Samsung Series 7 - NP700Z5C-S03CA: My Last Hope

Discussion in 'Samsung' started by Fitztorious, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    @joot: Since your model has ExpressCache, very likely the problem occurred when you installed Win10 (or any Windows version) from a USB stick. Windows Setup gets confused by the iSSD (the one used by ExpressCache) and places its boot files there, thinking it is the boot device. But since the iSSD is not visible during boot, this causes a boot problem.

    We have a thread dedicated to that (see here). The simplest workaround is to install from DVD instead of USB stick, but there are other workarounds as long as you install in legacy BIOS/CSM mode.

    The problem gets worse in UEFI mode, since Windows Setup places the EFI boot partition on the iSSD and records this location in NVRAM. So BIOS will look for the bootloader on the iSSD -- which, again, isn't visible during boot. This causes the stuck situation you are seeing.

    Still, this can usually be solved by disabling UEFI (disable UEFI Boot on older Win7 models, or OS Mode Selection=CSM Mode on Win8.x models and newer Win7 models with SecureBoot) thus allowing a regular boot from a MBR disk or USB stick.

    But if this scenario is combined with corruption of the NVRAM, that makes BIOS setup inaccessible through the F-keys, there is no way to disable UEFI -- and you effectively have a bricked laptop.

    As you say, the only solutions (that we know of) are blind emergency flash (as decribed by @urkopineda in post #59) or physically re-flashing the BIOS with an (E)EPROM burner (as described by member @Villtord in post #78).

    Edit:

    Follow step (2) in the guide in post #7. This will take you to @isosunrise's BIOS rollback guide which has exact steps.

    The gist of it is that you run the BIOS update file you have downloaded, but do NOT click OK when prompted. While that prompt is still open, copy the temp folder with the extracted files (exact path is in isosunrise's guide). Then CANCEL that prompt.

    Important:

    I moved your post here from another thread -- I think now the 5th thread where you are posting about this problem. I have been asking you to focus on this thread and ask any questions here. Your situation is unfortunate, and rightfully shouldn't happen to any computer owner. We're trying to help you the best we can. Now please help us by not scattering posts about your problem all across the forum. I have read every single post made in the Samsung forum over the last three years. Trust me, this is the right thread for you.

    Please heed that advice or I will have to give you an infraction for cross posting, which is a breach of NBR forum rules.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  2. joot

    joot Notebook Enthusiast

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    ^^Sorry about cross posting. My frustration is showing...

    I am curious as to how other people solved their dilemma. As this laptop was not cheap when purchased. I am computer literate but not to the extent of physically re-flashing it. Anybody know of a bios re-flashing service in the Midwest area (Wisconsin)?

    Can you link me to the emergency flashing post please?
     
  3. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    And I genuinely do understand that :)

    We can hope that others in your area see this, but I would suggest looking up computer repair centers in your area, and calling them to ask if they do EEPROM re-flashing of BIOS chips from laptops. They may have to desolder the chip (though some models are socketed). You can tell them that you can provide the BIOS file to flash (after you extract it, you will see which format it is).

    Some repair shops think they understand the software side of the problem better than they actually do, but few are familiar with these intricate details of Samsung laptops. What you want from them is their ability to desolder the chip (if needed) re-flash it, and re-solder it.

    @Villtord described his success with this in post #82. If you use NBR Search (while in Samsung) and check Search this forum only, then search for EPROM, that will give you a few more posts.

    Check @urkopineda's description in post #59 of this thread. I am afraid we don't have any more on it. urkopineda hasn't posted here in a while, but you can try sending him a message (Start Conversation).

    It's an awesome approach if you can find the tools and get it working. But of course you can also cause real damage if you flash the wrong thing. So this is last resort -- as @TANWare often points out.

    There is still physical EEPROM re-flashing if the emergency procedure fails.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  4. joot

    joot Notebook Enthusiast

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    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
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  5. TANWare

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

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    Nice find but forewarning is that this is much more complex than it looks. This is not something an average user should take up for the learning experience. On that note I had not seen anywhere with the Samsung systems the bios chip(s) type being advertised, probability is you would have to pull it apart.
     
  6. bored242

    bored242 Newbie

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    I hardly ever post in forums but I also want to share my experiences here and would like to express my gratefulness to everyone in this thread who came up with very good tips about unbricking Samsung laptops.

    My laptop model is NP770Z7E which came with Windows 8 preinstalled, UEFI and Secure Boot enabled. When the Windows 8.1 update came out it worked without troubles as well (apart from being tricked by Samsung into installing it too soon while their AMD Catalyst drivers were not yet ready). Then two months ago I replaced the internal 1TB HDD with an equally sized SSD by cloning the HDD, which interestingly enough didn't make any boot problems at all (only later I found out how many people had trouble getting their system to boot after cloning). By hindsight I think it was at that point that "something" in my NVRAM got corrupted, because suddenly the Samsung boot logo was displayed in VGA resolution instead of 1920x1080. But since I didn't have troubles booting, I also didn't notice that all the options to boot from anything else other than the Windows Boot Manager were simply gone.

    A few days ago I wanted to boot from a USB stick instead and couldn't find any way to do so. The "Use a device" mode in Windows just was not there anymore (usually when you Restart into Advanced Startup from Windows, you get an option to boot from the various devices like USB or DVD). So I went into the BIOS itself and tried to change the boot order, but this menu only displayed the Windows Boot Manager as the only device. I thought maybe the Fast Boot / Secure Boot is the reason for this, so I disabled both and rebooted, but back into the BIOS there were still no more devices to boot from. So I changed from UEFI-only to UEFI and CMS, but still the same. Then as a last resort I changed the option to CMS-only which basically bricked any possibility to boot.

    While I understood that with CMS-only I wouldn't be able to boot the installed Windows anymore, I though since I could always press F2 to go back to BIOS and change back to UEFI, it's no harm to try. Unfortunately like many people before me found out, the F2 key didn't work at this point anymore - I was stuck with an empty Samsung boot selector screen, and the App menu was empty as well (F4 to enter Samsung recovery also didn't work, but that wouldn't have saved me anyways because during cloning to SSD the recovery partition somehow broke and since I could never fix it I got rid of it). Pressing the battery disconnect button on the back and the power button for a minute didn't change anything. After trying for an hour I had no choice but to open the laptop (thank you Samsung for this stupid click-on casing), disconnected the laptop battery and the CMOS battery connector for 10 minutes in hope this would reset the BIOS to default values.

    Miraculously this really did the trick, the BIOS was reset to Secure Boot, the Samsung boot logo was shown in 1920x1080 again and I could boot up Windows again. But still, no other boot devices in the BIOS available, and no "Use a device" option in Windows. Then I thought maybe clearing the CMOS was only half the trick, and I thought reflashing the BIOS would completely restore everything thats broken. The Samsung BIOSupdate.exe of course didn't allow me to reflash with the same BIOS version, but thanks to this thread I could extract the files and used SFlash64.exe /cvar /patch. And suddenly all the boot devices were back again in the BIOS, and also the "Use a device" option was available in Windows, what a surprise.. :)
     
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  7. TANWare

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

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    Good to hear all worked out for you.
     
  8. Dave-D

    Dave-D Newbie

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    Thought I'd mention this in case it helps someone else recover ... I did manage to unbrick my Samsung NP700Z5C without replacing
    the mainboard.

    I was given this laptop, it had been running fine with windows, then the previous owner put linux on it which corrupted the BIOS.

    The symptom was that it would not recognize any boot device, the F2 function key to enter BIOS setup was non-functional (I tried lots),
    the only "advertised" key which worked was F10 which took you to an empty menu (no options). I tried disconnecting the CMOS battery
    etc. but no luck. Reading this and other forums I determined that the problem was likely UEFI storage area having been overwritten
    by linux dumps (well documented problem).

    This particular machine has a bad DVD drive, so the following was done using an external USB DVD - I would guess that it would also work
    on the internal drive.

    With some fooling around, I discovered that in addition to the non-functional F2 key and useless F10 keys shown on the startup screen, there
    is a third undocumented function key which in my case actually worked! - pressing F3 at the right time during power-up forces the system to
    boot from DVD.

    Using F3, I was able to boot a Win7 DVD and install windows ... the problem was that the BIOS was still corrupted, and I couldn't boot the
    hard drive once it was installed ... which brings me to the "trick" - if you boot the Win7 DVD it loads a little "stub" which prompts you to press
    a key to boot the DVD, if you do nothing it times out and boots the hard drive ... this worked and I was able to boot the freshly installed system
    indirectly using the Win7 DVD.

    Once I was able to boot the running system, I was able to run the BIOS update tools and replace the BIOS - I had to halt the installer and
    run the flash tools with command line options to force the update even though it thought the latest BIOS was already loaded as described in
    other posts ... Replacing the BIOS obviously cleared the BIOS data area and the system boots and runs normally now.

    For what it's worth - one Samsung which came back from the dead without a trip to the factory - perhaps others will be lucky too!

    Dave
     
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Notebook Consultant

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    I have to confirm that this method help me to install Win 8.1 and to set up Legacy back in BIOS. Then I just install Win7 in legacy...

    I might still have the BIOS and nvram corrupted but at least I could do a fresh new install in legacy.

    Hope this its helpful to somebody else.
     
  10. diablillomex

    diablillomex Newbie

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    I have the same issues, but I can't acces windows, I tried gandalf's win7Pe and Hiren's BootCD Mini XP to run the commands but during the booting my laptop shutdown. But if I boot the laptop with a freedos OEM CD, the pc can be working for hours.
    I want to try the commands

    sflash64 /n /s /sa /ips /file 15FD.rom (like MeGuinness did)
    or
    sflash64 /cvar /patch (like Fitztorious did)

    but i need to flash the bios with freedos.

    I trust in your wisdom ..... I've tried with Flashit (which is te tool for InsideH2O bios according internet) with negative results and FPT tool (according bios-mods.com) but still remain same issue.

    SAMSUNG SERIES 7 NP7005B-S01UB
    BIOS VERSION 15FD
    MICON VERSION 15FD

    I'm stuck with serveral messy ideas.

    Have a nice day !!
    Sergio E.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
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