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X230T The Non-Volatile Variable Storage is About Full

X230 and later series specific matters only
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LEDAdd1ct
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:11 pm
Location: New York, NY

X230T The Non-Volatile Variable Storage is About Full

#1 Post by LEDAdd1ct » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:24 pm

Hi, all! First post!

I am a longtime computer hobbyist, and several months back, I purchased a Lenovo X230T. I had it sitting around for awhile, and recently, I read about the ability to install Android on x86 hardware; current distros include Bliss OS and Phoenix OS and a few others.

I installed Phoenix OS yesterday and was having a ball enjoying the best of both worlds, a touch screen device with a real keyboard and access to the "Google Play" store. Unfortunately, when I returned from hanging out with a friend, the laptop had crashed. I rebooted, and was, am, presented with the following error:

The Non-Volatile Variable Storage is About Full

I did a ton of searching on Google before joining this forum and posting here, and I am thoroughly befuddled.
I think it may have something to do with UEFI vs. Legacy BIOS, but, I am not sure, and, I have no idea how to proceed.

I have zero-filled the SSD four or five times and attempted to proceed with a clean slate, but, the issue recurs.

I'm not sure how to proceed.

If anyone can help, I would be quite grateful.
If it helps, I can boot off a USB flash drive.

axur-delmeria
ThinkPadder
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Posts: 1927
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:49 am
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines

Re: X230T The Non-Volatile Variable Storage is About Full

#2 Post by axur-delmeria » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:54 am

I have absolutely no first-hand experience with UEFI, but your issue sounds similar to this one: https://superuser.com/questions/1081537 ... storage-is
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

LEDAdd1ct
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:11 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: X230T The Non-Volatile Variable Storage is About Full

#3 Post by LEDAdd1ct » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:15 am

Thank you for the reply.

I saw that thread on my previous searches.

I zero-filled the hard drive and tried reinstallation a number of times with the same result.

This is part of the reason I am so very confused:

If the hard drive was wiped clean, how could it be a partition/disk/file problem?

axur-delmeria
ThinkPadder
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Posts: 1927
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:49 am
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines

Re: X230T The Non-Volatile Variable Storage is About Full

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:28 am

The link I posted in the previous message mentions
This is as far as I can take you using the information that you've provided. Next up, you need to figure out what is taking up so much space in the UEFI variable NVRAM.
NVRAM --> Non-Volatile RAM. It's a part of the BIOS flash chip where you can store settings that won't get deleted even if you remove the CMOS/RTC battery.

From the looks of it the UEFI boot settings are stored there. That's why zero-filling your drive isn't having an effect.
The same link offers some troubleshooting steps, by way of booting Linux (in your case a live USB distro could work),
Mounting efivarfs

If mount | grep '^efivarfs' doesn't return anything, you can mount efivarfs using this command:

Code: Select all

mount -t efivarfs efivarfs /sys/firmware/efi/efivars
Now, you can browse /sys/firmware/efi/efivars to see if any variables stand out.

Sorting UEFI variables by size

efivarfs doesn't have a concept of disk usage, but it does report each variable by size. This command sorts the variables by size, ascending:

Code: Select all

ls -lh /sys/firmware/efi/efivars | sort -k5 -h
The Arch Linux wiki suggests deleting /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/dump-* files/variables if they exist, though it doesn't mention what creates those variables.

As discussed in chat, one approach would be to take a snapshot of the UEFI variables, flush them as proposed by the Lenovo firmware, reinstall Debian's EFI boot, take a snapshot again, wait for the UEFI variables to fill up again, and take one more snapshot. Then, you'll be able to compare the snapshots to see what changed and hopefully identify what is causing the problematic variable or variables to take so much space.

If all else fails, you could go back to legacy booting.
I've considered trying out UEFI on my X220, but after reading about your problem I'm not so keen , as it all seems needlessly complicated.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

LEDAdd1ct
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:11 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: X230T The Non-Volatile Variable Storage is About Full

#5 Post by LEDAdd1ct » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:32 am

I think I understand a little more now.

This special partition is on a flash chip, not on the HDD/SSD, which is why normal hard disk/partitioning tools cannot access it.

I can try the method you listed, under Linux, or, perhaps, the GUI "EasyUEFI" tool under Windows.

However, I have hit a snag:

The little I gleaned on Google indicates that this special space is only accessible when booting in "UEFI Mode", i.e., you cannot work with this partition when the system is booted in "Legacy" mode.

However, my system will only boot off a USB flash drive in Legacy mode, not in UEFI mode. :-(

So is my system toast?

Catch 22:

1) To access this special partition in the firmware, you must be in UEFI mode.
2) I cannot boot an OS, Linux or Windows, in UEFI mode, because of the above error.
3) Therefore, I cannot access special partition.

Therefore, I cannot solve my problem. :-(

I hope I am wrong.

axur-delmeria
ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder
Posts: 1927
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:49 am
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines

Re: X230T The Non-Volatile Variable Storage is About Full

#6 Post by axur-delmeria » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:46 am

Have you tried resetting the BIOS to default values?
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

LEDAdd1ct
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:11 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: X230T The Non-Volatile Variable Storage is About Full

#7 Post by LEDAdd1ct » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:43 pm

I wanted to wait a week just to make sure, but:

I reset my BIOS to defaults and that "cleared" everything out. I immediately disabled UEFI capabilities and have been booting as "Legacy" without issue. I wanted to thank you for your help! I'll be having nothing to do with UEFI, at least on this laptop, from here on out. Happily dual-booting Windows 10 and Phoenix OS. The only remaining glitch is that Phoenix OS cannot handle a second USB WiFi adapter when the internal WiFi NIC is active; the internal card needs to be disabled in the BIOS for the second one to work, as Android isn't set up to handle permitting the end user to choose between two WiFi adapters. However, this is not a ThinkPad issue, and I'm just happy to be able to use the equipment I paid for. Thanks again!

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