Samsung Series 7 - NP700Z5C-S03CA: My Last Hope

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

  1. sean2012

    sean2012 Newbie

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    I followed this video to setup the WinPE environment, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJWGeK7_XDE

    Is there another way that I should be doing this?

    EDIT: I also booted from this usb on another computer and it worked fine. When I do it on my laptop it just boots to a blank boot menu.

    EDIT 2: I created this WinPE usb on a computer running windows 7 if that makes a difference.
     
  2. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Hi again, sean,

    I believe your model came with Win7 originally, right? And you didn't manually enable UEFI in BIOS?

    In that case it uses legacy BIOS mode, as opposed to UEFI mode used on Win8.x models. That means you want to create the USB flash drive as MBR/NTFS. You can use the good old Microsoft ISO/USB tool to create the USB stick (which ONLY works with BIOS/MBR mode, NOT with UEFI mode).

    You should be able to select boot source at the time of power on by tapping F10 immediately after power on (Esc on some models). Tap it 2-3 times per second, DON'T hold it down. In any case should Fast BIOS/Fast Boot be disabled in BIOS in order to allow booting an external source. (On Win8/UEFI models, also disable SecureBoot).

    But if your NVRAM is corrupted, neither F2 (to enter BIOS) nor F10 (to select boot device) may work. In that case, I would still expect you to be able to boot that USB once the HDD is disconnected, assuming the USB is created with the right format: MBR/NTFS for BIOS mode and GPT/FAT32 for UEFI mode.

    I am surprised you cannot boot the Windows DVD that came with the computer (I assume Win7) after disconnecting the HDD. I can only see that happen if you manually enabled UEFI in BIOS.
     
  3. sean2012

    sean2012 Newbie

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    Sorry for not responding, finals week came up so I had to put this issue to the side, but now I have some free time to find a solution.

    Yes, this model came with windows 7.

    The problem is that I manually enabled UEFI mode in the bios. I did this because I believe it was required for SteamOS. I wanted to give SteamOS a try before I installed Ubuntu.

    So you say, "I can only see that happen if you manually enabled UEFI in BIOS." Is there anything else I can do or am I out of options?

    I am going to try to make the MBR/NTFS usb drive with windows 7 again and see if I have better luck this time.

    EDIT: Created a USB in NTFS/MBR format using the Windows 7 iso given to me with the laptop. Still does not boot from the USB even when the hard drive is disconnected.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
  4. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Thank you for the update.

    Since you enabled UEFI in BIOS (and are now unable to get back in there to disable it) you won't be able to boot the Win7 disc you received with the computer. It is not UEFI compatible.

    Original Win8.x discs (or ISOs from TechNet/MSDN) are UEFI compatible and should boot. Maybe the ISO downloaded here as well. If this had been a Win8 model with the newer UEFI implementation, you could use the Repair options on that disc to get into BIOS and disable UEFI. But I don't think that works with Win7 models (like yours) which have the traditional BIOS.

    You need to create a WinPE stick as GPT/FAT32 and use that to clear the NVRAM (as described in post #7). Use Rufus as described by Fitztorious. I would choose a Win8 PE image since it's more likely to be UEFI compatible. But you can try other WinPE images -- as long as you flash them as GPT/FAT32 on the USB stick.

    Of course you need to disconnect the HDD (as you already did) in order to force booting the USB.

    Please keep us posted. I am on the forum during the weekend, but less so during the week.
     
  5. sean2012

    sean2012 Newbie

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    Alright, so I have tried just about every WinPE iso that I can get my hands on and formatted them as GPT/FAT32 with Rufus. I have also tried this method of creating a WinPE USB. Nothing will get this laptop to boot.

    I am pretty confident that I am sol at this point.
     
  6. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Based on the fact that your model has ExpressCache, AND on your previously having enabled UEFI prior to installing Windows/Linux (on this older Win7 model), AND assuming you performed those installations from a USB stick -- you may unfortunately be right about being SOL.

    I have a feeling you may be caught in the same trap as member KcKepz, whose lengthy case is discussed in the thread linked below, and who eventually had to send his computer in for service despite admirable persistence in trying to solve it. The experiences reported by members in that thread greatly helped to develop the solutions we now have in this thread, so it is definitely worth a study.

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/samsung/755985-how-boot-bios-when-function-buttons-not-showing.html

    The essence here is a combination of four factors which collude to effectively brick a Samsung laptop:

    A) Fast BIOS/Fast Boot is disabled in BIOS, preventing boot of external sources.

    B) NVRAM corruption prevents F2 from getting into BIOS to change Fast BIOS/Fast Boot, or F10 from temporarily selecting an external boot source.

    C) A previous installation from USB has mistakenly put the boot partition on the ExpressCache iSSD, which cannot be booted directly. Being in UEFI mode, the boot code is on the EFI System Partition (ESP) -- but is never actually loaded because it is on the iSSD that isn't visible during boot.

    D) Normally the system can be forced to look for an external boot device (even with Fast BIOS/Fast Boot enabled) by removing the HDD/SSD that contains the boot partition. But the iSSD cannot be removed from the motherboard.

    The result is a computer effectively bricked, because it cannot boot anything -- and the settings needed to change this behavior cannot be accessed. This particular combo only happens on models with ExpressCache, and is a major reason to only install from DVD on those models (which prevents the iSSD confusion).

    There are still some things I think you should try -- all towards the goal of being able to run those commands to clear your NVRAM described in this thread. Note that these are individual things to try, not a sequence of steps. You don't have to try them in the order I list them.

    1) Try the CMOS reset procedure described in member KcKepz's thread (also in John's post here). It has been known to work, though it is rare.

    2) Try creating a WinPE DVD and see if it can boot. I never tried that, but I am sure there must be guides out there. Make sure it is one that is UEFI compatible (since you are currently stuck in UEFI mode). If you ARE able to boot such a WinPE, use it to clear NVRAM.

    3) Try booting an official Win8.1 DVD. I say "official", because it has to be either an OEM/Microsoft disc or one created from a TechNet/MSDN ISO in order to be UEFI bootable. The ISOs downloaded as part of Microsoft's upgrade programs have been known NOT to boot from DVD in UEFI mode. (They can boot from USB, but that's not working on your computer.) You can also try downloading an ISO from Microsoft using the link provided by member Semuel here. I don't know if they can boot from DVD in UEFI mode -- please let us know if you try.

    3a) If you ARE able to boot a Win8.1 DVD then try the Repair options which allow backdoor access to UEFI firmware settings. I think it only works on newer models with full UEFI implementation, but it is worth a shot. If it DOES work on your model, then promptly disable UEFI and Fast BIOS/Fast Boot. That won't solve everything, but it will open the door for booting a Win7 PE USB stick (traditional MBR/NTFS) which you can use to clear NVRAM.

    3b) If you are able to boot a Win8.1 DVD, but UNABLE to get into BIOS (UEFI firmware settings) through the Repair options, I suggest you proceed to create a temporary Windows installation on the HDD. Since you are in UEFI mode, make sure you convert the HDD to GPT first using the steps in this post. Use the temporary Product Key in this guide and don't Activate Windows yet. Just use this running Windows to clear the NVRAM.

    4) Prepare the HDD properly for UEFI boot on another computer and plug it back in. With some luck, the system will realize it cannot find an ESP on the iSSD (because it cannot see the iSSD during boot) and look on the HDD instead. Use these steps:

    4a) Plug the HDD into another computer that runs UEFI mode but has SecureBoot disabled (important!)

    4b) Convert the disk to GPT (using Minitool Partition Wizard or the DISKPART commands in this post).

    4c) Make the disk the first boot device on that computer, or (better yet) remove all other HDDs/SSDs from it.

    4d) Begin installing Win8.1 onto the blank disk, as described in this guide. On most computers (except Samsung's :rolleyes: ) it doesn't matter if you install from DVD or USB. That should put a standard EFI System Partition (ESP) on it and begin Windows installation.

    4e) Once Windows Setup is finished copying files and is ready to boot for the first time, turn it off and plug the HDD into the Samsung instead. With some luck, it will boot that ESP and continue installing on the Sammy, picking up all the right devices. Again, don't Activate, just enter those temporary Product Keys. Once it is running, use this temporary Windows installation to clear NVRAM.

    If any of these succeeds, you should have cleared NVRAM and be ready to proceed from step (5) in the guide in post #7 in this thread.

    Otherwise I am afraid there is only the Samsung Service route :(
     
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  7. sean2012

    sean2012 Newbie

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    Thanks a ton for this advice and help! I am going to give it another try tonight and I will let you know how it goes!
     
  8. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    My fingers are crossed for you. I wrote up all I could think of so you can try different things, knowing that I may only be here sporadically until next weekend.

    One other comment: I have suggested Win8.1 for these procedures since newer installation sources (discs and ISOs) are more likely to be compatible with UEFI -- particularly when booting from DVD. OTOH, many Samsung models are known to have problems with Win8.1 unless they are already updated to the latest BIOS. That is what brainiak's guide is all about.

    So if you are NOT already on the latest BIOS, you may want to use Win8 discs or ISOs instead of 8.1 (if you can find them). If that is the case, you simply have to update to the latest BIOS (using this guide) which will automatically clear your NVRAM.
     
  9. urkopineda

    urkopineda Newbie

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    Dannemand told me to post here a solution (that worked for me) to restore my bricked UEFI.

    Details:

    • My laptop: Samsung Ativ Book 4 (NP470R5E)
    • BIOS/UEFI/MICOM version: P15RAN

    I extracted my BIOS .ROM to modify it, because my laptop has a blocked BIOS (Lots of options as VT-x and SATA options don't appear) and I try to flash my modified .ROM file. Trying some options resulted in a bricked BIOS.
    I modified the ROM with the AMI official utility. I changed some option (SATA v3 instead of v2, etc) but the most important is "BIOS Interface Lock". That locks the BIOS options.

    Then, I tried flashing the modified ROM using AFUDOS from a USB DOS stick. My AMI version is Aptivo IV (4) so, I downloaded the correct AFUDOS.exe and tried to flash my .ROM edited file. The result was the same: (0x18 Error: Secure Flash Rom verify fail.)

    I tried some commands and, finally, I tried /RECOVERY command; result: Bricked BIOS. If someone has a bricked BIOS using this procedure, please do the next:

    1. Use AMI's official tool to open PXXXXX.CAP file (Samsung's official file) and inmediately save it as a .ROM file (Without modifing anything)
    2. Then place that "original" file in an empty USB stick with the oficial name (VERY IMPORTANT: If the .CAP file was P15RAN.CAP, name the "original" file as P15RAN.ROM)
    3. In your bricked Laptop, connect the USB stick with the file into a USB 2.0 port
    4. With the laptop powered off, press CTRL + HOME in the keyboard and power on the laptop keeping the keys pressed.
    5. The laptop will power on with the BIOS opened with a "Flashing..." window. Wait until the process is completed.

    If someone needs the official tool, please tell me and I will upload it and If someone needs the .ROM, let me the .CAP file and I will upload your .ROM file!

    Regards,

    Urko

    EDIT: I didn't mention before that the USB stick must be in FAT (16 or 32). NTFS/exFAT (Windows) or EXT2/3/4 (Linux) are not supported.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  10. dp3000

    dp3000 Notebook Evangelist

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    Hi

    My laptop has been bricked after updating the bios via SW update. I was hoping there might be a way to fix the laptop. Currently when i boot the laptop, nothing happens. Meaning no bios screen or anything appearing on the screen. There is nothing wrong with the screen, I know full well it is the bios update that bricked the laptop. The hdd activity comes on upon booting and the fan spins up as well. The laptop will remain on with a blank screen until the battery runs out. Is the laptop recoverable? I was told that I maybe I will be able to use an EPROM burner to reflash the chip. Does anyone know how or if I will be able to do this?

    Thanks in advance
     
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