key on my lenovo's. I have now removed the supervisor password but cannot re-enable the F12 key.

- I tried booting everything live CD, HDD, USB stick, etc. no luck

- I tried a Phoenix crisis recovery with the biosfile .LT1 and by pressing Fn + R but it does not read from the USB key  altough it does give a system board beep (1short 2x3short 1short) at times and the screen always stays blank (if you have more info on this, please PM me I understand this is advanced stuff and at my own risks)

 

It is like it is stuck in a hybrid reboot/shutdown and the startup options are thus not available. I know the BIOS cannot be hard reset, removing the RTC battery does not help.

Is it bricked? Do I have to replace the MB for sure?

 

Any help or suggestions are welcome, thx!

 

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3 Posts

12-13-2017

CA

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Re: ThinkPad E530 not booting - no more startup menu in the bios

2017-12-13, 5:14 AM

I had this happen yesterday on my T520.  Not the same model, or probably even the same vintage, but it's a Lenovo, and the symptom -- "Startup" tab (as it's labelled on the T520) disappearing from the firmware (aka BIOS) setup menus -- is off-the-wall enough that it seems likely to be the same bug.

Here's how -- after much fruitless Googling and messing around, and much swearing ... followed by a good night's sleep :-) -- I managed to fix it.

tl;dr: the first item in the UEFI boot-order list referred to a nonexistent entry in the main boot table.  Removing that stale boot-order item made the "Startup" tab reappear.

For technical detail on all of this, see [1].  Here's the short version:

On a UEFI system, every bootable OS has an entry in a little table in NVRAM, which tells the UEFI firmware where to find the OS.  There's another entry called "BootOrder", which does just what its name suggests: at boot time, the firmware just runs through the boot-table entries, in the order specified by "BootOrder", until it finds one that works.[2]

When you change the boot order in the setup menus, what you're actually doing is modifying that "BootOrder" list; and the F12 where-to-boot-from menu simply lets you pick a specific item from the same list.  What the setup menus *don't* do is let you change the main table -- only the BootOrder line and the timeout, as far as I can tell.  (When you install Linux, or Windows, or whatever, the installer creates a BootNNNN entry for itself, and prepends that entry's number to the BootOrder list.)

So, for years my T520 has been happily running Linux in UEFI mode, with the disk partitioned as GPT.  There's a little weirdness in the setup menus, but once configured, it works solidly.  Yesterday, however, I was experimenting...

The details don't matter; suffice to say I got things into a state where BootOrder contained an item "001E"[3], but the corresponding Boot001E entry no longer existed.

And *that* made the setup "Startup" tab disappear, just like in your screen shots.  It's a bug in the Lenovo firmware, presumably.  When I repaired BootOrder to remove that stale item[4], the "Startup" tab reappeared on the next reboot.

Probably too late to help you, @Gtaris, but it might help someone who finds this thread in a Google search.


[1] http://www.rodsbooks.com/efi-bootloaders/principles.html -- the last 2/3 of section "EFI Disk Structures", plus all of "The EFI Boot Process"

[2] Here's what the table looks like on my T520:
    BootCurrent: 0019
    Timeout: 0 seconds
    BootOrder: 001D,001B,0019,001A,0006,0007,0009,000B,000D,0010,0011, ...
    Boot0000  Setup
    Boot0001  Boot Menu
    Boot0002  Diagnostic Splash Screen
    ...
    Boot0016* ATA HDD
    Boot0017* ATAPI CD:
    Boot0018* PCI LAN
    Boot0019* ubuntu
    Boot001A* grub
    Boot001B  rEFInd Boot Manager
    Boot001C* Old-Hitachi
    Boot001D  Shell-1
    (The last three are ones I've added myself.)

[3] In fact it was the first item in BootOrder, but I'm not sure whether that matters.

[4] I used a Linux program called efibootmgr, which is also what output the table in [2].  No idea how one would do it in Windows.

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37 Posts

07-29-2012

BE

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  • Message 3 of 6

Re: ThinkPad E530 not booting - no more startup menu in the bios

2017-12-13, 19:13 PM

Hi erics,

 

I also found out this was the problem and fixed it by editing my BIOS region boot tables with an SPI programmer.

I managed to extract the UEFI BIOS provided by Lenovo with CodeRush application from www.win-raid.com, changed the settings and flashed the BIOS back on the 25Q32 chip and voilà it was fixed and still works after months of use now.

 

While exploring the BIOS region coming from my E530 I did see several invalid boot entries like Boot001E, so yes it is a bug in the firmware from Lenovo.

Did you also use an SPI programmer or you could still boot your PC and flash it directly?

For me nothing worked, and believe me those boot recovery tips you can find on the forum by pressing recovery keys at startup do not work in this case.

 

BR

 

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3 Posts

12-13-2017

CA

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Re: ThinkPad E530 not booting - no more startup menu in the bios

2017-12-13, 19:52 PM

I was lucky.  My laptop could boot; I just could no longer configure *how* it booted.  So I could do the fixes from within Linux, using efibootmgr.  If, like yours, it had got itself stuck into an unbootable state, I don't know what I'd have done.  It would never have occurred to me to directly hack on the firmware and re-flash it.  I had no idea downloading it was even possible, without removing the chip from the mobo.  Cool!

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3 Posts

12-13-2017

CA

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  • Message 5 of 6

Re: ThinkPad E530 not booting - no more startup menu in the bios

2017-12-13, 20:07 PM
To be clear: that a bogus BootOrder entry made the "Startup" tab disappear is a bug in the Lenovo firmware.

But that such an invalid entry existed in the first place is, I think, a bug in the Linux efibootmgr utility: when I deleted boot entry 001E, efibootmgr failed to update BootOrder accordingly. (I was using an ancient version, courtesy of an old HDD I'd temporarily installed, so for all I know, said bug might have been fixed since.)
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2 Posts

10-18-2020

AT

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  • Message 6 of 6

Re:ThinkPad E530 not booting - no more startup menu in the bios

2020-10-24, 7:52 AM

Hi. I know this post was posted years ago, but I have the same problem as @Gtaris.. My Startup tab on the BIOS has disappeared. It's on a Lenovo S531. @Gtaris how did you extract the .fl1 file from Lenovo, and how did you convert it to a .bin file? I'd like to know that, if you are still here :D 

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