Question Is my BIOS up to date?

Frooby

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Hello.

I've had issues with my Lenovo M72e booting up (which I've asked about in another thread) but have managed to now get it to load Win 10 and I'm in a position to try and work out what the cause of continued boot up failures can be (in essence, starting up the PC will initially fail to even get in to BIOS - the fan spins, the power light comes on but absolutely nothing else happens. If I shut down and try again, it'll then usually manage to bootup but only after a good delay.)

I have downloaded Lenovo's Service Bridge 'update' app and ran a scan. This suggested a few updates which I've done but none of these included BIOS (which this app reckons it can update too). I am concerned about my BIOS since I feel this could be at the root of my boot-up problem, and also it is still on the 2013 version from when my PC was built despite info (see link below) suggesting much later (2018) upgrades are available.

First, my current BIOS info is:

BIOS REVISION LEVEL: F4KT45AUS 18/10/2013
BOOT BLOCK REVISION LEVEL: F445A (which, from Lenovo's page, makes this a 'Tiny' system)

This is the Lenovo BIOS page: https://support.lenovo.com/gb/en/downloads/ds029184

Could anyone confirm that this newer BIOS is for my PC?

(I know the consensus is to leave BIOS alone unless there's an obvious issue, but - man - I have issues...)

Many thanks.
 

Mrgr74

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Have you modified your cmos in any way? No overclocking or other shenanigans? Have you set it to default? Do you have a HDD or SSD as primary boot? If you disconnect it, are you able to access your cmos every time you boot? How much RAM do you have installed and is it in 1 or 2 sticks? I'm curious if you have an issue other than the Bios. Try disconnecting the boot drive and see if you can access the cmos every time. Try the same for the RAM if you have more than 1 stick installed. Your PC has the smaller notebook memory if I'm not mistaken mounted slightly sideways.
 
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Frooby

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Hi Mrgr74.

Thanks for your reply.

No, no shenanigans! This was an ex-business use PC which seemed totally original apart from having had Win 8 upgraded to 10.

But, yes, this did all occur when I was cloning the HDD to an SSD (plugged in to a USB cradle), and I'd also upgraded the RAM to 2 x 4GB matched Samsung sticks (yes, SO-DIMM) from the single 4GB (also Samsung but with a Lenovo label also on it). When the problems started, I replaced the original single RAM stick as one of my tests.

The original drive is an HDD and this is still in place (or should I say, I returned it when things went awry... ) I cannot fully recall the sequence of events, at what actual stage the booting up went weird. I have returned all the components to the originals, and can usually get it to boot up by restarting it a couple of times, and then - after a minute or so or whirring fan - the HDD light will start to flicker and she'll load Windows.

When you refer to CMOS, I presume you mean the wee chip wot holds the BIOS info? Ie, if I disconnect the HDD, the PC should boot to BIOS reliably?

I'll try that as soon as I can - but I've just lent my adaptor to my sis-in-law who's laptop one went kaput... :-(

Thanks so much - I'll report back as soon as I can. :)
 

Mrgr74

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Hi Mrgr74.

Thanks for your reply.

No, no shenanigans! This was an ex-business use PC which seemed totally original apart from having had Win 8 upgraded to 10.

But, yes, this did all occur when I was cloning the HDD to an SSD (plugged in to a USB cradle), and I'd also upgraded the RAM to 2 x 4GB matched Samsung sticks (yes, SO-DIMM) from the single 4GB (also Samsung but with a Lenovo label also on it). When the problems started, I replaced the original single RAM stick as one of my tests.

The original drive is an HDD and this is still in place (or should I say, I returned it when things went awry... ) I cannot fully recall the sequence of events, at what actual stage the booting up went weird. I have returned all the components to the originals, and can usually get it to boot up by restarting it a couple of times, and then - after a minute or so or whirring fan - the HDD light will start to flicker and she'll load Windows.

When you refer to CMOS, I presume you mean the wee chip wot holds the BIOS info? Ie, if I disconnect the HDD, the PC should boot to BIOS reliably?

I'll try that as soon as I can - but I've just lent my adaptor to my sis-in-law who's laptop one went kaput... :-(

Thanks so much - I'll report back as soon as I can. :)
Hi @Frooby

Correct, for the cmos. Have you reset it to default? Just to make sure those that had it before you weren't messin n' pokin about. (Ground yourself, then unplug the power cord from the PC, and then press the power button once. Now remove the small round, flat cmos battery from it's cradle on the motherboard & wait 5mins before reinstalling it. ) I'm thinking that there may be a boot error from the cloning process, which is why I wanted you to 1st reset the cmos and then try booting the system without any drives. (Booting as far as being able to see the first 5 seconds of when the PC starts before the PC tells you to enter a bootable device) Basically I'm wanting to see if you are able to enter the cmos every time you want to or if it's still buggy. Process of elimination. :) Since you have installed new RAM, try 1 stick at a time to check if the system boots and you can enter cmos. You'll have to manually enter the cmos like before, it'll not automaticall go there if no drives are installed.

Why are you using a USB cradle? I took a quick look at your mobo and it shows you have a single SATA port. Why not just plug the SSD directly into that (or the black adapter that plugs directly into the SATA port that also has power going to it) and then have the Windows ISO on a USB and then boot from the USB so it starts to install Win10 onto your SSD?

Edit - Face palm. Never mind. You needed to use the USB cradle because you have the HDD taking up the SATA port lol..
 
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Frooby

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Hi @Frooby

Correct, for the cmos. Have you reset it to default? Just to make sure those that had it before you weren't messin n' pokin about. (Ground yourself, then unplug the power cord from the PC, and then press the power button once. Now remove the small round, flat cmos battery from it's cradle on the motherboard & wait 5mins before reinstalling it. ) I'm thinking that there may be a boot error from the cloning process, which is why I wanted you to 1st reset the cmos and then try booting the system without any drives. (Booting as far as being able to see the first 5 seconds of when the PC starts before the PC tells you to enter a bootable device) Basically I'm wanting to see if you are able to enter the cmos every time you want to or if it's still buggy. Process of elimination. :) Since you have installed new RAM, try 1 stick at a time to check if the system boots and you can enter cmos. You'll have to manually enter the cmos like before, it'll not automaticall go there if no drives are installed.

Why are you using a USB cradle? I took a quick look at your mobo and it shows you have a single SATA port. Why not just plug the SSD directly into that (or the black adapter that plugs directly into the SATA port that also has power going to it) and then have the Windows ISO on a USB and then boot from the USB so it starts to install Win10 onto your SSD?

Edit - Face palm. Never mind. You needed to use the USB cradle because you have the HDD taking up the SATA port lol..
Hey, no-one's perfect :) Yes, there's only room for one drive inside. Also I wanted to clone the HDD rather than reinstall fresh Win 10 on to the SSD as there were a few other programs on the PC that I found useful.

I have tried all the 'try this first' suggestions on the forum sticky - I did remove the CMOS battery, removed all power for at least 5 minutes and also held the power button on for well over 30 seconds. I also removed the 2 new RAMs - even tho' they initially worked fine before I began the clone - and put back the single original stick.

In theory the HDD is also as it was before as I was cloning from that to the SSD, and the original HDD is back in the PC. Ah, I remember now - I did replace the HDD with the cloned SSD and Windows booted up, but I found that the Windows on the SSD was not 'activated'! I therefore put the HDD back (with its 'activated' Windows), fired her up, added the PC to my MS account so that it would recognise it, and then chucked in the SSD again. Somewhere along this torturous trail the starting-up process went awry.

Anyhoo, once I get my adaptor back I'll disconnect the HDD and see what happens.

Thank you so much :)
 

Frooby

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Hi Mrgr74.

PSU returned. Removed the HDD as you suggested, fired her up - and nothing. Fan whirrs, no signal to monitor, no POST beep.

Left it for around a minute and the fan speed dropped and the following appeared on the black screen:

This product is covered b y one of more of the following patents...blah blah blah.
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller Series v2.44 (10/07/11)
CLIENT MAC ADDR: 00 23 blah blah
DHCP... and a scrolling bar

This disappeared after a minute or so and a message - 'No operating system found' came up, before it reverted back to the original info.

What do I hit it with?

Thanks.
 

Mrgr74

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What do I hit it with?
Hi @Frooby

Do you have a baseball bat? How about a sledgehammer? :)

The no operating system found is just the systems way of saying there is no OS detected (hense because you removed the HDD) The other stuff that came up sounds like just the normal post info that is usually displayed once the PC is first turned on. Were you able to access the CMOS? Usually the F2 or DEL key, but it may be different for your system.

I wanted you to remove the HDD because I suspected that there was possibly an issue with it's ability to be used to boot from stemming from either trying to clone or possibly it was either starting to fail or the OS was somehow corrupted and so wanted to see if you had other issues, like perhaps bad RAM etc. If the PC otherwise tries to boot up like normal, until the "No operating system found" msg pops up that's more or less a good sign.

I know there were programs or files you wanted from the drive, but at this point, you may be better served by installing the SSD to the SATA port and having a bootable thumb drive with either Win7 or Win10 and install a fresh copy of the OS. Once up & running, contact MS to ask their help in activating Windows if it does not allow you to auto-activate. You may have to explain the cause to them. Ask for a supervisor to try and bypass the fluff.

I'd suggest you try Win10 Pro personally. You can download and install it for free, with a few restrictions Win10 has built in, but they are easily worked around if MS refuses to help you activate the original version of Windows you had or want to upgrade to.

Let us know what you plan on doing or do. I'm interested in seeing how it turns out!
 

Frooby

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Thanks again.

Ok, realising that no O/S was no operating system - no surprise since the HDD was removed - I thought I'd try reinstalling the SSD (on to which I'd already cloned the Win 10 from the original HDD, tho' I'd forgotten I had), plugged my USB stick with Win 10 on it (the Win 10 media installation tool thingy) in to the front hoping to have a complete new install, thought 'sodit' and also installed the two new 4GB RAM sticks as well, and fired her up. She responded with a whirr for a few seconds, a shut down, and then a quick restart (I'm guessing as she realised the RAM had changed), and then - it booted up to Win 10 and ran as fast as a fast thing. It did this from the SSD and not the USB stick - I'd forgotten that I'd already either cloned or reinstalled Win10 on to the SSD; it literally booted up as normal.

I played with it for a while, and everything worked as it should - it's a nicely fast wee beastie.

I then shut her down, tried a restart and - the fan runs constantly and b-all else happens.

I have tried this a few times since, but now't. It seems to have an issue with getting 'kicked off' in the first place with the whole BIOS/booting process. Whenever it does manage to boot up, it runs really well. At the moment, tho', it's back to square one - it just won't BIOS/POST nothing - not a single response from the monitor either; normally if you set the monitor (a TV in this case) to that input, you'll notice a 'jump', a flicker, a recognition that a signal has come along when you fire her up. But there's now't - not a blink.

I have a baseball bat.
 

Frooby

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Another possible symptom? - when I plug my USB stick in to any USB port, it gives the most brief of flicker and then nothing. When I plug it in to a 'working' PC, it lights up constantly regardless of whether it's being used. It's as tho' the USB ports on the M72e - as well as the monitor output - is 'dead', with no power or signal whatsoever.
 
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Frooby

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Back to square one - removed SSD and both RAM sticks and fired her up - same as before, nothing other than a spinning CPU fan. Not a flicker from the monitor.
 

Mrgr74

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Back to square one - removed SSD and both RAM sticks and fired her up - same as before, nothing other than a spinning CPU fan. Not a flicker from the monitor.
Only a few mobo's will allow a system to access CMOS without RAM installed. Especially since you have an integrated GPU which requires system RAM installed to use for it's own operation otherwise you'll get nada. In your case, you need at least 1 stick installed. Try that (if you haven't hit it with the baseball bat yet) If it boots up every time to the "No OS found" then I'd really give serious thought to installing a fresh version of the OS. Also try both sticks. I'm wondering if 1 of the sticks is funky. When you enter the CMOS, how much vRAM do you have dedicated? If you haven't given up on this machine, take pics of the different CMOS screens, so that we can have a look.

The old girl obviously has life left in her, just gotta find out whats givin her the fits.
 

Frooby

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She's very ill.

Replaced one stick of RAM as you suggested, removed HDD, fired her up - nothing, just a fastish spinning fan. Tried a different stick in the other slot, ditto.

Tried numerous shut-downs and restarts using the power button, same thing every time - not a flicker now, not even an occasional boot-up or message. No response from anything. :-(
 
The bios updates you linked do not have windows 10 support on the list.
Perhaps that is part of your issue.

As a test, try to boot memtest86 from a usb stick, it is OS agnostic.

The documentation looks like it is applicable.
I presume that the current bios level looks similar, but at a lower level.

Normally a bios update process will verify the applicability of the attempted update.
 

Frooby

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Hi Geo.

Thanks for coming in on this.

The PC came with Win10 installed and ran really well - the issues only began when I cloned the HDD on to an SSD and also upgraded the RAM. I have no idea, of course, whether the issue is related to this. The reluctance to boot up to BIOS seemed to be a gradual thing - initially if I left the PC running, the fan speed would drop down after around a minute or something, and then it would boot. This became more erratic and would occasionally load up first time, but more often would require a few restarts.

I shall try what you suggest (after looking up what memtest86 is...).

I'm also going to try a fresh battery on the board, although I did test the existing one when I removed it to reset the BIOS and it read over 3V.

Cheers - I'll report back.
 
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Hesitations during boot may be the motherboard trying to fix a ram issue. It could be looking for a ram setting that works.

I might attribute the increased fan speed to the cpu needing to work harder to find a good setting initially.

What was the original ram, and what is the new ram?
Ram must be bought as a single kit to work properly.
mismatched ram can cause symptoms like yours.

The cmos battery is used to hold bios settings changes across full power off.
It is unlikely to be the cause of your problem, they seem to last forever.

Love the lenovo tiny units.
I updated a M92 for the grandkids.
 
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Frooby

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Original RAM was a single 4GB stick. I'd upped this to 2x4GB sticks - a newly-bought matched pair - which worked initially when the PC was also working fine, but have gone back to the original single stick to get things back to the original state.

Replaced the CMOS battery - new one showing 3.3V as opposed to the removed's 3.02V - and pressed 'power'. Fast fan as before, no recognition of anything happening from the monitor. Left it for a minute and turned it off. Fired her up again and ditto - left it and then heard a beep-beep-beep from the next room whilst preparing fud. Found she'd booted up to BIOS and I was able to go through this with no issues (oh, and it also said 'memory reduced' or similar, so it'd recognised that I'd gone from 2 sticks to one).

Shut her down, tried it again - and back to bludy square one. Fast fan, nothing else. :-(

I have found memtest86 and currently trying to work out which files need to go on the USB - will test it on a working PC first...

Interesting what you say about the possible cause of the delay and fast fan, but it did manage a boot to BIOS and also clearly recognised that the RAM had dropped in size, but it still wouldn't repeat the boot-up.

Grrrrrrrrrr.

Will report back with memtest - thanks for that suggestion.
 

Frooby

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I have all but given up on this thing - it's as tho' it's trying to wind me up.

Whey-hooo - after anothr restart, it booted up smoothly to Win 10 and ran like a dream. Damn, it's a fast & sweet little PC when it's working. Right, I had meanwhile signed up to Lenovo's support site on another PC, and found they had a full diagnostics kit as part of their services; cool, I'll connect the Len and it'll test everything!

Plugged in my Ethernet cable, clicked Google and - 'no network connection'. Tried diagnosing and it said "Reset Ethernet Adaptor". Followed all the instructions to do this, and now't, no change. Surfed and surfed for solutions, tried them all and finally downloaded on my other PC the Network drivers on to a USB, transferred the USB to the Len (still running like a dream!), the Len recognised the USB! (well, I have such little expectation these days...) and installed the driver!

No difference. Ah, perhaps I need to restart to compete the install?

You guessed it - it wouldn't restart :-( Fan just runs and runs.

Worse - if things could get worse - when I tried later, all that now happens when I press the power button is that the power light flickers on for a very brief moment, and the fan blips in to life and then immediately shuts off again. I no longer even have a spinning fan to comfort me.

I cannae tak any more, cap'n. I don't think I have any option now but to eBay 'for spares or repair' it.
 

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