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Machines without serial numbers

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Edward Mendelson
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Machines without serial numbers

#1 Post by Edward Mendelson » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:37 pm

I hope it's OK to ask a question that's specifically about a ThinkCentre desktop, not a ThinkPad. Recently I bought (and quickly returned) a "refurbished" ThinkCentre M910t that came without a serial number label on the case and without a serial number or asset tag in the BIOS. Lenovo's web site wouldn't send automatic updates without a serial number, and the whole thing seemed strange.

Does anyone have idea of what's going on here? I can imagine that the system board got replaced, but I'm puzzled at how the serial number label was missing. Any explanation would be gratefully received.

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Re: Machines without serial numbers

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Aug 21, 2020 2:09 am

TL;DR some dumbo forgot!

Also, some labels are on the inside and if they forgot to move/copy it from the old motherboard, it's lost!
The person who replaced the motherboard forgot to load the MTM and/or S/N and /or UUID.
Most likely done by some non-Lenovo refurbisher (or other amateur), who doesn't know about the HMD program.
With it you can make a diskette or USB stick to load the missing BIOS-data. Works on all Lenovo Think-xxxx.
For those who need it, someone even made an instructions-PDF (for V1.89, also applies to V1.90).

If such BIOS info is missing, search Google for a matching model, e.g. ThinkCentre M910t and find links such as this which shows the (newer 10-char.) MTM 10MM0030US for such a machine.
Older machines had a 7-char. MTM [without the dash], such as 3680WZQ (a model X201).
The MTM need not be exact, AFAIK only the first 4 chars. are really checked, i.e. from the above 10MM or 3680.

As for the S/N, they are all 7-char., always starting with 2 letters, followed by 5 letter/digit combos, e.g. PF5A3H8.
Use your fantasy here. :)
Lenovo doesn't give a hoot about a valid S/N or not (only when you want warranty info).
For some of my T601F Frankenpads I used an S/N like RBS0034, meaning Frankie #0034, made by RBS.

AFAIK the letter I is never used, to avoid mistaking it for a 1.
That same HMD program can also generate a unique UUID if the one in BIOS is filled with all zeroes.

Once Lenovo sees a valid MTM, it will load the correct drivers/updates/etc. for that MTM series.
So make sure you put in an MTM that corresponds to your motherboard!
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Edward Mendelson
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Re: Machines without serial numbers

#3 Post by Edward Mendelson » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:26 am

TL;DR That's amazing information that isn't too long and which everyone needs to read.

I've already returned the machine - for some compulsive reason, I like to have a serial-number label on the machine - makes life easier. I looked inside, but there was no label there anywhere.

What you say sounds exactly right, and this post deserves to be in some prominent place on the forum so that anyone can find it.

Thanks for the links and the details!

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