09-08-2008 09:43 PM - edited 09-08-2008 09:58 PM
I took delivery of a new T400 today. Imagine my surprise upon turning it on to see the Windows F8 recovery menu, and a message about the system not having been shut down cleanly. Strange thing on a machine straight from the facory !
Well anyway I let it boot into the normal mode. Next the OS booted and something obviously ran to install updates. I suspect that one of these failed. Eventually I was presented with a dialog that says "Windows could not complete the installation" and "To install Windows on this computer, restart the installation". Sadly this same dialog displays regardless of how many times I reboot.
Reading the scanty doc that came with the machine, it appears to have a recovery partition and a way to invoke a factory restore from the partition. Unfortunately entering recovery mode does not work (I press F11 and it goes ahead and boots into Vista anyway).
Next I tried calling Lenovo. They politely said that they are not working at this hour and I should call back in the morning. Well I am planning to take this new laptop on a business trip in the morning and won't have time to call before I have to be at the airport.
So back to self-diagnosis...I found that when in the 'All your install are belong to us' mode, I could press ctl-alt-del and get task manager up. From there I could run commands such as cmd.exe and msconfig. Using msconfig I opened the event viewer. Nothing too interesting in there, except that a service or driver called tuvu...somethign didn't start.
Another thing I found is that there is no way any longer to get to the F8 safe mode menu on boot. It just blips on the screen for a nanosecond and then it's gone (even if you have pressed F8). So I used msconfig to boot into safe mode. That didn't help.
I've always bought cheapo off-brand laptops from Costco, and this was my first 'premium brand' purchase. To say the least I am not impressed. Surely Lenovo can spare 10 minutes to ensure that each machine actually boots before they ship ??
Any pointers on how to fix this machine are most welcome.
UPDATE : I made some progress on my own. On a whim I decided to go looking for the process that had so rudely decided that I couldn't use my computer. Browsing the process list in taskman, I noticed something called 'runonce.exe'. So I did the obvious thing and killed it. Bingo ! I now have the vista desktop and the machine appears to be working just fine. It's now updating. Presumably I can find and disable this thing that used the runonce wrapper and I'll be good to go,.
09-09-2008 02:27 PM
Well, I still haven't figured out how to fix this but I did find other people with the same problem. Aparently what happens is that customs opens up laptops during shipping. This causes them to begin the vista installation process, but the the lid is closed, powering the system off. Vista's installer can not cope with this re-started installation.
So presumably my best option is to re-image the machine, which of course Lenovo does not document properly (or really at all).
09-09-2008 07:32 PM
It looks like this laptop is going back home to Lenovo.
After wasting a few hours of my time, I deduced how to make recovery disks and then how to use them to recover to the factory state.
Guess what : yes, it does exactly the same thing --- boots up saying the system was shut down incorrectly, then does a bunch of Vista 'updating', and finally wedges that same dialog on the screen.
My conclusion is that Lenovo's Vista 64-bit business for the T400 (at least with the devices mine has installed) does not work.
09-09-2008 08:29 PM
09-09-2008 08:32 PM
Wasting yet more of my time, I tracked down the problem more specifically to 'audit.exe' which is part of 'OOBE' (the stuff that Vista runs the first time after install, to do activation, create a user and so on. I have a feeling that if I could only prevent OOBE from running on my machine, it'd be fine (I've been using it, having created a second user so I know the password, and it works perfectly, but the original boot-time 'administrator' desktop is also still live).
Since the error is in the software, presumably the machines don't need to go back. Rather Lenovo needs to cut us some working dvds.
09-09-2008 09:04 PM
I had this same problem on my T61 and after seeing yoru post I imaged my system successfully to get rid of the problem on my system. You can image it without making burning any discs. What I did was hit the Thinkvantage button during boot, chose the Restor System option, chose full factory reset, chose to delete all my files and then chose the custom option for recovery. I don't remember exactly which items I unchecked, but there were a few towards the end that had OOBE in the name. I let it complete the restore and it seems to be working fine now. So you might want to try doing it that way, I was hoping that one of the things I unchecked was whatever was causing the system to crash near the end of install and mess up the Vista installation.
Good luck! Hopefully this will work for you instead of just wasting like 3 hours...
09-09-2008 09:09 PM
Interesting. How do you get to select what kind of restore to do ? I ask because I'd read posts where people re-installed without the bloatware, and I wanted to try the same thing. I just could not figure out how to make the T400 restore give me that option. I'm wondering if it's a secret hidden option, or if the T400 just doesn't allow it. For me, it just went ahead and blew away the hard drive contents and re-imaged (without imho really saying that that's what it was going to do -- no worries since that's what I expected but a less informed user might be quite surprised to learn that their data was gone).
09-09-2008 09:23 PM
09-09-2008 09:27 PM
Can you be more specific ? (I see absolutely no options in any screen that I see between powering on with the rescue boot dvd in the drive, and the time it completes the process). All it ever asks me is 1) Language and then 2) if I have OS recovery disks (no) and then 3) to insert the two product recovery disks one after the other. It whirs, displaying progress bars for 30 mins or so then reboots into Vista.
Where in this sequence are you given options to control the restore ?
09-09-2008 09:28 PM