Question Pre-BIOS takes for ever but after takes approximately 5 seconds

Nov 5, 2019
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Hello everyone,

{Edited to add information gathered}

I have recently found that my laptop (Lenovo Z50) has begun taking up to 30 minutes to reach the boot (the time between pressing the power button and seeing something other than a black screen).
During this pre-boot state:
  • the power LED is on but there is nothing on the screen.
  • Pressing the NUMLock key or CapsLock key does not toggle the corresponding LED.
  • Removing the charging cable is the only thing which does create a response (a high pitched beep which I enabled in BIOS for this purpose)
The boot itself then takes approximately 5 seconds and from there it works flawlessly. I cannot think of exactly when this started, nor what might have caused it.

So far I have:
  • Ensured BIOS is updated
  • Updated all other drivers
  • Replaced the hard drive with an SSD (this improved the BIOS boot time, but the pre-boot still takes a very long time)
  • Checked the BIOS clock and found that it is correct
  • Attempted a repair with DISM and SFC (which revealed no issues)
  • Using the SEATools program, ran a Short DST and Long Generic Test (which revealed no issues)
  • Ran MEMTest86 (which revealed no issues)
    • When running the MEMTest 86 from USB stick, the 30 minute wait did persist before it started to boot.
Has anyone come across something like this before?
How did you get around it?

Thank you in advance 😊
 
Last edited:

Eximo

Titan
Herald
Possibly a sign of a dead CMOS battery. Does it mention anything like settings have been changed? Or is the clock wrong in the BIOS?

Does it reboot normally?

Looks like it might be soldered on in this model. So best to find out if it is dead or not.

If the system works flawlessly after that, that more or less rules out memory issues or the like. So not really sure.
 
Nov 5, 2019
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Possibly a sign of a dead CMOS battery. Does it mention anything like settings have been changed? Or is the clock wrong in the BIOS?

Does it reboot normally?

Looks like it might be soldered on in this model. So best to find out if it is dead or not.

If the system works flawlessly after that, that more or less rules out memory issues or the like. So not really sure.

Thank you for your response.

I have checked the BIOS clock and it is correct, and i've not seen any mention of settings being changed.

If i restart the laptop, it restarts normally (within 25 - 30 seconds)
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
My guess would be initial thermals. Maybe the fan is not running or the fan motor is weak, and it is throttling during POST attempts because the CPU is normally full clock rate and full voltage during pre-POST environments, so it's hotter than it would be under idle or moderate loads in Windows. Just a thought anyhow.

It's MORE likely that this is a faulty motherboard or a problem with the BIOS ROM. In any case, it's not likely to be something easily solved since you've already replaced the drive.

Did you clone the Windows installation or did you do a clean install of Windows? If you cloned the OS from the HDD to the SSD, you might have simply copied the whole problem to the new drive. If there is a borked boot partition then it's probably going to take a clean install to fix it. If you've already done a clean install, then it's likely hardware related to the motherboard or CPU thermals.
 
Reactions: PC Tailor
Nov 5, 2019
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My guess would be initial thermals. Maybe the fan is not running or the fan motor is weak, and it is throttling during POST attempts because the CPU is normally full clock rate and full voltage during pre-POST environments, so it's hotter than it would be under idle or moderate loads in Windows. Just a thought anyhow.

It's MORE likely that this is a faulty motherboard or a problem with the BIOS ROM. In any case, it's not likely to be something easily solved since you've already replaced the drive.

Did you clone the Windows installation or did you do a clean install of Windows? If you cloned the OS from the HDD to the SSD, you might have simply copied the whole problem to the new drive. If there is a borked boot partition then it's probably going to take a clean install to fix it. If you've already done a clean install, then it's likely hardware related to the motherboard or CPU thermals.
Thank you for your response. I can hear the fan running, so I don't think it's thermal related.

I did clone the hard drive, so I may well have transferred the problem as you said. I will try resetting.

Thank you again
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
No, do NOT "reset". A reset is only going to change core OS files to ensure that there are no corrupted versions.

First, try this.

Repairing issues with DISM using RestoreHealth option

If there are issues, then you can use DISM with the RestoreHealth option, which will run an advanced scan and repair any problems automatically.


  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
Then this:

How to run SFC to repair installation problems on Windows 10

The instructions outlined above will repair any issues inside the local image that's part of the current installation. But they don't fix any problems with the actual Windows 10 installation. However, now that you have a working image, you can use the System File Checker to repair common issues preventing Windows 10 from running correctly.


To use the SFC command tool to repair the Windows 10 installation, use these steps:


  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:
    SFC /scannow

Then shut down. Then restart and see if you have the same problem. If you do, then I would advise you to check your drive for problems by running Seatools for Windows or WD lifeguard tools for Windows. Run the short DST and long generic tests.
 
Nov 5, 2019
10
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No, do NOT "reset". A reset is only going to change core OS files to ensure that there are no corrupted versions.

First, try this.

Repairing issues with DISM using RestoreHealth option

If there are issues, then you can use DISM with the RestoreHealth option, which will run an advanced scan and repair any problems automatically.


  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
Then this:

How to run SFC to repair installation problems on Windows 10

The instructions outlined above will repair any issues inside the local image that's part of the current installation. But they don't fix any problems with the actual Windows 10 installation. However, now that you have a working image, you can use the System File Checker to repair common issues preventing Windows 10 from running correctly.


To use the SFC command tool to repair the Windows 10 installation, use these steps:


  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:
    SFC /scannow
Then shut down. Then restart and see if you have the same problem. If you do, then I would advise you to check your drive for problems by running Seatools for Windows or WD lifeguard tools for Windows. Run the short DST and long generic tests.
Thank you for your suggestions. I will certainly give it a go!
 
Nov 5, 2019
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No, do NOT "reset". A reset is only going to change core OS files to ensure that there are no corrupted versions.

First, try this.

Repairing issues with DISM using RestoreHealth option

If there are issues, then you can use DISM with the RestoreHealth option, which will run an advanced scan and repair any problems automatically.


  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
Then this:

How to run SFC to repair installation problems on Windows 10

The instructions outlined above will repair any issues inside the local image that's part of the current installation. But they don't fix any problems with the actual Windows 10 installation. However, now that you have a working image, you can use the System File Checker to repair common issues preventing Windows 10 from running correctly.


To use the SFC command tool to repair the Windows 10 installation, use these steps:


  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:
    SFC /scannow
Then shut down. Then restart and see if you have the same problem. If you do, then I would advise you to check your drive for problems by running Seatools for Windows or WD lifeguard tools for Windows. Run the short DST and long generic tests.
I have now run the SFC command tool and unfortunately this didn't fix the issue, i then ran the Seatools and it showed no memory problems.

Thank you for your suggestions.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Seatools doesn't check for memory problems. It is for testing your storage devices. Hard drives, Solid state drives, etc.

And unless you have a very small drive, I don't think it's likely that between the time I posted that information and now, you could have possibly run the Long Generic test and completed it. That takes a LONG time to run. Many hours. I suppose if you began it immediately after I posted that, then it's possible, but since you should have run first the Short DST (Drive self test) and THEN run the Long Generic test, and ran them for EVERY connected drive, it seems a little less likely especially if you have more than one connected internal drive.

Are you sure you ran those tests?

If so, then I'd recommend next that you DO test the memory, next, by running Memtest.

Memtest86


Go to the Passmark software website and download the USB Memtest86 free version. You can do the optical disk version too if for some reason you cannot use a bootable USB flash drive.

Create bootable media using the downloaded Memtest86 (NOT Memtest86+, that is a different, older version and is outdated). Once you have done that, go into your BIOS and configure the system to boot to the USB drive that contains the Memtest86 USB media or the optical drive if using that option.


Create a bootable USB Flash drive:

1. Download the Windows MemTest86 USB image.

2. Right click on the downloaded file and select the "Extract to Here" option. This places the USB image and imaging tool into the current folder.

3. Run the included imageUSB tool, it should already have the image file selected and you just need to choose which connected USB drive to turn into a bootable drive. Note that this will erase all data on the drive.



No memory should ever fail to pass Memtest86 when it is at the default configuration that the system sets it at when you start out or do a clear CMOS by removing the CMOS battery for five minutes.

Best method for testing memory is to first run four passes of Memtest86, all 11 tests, WITH the memory at the default configuration. This should be done BEFORE setting the memory to the XMP profile settings. The paid version has 13 tests but the free version only has tests 1-10 and test 13. So run full passes of all 11 tests. Be sure to download the latest version of Memtest86. Memtest86+ has not been updated in MANY years. It is NO-WISE as good as regular Memtest86 from Passmark software.

If there are ANY errors, at all, then the memory configuration is not stable. Bumping the DRAM voltage up slightly may resolve that OR you may need to make adjustments to the primary timings. There are very few secondary or tertiary timings that should be altered. I can tell you about those if you are trying to tighten your memory timings.

If you cannot pass Memtest86 with the memory at the XMP configuration settings then I would recommend restoring the memory to the default JEDEC SPD of 1333/2133mhz (Depending on your platform and memory type) with everything left on the auto/default configuration and running Memtest86 over again. If it completes the four full passes without error you can try again with the XMP settings but first try bumping the DRAM voltage up once again by whatever small increment the motherboard will allow you to increase it by. If it passes, great, move on to the Prime95 testing.

If it still fails, try once again bumping the voltage if you are still within the maximum allowable voltage for your memory type and test again. If it still fails, you are likely going to need more advanced help with configuring your primary timings and should return the memory to the default configuration until you can sort it out.

If the memory will not pass Memtest86 for four passes when it IS at the stock default non-XMP configuration, even after a minor bump in voltage, then there is likely something physically wrong with one or more of the memory modules and I'd recommend running Memtest on each individual module, separately, to determine which module is causing the issue. If you find a single module that is faulty you should contact the seller or the memory manufacturer and have them replace the memory as a SET. Memory comes matched for a reason as I made clear earlier and if you let them replace only one module rather than the entire set you are back to using unmatched memory which is an open door for problems with incompatible memory.

Be aware that you SHOULD run Memtest86 to test the memory at the default, non-XMP or custom profile settings BEFORE ever making any changes to the memory configuration so that you will know if the problem is a setting or is a physical problem with the memory.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Also, Lenovo has it's own suite of extended diagnostic tests for it's laptops as well. It might not be the worst idea to run that and see if anything shakes out. If not, then I'd suggest it might simply be a motherboard issue, because just about everything on a laptop is either part of or connected to the motherboard, in a way that makes most of it aside from a few common components like the storage drives and in some cases the memory, impossible to replace. It might definitely be worth replacing the CMOS battery if you haven't already as was mentioned earlier in this thread.

https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/overview
 
Do you have many usb peripherals, printers or external drives plugged into your laptop? For example, i've seen it where a usb printer was on, connected to computer and as soon as you would unplug or turn off the printer, boot times would go back to normal. It could be any USB device that can negatively affect boot times so try to unplug all usb devices and re-check your boot times.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Yes, I agree. I have two, perfectly normal functioning WD 8TB external hard drives, and if either or both of them are connected when I boot, it takes about three times as long for the POST process to complete as it does without them connected.

I'm not sure that ANY kind of connected device could have a 30 minute impact on your POST or BOOT times though, not unless something was seriously wrong with one of those devices. To see, I'd do as he suggests and disconnect ANY external devices if there are any. That includes any mouse or keyboard, drives, BT adapters, etc.
 
Nov 5, 2019
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Do you have many usb peripherals, printers or external drives plugged into your laptop? For example, i've seen it where a usb printer was on, connected to computer and as soon as you would unplug or turn off the printer, boot times would go back to normal. It could be any USB device that can negatively affect boot times so try to unplug all usb devices and re-check your boot times.
Hi there, thank you for your response, and apologies for the slow reply. I have tried removing all peripheries (which only included a wireless mouse and a MicroSD Card to SD Card converter) and unfortunately this did not get any different results.
 
Nov 5, 2019
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Also, Lenovo has it's own suite of extended diagnostic tests for it's laptops as well. It might not be the worst idea to run that and see if anything shakes out. If not, then I'd suggest it might simply be a motherboard issue, because just about everything on a laptop is either part of or connected to the motherboard, in a way that makes most of it aside from a few common components like the storage drives and in some cases the memory, impossible to replace. It might definitely be worth replacing the CMOS battery if you haven't already as was mentioned earlier in this thread.

https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/overview
I have worked my way through the diagnostic tool, and have found no problems with the hardware unfortunately. I am attempting to run the MEMTest86 tests, but am struggling with getting it to boot from the USB for reasons i've not figured out yet. I've enabled USB boot in BIOS, and the usb shows up, but it's not finding the image.

I'm flashing a different USB now in case it was faulty. I will report back when i know more.

Thank you again for all your help!
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Does your BIOS offer a boot overrride function? It might be necessary to USE that in order to boot from a USB device. Or, it might, in some rare cases, be necessary to disconnect your OS drive so that the USB drive is the only device attached that has a bootable partition.
 
Nov 5, 2019
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Does your BIOS offer a boot overrride function? It might be necessary to USE that in order to boot from a USB device. Or, it might, in some rare cases, be necessary to disconnect your OS drive so that the USB drive is the only device attached that has a bootable partition.
I have now run the Memtest program, and my laptop passed without any errors.
 
Nov 5, 2019
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Ok, what CPU do you have? Or, what is the exact model of your laptop. The designation Z50 is only a series, and there can be many submodels within that series.
The Laptop is: LENOVO Z50 type 80E7

The CPU is: Intel Core i7 4510U @ 2.00GHz

From these tests I have some supplementary side information that may or may not be useful, but I will share it anyway:
  • When running the MEMTest 86 from USB stick, the 30 minute wait did persist before it started to boot.
  • During this pre-boot state
    • the power LED is on but there is nothing on the screen.
    • Pressing any the NUMLock key or CapsLock key does not toggle the corresponding LED.
    • Removing the charging cable is the only thing which does create a response (a high pitched beep which I enabled in BIOS for this purpose)
 
Do you have another drive to test with? Backup your data, take out that system drive and put in the temporary drive. Install windows and see if the issue replicates:
If it doesn't then you know the issue resides with the wndows installation.
If it does, we know to troubleshoot the bios further.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Sort of hard to imagine having the same exact problem with a brand new SSD as they had with the original HDD, unless it was due to cloning and carrying the problem to the new drive. I'd highly recommend that ONLY the SSD be connected and try a clean install. If that doesn't work, then it just about has to be a motherboard problem of some kind.
 
If you power off the laptop, unplug and take the laptop battery out of the laptop (hold down the power button with the battery out for 10 seconds), then plug in the ac adapter (Leaving the battery out). Does this affect the boot times?
 
Last edited:

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
It's true that new hardware can certainly be defective. However, I don't think I've ever seen a brand new component be defective in the EXACT same way as the component it was replacing, unless something else was causing it to become defective as soon as it was connected.
 
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