UEFI won't let go!

Discussion in 'hardware' started by DrWattsOn, Mar 21, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. DrWattsOn

    DrWattsOn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Posts:
    15
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    This is about an old Dell Laptop (circa March 2010) 1-core Celeron UEFI stuck:

    HDD is NOW mechanically trashed -- I could HEAR the drive "chewing broken glass" and SMART reported a failing HDD transport. Before it broke completely I was able to run the memtests: all passed.

    Now, whether the HDD is in or removed, UEFI won't even try to look for anything but the HDD, so there's no chance of booting a live DVD or USB! Prior to the total failure, I WAS able to boot Live O.D.D.'s (pmagic, Spinrite, Windows Defender Offline).

    There is no way I can find to bypass this UEFI: it acts like it's on a HDD or someplace besides any kind of BIOS I ever saw! Repeating:
    * whether the HDD is in or removed * it either goes to black screen with limited choices (yes, duh, I tried them all including F11) and tried everything I could think of to "trick" the machine -- holding various combinations of shift, Ctrl, Alt, Delete together or singly, from full shutdown or reboot. No space on this forum to list all I have tried. The UEFI refuses to save entries to boot to other devs (ODD, USB, etc) nor does it work in any other way, whether default settings or any selections or attempts to save settings.

    PLEASE be mindfull: this is a *DELL* UEFI. It's on a cheap machine made in March 2010. If I could bypass or completely disable or even just burn the chips with a heatgun, and desolder (if the laptop would still work) ... I have never been completely stumped before, but I can't afford and don't want a new laptop with Windows 8 or 8.1 on it.:mad: That's one reason why I'm trying to run it on a Linux Live-DVD.

    I have tried about 64 different setting combo's in the UEFI including "Load Defaults". So I find no way to go to "Legacy" OR "UEFI", the only adjustments are in WHAT I THINK is UEFI (graphical, including mouse operation) and no BIOS-type screens are available ever, at all.:'(

    So to any suggestions about using any other disk: IT WON'T EVEN LOOK for it!

    If anyone can, please answer or provide a link to one?
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Which model Dell laptop?

    Which OS?

    Why do you say it's a UEFI system? I didn't know Dell used UEFI 4 years ago.
     
  3. DrWattsOn

    DrWattsOn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Posts:
    15
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    Thanks Brian,
    1: Inspiron 1545 manufactured March 2010
    2: In view of my post: The OS is IRRELEVANT. Please explain why I should say anything about an OS on a drive that is MECHANICALLY DEAD (which I stated)! Note: I'm not asking rhetorically, I would like that answered. If the HDD doesn't turn and if as I also said, I tried booting the ODD with the HDD REMOVED ... then there is no OS, righto_O?
    Quoting myself: ... whether the HDD is in or removed ...
    3: I didn't know that (UEFI in 2010) either but as I also said, I get a mouse-operable GUI with none of the usual presentation or menus of any BIOS I ever saw. Most BIOSes look like the old WordPerfect for DOS or PCTools for DOS, with what passed for GUI back in those days. So I called it a UEFI because of that. What else is there? I can't make the machine present any other stuff, just a command-line failure notification, with choices including F11 which pretends to function but ignores setting and goes back where it just was, or F2 to go into whatever you want to call the setup GUI, which only pretends to accept and save settings. Which is why I want to get past it, BTW!
    I appreciate you took time to respond, and quickly, but ... I don't think my post was that lacking.
    Adding by Edit: I'm not even sure whether this should be under hardware or software or what.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Knowing which OS (and it's bit rate) you had will help us to decide if UEFI is possible or not. Do you recall what partitions were on the HD? UEFI has specific partitions not seen in a MBR system.

    Does F12 let you access a Boot Menu?
     
  5. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Posts:
    5,081
    If I understand correctly changes to boot order are not saved when you choose save and exit? What about other options in UEFI (Bios) not boot related? Are they saved upon exiting or are they all discarded? Which version of BIOS do you have installed A14 or older? Do you use original or modded version?

    hqsec
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,272
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    I highly doubt it is a UEFI BIOS. W8 was not released then and W7 does not take advantage of all UEFI features - so Dell is not likely to waste the money for new technologies on a "cheap machine". Please provide the exact Dell model number.

    The BIOS "GUI" has absolutely nothing to do with it being UEFI or a traditional BIOS.
    And it won't, unless you have a different device, like CD/DVD listed first in the boot order.
     
  7. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,698
  8. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Posts:
    2,283
    What are the UEFI features that Windows 8 takes advantage of?

    I thought that UEFI only worked during boot ...
     
  9. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,272
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    There are several as noted here
    UEFI is a BIOS - a set of BASIC input and output instructions. But UEFI also has features a UEFI aware operating system can take advantage of.
     
  10. DrWattsOn

    DrWattsOn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Posts:
    15
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    Thanks everyone for replying. I'm back now.
    In post "#3" I did say
    I got it in broken condition. It did have W7HomePrem (Dell).
    I never took the chance to check BIOS ver.
    I have been writing a complete log of my actions on this laptop.
    I am doing all this for a friend, it isn't my laptop and my friend
    is [insert justified sob story, really, or I wouldn't be trying to help].
    So this is what transpired. It is all I know. I also included in my "Log"
    questions about the possible effects of my actions.
    I wrote this in Notepad as a .txt, so I may try some minor formatting here.
    It is long, take a breath. As nearly as I can tell with a quick read of all your
    responses, this addresses every point raised. Please if you take the time to
    to parse thru this all, it might help to insert answers inside quote of this post.
    =========================
    I've been working this for over a week.
    Determined from sound and by booting pmagic and checking S.M.A.R.T.
    the transport of the HDD is trashed and the HDD may become inaccessible.
    Although the drive was mfd. March 2010, this
    Dell Inspiron 1545
    Service Tag DZ79DL1
    BIOS has a mouse/GUI similar to a UEFI. !!
    Partitions shown by pmagic in PartEd were
    sda1 [NO LABEL] FAT16 9MB used of 39MB total, flag "diag"
    sda2 [RECOVERY] NTFS 6.5GB used of 14GB total, flag "boot"
    sda3 [OS](W7HomePrem) NTFS 218GB TOTAL was Corrupted


    Ran SelfTests from pmagic:
    =========================

    Self Test Logs
    --------------
    S.M.A.R.T. ran twice, both times:
    "Read Error Sectors"

    Conveyance SelfTest:
    "Servo-Seek FAILURE"


    11) From pmagic I ran dd in GUI program Erase Partition, and erased the first 15% of the OS partition.
    12) Then I stopped due to time limitations.

    MAYBE 11) or 12) (or both?)
    CREATED A PROBLEM showed in the following behavior?
    Maybe continual failure because I erased a Partition Table?
    I forget how NTFS does it.


    I thought the program on the Dell RECOVERY Partition took care of that!
    Especially because it is recovering an NTFS formatted partition.


    I then ran the Dell Recovery option, and it went to the screens
    "Starting Windows"
    and
    "Preparing Windows for installation on a new machine".
    I don't remember perfectly, but I did try F12 then, and did
    choose "Boot from CD/DVD" when it did appear. That was before HDD total failure,
    (remember, I did boot pmagic).
    But then went to the Failure screen, so I did it again, and still got
    those results; which allowed "Run Diagnostics"
    which I ran, which said (so informatively)
    "FAILED DURING SETUP"
    thanks a lot!

    The drive later trashed itself; I think it stopped rotating.

    Now, system seems stuck in the UEFI-like BIOS ("Setup").
    Upon start-up:
    system produces a DOS-like "Failed to find H.D.D. or Operating System" screen.
    which offers two choices:
    1) Retry
    which does nothing and "Notices" again,
    2) F11 to Enter Setup,
    which allows changing settings and APPEARS to "Save" them.

    Upon changing setup to try to boot the ODD first, then later, only the O.D.D.
    which still of course, has the same bootable disk (that booted prior to total HDD failure)
    in it, it again produces the Notice "Failed to find H.D.D. or Operating System".

    Going back into Setup shows Setup DID retain my changes!
    The changes WERE "saved"! Just, ... IGNORED!


    But the machine continues to try to access the trashed HDD
    (which is now audibly silent and there's no "Disk Activity" light).
    I got the same results with the HDD removed.

    I don't know how UEFI works.
    Questions for myself:
    101) Does it require a HDD (with or without) OS, to tell setup to not seek it?

    102) Must it be the ORIGINAL HDD or ANY HDD or ANY HDD with W7 on it?

    103) Does it matter if the new HDD has the OEM or RETAIL version;

    104) How would a valid W7 OS DVD be seen if the system only looks for the HDD?

    105) Does it matter if the HDD has no OS on it if it is a NEW HDD?
    e.g.: would the presence of a blank NEW HDD allow seeking the ODD?

    - - END LOG - -
    Thank you all who already posted, and please remember my Log was written
    to MYSELF so my soon-to-be 70 year old old old brain can keep track.
    Oh, and: I have never before seen a BIOS with a mouse and GUI on a
    pre-2012 computer/Laptop.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  11. Baserk

    Baserk Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Posts:
    1,317
    Location:
    AmstelodamUM
    When you power on the computer and press F2 repeatedly while the computer is starting up, do you get a screen like this BIOS screen here link
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    The F12 Boot Menu should let you boot a Linux CD if that's what you want to use as an OS.

    I know it's a friend's computer so I guess there is no image to restore to a new HD. Otherwise, replace the HD and install an OS.

    That is a typical Dell setup with the Win7 booting files in the Recovery partition. It isn't a UEFI system.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  13. DrWattsOn

    DrWattsOn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Posts:
    15
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    Thanks for the link, I went there and, per what I already posted:
    the picture in the link is of the usual BIOS with NO MOUSING available.
    Because this laptop never did that, and did have a real GUI + mouse,
    I made the mistake of confusing it for a UEFI. When the drive was still functioning I of course accessed the Setup GUI as I described, with F2.
    Afterwards, F2 didn't seem to work, but when I regain access to the laptop I intend to try F2 (expecting it to not function).
    But great find with that link, will download, thank you for finding it.
     
  14. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Posts:
    5,081
    What if your ODD got damaged? You could try creating new bootcd or use existing one on other computer to see if you can boot from it.

    EDIT: malfunctioning CD/DVD unit can also make the problem...

    hqsec
     
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    You can tap the F2 or the Delete key. Start tapping as soon as you hear the BIOS beep. Either will access the BIOS.

    Can you take a photo of the monitor screen that shows what you suspected was a UEFI BIOS? Post the photo screenshot so we can see it. Thanks.
     
  16. DrWattsOn

    DrWattsOn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Posts:
    15
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    Yes, hence my mis-titled Title for this thread. It ain't a UEFI but ...
    with the drive dead, trying to start it up does like I said: instantly fail screen.
    Hence the accurate part of my title: it won't let go! ie: I can't get past it. The most confusing thing is that the when I go back into setup NOT USING F2, using the option provided in the "failure" screen, I find that it DOES actually retain my settings. So I have to believe it is ignoring the settings that it retains, and @#$%^ wassup widato_O
    Maybe if it's a volatile storage thing, and when I get back to it and it's been off all weekend, or I pull out and reinsert the RAM, or ... ?? Stumped.
     
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    As the HD is dead, remove it. You should still be able to access the BIOS.
     
  18. DrWattsOn

    DrWattsOn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Posts:
    15
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    The Laptop just sitting there, the ODD had just been working and being booted from, it had passed all the tests from the Laptop's setup and was booting and running from pmagic. I'm not ready to suspect the ODD at all. The HDD failure as I posted, was expected, predicted by diagnostics and audibly chewing glass, and did occur. After which, unable to get past failure screen (as I posted, a typical black DOS screen, no GUI).
    Of course (btw) the unit never BSODed.
    RE: taking a pic: I have never owned a cell phone. May try to use my Canon. in fact will put it in the car now.
    The Laptop never seeks the ODD, even tho that is the only entry I left highlighted in the boot "order". The RAM and ODD were passed by the Setup diagnostics I ran when the HDD still worked.
    Thanks anyway.
     
  19. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    You don't have to be concerned with the boot order when you use the F12 boot menu.
     
  20. DrWattsOn

    DrWattsOn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Posts:
    15
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    See? I did say that.
     
  21. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    That's why you need to use F12.
     
  22. DrWattsOn

    DrWattsOn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Posts:
    15
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    Edit #2: BIOS NEVER BEEPS. So that means it doesn't even POST? ?
    Edit #3: Wait! isn't F12 provided by the Windows?
    And will try F12 too. But they are not offered, and it happens quick, not like the usual BIOS, I mean: maybe 2 sec and fails.
    The "Setup" GUI is
    small print on a gray-ish background, in the fashion of an expandable menu TREE with the little boxes to change from minus to plus, and expand from the left margin. Very GUI-ey, not like the early DOS attempts, and you nav via mouse or KB.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  23. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    That sounds like Dell diagnostics.
     
  24. DrWattsOn

    DrWattsOn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Posts:
    15
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    Brian check my edits 2 and 3 in previous post!
    EDITING
    I think that's all that can be talked about before I get access to it Monday. Till then, I will keep checking forum anyway. Thanks all. Appreciate your efforts on this.:)
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  25. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Some BIOS don't beep. Maybe broken/absent MB speaker.

    F12 is provided by the BIOS, not Windows. So you don't need a HD to use F12.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.