Samsung NP530 - boot loop

Discussion in 'Samsung' started by GMCVAN91, Dec 31, 2018.

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  1. GMCVAN91

    GMCVAN91 Newbie

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    Hello,

    Although I have found and read several forums with the "All boot options are tried" error, not one have helped my problem yet.

    I own NP530U3C, where Win 8 was preinstalled. Several years ago windows would not boot so I tried several things which I do not remember anymore, but my best bet is I tried to install Ubuntu or Debian. Anyway, I could never get into BIOS. I booted from usb stick - by formatting the HDD in another computer first. And then I could never boot from HDD again, even though I installed new OS on it properly. So to make my laptop work I used my USB stick with GRUB installed on it to boot the Linux installed on HDD. Stupid, but it worked. Until it did not.

    When I ran out of possibilities, I kept my laptop in a drawer for about two years - until yesterday.

    So here is what I have tried so far:
    - USB stick with
    - Windows 7 installation
    - Ubuntu 16.04 live
    - Hard drive with
    - Windows 7 preinstalled
    - Ubuntu preinstalled
    - SD card with Ubuntu live

    neither of which worked. It all ends with "All boot options are tried .....". It reboots whatever key I press down.

    I cannot get into BIOS setup. I have in fact no idea why it does not find my bootable drives - I know they all work as I have tried them in my old HP 6910p.

    I know I messed up, I had /and still do not/ have no idea how does UEFI work. All my other computers worked great, I could get into BIOS every time and install whatever I wanted to :) but I hope I did not kill my laptop .)

    Is there a way to save it? I am even willing to install the terrible Windows 8 just to make it work again. There is used MB for sale, it is not expensive, so I could buy it - but would that help me?

    Thanks
     
  2. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Hello @GMCVAN91, welcome to NBR.

    Don't be hard on yourself: What happened to your laptop was not your fault. It was caused by a vulnerability on the first generations of Samsung laptops delivered with Win8 -- and thus the first to use UEFI mode by default. The computer's NVRAM (Non-Volatile RAM, used by operating systems to store boot information) overflows and becomes corrupted, which leads to F-keys not working during boot (thus unable to enter BIOS settings) and usually various other boot problems as well. It is almost always caused by installing or updating an operating system, and Linux builds around that time were notorious for causing it.

    NVRAM can be cleared, which solves the problem (see below). But unfortunately it requires booting some form of Windows -- which often is the biggest obstacle. Many users have this problem for years without realizing it, because their Windows still boots. Then after a re-install or update, Windows no longer boots -- and now clearing it has become much harder, sometimes even impossible. The general advice is to immediately clear NVRAM if one finds that F2 does not work to enter BIOS during boot, but is still able to boot Windows.

    Several threads about this exist here in the NBR Samsung forum. The main thread is this (that was a link) which has a guide in post #7, along with updated information and more links added at the end of the post.

    The general steps are:

    1) Create some form of Windows that you can boot, either from HDD, USB or DVD. I realize you have already tried everything, but study the entire thread I linked and the links in that guide for inspiration. Often WinPE from DVD is your best chance. Make sure to try different layouts: GPT/FAT32 (required if the computer is in UEFI mode) or MBR/NTFS (if it is in legacy BIOS/CSM mode).

    If you use the battery disconnect pinhole on the bottom (available on some models) or take out the main & CMOS batteries and press the power button for awhile, you may be able to reset CMOS/BIOS settings. Unfortunately this will not clear the NVRAM (that would be too easy). But on most models it will reset your computer to UEFI mode (so you know it will be looking to boot a GPT/FAT32 source) and disable Fast BIOS Boot (which will make it look for external boot sources when no OS is found on HDD). Then disconnect the HDD and try booting from USB or DVD.

    Once you (hopefully) are able to boot Windows or WinPE, don't reboot until NVRAM has been cleared! There is no guarantee that you will be able to boot Windows a second time.

    2) Locate, download and extract the latest BIOS update file for your model, using the guide in the opening post of our BIOS Rollback thread. The guide describes everything, with additional instruction in post #350. This is best done on another computer, with the BIOS files saved on a USB stick for use on the Samsung laptop.

    If you happen to be on an older BIOS version, simply updating it will clear NVRAM.

    If you are already on the latest BIOS version (most common) you will have to extract the contents of the BIOS update file (as described in that BIOS Rollback guide) and run the BIOS flashing utility from an Administrator Command Prompt with the /cvar /patch parameters (e.g. sflash64 /cvar /patch or sflash32 /cvar /patch or WinFlash64 /cvar /patch). This will clear NVRAM.

    Note that you do not have to rollback the BIOS, as many people think. While that will indeed clear NVRAM, simply running the flashing utility with those parameters will do the trick, and avoid adding another risky step.

    3) Once NVRAM is cleared, reboot and re-install your OS as described in the main NVRAM clearing guide (again, here).

    4) Some users have been unable to boot any form of Windows from any boot source, in which case the least costly fix is usually to re-flash the physical BIOS chip, which requires soldering skills and access to an EEPROM burner. This, again will clear NVRAM on first boot.

    I would certainly think that replacing the motherboard (as you asked) would also solve the problem. But if buying a used motherboard (eBay or such) make sure it isn't one that is suffering the very same problem. I can imagine some cynical people who would sell a semi-bricked laptop as replacement parts, including an afflicted motherboard.

    You have some work ahead of you, but do know that many users have salvaged their laptops this way. The first part of the project should be reading. As you have already seen, this problem can go from mild to worse, and if there is any chance that your laptop can boot WinPE from USB or DVD, you don't want to lose that advantage.

    Good luck. Please keep us updated with your progress.

    Oh, and Happy New Year to you :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  3. GMCVAN91

    GMCVAN91 Newbie

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    Thank you for your answer, Dannemand! I did not expect anyone to be able to reply today :)

    I do have the pinhole and I have tried to force BIOS to default settings by unplugging the CMOS battery and pressing the pinhole button and power button for a while. I believe my BIOS should be reset by now, as I have tried this several times :) I forgot to mention this.

    Anyways, thanks for the exhausting reply, I will keep you guys posted. I will go for the WinPE. My notebook does not have a DVD drive, though. I guess it does not make any sense to plug an external DVD drive to USB, does it? It would be probably the very same as with the USB stick. Just checking - with all this UEFI madness, it seems my understanding of computers has just disappeared :-D


    Happy New Year to you to! It is 15 minutes till midnight here. This is my best New Years Eve in years, as I get to be home and don't have to be at work in a pub! Yay! :D
     
  4. GMCVAN91

    GMCVAN91 Newbie

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    Dannemand, you are the MAN!

    While I am still knocking the wood for good luck, I have so far managed to boot WinPE and right now I am in the middle of installing W7. I hope I won't brick the thing again.

    /EDIT/
    Picture 1
    Picture 2
    /EDIT END/

    Here is what I have done:

    - downloaded "Gandalf'sWin10PEx64Redstone3-07-10-2018.iso"
    - flashed the ISO on my USB drive using Rufus, FAT32 @ GPT (this took about 2h 40min on my old 6910p - this old and heavy thing is my lifesaver, because it works everytime, anytime I need it and never let me down <3 but it only has USB 2.0 so it takes a while to copy 5 GB to my very cheap USB drive)
    - made sure my BIOS is reset to default by unplugging charger, pushing the pinhole button and pressing down power button. I have done this several times using different procedures - holding both buttons simultaenously, and then pressing one for few seconds, releasing and pressing down again. Just to make sure it really is reset as I am unaware of the exact function of the pinhole button.

    - After the ISO burning on my USB drive was finished, I successfully started WinPE. I did not expect this to work out, in fact, and was ready to buy another motherboard or a new EEPROM.

    - I began the search for my BIOS version (or UEFI? I am not really sure what is the topology with these things).
    - BIOSUpdate.exe from Samsung website revealed my BIOS version was P09ABH and the newest one is P13ABH (1st Jan 2019)
    - Using several topics of this great forums and some googling, I have downloaded versions P06 and P13. Just to be sure.
    - ITEM_20130129_989_WIN_P06ABH.exe
    - ITEM_20150810_21499_WIN_P13ABH.exe

    - I executed the P13 version and copied the __Samsung_update folder to a safe place.
    - I ran the suggested CVAR Sflash64 /cvar /patch and then my laptop rebooted.
    - I was able to enter my BIOS settings by pressing F2! This was really unexpected! I have already decided to give this thing one last chance to live before throwing it to garbage, as it was in my drawer for some years now, unusable.

    - I disabled fastboot, secure boot and switched from UEFI to legacy BIOS.
    - Booted my W7 installation USB drive and by now the computer is "Checking video performance"


    I have to say, I really am happy and hope this installation will finish with success. It could happen I won't be able to get W7 drivers for this thing, so I will have to get W8 somewhere. But that is the least of my worries right now :)

    Thank you once again, Dannemand, you have helped so many people. Some of them were users of this forums, but lots and lots of others have just found your replies on Google and used whatever worked for them. I admire your work and the time you invested in helping others.

    I hope I will not have to go through this again.......

    Have a great year 2019!

    Greetings from Czech republic,

    GMCVAN91
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
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  5. GMCVAN91

    GMCVAN91 Newbie

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    UPDATE:

    So it is dead again :)

    I have successfully installed W7. I went through some troubles finding drivers for both ethernet and wireless, but I managed. Unfortunately, Intel does not offer legacy drivers to be downloaded anymore and those from Samsung did not work since they were intended for W8, but I found some on other manufacturers websites. So my display, wireless and lan worked. Until I installed my language into W7 and tried to activate. Then it would make an attempt to reboot and would not boot W7 again.

    It would just show the Samsung logo, restart, show the logo and so on. I could not even turn it off. So I punched the pinhole button again. BTW - this does actually reset my BIOS settings to defaults. I had to see the terrible "All boot options are tried" message again, but I managed to get into BIOS setup by pressing F2 this time.

    I will try to install W7 one more time. I like it better than W8 and I have compatible drivers now, so I will give it a shot.

    I am thinking the very first thing I am going to do will be updating my BIOS to the newest version once windows boots up again.
     
  6. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Great job getting that NVRAM cleared and bringing your laptop back to life!

    I would definitely update BIOS to latest before installing Windows again. Just run the BIOS updater file directly in WinPE (no extraction). But do keep those extracted BIOS files handly, in case you ever need to clear NVRAM again.

    Whether to stay in UEFI mode or switch to CSM is a bit of a pickle: We generally recommend leaving older generations of Samsung laptops in their default mode: UEFI on models delivered with Win8.x, legacy BIOS/CSM on models delivered with Win7. But Several Samsung users reported problems with Win7 and UEFI back in the days, so that's a reason to switch to CSM mode if you want to use Win7. Samsung delivered some "business models" with Win7 after the first Win8 models came out, and they actually delivered them in CSM mode, which I take as a hint.

    Win8.1 is my preferred Windows version: It's a bit faster than Win7, and with ClassicShell I never have to see the Modern/Metro stuff (which I don't use). Win10 has a few benefits, but the amount of background processing is such a drain on performance. Even with the trimming that Win10 Pro allows me to do, I always get the feeling the laptop belongs to Microsoft, not to me. And Samsung provided native Win8.1 drivers for the older models, whereas for Win10 I have to rely on generic Microsoft drivers.

    You asked whether trying a USB DVD drive would make sense, and for others in this situation, I would say it does: Even if you are unable to boot a USB stick, it is possible you might be able to boot a DVD from such a drive, as it scans for various combinations of possible boot sources, depending on the BIOS settings (SecureBoot, UEFI/CSM, Fast BIOS Boot etc).

    Once again great job. This should make for a good start to your New Year. And thank you for posting your updates here :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  7. GMCVAN91

    GMCVAN91 Newbie

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    This is strange, the installation failed three times now. Every time in the last step "finalizing", or something like that. Just before it should ask my name.

    I googled the error, which is "Windows setup could not configure to run on this computers hardware" and Microsoft suggests to run C:\Windows\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe - this will get me to several next step, before showing the error again and returning me several steps back.

    I think that BIOS for some reason cannot find windows boot partition.

    When there is only W7 installed (semi-installed) on the HDD, I get the "All options are tried loop".
    When I install Ubuntu first, it works and boots great. So I go ahead and install W7. I get through to the error about my hardware (above) and have no other choice than restarting. GRUB shows up, letting me choose from both Ubuntu and W7. Ubuntu works great, W7 hangs at the end of the installation again.

    I have absolutely no idea what went wrong, as it worked perfectly before I tried to activate W7 in the first place.

    My laptop has 24 GB SSD drive (I have no idea why) and 500 GB SATA HDD.
    I remember that during the first installation, it created System Partition (100MB) on both SSD and HDD. I don't know where the bootloader was. During these new installations I have tried to fresh partitioning of my drives as well. It creates the System Partition only on the SSD.

    I wonder, what was the 24 GB SSD used for when these laptops where brand new? Was some kind of recovery there?



    Anyway, I am going to get my hand on W8.1 ISO tomorrow and try to install that one. I'd like dual boot with Ubuntu, but right now I will be happy for any single system, Linux or Windows :)
     
  8. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    That's a whole other problem you have there, another classic on Samsung laptops, which I should have mentioned when seeing your model number: You cannot simply install Windows from USB stick on models with ExpressCache (the 24GB SSD you're seeing). It is meant to be used for caching only, but Windows Setup gets confused and installs its boot files on it (System Partition, so-called MSR). However, the SSD cannot be booted, thus causing the installation to hang on first boot.

    Follow this install guide, and in particular one of the procedures in posts #1 or #2. That will place the System Partition and Windows' boot files onto your HDD instead of on the unbootable ExpressCache SSD.

    You can also install from DVD instead, that will avoid the issue entirely.

    Dinner is ready, afraid I won't have much time after this until Thursday...

    Edit: Once Windows is up and running, you can install the ExpressCache software to use the SSD for caching, which speeds up HDD access. But the cache will be flushed every time you dual boot, so if you regularly use Ubuntu, you may be better off using the SSD for something else.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  9. fibonacci24

    fibonacci24 Newbie

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    Hi Dannemand,
    I got a same problem like this on my laptop Samsung Q470C , and I have followed some guides from this forum.
    now I can and only can start it through cd-rom or usb-cd-rom used DVD disc which I have burned a PE before.
    My question is how can I install the BIOSupdate.exe into a DVD disc? will it be possible?or some PE.iso has be already exists which contains the exe.
    I need some help,Thanks
     
  10. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Hello fibonacci24, welcome to NBR.

    You don't describe the exact symptoms you're seeing, but if you are unable to enter BIOS with F2 from a cold restart, and if your laptop model was one that came with Win8 pre-installed originally, then there is a good chance that NVRAM corruption is your problem.

    And in that case it is great that you are able to boot from DVD with WinPE. Many others in that situation are unable to boot anything. Make sure you don't lose that benefit with too much experimenting.

    If you know that you are not on the latest BIOS version, then BIOSupdate.exe is indeed your easiest route. Download it from from here (that was a link). If you have internet access from your WinPE, you can download it directly in there. Otherwise it is best done on another PC. Save it on a USB flash drive or a memory card, then plug that into the Samsung. WinPE should be able to read it.

    If you are already on the latest BIOS version, BIOSupdate.exe won't help. You have to download a BIOS update file specifically for your model, extract its contents, then run the BIOS flashing utility with the parameters to clear NVRAM (such as sflash64 /cvar /patch or sflash32 /cvar /patch or WinFlash64 /cvar /patch). Follow the steps in my post #2 above and the links in it.

    You will need to know the Platform ID (BIOS family) of your model in order to download the correct BIOS update file. If you have saved BIOS update files from the past, it is the last 2-3 letters. Other use HWiNFO and look under Motherboard -> BIOS Version.

    Once you have the Platform ID letters, you use the guide in our BIOS rollback thread to find, download and extract the latest BIOS version for your model. Again, this is easiest done on another PC and saved on a USB flash drive or a memory card -- although you can do it in WinPE if you have internet access there.

    Note that you are not looking to rollback to an earlier BIOS. All you need is to get the latest BIOS update file for you model and extract its contents. Then in WinPE on the Samsung, run the flashing utility with the /cvar /patch parameters from an Administrator command prompt.

    Good luck. Please post an update with your progress.
     
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