10-22-2018 10:34 AM - edited 10-23-2018 05:36 AM
So I was posting before on the lack of a delivery date on the P72 for US sales. I ordered a preconfigured P72 from Provantage as they had the minimal version I wanted bundled for a reasonable price. Just received it. Going to put it back in the box and ship it back. ........
So what I got was the E-2176M 16Gb Dram, 512gb SSD, P4200, HD display.
My thinking was I would add the extra memory to take the unit up to 64Gb, change out the 512Gb SSD to 2Tb Samsung 970 Pro and put in a Samsung 860 2.5" SSD data drive.
Problem #1) There are only 2 of the 4 DRAM slots open to user expansion. If you want 64Gb you MUST order the unit with 32 GB installed which will be on the other 2 slots inside the unit. Then you can buy 2 more 16Gb for a total of 64Gb. This also means you will have to crack open the entire case if down the road you want to upgrade to 128Gb because there is no immediate user access to the first 2 Dram sockets. While I'm sure if I crack open the rest of the case I will see where the other two DRAM sockets are located, I'm hesitent to do so right off the top.
Problem #2) If you were thinking you would buy it without a 2.5" SSD because you would add one later your screwed. There is no cable or brackets in the box for you to install your drive. Looking at the parts needed they appear to be HDD CABLE, ICT and HDD CABLE, AMP. Both are CRU Mandatory. There does not appear to be any price or availability on the parts so if you don't buy the unit with the SSD installed it is not clear to me how you can get the necessary cables. I am going to open a chat with support to see if I can actually purchase the necessary cables to install the drive myself. UPDATE: So just spent 30 minutes talking to Lenovo support twice and Lenovo Encompass Parts on the phone and the cables in question are no where to be found nor can anyone assure me that I'd be able to purchase them.
Problem #3) Ok I'm new to Lenovo but if you want to reinstall Windows it is not clear how this is done. (ie, I want to put in my own m2 drive so I need to be able to install windows 10). I expected to see a OEM serial number for windows on the unit. There is none. I read somewhere that the serial number is actually burned into the BIOS. This is fine but I want to absolutley understand how I go about reinstalling Windows as regardless, my decades long use of Windows tells me doing a clean install is at a minimum, an 18 month ritual if not more frequent. If someone could shed some light on this I'd appreciate it.
So I'm returning this unit back to Provantage. I will wait like before so that I can order a 32Gb unit with a minimal 2.5" SSD because if you don't you will never have the proper cables. On the plus side the screen is nice. Unit looks clean. Keyboard is nice and what I would expect from Lenovo. A little fan noise but no worse than what my MBP does on occasion. Just and FYI, Provantage was great. Gave me an RMA no problem.
UPDATE: I revised my title and updated thanks to the good support of others on this forum. I'm not returning my unit as the issues I pointed out above have all been resolved.
Solved! Go to Solution.
10-22-2018 01:01 PM
Thank you very much for sharing your experience! I now know beter what to look for when ordering my P72. There is a P72 User's Guide you can download, thta shows to RAM slots at pages 100 and 101, but does not mention the other two. So far, I always managed to download the Service and Repair Guide, buthaven't found it yet for the P72. For my previous models I never had a problem to upgrade RAM (W520 W540 P50 P70). I have done the same trick as you described several times, the Lenovo-supplied RAM aand storage is way overpriced and not even top of the line. The RAM is 16GB 2133, instead of 2666, and NVMe is the OEM PM9xx type instead of 970 Pro.
On the disk is a recovery partition, and one of the F-keys can be used at boot to re-install Windows from this partition. I usually take a disk copy program to copy this partition over to a new disk. Alternatviely, you can download the standard (non-Lenovo) Windows ISO image from Microsoft's website and doa fresh install from there. The Windows license number is buried somewhere in BIOS and the Windows ISO automativally registers it, no worries. You then can add Lenovo programs and drivers where needed. At least the Quadrio stuff cannot be addressed by the regular Nvidia driver, it requires the Lenovo OEM-driver.
10-22-2018 01:02 PM
The 2.5" SSD (7mm) can be installed with the following storage kit:
There are 4 memory slots. 2 are under the keyboard and the other 2 are under the memory hatch. You only need to remove two screws to remove the keyboard (partially) to gain access the memory slots. If you have two DIMMS already installed, one is under the keyboard and the other is under the hatch.
Windows 10 recovery media is available through the Lenovo Digital Download Recovery Service. You can make a USB key of the orginal preload.
I trust that this helps.
10-22-2018 01:22 PM - edited 10-22-2018 01:35 PM
Well, while I can certainly sympathize with your reactions, I must say that these are the hazards and dilemmas of anyone wanting to "do it yourself" rather than paying the high price to Lenovo for a fully-configured fully-customized fully-installed fully-guaranteed factory-prepared to your custom specifications machine.
I too was a "do it yourself" person when I bought my P70 back in January 2016, and went through many of the same surprise revelations you did when exploring the machine which had been ordered with minimal specs, so that I could DIY upgrade to the ultimate configuration I wanted and save money in the process. So what you might be discovering for yourself with your new P72, sounds like the same things I discovered with my P70. But these discoveries are really not a surprise, and all have solutions... by just buying the proper "storage kit" accessory (to have the rubberized installation bracket for adding a 2.5" primary drive, since you didn't get one from Lenovo) or manually dealing with the fact that the first one or two factory-installed memory sticks go in the two memory bays physically located below the keyboard.
If you buy a 2.5" HDD from Lenovo (they don't offer a 2.5" SSD) it will come in the primary 2.5" drive bay wrapped with a 3-sided rubberized adapter bracket. Once the bracket is wrapped around the drive it then inserts securely into the drive bay with the drive connector slipping into the socket at the end of the bay. No cable is needed for this installation, just the 3-sided adapter bracket for physically making it secure. For the P70/P71 and probably P72, this bracket was one of the handful of parts that came in the inexpensive "Thinkpad Mobile Workstation Storage Kit" (Part number: 4XB0L63274) which also includes some other parts applicable to the P50.
There may be a new part for the P72, but I don't know and don't think so. The P7x family has had identical internal physical design since the P70 so this same 3-sided rubberized installation adapter bracket will no doubt almost certainly be what would be needed.
Of course if you'd bought a true minimum configuration 2.5" HDD (spinner) from Lenovo if it was available, that drive would have come with its adapter bracket factory installed. Then you could have just removed the drive yourself, removed the bracket. replaced the HDD spinner with your own retail Samsung 860 SSD and reinstalled, and you wouldn't need the parts kit. Since you didn't have a factory installed 2.5" drive you simply need to buy the parts kit for $15 to get the bracket you need. Problem solved. In my own P70 story I did buy the laptop with the 2.5" HDD spinner from Lenovo, so I just had to swap the HDD with my own self-bought Samsung 850 SSD and I was finished.
As far as the memory issue, I ordered only 8GB, planning to upgrade myself using Crucial memory. I didn't realize it was going to be in one of the two under-the-keyboard bays, and I'd never removed a keyboard before. So it was scary, because I did want to install my second memory stick in the "paired" bay in order to achieve 2x8GB=16GB running in "dual mode" instead of the lesser "single channel mode". And that meant I needed to use either (a) the pair #3/#1 of harder to get to under-the-keyboard memory bays but where Lenovo had factory installed the single memory card I bought from them , or (b) the pair #4/#2 of easier to get to underside-of-the-laptop memory bays which were really designed for easy user access in expanding to additional memory. Even if I wanted to move the Lenovo memory to the easier #4/#2 location and put my own additional memory there as well, I'd still need to get under the keyboard to remove their factory-installed card and move it to its alternate location for the future. Of course if I ever were to use 4 sticks of memory, I'd need to use all four bays anyway.
In the end I simply went online and learned how to remove the keyboard. It wasn't trivial, but it wasn't difficult. It was scary, and I thought I would break something, but it was doable. And I managed to do it. So in the end I just left the Lenovo factory 8GB memory card where it was under the keyboard in #3, added my own second 8GB of Crucial memory into the second under the keyboard slot #1, reinstalled the keyboard (and it fit back just fine and has worked perfectly for 2 1/2 years), and now still have the remaining easy-to-get-to underside memory bays #4/#2 still available for future expansion. Just remove the bottom cover of the laptop and those two bays are visible and instantly accessible, as Lenovo intended them to be.
That's the consequence of not letting Lenovo supply and install your memory cards. That's what DIY means. But it's doable.
As far as SSD drives go, I did't buy anything from Lenovo with my P70. Both M.2 bays empty. And my P70 came with Win7 pre-installed on the 2.5" HDD spinner in the primary 2.5" bay. I bought my own pair of Samsung 950 Pro NVMe drives, and installed them myself into the two M.2 bays of the P70. No adapter or cable of any other parts needed (unlike with the P5x family and its "convertible" M.2 bays which need special trays for M.2 drives). So I just installed the retail Samsung M.2 NVMe drives, installed the downloaded Samsung NVMe driver into the Lenovo factory-installed Win7, used Macrium Reflect to "clone" the factory Win7 (from the still at the time 2.5" HDD spinner) over to the NVMe 950 Pro in the NVMe0 bay, and then re-purposed the 2.5" HDD spinner for use as a "data" drive. I also formatted the second 950 Pro NVMe SSD (in the NVMe1 bay) as a second "data" drive.
Had I bought the P70 with SSD from Lenovo (in one of the M.2 bays), Windows would have been factory installed on the SSD. But I bought it only with HDD spinner, so that's where Windows came. And since I was doing the NVMe drive install myself, it was my responsibility to install the hardware myself and also to get Windows onto it for booting... either through "clone" or fresh install. I opted for the easier "clone" method. That's what it means to DIY, i.e. you take your own responsibility for making happen whatever you want to happen.
Eventually I decided to replace the factory 2.5" HDD spinner which came with the P70 from Lenovo with a 2.5" Samsung 850 SATA SSD, so now I was all solid-state and using all three drive bays. My P70 also included an optical CD/DVD drive.
As far as a from-scratch install of Win10 to a target available unallocated area on the M.2 drive, that is EXACTLY what I also did later in 2016. I kept the existing Win7 partition, carved out 100Gb of free space on the same NVMe0 M.2 drive, and installed Win10 there from scratch as a second bootable Windows via Boot Manager. There is NO LICENSE KEY REQUIRED TO BE ENTERED, because the UEFI BIOS as delivered by Lenovo has the machine's pre-authorized license key code burned into the hardware. The Win10 installer will see that key and use it, and will not prompt you to enter your own retail key. It's that easy.
You can download the Win10 installer from MS (if you don't already have installed media). Creates a bootable USB flash drive version, which when used will read that machine license from the UEFI BIOS as I described.
I ran with Win7 as my primary "production" Windows for about 2 years, with Win10 being a "toy" to learn about and experiment with. But both versions of Windows were usable on the machine, via Boot Manager. Earlier this year I decided I really had nothing against Win10 (having installed the fantastic Start10 product from Stardock, which returns the Win7 Start Menu and Start Button functionality 100% identically in Win10, so that I felt right at home) and changed Boot Manager to make it my new default "production" Windows version. So I've been running from Win10 on my P70 for about 6 months now and am very happy. The Win7 partition still exists, but I haven't booted from it in all this time. I will probably delete it an re-purpose it for additional "data" by the end of the year.
Again, you do not receive or required a Windows license key (for Win10, or for the Win7 downgrade rights in the case of my P70) in order to install Windows on a machine like this where the machine's license key is burned into the UEFI BIOS at the factory. The Win10 installer will simply pick up that machine license key directly, and will never even prompt you for it to be manually entered (as it previuosly needed to do with "legacy" BIOS) where the OEM Windows license key was often shown on a paper tag on the side or back of the desktop machine, or inside the battery socket of a laptop.
Don't fret about the memory issue, with the one stick you got being under the keyboard. You can still install your add-on memory in the easy to get to under-the-laptop location, and it will still work to produce a newly available total amount of memory. Perhaps it will be running in that just slightly slower single-channel mode, or magically maybe even in the slight 10-15% faster dual-channel mode. The newer improved P72 BIOS may be able to have eliminated the "paired bay" and "matching speed/size" requirement as I discovered on a recent HP Omen machine I configured for a friend, which magically was able to run in dual-channel mode when I thought it shouldn't. Regardless, you'll probably not notice single-channel speed degradation if it that's how the machine really runs. Or, just learn how to service the memory by removing the keyboard... and install your own add-on card in the second available under-the-keyboard bay, and then reinstall the keyboard. It's good to know how to do that anyway, and you'll come away feeling satisfied that you got the job done. It's really not that hard.
Keep your P72.
10-22-2018 01:43 PM
harrisb & DSperber, thanks for the input. The link on the adapter kit looks correct. I can't believe that they would change the SATA port for just a new laptop and visually they look exactly to what is in the P72 User Guide. Did not think to look under the Keyboard for the memory but I will look into the references to see how I get in there to change things. I've made dozens of home PC's, refirbished iMac's and MBP although the latest versions, especially of the MBP are worthless to try and DYI a patch. I'll order the adapter kit for the SATA drive and go to the download for the restore. On that I figured there must be some way to do it but on my searches on first boot nothing looked obvious.
Overall the unit does look fine. With this new info I believe I will cancel the RMA and contiue with my upgrades. Thanks again for the great information. It helped a lot. Curious that two calls to Lenovo support and 1 call to Lenovo parts supplier .... NO ONE had a clue that getting the right part/kit was as simple as you mentioned.
10-22-2018 01:49 PM - edited 10-22-2018 01:54 PM
To try to gather the Win 10 recovery/restore/clean install methods described above, there are at least 3 options. I usually do all 3 and archive the results
Download clean media from MS: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
Download the Lenovo preload: https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht103653?LinkTrack=Solr
Create your own bootable media from the existing installation (slightly out of date but still applies): https://datacentersupport.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht117511
There's a 4th: order media from Lenovo support. They charge for that but the three above are free - presuming the machine was licensed for '10 in the first place. The activation key is baked into the BIOS and should be detected automatically as stated above.
BTW, there's no recovery partition - at least not the kind provided in the past. These new PBR (push-button-reset) machines have the recovery "image" incorporated in C:. It actually gets updated if the OS gets updated. There is a small recovery partition but it contains the bootable tools - not the image.
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The fine print: I do not work for, nor do I speak for Lenovo. Unsolicited private messages will be ignored - questions and answers belong in the forum so that others may contribute and benefit. ... GeezBlog
10-22-2018 02:00 PM - edited 10-22-2018 02:00 PM
Thanks zoltanthegypsy, Yea in the past with Windows machines I always built my own or when I helped someone out there was an OEM sticker with a serial number. I always use a Flash drive for Win10 using the Microsoft app for creating a bootable install drive but I always had the serial number because I bought the OEM version of Windows. This one threw me for a loop because there is no serial number.
My concern was I wanted to configure my P72 the way I want, I want to try a couple of experiments with different RAID and non RAID configurations on the m.2 drives so I was looking at probably 3-4 intalls of Windows 10 in a couple of days as I tried different configurations out and see what the performance differences were. In the past with Windows 10 when you controlled the serial number this is no issue at all, you simply do not put in the serial number until you are happy with your final configuration and the register it. Microsoft gives you 30 days to run unregistered so there is plenty of time to play with configurations until you find out what you are happy with using. The lack of serial number was concerning me thats all. What I may do in on all of my intermediate installs I will just leave WiFi and ethernet off so there is no "Phoneing Home" on my experiments. I will connect initially to get the install USB drives, play around till I get the configuration I want and then lock it all down.
10-22-2018 02:47 PM
I'm glad that I, and the others that replied, were of assistance. You'll find many answers to questions within the community from people who have discovered solutions to problems and then shared them with all of us.
10-22-2018 02:51 PM
Curious I'm not finding both of the screws for the keyboard. One is easy as it is marked but the other is not or I'm not seeing it. Also, in theory, I should disconnect the battery but it has hard wires to a connector and it is not obvious at least to me how that connector functions so I'm not axious to just start pulling on things. If you have a suggestion here too I would appreciate it.
10-22-2018 03:07 PM - edited 10-22-2018 03:16 PM
Look in the Hardware Maintainance Manual for the answer. You need to remove the bottom cover as the first step. You then need to use the keyboard removal tool to release the two trackpoint buttons for the other two screws. This is a bit different that what I have in my P70.