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SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,320
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 2,029
Message 1 of 26

P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior

I am guessing that something quite wrong was done in 2.20 (and it persists into 2.21). There was no such errant behavior with 2.19, as I've confirmed by reinstalling 2.19.  Works perfectly and boots promptly and the BIOS Setup utility works lickity-split with 2.19, just like it always has.  But with the install of 2.20 the behavior changed drastically.

 

Looking at the README for BIOS 2.20 this definitely seems like the culprit:

 

[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.

 

 

At first I thought I had blown the BIOS update, since my screen was simply black for what seemed like 1-2 minutes after displaying the Lenovo logo and "press ENTER to interrupt" message.  I pressed ENTER repeatedly but nothing happened, for a long time.  Eventually, the hard drive activity LED on the P70 started flashing, and seemingly almost 2 minutes later, the machine came to life and boot process continued normally.

 

Then, once I entered the BIOS, I used the right-arrow key to navigate through the tabs.  No problem until I got to the Security tab and then pressed right-arrow one more time to navigate into the Boot tab... and it hung!  Didn't go right, and now the arrow keys did nothing  Seemingly frozen. But again, it was just a matter of waiting it out and then suddenly the navigation proceeded as if everything was normal. I could now go right and left without a problem.

 

In my investigation process I decided to unplug both my external monitor (to the miniDP connector on the P70) as well as my external 2TB USB 3.0 backup drive.  And now amazingly, booting was PERFECT and BIOS Setup utility behavior was PERFECT!!  None of the delays I had seen when the external monitor and external USB 3.0 drive had been inserted.

 

I then tried to boot from a WinPE USB key drive containing Macrium Reflect.  Lo and behold, once again the booting process seemed to take 1-2 minutes, again the hard drive activity LED on the P70 display panel started flashing, and eventually the booting from the USB drive started and completed normally and Macrium Reflect was running.

 

Investigating the Boot tab settings in BIOS, even though I have PCI LAN excluded from my boot device sequence list I  decided to change the wake-on-LAN network item from its default of "PCI LAN" to "NVMe0" which is where my boot partition really is.  I believe this helped reduce the boot-time delay somewhat, but I was trying so many things at this point that maybe it didn't accomplish anything.  But when I looked in the 2.20 BIOS README and saw the reference to wake-on-LAN I was just looking around for anything I could change that might solve this remarkable slow-boot symptom.

 

Anyway, there is no question that the new problem symptom appears to be primarily if not entirely related to what was done in BIOS 2.20 along with the attachment of an external USB 3.0 drive (no matter whether it really is bootable like my Macrium Reflect key drive, or not bootable like my external 2TB backup drive).  If I don't have a USB 3.0 drive connected, there's no delay and no problem at all (including no problem with the arrow keys working perfectly all the time in BIOS Setup utility).  Remember, I have USB HDD as the first device in the BIOS boot device sequence, followed by the ATAPI optical CD/DVD drive, followed by NVMe0.

 

Am I alone here?  This just started happening to me today, when I ran System Update and it offered me the BIOS 2.21 upgrade as a critical update, and I took it.  Strangely, the README for 2.21 shows nothing significant apparently related to my symptom.  It was in 2.20 that the significant code change must have occurred.  And more strangely I have actually been running with 2.20 for a month, and with none of the current symptoms.  It's only when 2.21 got applied that this whole story started.

 

I wonder if the 2.21 update flashed the Embedded Controller which now brought out this symptom, which had not yet been externalized even with the 2.20 BIOS update.  I know that doesn't make sense, but I do know I've been on 2.20 for a month and never saw the symptom until today when 2.21 got applied.

 

And... if I go back to 2.19, there is ZERO SYMPTOM!!!

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Community SeniorMod
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Message 2 of 26

Re: P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior

What is your boot order?  Also, secure boot?  UEFI or legacy first?  I don't see any of these symptoms in my P70 and I have the latest BIOS.  I am wondering if it is looking for a bootable partition on your backup drive???


Rich


I do not respond to requests for private, one-on-one help. Your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where they may help others as well.

If a response answers your question, please mark it as the accepted solution.

I am not an employee or agent of Lenovo.
SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,320
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 1,967
Message 3 of 26

Re: P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior

Boot sequence is USB HDD, ATAPI Optical CD/DVD, and NVMe0.  All else is exluded.

 

No secure boot.  UEFI and Legacy, with Legacy first.  This is the default setup.  And yes, I have "reset to defaults" just on the off chance something residual was responsible.  Didn't solve the problem.

 

And yes, the external USB 3.0 backup drive certainly appears in that slot when looking in the BIOS, although it doesn't have a bootable partition on it.  So it's being "investigated" to see if there is a bootable partition on it, but that should take no time.

 

Again, with BIOS 2.19 installed the presence of the plugged-in USB external USB 3.0 drive was a non-issue.  It was instantaneously discovered that you couldn't boot from the external USB 3.0 drive.  Only with 2.20/2.21 has this symptom started.  If I reinstall 2.19 the symptom goes away and all is normal again.

 

Same thing now happens if I remove the large external USB 3.0 backup drive and plug in a small bootable USB key drive (e.g. "rescue media" on bootable USB containing WinPE and Macrium Reflect). It actually DOES have a bootable partition on it.  With 2.19 installed you can see the light flashing on the USB key drive for maybe 10 seconds and then WinPE appears on the screen.  With 2.20/2.21 installed it takes 1-2 minutes to get started, just as with the non-bootable large USB 3.0 external drive plugged in.

 

Something's not right here with 2.20/2.21.  Proof is reverting to 2.19 and all is well again.

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,320
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 1,936
Message 4 of 26

Re: P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior

My options here are threefold:

 

(1) operate as-is, requiring 1-2 minutes for each re-boot is any USB HDD is connected and powered on, including either my 2TB USB 3.0 external backup drive or any small USB key drive, no matter whether the USB device is bootable or not

 

(2) revert back to BIOS 2.19 to get back to near-instant boot time

 

(3) power off the connected 2TB USB 3.0 external backup drive to booting to get back to near-instant boot time, and then power it up once I get to the Windows desktop

 

Until Lenovo determines what is wrong with the new code dealing with USB 3.0 that they birthed in 2.20 which is responsible for this new symptom, I will opt for method (3) above as it is minimally inconvenient while retaining all of the "fixes" provided by BIOS 2.20/2.21.

 

Again, simply leaving the [non-bootable] 2TB external USB 3.0 drive powered off at boot time returns booting to the 2-3 second range before the Boot Manager menu appears, as contrasted to 1-2 minutes from power-on to Boot Manager menu if the [non-bootable] USB 3.0 drive powered on at boot time.

 

And booting to a standalone bootable USB key device also now takes 1-2 minutes to show the Windows logo on the screen whereas before it might take 10 seconds.

 

Sorry.  Can there be any more proof that there is a BIOS problem relating to the presence or absence of a connected USB device?

JohnL
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Registered: ‎06-19-2009
Location: US
Views: 1,878
Message 5 of 26

Re: P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior

I have also experienced this slow-down in both the 2.20 and 2.21 BIOS releases. The slow-down only occurs at power-on time, and not at a WINDOWS restart. My drive config is (2) Samsung 950 NVME 500GB drives and (1) Crucial MX-100 1TB SSD; no USB devices are connected. Maybe this doesn't matter, but I  noticed that the boot list does not contain the drive description for the NVME drivees, but does contain the drive description for the SSD. I re-installed the 2.19 BIOS; everything now works as expected.

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,320
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Views: 1,808
Message 6 of 26

Re: P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior

Having chosen to continue to run with BIOS 2.21 on my P70, I am still experiencing this very long delay in booting whenver a removable USB device is inserted (either external non-bootable 2TB USB 3.0 HDD, or small USB 2.0 or 3.0 flash drive, bootable or not).

 

As long as the external drive is powered off (even if the USB cable is still connected to the P70) and the flash drive not inserted, booting takes just seconds.  But if I insert the flash drive (typically intending to boot to it) the symptoms I described earlier occur.  Long period of black screen and no HDD LED activity.  Then, maybe a minute later, the HDD LED starts to flash rapidly and continues flashing for maybe another 20 seconds.  Then finally the system boots properly and the Boot Manager screen appears.

 

And yes, I DO have an external monitor connected to the minDP port (which was mentioned in the BIOS 2.20 README as pertaining to something that got fixed in 2.20).  And yes, there IS a USB 2.0 receiver (for my wireless mouse) plugged into a USB port on the monitor.  But the monitor and its attached USB device doesn't seem relevant to the boot-time slowdown, since its configuration doesn't change and all I have to do is power down or remove my external USB HDD devices to make the symptom go away. So in my own opinion, the 2.20/2.21 boot slowdown symptom is related to USB HDD devices, not to non-HDD USB devices that might be connected through a connected external monitor.

 

I was looking at the Lenovo driver support site today, and I noticed that BIOS 2.21 has been removed from the BIOS category.  Now 2.20 is the "latest" available.  Interesting.

 

As I reported, my own experience is that the same boot-time slowdown problem symptoms occurred STARTING WITH 2.20!!  I had to revert to 2.19 in order to go back to normal behavior again.  If I used either 2.20 or 2.21 the slowdown occurred, as it does now since I'm still running with 2.21.

 

So, I find it interesting that Lenovo appears to have yanked 2.21 from distribution, especially since this was also the release that purported to contain the microcode fixes for Spectre/Meltdown.  But actually removing this previously available BIOS from the download site, is this suggesting there was something defective about the original version?

 

In my own situation I'm not that concerned about Spectre/Meltdown honestly.  But I'm much more concerned about the boot-time nonsense that started with 2.20 and persisted into 2.21.  As I observed previously, I'm 100% certain that surely this has something to do with what got "fixed" in 2.20 per the 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.

 

 

So... what happened to BIOS 2.21???

JohnL
Token Ring
Posts: 86
Registered: ‎06-19-2009
Location: US
Views: 1,791
Message 7 of 26

Re: P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior

I have found a circumvention that works with the 2.21 BIOS. I removed the boot NVMe drive from the startup list! Apparently, the boot drive is not needed if the Windows Startup Manager is present. (How boot finds the Windows Startup Manager is beyond me.) Now, I only have the Startup Manager, the CD/DVD ROM drive, and USB-FDD (for flash drive booting) in my startup list. Now, a boot from power-on doesn't allow me to enter the BIOS setup (by pressing ENTER or F1), but this can be achieved from a system restart.

JohnL
Token Ring
Posts: 86
Registered: ‎06-19-2009
Location: US
Views: 1,790
Message 8 of 26

Re: P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior

BTW, see if your boot is still slow if your USB drive is not in the startup BOOT list. You probably want it there; but for debugging sake, see what happens.

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,320
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Location: US
Views: 1,685
Message 9 of 26

Re: P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior

I give up.  Finally went back to 2.19, as the malfunctioning symptoms of 2.21 were just too much to put up with.

 

To repeat, something is VERY WRONG with 2.21, no doubt coming from 2.20 which exhibits the same symptoms.  It obviously is related to the new USB-connection logic, since as long as there is no USB drive (either HDD or FDD) connected, regardless of whether or not that device is bootable or not, or has partitions or not, things "work normally" in terms of finding the active boot partition on the internal HDD/SSD and bring up the Boot Manager menu promptly.

 

But if there is any type of USB drive plugged in and available to read from, the boot process will take 1-2 minutes to actually make it to wherever booting should come from.  If the USB flash drive is bootable, in 1-2 minutes booting from that drive will actually happen.  If the USB flash drive is not bootable, in 1-2 minutes regular Boot Manager from internal HDD/SSD will appear.  If the external USB HDD is not bootable, it will take 1-2 minutes to discover that and revert to Boot Manager.  If a bootable optical CD is inserted, as well as a USB HDD/FDD, it will take 1-2 minutes to finally get past the USB-related nonsense whatever that is, and finally boot to the CD.

 

Even worse, if a USB HDD/FDD device is present it takes 1-2 minutes for pressing ENTER at the Lenovo logo after booting in order to finally get the BIOS Setup utility to appear. And even if there is no USB HDD/FDD present, it STILL takes 1-2 minutes to get into BIOS.

 

Once finally in the BIOS, if you arrow over to get to the STARTUP tab in order to investigate or modify the boot device sequence, you can't actually arrow over to the STARTUP tab.  The Setup utility seems to lock up and freeze for 1-2 minutes (probably investigating for USB drives attached, even if there are none present).  During this 1-2 minutes you can't do anything.  All keys are locked out.  Finally, there is a "breakthrough" and the STARTUP tab appears and keyboard is back to working normally again.

 

Adding a final insult to all of this injury, if you eventually arrow over to EXIT, in order to either F10 (save and exit) or F9 (discard and exit), both of these now take another 1-2 minutes to finish.  Again, during whatever is happening at this time the keyboard is non-functional and the machine appears frozen and locked up.  After 1-2 minutes, the function appears to now complete, and the machine reboots.

 

This is simply unacceptable, Spectre/Meltown or not.  2.19 was working just fine for quite a while, and I don't know exactly what USB-related fix was installed by Lenovo but it appears to have been horribly QA'd.  As I'm not the only one having anomalies with 2.21, and since it's related to external USB drives, I would again point the finger of scorn at 2.20 being the culprit.

 

No matter.  I'm outta here!!!  I'm back to 2.19, and WORKING PERFECTLY AGAIN!!!  Not one single anomaly that I described above exists when 2.19 is installed.  No matter whether external USB drives are connected or not, there is once again instant booting from my Samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSD, and instant response from ENTER at Lenovo logo to get into the BIOS Setup utility. Once in BIOS, arrow-navigating over to the STARTUP tab happens without a hiccup or pause.  It's there, instantly when I tap the right-arrow key to get there.

 

It's obvious to me: 2.20/2.21 is simply defective, and really should be withdrawn.  2.19 is perfect.  Same P70 hardware... only the BIOS differs.

 

If Lenovo-NC would like my P70 to investigate (assuming they can't duplicate these symptoms with their own lab P70), I'll be glad to send it.  I can survive with my desktop machines for a few weeks.  But I am not going to leave 2.19 until a new version of the P70 BIOS is released, at which time I'll give it a shot.  But if none of these issues are documented in the README for the new BIOS version, I'm not leaving 2.19.

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,320
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Location: US
Views: 1,683
Message 10 of 26

Re: P70 with BIOS 2.20/2.21 - SUPER-SLOW booting and errant BIOS Setup utility behavior


@JohnL wrote:

BTW, see if your boot is still slow if your USB drive is not in the startup BOOT list. You probably want it there; but for debugging sake, see what happens.


I tried all kinds of things.  I tried removing both USB FDD and USB HDD, separately, together, leaving just optical CD/DVD and NVMe0, didn't really make a difference. As long as there was a USB drive present (small flash or large powered external HDD) the BIOS was investigating it for 1-2 minutes.  And all of the anomalies within the BIOS Setup utility still exist, no matter whether USB drive is present or not, and no matter what is in the boot device sequence list.

 

The only thing that makes a difference at least for getting to Boot Manager menu screen, is to not have a USB drive inserted or powered on.  Then Boot Manager appears promptly.  But there's no effect on malfunctioning within BIOS Setup utility.

 

But just go back to 2.19, and all is once again well with the world and 100% of all reported anomalies and malfunctions disappear.  Everything works perfectly again.

 

They've simply butchered the BIOS starting with 2.20, in that new USB-related logic described in the README.

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