Question Can’t access BIOS - Lenovo M91

Aug 11, 2022
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Hi,

I have just bought a Lenovo M91 on eBay from a company that resells office PCs. The PC’s previous owner did not reset it (windows 10) and it requires a password.

Normally this would be no problem, I was replacing the hard drive anyway, however…

  1. when I disconnect the (spinning) hard drive with the os on it and connect an SSD (with no os) and use a usb to install windows I get a error for no hard drive being recognised.
  2. I can’t get into the BIOS no matter what I try in order to change the boot order to the usb.
  3. I don’t see the Lenovo splash screen with no hard drive attached or with the blank SSD plugged in.
  4. when the HDD with the os is attached, I get the Lenovo splash screen and it says press enter to interrupt startup. However, it carries on booting to windows.
  5. I’ve tried every key f1 - f12 on startup and nothing opens up the BIOS.
  6. at the windows login screen I’ve tried getting to the BIOS by pressing shift and clicking restart. I get the normal troubleshooting option but it then doesn’t give me the option to restart to BIOS or reset the PC.
Any help would be hugely appreciated! I don’t have much experience with Lenovos and never come across anything like this.

thanks!
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
We cannot assist with any password or security related questions here, because we simply cannot know whether any given back story is accurate or not, however, in regard to the BIOS itself I would try pressing Enter or ESC at the Lenovo logo to gain access to the BIOS as many of these Lenovo laptops did not use F1 or F2 for BIOS access but instead used Enter or ESC.

Check this page and click on the "To enter BIOS via Fn key" link halfway down the page.
 
Aug 11, 2022
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Thanks. It’s a desktop rather than a laptop so no FN key. I’ve tried pressing ESC/DEL/return/f2 etc (with no exaggeration) about 50 times with no luck.

I have no desire to access the the hard drive that came with the PC - I put that info in as I saw a few posts about disabling fast start which you need to be on windows to do. I also thought it was strange that there is no option to reset the pc from the login screen.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Ok, being a desktop (Not sure why I was thinking it was a laptop) actually SHOULD make it easier. Try the following to reset the BIOS which should return it's boot order to the default configuration and potentially enable you to get into the BIOS if fast or ultra fast startup was present and enabled in the BIOS.

BIOS Hard Reset procedure

Power off the unit, switch the PSU off and unplug the PSU cord from either the wall or the power supply.

Remove the motherboard CMOS battery for about three to five minutes. In some cases it may be necessary to remove the graphics card to access the CMOS battery.

During that five minutes while the CMOS battery is out of the motherboard, press the power button on the case, continuously, for 15-30 seconds, in order to deplete any residual charge that might be present in the CMOS circuit. After the five minutes is up, reinstall the CMOS battery making sure to insert it with the correct side up just as it came out.

If you had to remove the graphics card you can now reinstall it, but remember to reconnect your power cables if there were any attached to it as well as your display cable.

Now, plug the power supply cable back in, switch the PSU back on and power up the system. It should display the POST screen and the options to enter CMOS/BIOS setup. Enter the bios setup program and reconfigure the boot settings for either the Windows boot manager or for legacy systems, the drive your OS is installed on if necessary.

Save settings and exit. If the system will POST and boot then you can move forward from there including going back into the bios and configuring any other custom settings you may need to configure such as Memory XMP, A-XMP or D.O.C.P profile settings, custom fan profile settings or other specific settings you may have previously had configured that were wiped out by resetting the CMOS.

In some cases it may be necessary when you go into the BIOS after a reset, to load the Optimal default or Default values and then save settings, to actually get the hardware tables to reset in the boot manager.

It is probably also worth mentioning that for anything that might require an attempt to DO a hard reset in the first place, IF the problem is related to a lack of video signal, it is a GOOD IDEA to try a different type of display as many systems will not work properly for some reason with displayport configurations. It is worth trying HDMI if you are having no display or lack of visual ability to enter the BIOS, or no signal messages.

Trying a different monitor as well, if possible, is also a good idea if there is a lack of display. It happens.
 
Aug 11, 2022
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Ok, being a desktop (Not sure why I was thinking it was a laptop) actually SHOULD make it easier. Try the following to reset the BIOS which should return it's boot order to the default configuration and potentially enable you to get into the BIOS if fast or ultra fast startup was present and enabled in the BIOS.

BIOS Hard Reset procedure

Power off the unit, switch the PSU off and unplug the PSU cord from either the wall or the power supply.

Remove the motherboard CMOS battery for about three to five minutes. In some cases it may be necessary to remove the graphics card to access the CMOS battery.

During that five minutes while the CMOS battery is out of the motherboard, press the power button on the case, continuously, for 15-30 seconds, in order to deplete any residual charge that might be present in the CMOS circuit. After the five minutes is up, reinstall the CMOS battery making sure to insert it with the correct side up just as it came out.

If you had to remove the graphics card you can now reinstall it, but remember to reconnect your power cables if there were any attached to it as well as your display cable.

Now, plug the power supply cable back in, switch the PSU back on and power up the system. It should display the POST screen and the options to enter CMOS/BIOS setup. Enter the bios setup program and reconfigure the boot settings for either the Windows boot manager or for legacy systems, the drive your OS is installed on if necessary.

Save settings and exit. If the system will POST and boot then you can move forward from there including going back into the bios and configuring any other custom settings you may need to configure such as Memory XMP, A-XMP or D.O.C.P profile settings, custom fan profile settings or other specific settings you may have previously had configured that were wiped out by resetting the CMOS.

In some cases it may be necessary when you go into the BIOS after a reset, to load the Optimal default or Default values and then save settings, to actually get the hardware tables to reset in the boot manager.

It is probably also worth mentioning that for anything that might require an attempt to DO a hard reset in the first place, IF the problem is related to a lack of video signal, it is a GOOD IDEA to try a different type of display as many systems will not work properly for some reason with displayport configurations. It is worth trying HDMI if you are having no display or lack of visual ability to enter the BIOS, or no signal messages.

Trying a different monitor as well, if possible, is also a good idea if there is a lack of display. It happens.
Still no luck. I tried this a couple of times with the same result. It stayed on the Lenovo screen for a couple of seconds longer than normal, I pressed “enter” as the screen prompts and the PC restarted - this only happened after resetting the CMOS. However when it restarted it still boots to windows no matter what is being pressed.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
So, maybe try disconnecting all drives and THEN reset the BIOS and THEN try powering on with no drives attached to see if you still get a blank screen.

Also, if you are stopped at the login screen when you try to boot into Windows, you can TRY pressing the Shift key while selecting Restart from the power options normally shown in the lower right side of the login screen. That might take you directly into the BIOS.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Might try the backdoor approach.
Boot the pc. As soon as windows starts loading, pull the plug. Literally.
Do that 3x.
On 4th boot, the pc should automatically go to recovery options, choose troubleshoot, then bios will be an option (it's called something like system startup settings)
 
Aug 11, 2022
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Might try the backdoor approach.
Boot the pc. As soon as windows starts loading, pull the plug. Literally.
Do that 3x.
On 4th boot, the pc should automatically go to recovery options, choose troubleshoot, then bios will be an option (it's called something like system startup settings)
Thanks. I’ve just tried this and the recovery loads however, it doesn’t let me go into start up settings (there is no response from the wired keyboard). It’s a similar result when I try to get to the UEFI via the windows login screen.
 
Aug 11, 2022
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So, maybe try disconnecting all drives and THEN reset the BIOS and THEN try powering on with no drives attached to see if you still get a blank screen.

Also, if you are stopped at the login screen when you try to boot into Windows, you can TRY pressing the Shift key while selecting Restart from the power options normally shown in the lower right side of the login screen. That might take you directly into the BIOS.
Still no luck. When there is no hard drive I don’t even see the Lenovo screen and I get a 1962 no operating system error.
I had already tried shift and restart from the login screen (see original post). I can click on troubleshoot but no option to reset or UEFI. I can get into recovery but it won’t let me select anything.
I’ve also tried removing and reinstalling the CPU and RAM to see if that forces it to enter the BIOS but still nothing. It’s like the BIOS is locked somehow. I’ve searched for literally hours trying to find the answer
this is so bizarre! I really have no idea what to do!

thank you for your help!
 
Aug 11, 2022
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Do you have another keyboard you can try? I have had this problem before on a number of systems where specific keyboards, whether wireless or wired, would not work, and I had to temporarily use another keyboard.
Yeh I’ve tried it with 2 keyboards and the same result. I’ve also just tried installing windows on an SSD on another computer and plugged it into the M91 and it’s not recognised - I still get the 1962 error
 
Aug 11, 2022
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What are the full hardware specs for this system?
IS6XM mobo, I5 2400, 2 x 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz, 1TB seagate HDD, BIOS version 1.24.1115.

I thought I’d try a couple of other things, and swap the RAM. It is now giving me a 0164 error (memory size decreased) with an option to press F1 for BIOS or F2 to continue. Pressing either button does nothing.

The keyboard is recognised (I tried unplugging the keyboard and it said no keyboard detected). I know you said it could be the keyboard - I have tried 2 different ones and when it was getting to the windows login it does work. The motherboard has no PS2 port so only USB keyboards will work.

Thanks
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Are both keyboards the same model?

Have you tried multiple USB ports and are you using the ports on the back of the machine or the front, or a hub?

Are you plugging the keyboard into USB 2.0 or 1.0 ports.

Honestly, it's beginning to sound to me like there is simply a fault with the BIOS ROM itself or some other part of the motherboard even though it does "work" enough to get to Windows. Being honest, I don't really think I have many more ideas at this point short of contacting Lenovo support and trying to see what they have to say which honestly, usually results in a waste of time as most of them (But not all) are even less knowledgeable than the average person and just work off a script.
 
Aug 11, 2022
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SOLVED!!!

It was the last roll of the dice before I was going to give up. I saw an old HP keyboard on marketplace that I just picked up to see if that would work and it did!

Before I was using a fairly recent wired keyboard and an equally as new wireless (keyboard). Both were detected but clearly this motherboard didn’t like them for whatever reason!

thanks so much for your help!
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I had a VERY STRONG feeling this was a keyboard issue, which is why I stayed after that line of thought. It was really the only thing it could be and since I've had this happen to me before on a number of systems including some of my own, I was pretty sure it was relevant. Glad it worked out man. Good luck.
 

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