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6 Posts

09-17-2013

Ireland

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T530 Brick (almost)

2013-09-17, 9:25 AM

After much research I spashed out and purchased a T530 with Win8 Pro and a 500GB spindle drive.

 

On receipt I immediately went throught the process of making a recovery disk. (A bit taken-aback by the fact that it's all done in Windows now - no more burning of Lenovo installation disks, but what could go wrong hey?). At least now, no matter what happens as I mess around to find my ideal config I could restore the system to a working state - or so I thought.

 

I added in an mSATA SSD and some additional RAM both of which were recognised by the BIOS. I then tried to install the O/S onto the SSD using the recovery media. It got through over 90% of the process and then failed with a useful "Windows has failed to reset your PC" message. In frustration I removed the SSD to discover that the machine would no longer boot from the original platter drive.No problem, I thought, I'll just restore onto the original platter drive again. Once again it failed at 90% through (with the same helpful error message).

 

So I am now left with a very expensive laptop that can't be recovered using Lenovo's recommended recovery method and won't boot.

 

I have reset the bios to factory defaults (just in case).

 

Any ideas how I can recover the machine. Does anyone even know how I go about debugging the recovery process - a log file might be a good place to start.

 

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

 

Regards,

 

Tim

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115 Posts

11-27-2009

Middletown, NY USA

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Re: T530 Brick (almost)

2013-09-17, 12:43 PM
Sounds like your backup may be corrupt. Only way around it may be to purchase Win 8 restore disks from Lenovo, if available.
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6 Posts

09-17-2013

Ireland

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Re: T530 Brick (almost)

2013-09-17, 15:34 PM

I won't rule that out as a possibility, however the recovery manager boots successfully from the drive and doesn't appear to encounter any errors until it has almost completed recovery.

 

The recovery manager is actually on an external hard drive (which should be more reliable than a USB key). If there is corruption on the drive I'm inclined to think that it was put there by the Windows process that created the image.

 

Given that this is a vital part of being able to return a machine to functioning status I would expect that any such recovery images written are verified after they have been written - if I was burning CDs/DVDs that's a standard procedure - why should writing to some unknown external media be any exception.

 

If I could find out why the recovery process is failing I might be able to make a judgement as to whether the recovery image is corrupt or not, but until then I'm reserving judgement.

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453 Posts

12-26-2008

Sweden

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Re: T530 Brick (almost)

2013-09-17, 18:44 PM

For whats its worth i would try the third case: remove your HDD and run the recovery process with only the mSata in place. If its the media for sure it wont help but you dont know if it is.

 

In my mind there is some question if your first recovery run updated the HDD or the mSata. If it had been updating the mSata why would ir have destroyed the HDD?

 

The description of the recovery process for Windows 8 is very hazy on the difference between updating an existing Lenovo preload and loading a blank disk. Have you for sure identified the option: "Select the target operating system of Microsoft Windows 8 to reload over existing Lenovo preload." so you have not chosen it when loading the blank mSata disk?

T500: Vista 32, 2.8GHz, 4GB RAM, 15.4" 1680x1050, 500GB 7200rpm, ATI Radeon HD3650 + Intel 4500MHD. T42: XP, 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM, 14.1" 1024x768, 250GB PATA, ATI Radeon 7500.

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9378 Posts

01-13-2008

United States of America

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Re: T530 Brick (almost)

2013-09-17, 19:32 PM

UEFI booting is a strange and wonderful thing...

 

WAG: the failed recovery has overwritten or corrupted the EFI boot entry in BIOS (or whatever it's called these days), so the HDD wouldn't boot.  At that point it might have been worth pulling up the boot menu and seeing if there was an HDD0 entry to try - rather than the Windows Boot Manager entry.  ISTR that Lenovo includes (on some machines) a default to just boot the EFI partition on the first HDD as a fall-back.  Might be wrong about that...

 

I'd expect a non-corrupt recovery image to work on an external HDD, but my only experience is with flash drives.  If you don't have anything else to try, format a (large enough) flash drive FAT32 and copy the contents of your external drive to it.  The Lenovo-related contents, anyway.  Give that a try.

 

Do any this and any further recovery attempts with only one drive in the machine.

 

Hmmm, as I re-read this it seems pretty unlikely :(

 

Regards,

Z.


The large print: please read the Community Participation Rules before posting. Include as much information as possible: model, machine type, operating system, and a descriptive subject line. Do not include personal information: serial number, telephone number, email address, etc.


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

 

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4486 Posts

07-24-2013

Switzerland

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  • Message 6 of 11

Re: T530 Brick (almost)

2013-09-17, 19:38 PM

Wish you luck lennie_fan, you always have a clean install as last resort :(


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6 Posts

09-17-2013

Ireland

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  • Message 7 of 11

Re: T530 Brick (almost)

2013-09-17, 20:32 PM

Actually I tried to do the install with only the mSATA in the machine initially and it failed, although it did partition the mSATA and write a load of files to it (looks like a Windows install) - got to over 90% and failed with that really helpful error message.

 

At some point I attempted it again with both the mSATA and the HDD present - I think this is what hosed my HDD. Interestingly the HDD appears to still have a Windows install on it, it just won't boot.

 

At no point did I get the "Select the target operating system of ..." option - the only options I ever saw were to repartition the drive or simply to delete the files on it.

 

Good idea though.

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6 Posts

09-17-2013

Ireland

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  • Message 8 of 11

Re: T530 Brick (almost)

2013-09-17, 20:43 PM

I have a feeling that the install failed when writing the UEFI boot record. The Boot manager comes up almost instantly when I try to boot and when I select the HDD it comes straight back to the boot manager instantly.

 

Think I'll be researching UEFI boot and see if I can figure out what's happening. It may provide insight into how to recover the system.

 

UEFI is definitely a strange beast. Bring back the good old BIOS and MBR. 

 

Simply coping the contents of my recovery drive to a USB won't make the USB bootable - I'd still need to write a boot record on the USB drive.

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9378 Posts

01-13-2008

United States of America

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  • Message 9 of 11

Re: T530 Brick (almost)

2013-09-18, 0:22 AM

wrote:
...

Simply coping the contents of my recovery drive to a USB won't make the USB bootable - I'd still need to write a boot record on the USB drive.


Not if you're booting in UEFI mode.  The hardware/firmware will try to boot whatever is in the EFI partition/directory - subject to the secure boot rules if it's turned on.  I've copied Win 8 recovery flash drives to new flash drives - that were prepared by formatting FAT32 w/out doing anything else to them - and booted them on a Twist.

 

Now, I can't say for sure that the format isn't putting something magic somewhere, but AFAIK that's not how it works with UEFI.

 

Z.


The large print: please read the Community Participation Rules before posting. Include as much information as possible: model, machine type, operating system, and a descriptive subject line. Do not include personal information: serial number, telephone number, email address, etc.


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

 

Communities: English Deutsch Español Português Русскоязычное Česká Slovenská Українська Polski Türkçe Moto English

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6 Posts

09-17-2013

Ireland

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  • Message 10 of 11

Re: T530 Brick (almost)

2013-10-02, 8:30 AM

Update: I contacted Lenovo support about this to be informed that I should have used a Lenovo utility to build recovery media. I repeatedly told the agent that I followed the instructions on their web-site - I have subsequently confirmed that the process I followed for generating recovery media from Win8 is the correct process as per http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/detail.page?DocID=HT076024. Some agents need more training it would appear!!

 

The only resolution he could give me was to order recovery media from lenovorecovery.com which I did (Another wrinkle here - there is no Win8 Pro distribution listed on the Lenovo Recovery web-site - you have to order something and then in the comments tell them what you actually want by getting the part-no from rmedia@lenovorecovery.com).

 

So I received my recovery disks and went about reinstalling the machine. Approximately 2 hours later I had a functioning machine again. However I notice that the new install now takes up approx 39GB of disk space. (As opposed to the original install only used 4GB.) Any ideas anyone?

 

Of course now the question arises about whether I should bother to generate a recovery image from my current install since I have no confidence that this method works for restoring the machine and Lenovo didn't seem interested in finding out why it failed the first time around.

 

Overall I'm very disappointed with the quality of service I've received. Instructions for creating recovery media that don't work, badly trained support agents, an out-of-date web-site for ordering recovery media and general lack of interest in resolving the problem. Hopefully the build quality is better than their support.

 

Perhaps I won't be so much of a lennie fan in the future.

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