Samsung Series 7 - NP700Z5C-S03CA: My Last Hope

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

  1. rikspoutnik

    rikspoutnik Newbie

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    Hi all,

    First of, thanks a lot (I mean, LOT) to @Dannemand for his help and all.
    I've read all of those threads (rollback, how to unbrick, this one, obvisously) and it gave me hope into resolving the issues a lot (too many ...) of us had. Feels good to be at war with some bros around haha.
    Although I did read all the threads, I prefer to ask before doing anything, as my PC's state went from perfect to bricked in 2 days, just because of my attempt to solve a new issue every day.

    1) I installed W10 3 days ago, went smoothly, EasySettings could install and I got everything working.

    2) I then installed Linux Mint on the second HDD (removed the ODD a year ago) and it also went smoothly. Trying to solve some minor issues in Linux, I broke Linux and it would not boot anymore.
    W10 still working perfectly.

    3) Trying to instal a fresh version of Linux, I realized I could not boot to the BIOS anymore. F2, F10, not working.

    4) This is where I ****ed it all up : I tried to do a Clear Cmos as it seemed to be a last resort solution (now I realize THIS thread IS the last resort haha). When I tried to boot after that, I got in the bootloop some of us experienced.
    App and Boot Menu are empty, I can't seem to be able to boot on a USB Drive (Have a W10 ISO) but haven't tried with Rufus and the many different options. Tried obviously to remove all the drives.
    However, I put the ODD back in its original place and I was able to boot on the Windows 7 Setup Recovery DVD that was in my laptop's box, provided by Samsung, probably.
    I could not do much as the repair options tell me that the installed version don't match the DVD version (W10 vs W7 probably).
    I decided to try and install it, as I thought I would be able to do actual things in W7 compared to in front of a black screen, but the partition table of my disk is GPT and W7 won't instal on it. I have to change it to MBR. I tried to format my SSD but didn't do much.

    QUESTION IS : What should I do ?
    1) Change to MBR (therefore remove everything from the SSD, including recovery, system preserved stuff) and try to instal W7 ?
    2) Don't change, try to launch a Windows 10 ISO using all the settings I can in Rufus ? I can't remember i the BIOS was UEFI but I'm 90% sure it is, as I think I remember it was last time I saw it.
    3) Try the method explained in this thread and some others, mainly yours, try booting on W8.1 USB key, then WinPE and all, along with the BIOS roll back procedure.

    I tried to create a W10 DVD with the iso I did the clean instal with, to no avail. PC did not boot on the DVD. I used a very bad Vista PC to burn the ISO, though, if that changes anything.

    Sorry for the long post and the surely dumb questions ... But I feel like, everytime I tried to repair something in my PC for the last 3 days, the only thing I did was making it worse. So now I try to think/ask before acting.

    Thanks again to the guys who might help me :)

    Cheers, y'all the best !
     
  2. TANWare

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

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    The W10 ISO DVD will not boot? I do know with a W10 you can create a system restore drive that works for the OS similar to that of the W7 version.
     
  3. rikspoutnik

    rikspoutnik Newbie

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    Hi, thanks for the reply :)
    What do you mean "with a W10" ? Do you mean I need a working W10 ? Or can I find that on the web somewhere ?
    The thing is I formatted the main partition of the SSD, but still have the "sane" partitions used supposedly for recovery and all. I have 4 in total. 2 before and 2 after the main partition, for a total of 900 Mb or so.

    What do you suggest ?

    Edit : Can't find a recovery ISO or sthg like that. If you are talking about the recovery options that are included, I can't access that because I have a bricked Sammy ...
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  4. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Hi rikspoutnik,

    I gather that your model is one that came with Win8.x and hence delivered with UEFI enabled and the original disk partitioned as GPT (with Recovery partitions and all). But it sounds like UEFI somehow got disabled in your BIOS if Win7 won't install on the GPT disk after booting from the DVD. Or maybe the installer is just confused by the newer Win10 code on the EFI partition.

    But since you are able to boot that Win7 DVD (the so-called Recovery disc from Samsung) you should definitely utilize that. Many users with these problems cannot boot anything.

    Do you have another HDD or SSD (of any size) which you could put in temporarily? That way you could let the Win7 installer convert to MBR without losing the partitions on your main HDD.

    Of course the entire purpose here is to allow the Win7 installation to proceed so that you have a Windows (ANY Windows) from which you can run the sflash64 /cvar /patch command mentioned in posts #6 and #7 of this thread (or WinFlash if your BIOS updates don't have sflash32/64). So far that is the best known way to clear UEFI related problems.

    Edit: Following the line of thought that your UEFI setting might have been disabled in BIOS, any WinPE USB stick formatted the good old way (MBR/NTFS or MBR/FAT32) should be bootable. You probably need to disconnect the HDD first since your F-keys are broken so you can't choose a boot device with F9. I know you tried that already, but if the USB stick you tried was formatted for UEFI (GPT/FAT32) it wouldn't boot with UEFI disabled.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  5. rikspoutnik

    rikspoutnik Newbie

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    Hi Dannemand and thanks for your answer as well.

    My laptop came with W7 installed, I upgraded to W8 few months after buying it, with the 15$ offer.
    That's why I have a W7 DVD from Samsung.

    Yeah I have two other HDDs, the one that replaced the ODD (let's name it HDD1) and the original one which has been used as an external HDD (HDD2) since I replaced it for an SSD.
    Which one do you recommend ?

    HDD1 which is formatted but I don't know if it's MBR or GPT ... ?
    Or HDD2 which had W8 installed on it before I changed it to the SSD ?
    I'd rather use HDD1 as it is already formatted and the HDD2 is full of files but if you tell me to use HDD2 then I will transfer all the data (that will take a day x) ).

    Do you think I should try first to change the disk I'll use to MBR or just put it in the laptop and see ?

    Thanks again for your attention.

    Edit : I have DVD+RW that I can use so, do you think it's a better bet for the WinPE ?
    Edit 2 : Currently installing (hopefully will proceed to the end) W7 on the HDD1 (a Toshiba HGST). I realized I just had to delete the partition in order to proceed to the instal. That way W7 installer isn't bothered by GPT or MBR disks ... Noob stuff sorry :p
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  6. rikspoutnik

    rikspoutnik Newbie

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    Had to write a new post cause too many updates on the situation. You will guess the results from this first sentence : THANK YOU SO MUCH. I mean, I don't know where I would be without this thread, probably laying in foetal position in my bed, mourning my dear dead laptop haha. I love you guys !!

    I still have some questions though, after I briefly explain my case :
    1) I successfully installed W7 using the exact same trick as Dave-D explained in page 10 of this thread. Had to play a bit with the F3 key while Windows was restarting but finally got it to install.

    2) I was able to downgrade/re-upgrade the BIOS as explained in the gorgeous Rollback thread.

    Though, some things still seem strange and I don't want to do anything stupid before having your thoughts/advice on it :

    1) I could not get the P00AAG and P01AAG BIOS downgrades to work, the ITEM(...).exe would just not launch, saying an error occurred and telling me to go look at the log file. Why is that ?
    I downgraded to P03AAG instead and upgraded to P04AAG. The latest version is P05AAG (the one I had before it bricked), should I upgrade ?

    2) In your guide at the beginning of this thread, you're talking about some BIOS options that don't seem to appear in mine. Especially the OS Mode Selection and the Secure Boot. I can't find those in my BIOS. I'm linking some photos I took if you wanna take a look but I checked very carefully.
    https://onedrive.live.com/redirresid=E6DE05DCD1576EBC!63662&authkey=!AMO7E6ZgKvfIwDY&ithint=folder%2c

    Now that I have a working computer again, do you think it's wise to re-instal W10 on the SSD and Linux on the HDD ? Or the BIOS will just do the same ?

    Again, thank you everyone, would not have made it without the help of the fantastic moderators and contributors of this forum :')
     
    Dannemand and John Ratsey like this.
  7. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Of course, duh. I need to switch on my brain before answering :rolleyes:

    This actually makes more sense: Your laptop was delivered with Win7, meaning with UEFI disabled by default in BIOS and running from an MBR disk. At some point UEFI was enabled, and Win10 was installed in UEFI mode, partitioning the SSD as GPT. That UEFI installation probably caused the NVRAM corruption (as has been known to happen on these Sammies). When you did the CMOS reset, UEFI got disabled in BIOS are you are now unable to boot anything UEFI (GPT) or enter BIOS with F2.

    Installing Win7 from that DVD should allow you to reset the NVRAM (sflash64 /cvar /patch) so you can get back into BIOS with F2. It really doesn't matter which HDD you use for this as it is only a temporary installation. My concern was merely to avoid losing what is on the disk.

    Once you (hopefully) get there, I recommend avoiding UEFI on this model. I haven't tried that with Win10 myself yet and see conflicting reports about it.
     
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  8. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    I agree that it's best to avoid UEFI on those Samsung notebooks that shipped with Windows 7. The implementation in the BIOS is too fragile and Samsung provided a different BIOS with the Windows 8 versions of these notebooks (which still contained a few UEFI-related bugs).

    Windows 10 doesn't need UEFI and if you upgrade from to 7 (running with an MBR disk and without UEFI) then the Windows 10 installer will respect what exists - at least that is what happened on my NP900X4C.

    John
     
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  9. rikspoutnik

    rikspoutnik Newbie

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    Thanks for the replies, these were the only reason I didn't loose hope when the problem occurred.

    John, I will do what you say, unable uefi while installing windows 10 but can I still do a clean install and make windows instal in MBR/non UEFI or do I just have to stick with the normal upgrade from 7 to 10 ?
     
  10. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    I see now that you made another post about your successful Win7 installation and BIOS downgrade/re-upgrade, just as I was writing my last post. I didn't notice that before clicking Send and rushing out the door.

    Good, well done! Are you able to get into BIOS now with F2?

    As you found, your model is from before the days of SecureBoot and OS Mode Selection. All you have in that department is the simple UEFI Boot option -- which you want to keep disabled, as also pointed out by John. That should minimize the risk of bricking during OS install.

    I would still suggest you update to the latest BIOS before installing Win10 -- but please check the Win10 sticky thread first to validate that, since I am not fully up-to-date on Win10. Also, make sure you follow the safe BIOS update procedure described in John's thread linked below:

    Samsung BIOS Update Problems

    I have not installed Win10 myself yet, but John's post confirms that you should be able to install Win10 with UEFI disabled. I had read claims elsewhere that it would only install in UEFI mode on machines that have UEFI support -- I am glad to hear that is not the case. If you make sure the disk on which you want to install is MBR beforehand, I would expect you can do a clean install so you don't have to upgrade over Win7. I also understand you need to activate Win10 with an upgrade before making a clean install in order for it to pick up the Product Key. But I assume that happened during your previous Win10 installation. All of this is covered more in the Win10 sticky.

    Once again, good job salvaging your Sammy!
     
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