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Booting Windows from the WWAN slot in A485

A285, A475, X395 and later Series
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dont_think_feel
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Booting Windows from the WWAN slot in A485

#1 Post by dont_think_feel » Sun Dec 25, 2022 1:05 am

Hello all,

I got an A485 not too long ago since I read that it can boot from an SSD installed in the WWAN slot. I was hoping to dual boot Linux and Windows, utilizing the Samsung 2280 256GB SSD that was pre-installed for Linux and a SK Hynix BC501 2242 256GB NVMe SSD in the WWAN slot for Windows. I want to run Nobara Linux (a modified version of Fedora) as the main OS, keeping Windows on hand just in case I want to use Capture One (image editing software) while away from home. If I want to expand storage later, I could just switch out the Samsung since 2280 drives are much easier to source than the 2242 drives.

At first, I thought a simple clone of Windows to the SK Hynix drive was all that needed to be done, but I had trouble trying to get it to boot from the SK Hynix. The drive shows up in BIOS, but even when I give it top priority, it still ended up booting from the Samsung drive.

After messing around with bcdedit and such with no luck, I went ahead and installed Nobara Linux on the Samsung drive with no problems. Well, okay, one problem: the Nobara installer and even the Disk Partition Manager doesn't detect the SK Hynix drive. OS-prober detected the Windows install, though. Updated grub to have a Windows entry there. Tried to boot Windows from there, still no go.

Since this Thinkpad is new to me and haven't really used it yet, I decided to just wipe both drives in the Windows Installation disk via Command Prompt > diskpart > clean. Okay, nice clean, fresh install of Windows on the SK Hynix (WWAN slot), nothing on the Samsung drive...

It still won't boot from the SK Hynix. Before the clean, I set Secure Boot to disabled, set boot to UEFI only, made sure to set the SK Hynix disk to first priority so that the computer will boot to it after restart.

So folks, was this all done in vain? Is it not true that you can boot from the WWAN slot? Anyone here have success booting from the WWAN slot? May someone please help me out if booting from the WWAN slot is possible?

FYI, I have BIOS ver 1.33

Thanks in advance for any help! I really want to get this up and running because it's my first Thinkpad and I'm simply loving the feel of this laptop!

dont_think_feel
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Re: Booting Windows from the WWAN slot in A485

#2 Post by dont_think_feel » Wed Jan 04, 2023 1:27 am

Update:

Unfortunately, I still haven't managed to boot from WWAN. I ended up just dual booting from the main SSD and will be using the SK Hynix for storage for Windows (not detected in Nobara Linux).

I'm still hoping that someone will come across this thread and give some helpful advice because I'm still willing to give booting from WWAN a try.

RealBlackStuff
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Re: Booting Windows from the WWAN slot in A485

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Jan 04, 2023 2:03 am

Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)
Lenovo: X240, X250, T440p, T480, M900 Tiny.

PS: the old Boardroom website is still available on the Wayback Machine
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rumbero
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Re: Booting Windows from the WWAN slot in A485

#4 Post by rumbero » Wed Jan 04, 2023 2:08 am

dont_think_feel wrote:
Sun Dec 25, 2022 1:05 am
At first, I thought a simple clone of Windows to the SK Hynix drive was all that needed to be done, but I had trouble trying to get it to boot from the SK Hynix. The drive shows up in BIOS, but even when I give it top priority, it still ended up booting from the Samsung drive.
If not completely mistaken, the A485 is a variant of the T480 but using AMD processors. I am using a T480 with a similar working boot scenario as you describe.

But instead of cloning the existing Win10 to the 2242 a clean Windows install to this storage was done. This way a proper UEFI entry with a Windows boot loader was created and this is used to boot Windows when chosen at system startup via the F12 key.

The Linux installation on the 2280 even has no entries configured for anything other than it's kernels. This was done on purpose by your's truly in order to keep operating systems separate.
A few 14.1" and 15" T61+ Frankenpads and one T480

dont_think_feel
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Re: Booting Windows from the WWAN slot in A485

#5 Post by dont_think_feel » Thu Jan 05, 2023 1:27 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Wed Jan 04, 2023 2:03 am
Check this out: https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... wwan_slot/
Thanks for the reference. This post is actually one of the reasons why I jumped on getting this A485 because even the T480s was capable of booting from WWAN. I was initially looking for a T480 but found a good deal on this A485. I still couldn't boot via chainbooting, though.
rumbero wrote:
Wed Jan 04, 2023 2:08 am
If not completely mistaken, the A485 is a variant of the T480 but using AMD processors. I am using a T480 with a similar working boot scenario as you describe.

But instead of cloning the existing Win10 to the 2242 a clean Windows install to this storage was done. This way a proper UEFI entry with a Windows boot loader was created and this is used to boot Windows when chosen at system startup via the F12 key.

The Linux installation on the 2280 even has no entries configured for anything other than it's kernels. This was done on purpose by your's truly in order to keep operating systems separate.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I do appreciate it. Since my initial post, I did try doing a clean install with the main SSD completely disconnected from the laptop. My A485 would not boot from the WWAN slot. I do believe that it's trying to read from it on startup, but then it ends up going to the boot menu. If I select "Windows Boot Manager" from the boot menu, the screen blacks out for a quick second and returns to the boot menu. If I select the WWAN SSD, it blacks out for a few seconds and the fan blows a bit harder before it returns to the boot menu.

I did inspect the connections and re-seated the SSD, just to make sure. But yeah, no luck for me. That's why I ended up installing Windows and Linux on the main SSD with the WWAN SSD being storage for Windows.

Firmware is up-to-date, but I haven't tried updating the BIOS as it seems to be a risky endeavor.

RealBlackStuff
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Re: Booting Windows from the WWAN slot in A485

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Jan 05, 2023 2:53 am

Have you tried older Windows versions?
Can't imagine that W7 would put up such a battle...

Have you checked the settings in BIOS/Startup?
Especially the Boot-priority order?
Also, why would anyone select Windows Boot Manager?
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)
Lenovo: X240, X250, T440p, T480, M900 Tiny.

PS: the old Boardroom website is still available on the Wayback Machine
.

dont_think_feel
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Location: Los Angeles, L.A. County, CA

Re: Booting Windows from the WWAN slot in A485

#7 Post by dont_think_feel » Sat Jan 14, 2023 1:43 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Thu Jan 05, 2023 2:53 am
Have you tried older Windows versions?
Can't imagine that W7 would put up such a battle...
Ya know, that idea never came across my mind. I do miss Win 7.

Have you checked the settings in BIOS/Startup?
Especially the Boot-priority order?
Also, why would anyone select Windows Boot Manager?
[/quote]
Yep, changed the order in BIOS. When none of the configurations worked, I tried selecting from the boot menu. Nothing worked for me.

Heh, I selected Windows Boot Manager because I figured why not since nothing was working for me. Thankfully, no harm done.

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