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Frankenstien
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Posts: 21
Registered: ‎11-19-2016
Location: CA
Views: 1,099
Message 1 of 7

P70 (20ERCTO1WW) bricked during Win 10 Pro 64bit O/S / Lenovo Companion BIOS updating

Hey all ... OK,  this P70 seems to have bricked on 01DEC17 during a Win 10 update reboot (FYI - there was no battery present in the system at the time, so, it should not  have processed any Lenovo Companion download-sourced BIOS update(s), even though I know a BIOS update has been available for some time now) ... I get the initial Lenovo boot logo (white letters in a red banner on a black background) with the text advice: 'To interrupt normal startup, press Enter' and then the system hangs at that point before completing POST.

 

Pressing either of the Enter keys, or, F1, F10 or F12 have no effect, no matter whether done singly or repeatedly, slowly or quickly ... at any point of startup, such as it is.

 

I have tried starting from 'BIOS Update (Bootable CD) for Windows 10 (64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit), 7 (64-bit) - ThinkPad P70' downloaded from https://download.lenovo.com/pccbbs/mobiles/n1dur30w.iso at: https://support.lenovo.com/ca/en/downloads/ds106086 ... this latter is Version 2.20, Release Date 07/12/2017 (presumably 07DEC17 ... I hate all-digital dates!)

 

Because the P70 will not complete POST, I do not believe any boot medium (USB, CD, ect.) will work.

 

I Advanced Search'ed (in the 'With one or more of the words' field) the terms 'P70' and 'bricked' here, and, the closest I come to any sort of solution is DSperber's thread 'P70 (950 Pro NVMe0 boot) BIOS update to 1.21: can no longer boot, and ENTER/F12 both fail to work' and the apparent solution: https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-P-and-W-Series-Mobile/P70-950-Pro-NVMe0-boot-BIOS-update-to-1-....

I don't think this is my issue (but interesting nonetheless), as I never did enable Diagnostic boot mode in the BIOS settings, nor can I even get into the BIOS settings themselves, as DSperber was evidently able to.

 

I have also Google-searched extensively online for other approaches to dealing with an incomplete POST on a Lenovo ThinkPad P70, however, have thus far been stymied.

 

Any ideas? ... short of Lenovo Support and their typical approach ... which is to ship me another  exchange P70.

 

The P70 BIOS must be flashable, or, replaceable (as an FRU?), once corrupted ... how can I get this done myself?

 

Thanks, FFF

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,222
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 1,067
Message 2 of 7

Re: P70 (20ERCTO1WW) bricked during Win 10 Pro 64bit O/S / Lenovo Companion BIOS updating


@Frankenstien wrote:

Any ideas? ... short of Lenovo Support and their typical approach ... which is to ship me another  exchange P70.

 

The P70 BIOS must be flashable, or, replaceable (as an FRU?), once corrupted ... how can I get this done myself?

 

Thanks, FFF


If the BIOS is corrupted or somehow cannot be updated nor can the machine be booted, the typical Lenovo repair is to replace the motherboard, not the entire P70.  That's the only way at this point to fix things.

 

If you have NBD/onsite warranty still in effect Lenovo will send out a technician to your home with a new replacement motherboard, and the surgery will be done onsite.

Frankenstien
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Posts: 21
Registered: ‎11-19-2016
Location: CA
Views: 1,038
Message 3 of 7

Re: P70 (20ERCTO1WW) bricked during Win 10 Pro 64bit O/S / Lenovo Companion BIOS updating

DSperber ... thanks for your Reply ... m/b surgery eh?

 

There must be a port on the m/b or on / nearby the IC chip containing the BIOS firmware for (re-)flashing purposes ... to have to replace the entire m/b due to a corrupted BIOS seems like rather poor engineering planning for a notebook PC product manufactured in 2016 ...

 

No other option(s)?

 

Thanks, FFF

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,222
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 1,031
Message 4 of 7

Re: P70 (20ERCTO1WW) bricked during Win 10 Pro 64bit O/S / Lenovo Companion BIOS updating

They may have some special trick or equipment back at the factory or repair center which allows them to "salvage" the otherwise fine motherboard just because a user had a power failure during a BIOS update, or had some other disaster which wiped out the firmware.  Obviously they really just need to manually re-burn the current BIOS into the hardware chip when the machine itself is inoperative.

 

 But out in the field the cheapest and easiest way to get the customer up and running quickly is simply to swap the entire motherboard for a new one.  That's how they handle a BIOS failure in a desktop motherboard I know, because a friend's M93p had exactly that situation.  I'm sure laptops are the same.  That's just the dead-BIOS repair approach: replace the motherboard.

Frankenstien
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Registered: ‎11-19-2016
Location: CA
Views: 987
Message 5 of 7

Re: P70 (20ERCTO1WW) bricked during Win 10 Pro 64bit O/S / Lenovo Companion BIOS updating

All ... just to follow-up with the solution(s) to my issue(s) ...

 

A Lenovo Support rep named Henry walked me through a machine reset procedure @ 1335PST on 15DEC17:

 

- with AC power supply disconnected and Li-Ion battery out of machine, Henry had me press the Power button firmly 10 times, then press it again and hold it pressed for 15 seconds ... (this serves to drain residual power [and, as will become obvious, erases some UEFI BIOS memory string ... that I don't know anything else about] stored in capacitors, [UEFI BIOS IC,] ect. on the m/b)

 

- AC power supply is reconnected (the Power button green LED flashes 3 times once the machine detects power) but no battery insertion called for by Henry at this point

 

- pressed the Power button and the machine started ... pressing F1 repeatedly during this initial re-start gets one into the BIOS menu (as per normal expectation ... things were looking up for me now!) ...

 

- Henry had me move my SSD (Win 10 boot drive) to the top of the BIOS - Startup > Boot > boot priority list (FYI - I later moved the integrated CD/DVD/BD player/writer to a position above the SSD but left the 'Windows Boot Manager' entry and all USB boot device entries demoted)

 

- Henry also had me Disable Secure Boot in BIOS - Security > Secure Boot ... then F10 to save changes and the system re-booted into the Win 10 O/S ... I thought all was well at this point, thanked Henry and ended my call with him.

 

However, upon examining the update history in Windows Update prior to checking for new updates, I noticed in particular: 'Feature update to Windows 10, version 1709' aka "Install the latest update for Windows 10: the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update." - the system had failed to install this 'Feature' update (vs. 'Quality' updates) on two prior occasions, called for a reboot on a third occasion and failed to install it again on a fourth (post-reset) occasion (see inserted screen pics, below).

 

20171215_200422 (7x5.25'').jpg20171215_200446 (7x5.25'').jpg

 

So, this 'Feature' update was still  not installed ... the machine spent about 45 minutes downloading and installing various Windows updates ... when it was finally finished, I followed the prompts to restart the machine ... the same issue previously experienced (1st post in this thread) recurred, again and again and again ... however, armed with my reset procedure knowledge (above), I was able to dig myself out each time ... once, the machine would not reset unless I did  put the battery back in it ... a lot of battery insertions and removals followed ... to make a long story short, I eventually got Lenovo Vantage (why do they keep changing the application used to source and install Lenovo updates?) to update a variety of items ... including a long overdue BIOS update - a battery being installed is mandatory, however, the battery had to come out for the reset procedure each time the machine hung ... all-in-all, very annoying.

 

Lenovo Vantage did not / does not find any BIOS updates available beyond 'N1DET93W (2.19)', however, 'N1DET94W (2.20)' is  available on Lenovo's support site (I had already created a bootable BIOS update CD from 'n1dur30w.iso' earlier in my efforts with this overall issue, so, used it to get the machine's BIOS to N1DET94W (2.20).

 

By re-examining the BIOS Help panel in the right-hand margin of the BIOS - Security menu screen, I eventually discovered that in addition to Disabling Secure Boot, under BIOS - Startup > UEFI/Legacy Boot, I needed to change 'UEFI Only' to 'Both' - this also serves to change subordinate values automatically.

However, this too was still not the end of my troubles.

 

By process of elimination of plugged-in external devices, I further discovered that the startup issue(s) may have been due, in part, to a USB 3.0 4-port hub (with 4 WD ext. 1GB HDDs attached to it) remaining plugged into the machine during startup ... ultimately, with the Win 10 O/S loaded and running on the machine (battery installed), the hub disconnected and all instances of the hub and HDDs uninstalled in Device Manager, I shut down AC power to everything for 20 seconds ... then AC-powered everyting back up simultaneously, then plugged the hub (w. all 4 HDDs att.) back into the machine's USB port ... this seemed to sort things out in the O/S (Device Manager and File Explorer) and the machine has rebooted properly ever since ... take from all of this what you will.

 

In closing, I will say that the Microsoft people and their 'Windows 10 Fall Creators ('Feature') Update' have cost me a tremendous amount of time ... as well as a whole lot of frustration ... I'd be willing to bet there will be aspects of this 'Feature' update that I will not like ... however ...that is another matter entirely.

 

Thanks again to DSperber for stepping up to help me out.  FFF

jdos22
Serial Port
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎01-14-2016
Location: US
Views: 914
Message 6 of 7

Re: P70 (20ERCTO1WW) bricked during Win 10 Pro 64bit O/S / Lenovo Companion BIOS updating

Is your hibernation working? Mine stopped working on my P70 (after a Windows update that set "Fast Boot" back on- and then being unable to shut down).

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,222
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 910
Message 7 of 7

Re: P70 (20ERCTO1WW) bricked during Win 10 Pro 64bit O/S / Lenovo Companion BIOS updating

Regarding newly present boot problem symptoms when USB 3.0 drives are connected at machine startup, I point you to this new thread of mine posted just yesterday.  I was prompted for a BIOS update to 2.21 by System Update and let it be applied (using the Utility, not from standalone ISO).

 

The BIOS update by Utility went fine, but now it was taking 1-2 minutes to boot.  And if I tried to get into the BIOS Setup utility I had problems navigating using the right-arrow key past the Security tab over to the Boot tab.  The machine seemed to hang in this stuck state for another minute or so, after which it unlocked and began behaving normally.

 

Turns out it is all related to the fact that my 2TB external USB 3.0 backup drive is of course always plugged into the P70, and with BIOS 2.21 this is now problematic to booting behavior.  In fact I had a similar problem even when the 2TB external drive is disconnected from the P70 but I try to boot from a standalone bootable WinPE USB key drive containing Macrium Reflect.  Same symptom!  As long as there's an external USB drive plugged in (perhaps only 3.0, I haven't tried 2.0) the normal fast boot process is altered and it takes 1-2 minutes for whatever new the BIOS is interrogating to fall through.

 

Looking at the README for BIOS 2.20, I am very suspicious the cause of the problem actually occurred here.  Or maybe it was born here but only showed up with something they "fixed" in 2.21 (although the 2.21 README doesn't mention anything obviously relevant).

 

From the 2.21 README:

 

[Problem fixes]
- Fixed an issue where fan might rotated with max speed due to not reading CPU temperature correctly.
- Fixed an issue where system might not boot to OS when attached an external monitor and its USB3 devices.
- Fixed an issue where network boot might happened at reboot after resume from suspend by Wake On LAN.

 

As I mentioned in my own other thread, reverting manually back to 2.19 eliminates the problem completely.  Once 2.20 is installed (or going directly to 2.21), the 1-2 minute boot-delay symptom and BIOS arrow-key anomaly now occurs hard if a potentially bootable USB 3.0 device is plugged in.  If no USB 3.0 device is plugged in booting is normal lickity-split and the BIOS Setup utility works perfectly.

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