A Samsung np270e5e Laptop hard drive was corrupted. No way to get in to UEFI or BIOS from boot, can we install something other than Windows 8?

mitchfarmer
mitchfarmer used Ask the Experts™
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A Samsung np270e5e Laptop hard drive was corrupted. No way to get in to UEFI or BIOS from boot, can we install something other than Windows 8?

Ok, so I admit this is more a general question since I am not sure if this hard drive is completely corrupted, but as an IT consultant working with mostly small businesses and a couple medium-sized businesses, Windows 8 on OEM computers has been a bothersome thing and we have avoided it at all possible. So, let's assume that I cannot recover anything from the hard drive, as in a complete brick.

With this client's Samsung np270e5e laptop, it was blue-screening after displaying the Samsung logo. All attempts at pressing F2, Esc, F4, 'Delete', Shift+F2, Caps+F2, etc. have yielded no results to get into a UEFI or BIOS menu. I thought the hard drive might be corrupted, so let's boot with UBCD. It won't boot with UBCD. I took out the hard drive (started a CHKDSK on my lab computer and continues) and tried UBCD again. No luck. I tried a Windows 7 DVD and USB, but the only thing it would give me without the OEM hard drive installed was "All boot options are tried. Press f4 to recover with the factory image from RECOVERY or any other key for the next boot loop iteration." However, as soon as I pop in a Windows 8 install DVD (used 64-bit), it boots to the install!

Am I missing something or are OEM's starting to make hardware that is incapable of installing anything else other than Windows 8? I would turn off secure boot if I could get to a screen! Is the UEFI located on the hard drive? To install any other operating system do I need to create a boot partition first??? I thought UEFI was a step forward in replacing BIOS, not a step back? What happens if this hard drive is actually a brick? I can't recover the Windows 8 key or EFI partition for my client. I always knew I did not like Windows 8 and I wish I could work in an environment where we had all completely the same hardware and software so we could track licenses, but not everything is candy and nuts. /endrant

Any advice?
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Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
You can install other OS, but for most of them you have to get into the BIOS and disable secure boot. Some Linux distro's are included in secure boot, so those might boot from the installation media directly. The problem with UEFI is that it boots very fast and you hardly have time to get into the BIOS via the shortcut keys. Usually you have to change those settings from within Windows 8.x.

But the shortcut keys should in fact still work. You just have to try many times and hit the correct key at the correct time, so you probably have to try many times until you get it.

This by the way isn't the fault of the hardware manufacturer's, but rather an OEM requirement imposed on them by M$...

For the Windows RT devices with ARM processors you can't install any other OS.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
more info on the uefi system :  http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-security/uefi-secure-boot-in-windows-81/65d74e19-9572-4a91-85aa-57fa783f0759

i would take a nother disk, and install windows 8, or ubuntu on it
then you can modify the boot settings  from windows, and access uefi on boot
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
here they say to hold the F2 key https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM9UyNcSEU0
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noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Yes you can. But first you will need to erase the drive. Use DBAN or HDD vendor made test tool to write zeros to it. Then when erasing is done connect the drive again to laptop and install OS.
Thanks for the input everyone.

Turns out there is a reported bug on the Samsung laptops for UEFI where it will brick (even without attempting to install Linux) and after using an install media to attempt a recovery, I was miraculously able to not only see when it asked for the UEFI key (F2), but able to get in to UEFI. I was still working with a bad hard drive and any attempt to recover that disk was met with failure. The customer did not want to move forward with $250 worth of repair bills to fix a $350 laptop.

Thanks rindi, after a lot of searching I did find out it is a requirement by M$, but at least they allowed the option to enable a virtualized legacy BIOS mode. This particular UEFI bug was a Samsung-induced mess, but why couldn't they at least put the license key on the sticker as well? What happens when the motherboard goes bad on an OEM machine? Then there goes the Windows 8 license.
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
That samsung thing with it bricking was an issue maybe an year or more ago, and it must have been fixed in the meantime through BIOS upgrades.

Author

Commented:
This did not solve the problem, but at least explains what the problem was. Still frustrated with Microsoft and Samsung.

Author

Commented:
Rindi, one would have to upgrade the BIOS to fix the bug. My client did not.
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
Of course the BIOS would have had to be upgraded to fix the issue on the affected units.
im also experiencing the same problem with the same model, i wiped out partition image thinking i will be able to get into the BIOS but still no luck....i want to reinstall windows 8 with a cd but i cannot get into the bios settings.

Please help..

my customer is very cross with me as if i dont know what im doing

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