Samsung Laptops - Roll Back Bios Updates?

Discussion in 'Samsung' started by isosunrise, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. TANWare

    TANWare Just This Side of Senile, I think. Super Moderator

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    Especially with the early Win8 Samsung systems I would be very careful with a bios dump and even flash. These early UEFI systems are well know to easily brick on bios flash.

    The problem you were having a lot of times has to do with cloning of a drive. If you cloned the drive and the drive ID number copied between the two drives you can not run both in the system at the same time. You may need to change one of the drive ID numbers.
     
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  2. dannyk65

    dannyk65 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you so very much for doing all this for my benefit...it has been a learning experience for me going through the process of trying to revive my laptop and this will help me SO much. It is greatly appreciated, Dannemand.

    Dan
     
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  3. mmortal03

    mmortal03 Notebook Geek

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    I've just purchased a used NP355E5C-A02US. The BIOS is American Megatrends Inc. P03ABG, 1/9/2013. BIOS mode Legacy.

    I've noticed that when booting from a Linux or Windows thumb drive, the BIOS doesn't detect the drive (or the DVD drive) on restart, so you have to turn it off, and turn it back on, and then it detects it. Could this be a bug in this version of the BIOS? I've gone into SW Update looking for a BIOS update for this specific model, but don't see one. Could there be a BIOS update under SW Update under similar models with the same motherboard, but this one just happened to not get one? Is there an easy way to find a later BIOS version that might work on it?

    Edit: Nevermind, I found the BIOSUpdate.exe tool posted elsewhere.

    Edit 2: I was able to install P05ABG, but that still didn't fix the problem. :( I suspect this is a bug in the BIOS that I'll just have to be stuck with.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  4. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Hi @mmortal03,

    I'm glad to hear you managed to update your BIOS, but sorry to hear it didn't solve that USB/ODD drive detection issue. It could indeed be a BIOS bug, or it could be caused by something WinPE/Linux do that prevents the BIOS from fully clearing and rebooting itself. I can think of a couple things you can try:

    1) Reset BIOS settings to default (F9 inside BIOS, as I recall).

    2) Clear NVRAM using the steps described here (last page in this thread).

    Both of these have been known to alleviate problems with booting and detecting drives.

    Make sure to restore any important BIOS settings afterwards -- particularly if you have changed your UEFI settings away from your laptop's default: For example, if it came with Win8.x (SecureBoot=On and OS Mode Selection=UEFI OS) and you switched to CSM mode at some point (OS Mode Selection=CSM OS), make sure it is set to CSM again after performing these resets, or you may not be able to boot from your HDD/SSD.

    NVRAM clearing is usually only something to do on a semi-bricked laptop. I need to point out that in your case, where (almost) everything is working, there is a small theoretical risk that it could add new problems or mess something up. I have never heard of a case when it did, but in the interest of full disclosure, I just want to mention it.

    Please keep us posted of the results if you try this.
     
  5. mmortal03

    mmortal03 Notebook Geek

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    Thanks, Dannemand! I'll make a decision on whether I want to give the NVRAM clearing a shot or not. A few additional things that I've thought of: What I'm doing could just be a special case that they had not intended, with no SATA drive installed in the hard drive bay, and booting from USB or DVD, even though, it, indeed, seems to be a bug. One thing I noticed is that if the USB or DVD has changed, you have to first boot up with no USB or DVD inserted, then insert them and restart it, and then they are detected. What I will next have to do is test booting to USB or DVD with a blank SATA drive installed in the bay, and see if this behavior is still the case. I don't always want to have a SATA drive installed, though, so it's still, to me, a bug. Like you said, clearing the NVRAM is another thing I could try. I already tried resetting the BIOS to its defaults, and it didn't change this behavior.
     
  6. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Got it! Yeah, I figured you'd probably already tried resetting BIOS settings.

    I didn't realize that you have no SATA drive installed. Could be that they never thought of that scenario -- or it could be that something is still stuck in the data tables causing the laptop to think that a SATA drive is there.

    Anyways, you know what you are doing and what to test. I'll be interested to hear if you find a solution to this.
     
  7. wojogary

    wojogary Newbie

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    Hello everyone,

    I am new here but have been reading these forums nonstop for a week straight trying to find solutions to the problem with my Samsung NP-QX411-W01UB Notebook.

    So basically about a week ago i installed a win 7 iso file with easybcd to run a dual boot/recovery system. Idk if something got fudged up in easybcd because i have used it before with no issues whatsoever. After installing the iso i rebooted and now there is no samsung logo at all on the splash screen, just a totally black screen with f2 and f4 in bottom left corner. F2, F4, F9, F10, F12 all do absolutely nothing and cannot access bios at all.

    Now after the black samsung logo screen the system then goes into an endless backlit to off screen. Not quite a black screen because there is illumination within the screen but you cannot see anything at all.

    The issue is im not even sure what my bios id is, to possibly repair the bios (if that is what is messed up). I did find a post here (http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/samsung-laptops-roll-back-bios-updates.696197/page-7 #63) where someone was saying that HS is the qx411-w01ub's Bios ID, but I have no clue.

    If anyone has any info or advice or anything really please reach out to me. I cannot afford to purchase a new laptop and all my family photos are presumed gone...

    Oh and Windows Recovery Environment never comes up, no 3x boot fail and then system repair, no advanced boot options either. I have tried a clean win 10, 8.1, 7 boot installs from DVD and USB. I have tried boot repair disks, WinPE, Linux live boot disks, removing the CMOS and battery all to no avail.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018 at 9:03 PM
  8. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    @wojogary: Check the guide linked below and that entire thread. I'm guessing that's your problem.

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/index.php?posts/9793018

    First challenge will be to be able to boot some form of Windows or WinPE, either from HDD, USB or DVD. That thread has some suggestions.

    Next you'll need to find out the Platform ID (BIOS family) for your model, so you can download and extract a BIOS file, as described in the opening post of this thread. It doesn't matter which version, as you won't have to flash it. You just need the flashing utility to clear the NVRAM.

    I'll try to help further, but probably won't get to it until Sunday at earliest.
     
  9. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    @wojogary: I had time to look a bit further into your case.

    As I mentioned in my original response to you, it sounds like your laptop is suffering from NVRAM corruption, an common infliction on Samsung laptops from around 1012-13, usually ones that came delivered with Win8 and used UEFI mode for the first time. It can cause boot problems and prevent the F-keys from working during boot to get into BIOS (F2), Recovery (F4) or to select a boot source (F10). It happens mostly when installing a new OS or booting Linux or LiveCDs or LiveUSBs, all of which write to NVRAM. Although the computer still turns on, it cannot boot anything, and it is effectively "semi-bricked" unless the NVRAM is cleared.

    To clear NVRAM, you use the BIOS flashing utility (extracted from a BIOS update file for your model) with the /cvar /patch parameters, as described in the thread I linked. Again, you do NOT have to re-flash the BIOS -- and in a case like yours I would not recommend flashing it, since we are not sure which BIOS Platform ID your model uses.

    The post you linked (here) does indeed mention "HS" as the Platform ID, but that is for a Samsung QX411-W01, whereas yours is NP-QX411-W01UB. Those UB models are Best Buy variants of general models, which often use a different BIOS family, and often are not updated. So I would not flash a HS BIOS without confirming that it is right for your model. But I would be OK using a flashing utility from a HS BIOS to clear NVRAM, as I suspect it is compatible with yours. I cannot guarantee it, though, so please understand the risk. (Your laptop is already semi-bricked anyway...)

    This link reveals that ITEM_20130227_889_WIN_10HS.exe is the latest HS BIOS update file, and it can be downloaded using this link. Once downloaded, you extract its contents as described in @isosunrise's guide in the first post of this thread, with additional guidance in post #350. (Follow those CAREFULLY, so you don't accidentally start flashing.) Inside you will find SFlash64.exe, which you run from an Administrator Command Prompt with the /cvar /patch parameters.

    BUT, in order to get that far, you must be able to boot some form of Windows or WinPE -- any version will do. And this is usually the biggest challenge, since NVRAM corruption affects which type of device can be booted (SATA, USB, DVD) and which format is required on that device, depending on whether the laptop is in UEFI mode or legacy BIOS/CSM mode.

    Usually WinPE on a USB stick is your best option. And disconnecting the HDD/SSD is usually required, so that the BIOS is forced to look for a boot source on an external device. You can try with different combinations of GPT/FAT32 and MBR/NTFS on USB flash drive and DVD, respectively, but if you are unable to boot any of them, you will have to pull that HDD form the laptop (if you haven't already). And even that isn't a guarantee.

    The thread I linked originally (again below) is our main thread on NVRAM clearing and has various suggestions on what to try.

    Samsung Series 7 - NP700Z5C-S03CA: My Last Hope

    That's really all I can give you. The rest is a lot of reading (the thread linked above and the links inside it) and experimenting (USB vs DVD, different combinations of formats for the boot device).

    As for salvaging the contents on the HDD (like your photos), you can simply connect it to another computer (either through internal SATA or in a USB enclosure) and backup its contents. I highly recommend doing that before anything else!
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018 at 3:20 PM
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