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W540 BIOS Update Failed

W530/W540/W541/W550 Series
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fj1200
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Location: Peterborough, UK

W540 BIOS Update Failed

#1 Post by fj1200 » Thu Feb 10, 2022 4:00 am

Good morning

I have a W540 that I've just finished updating to W10 - latest and greatest, fully patched etc etc and it was running nice and smooth - but I had a BIOS update notification so against my better judgement I went with it and now I have a W540-shaped brick.

This is a custom build from 2014 that I ordered in my contracting days and it's been on jobs with me all over Europe and beyond and I am kind of attached to it. Has 32GB RAM and runs a full VMware lab, has a Pantone screen calibrator (I'm a keen photographer), all the bells and whistles. Cost me a fortune.

So - it currently gets to the ThinkPad logo and just sits there. If I press F1 at boot says it's entering Setup but never does, same with boot menu and diags menu.

I have a Wincrisis USB that I'm trying to see if I can re-flash the BIOS but no joy. There are some sites that say use Fn+B or Fn+K at power-on, some say you must have the battery out, others say it must be in. When I boot it, the USB light blinks as it's read but the goes solid and nothing happens even if I leave it an hour or 2. I've tried everything I can think of. Am I using the right key combinations at boot? I even replaced the BIOS battery with a new one, and I'm getting 3.24v at the connector so I don't think it's that.

Has anyone here actually been able to successfully recover a failed W540 BIOS? Is there a way to do it without removing the motherboard and reflashing it that way? I have the kit, just don't really want to use it.

Many thanks

RealBlackStuff
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Re: W540 BIOS Update Failed

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Feb 10, 2022 5:04 am

Could it be that you have a damaged USB port?
USB should be 5V.
Have you tried the reset button (hole in the bottom)?
Remove HDD/SSD, CD/Ultrabay caddy, battery and charger, then hold down the power button for ~20 seconds.
Attach charger and try to boot.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)
IBM: T23 (XP/SP3) - Lenovo: X240, X250, T440p, M900 Tiny (all with W7/SP1)

fj1200
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2022 3:18 am
Location: Peterborough, UK

Re: W540 BIOS Update Failed

#3 Post by fj1200 » Thu Feb 10, 2022 5:45 am

The 3.24v is the battery not the usb port. I don't think there is a reset button on a W540 - not one I've seen anyway. I've done the static discharge several times now, but I'll have another go with the SSD out (it's out atm anyway)

UPDATE:
Nope - sorry, no change.

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Re: W540 BIOS Update Failed

#4 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:27 am

Reading too fast caused my 5V slip-up, apologies.
Get this userguide: https://download.lenovo.com/pccbbs/mobi ... _ug_en.pdf
Has a lot of reset/recovery info in it.

Can you maybe try to update/downgrade your BIOS with a 'regular' BIOS?
FYI: if you want to update ANY BIOS, always use a self-booting CD or USB, do NOT fall in the Micro$haft trap of using Windoze!
And remove any HDD/SSD drives before you start.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)
IBM: T23 (XP/SP3) - Lenovo: X240, X250, T440p, M900 Tiny (all with W7/SP1)

fj1200
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2022 3:18 am
Location: Peterborough, UK

Re: W540 BIOS Update Failed

#5 Post by fj1200 » Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:43 am

Yeah - Sadly a bit too late for that. I'll have a look through the link though, thanks. Unfortunately I can't boot anything off it atm - I've tried the bootable CD option, it does the initialising bit then stops. I swapped the CD for a drive caddy in the original build - horrible cheap nasty plastic thing that I ditched and got a nice aluminium one from Amazon instead. Arrived with the 1TB drive rattling around inside loose. Its been ok all these years on though.

fj1200
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2022 3:18 am
Location: Peterborough, UK

Re: W540 BIOS Update Failed

#6 Post by fj1200 » Fri Feb 11, 2022 3:59 am

For those that know more about these things than I do I found a txt file on the hard drive from the laptop containing the original from the factory BIOS info - don't know if this helps any but there it is anyway:

BiosCharacteristics BIOSVersion BuildNumber Caption CodeSet CurrentLanguage Description IdentificationCode InstallableLanguages InstallDate LanguageEdition ListOfLanguages Manufacturer Name OtherTargetOS PrimaryBIOS ReleaseDate SerialNumber SMBIOSBIOSVersion SMBIOSMajorVersion SMBIOSMinorVersion SMBIOSPresent SoftwareElementID SoftwareElementState Status TargetOperatingSystem Version
{7, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 32, 33, 40, 42, 43, 49, 56, 57, 58, 59, 64, 73, 75} {"LENOVO - 2150", "Phoenix BIOS SC-T v2.1"} Phoenix BIOS SC-T v2.1 en-US Phoenix BIOS SC-T v2.1 1 {"en-US"} LENOVO Phoenix BIOS SC-T v2.1 TRUE 20140922000000.000000+000 R900LDZX GNET67WW (2.15 ) 2 7 TRUE Phoenix BIOS SC-T v2.1 3 OK 0 LENOVO - 2150

Going to download the GNET67WW BIOS ISO and see if I can get it restored back.

fj1200
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Location: Peterborough, UK

Re: W540 BIOS Update Failed

#7 Post by fj1200 » Mon Feb 14, 2022 7:16 am

So strange thing happened over the weekend. I found a laptop internal CD drive so put that in, burned a new BIOS CD and tried booting off that with the Fn+B shortcut. All power/batteries had been out for an hour or so, no other disks or USB present. Booted into a blank screen as it does, but then a date error appeared and it booted into the BIOS! It's actually on the latest one - the one I upgraded it to, and I don't think they can be downgraded because of new 'features'. However, as per Lenovo's recommendations I set it to OS default settings - F9 - and saved them and it came back with an error saying insufficient memory or something - it was too quick to read it all. Anyone have any ideas? Tried replicating it but nothing yet. But the BIOS is there and undamaged as far as I can tell, its just having trouble getting all the way through to booting. I still get stuck at the ThinkPad logo.

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Re: W540 BIOS Update Failed

#8 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Feb 14, 2022 8:11 am

If you have a date-error, how about replacing the CMOS-battery?
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)
IBM: T23 (XP/SP3) - Lenovo: X240, X250, T440p, M900 Tiny (all with W7/SP1)

fj1200
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2022 3:18 am
Location: Peterborough, UK

Re: W540 BIOS Update Failed

#9 Post by fj1200 » Mon Feb 14, 2022 8:34 am

Nothing wrong with it - I had the CMOS battery out for over an hour, so it will have lost the date. Trying to replicate it as it seems to be the only way back in.

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