Hp Pavilion hanging at 'Press the ESC key for startup menu'

I've been working on my friends HP Pavilion p6-2054uk with an H-CUPERTINO H61 motherboard, that had an HD failure.

I replaced it with a 240GB SanDisk SSD Plus drive and did a clean install of Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit as well as trying Professional.

Windows updates were not installing despite trying two MS progs etc. Viewing a forum, someone found that they were able to install updates using a Wireless NIC, though not the Wired.

I attempted the same, disabling the Wired in Device Manager, with no effect they disabling in the CMOS setup.

Now all I get when booting up is the initial POST information with the machine spec then 'Press the ESC key for startup menu'

I've tried clearing the CMOS using the jumper and leaving the CMOS battery out half an hour, though this probably only holds Real Time Clock information and not the rest of the CMOS data.

I'm not finding many results for what's on the motherboard:- CLEAR_PASS, CLR_CMOS etc. It looks like HP like to keep the recovery service 'in house'!

I've worked on HP 8000 and 8300's, when I've needed to disable the onboard NIC to use a fibre card, with no problems.

The optical drive, hard drive and Wireless NIC have been disconnected and the sticks of memory used one at a time in both slots as well as the SATA and USB leads to the board.
The only response is when pressing 'F9' which reports 'Boot Menu' and 'ESC' which says 'Startup Menu'.

Thank you for any response, Nigel
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Why don't you use the recovery media the user made when he got the PC? All the drivers would then be included, besides having the correct license for the OS installed. If the user didn't create the Recovery DVD's, you can order them from HP for less than a new OS license would cost.

Besides that, before installing anything to the SSD make sure it's firmware is up-to-date by running it's manufacturer's diagnostic utility.
dablerAuthor Commented:
I'll answer the other questions later. I did use the utility to confirm the firmware was up-to-date, initially, but I did use another ssd drive anyway.

I'm also not able to enter the CMOS setup.

I desperately need to boot the machine up - even if just to install Linux!

I hope the motherboard isn't written-off, or needing to be sent to HP.
as you said - it could be bad hardware - other than disk
i would test without devices attached - just to see if you can accesss the bios
so disconnect disk and cd drives -  and all other external device - only keyboard + mouse

you can also remove the AC cord + bios battery  - then hold the power switch for 20 sec
reconnect and test
this often helped me to get pc's booting again
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PC's with UEFI BIOS often post very fast making it very hard to get into the BIOS as it is difficult to catch the right moment to press the "get into the BIOS" key. Often if you remove any HD's from the PC will allow you to get into the BIOS more easily. Once you are in the BIOS, change UEFI only mode to legacy mode or something similar. There may also be an option to change how long POST takes so it is easier to get into the BIOS later.
dablerAuthor Commented:
I've tried just those connections mentioned and holding the power button for 20 seconds.
I was able to get into the BIOS easily enough before this current issue of the system hanging just after POST.

Has anyone experience with HP motherboards and using BIOS recovery?
Have you tried disconnecting the disks from the PC like I suggested above, then getting into the BIOS?
dablerAuthor Commented:
Yes, but nothing has any effect.
I've never had to recover a BIOS recently, and actually I have only one board that has a "reserve" BIOS which would allow me to recover from a failed flash. I don't think HP's etc would normally have such an option.

Many years ago I was able to recover from a bad flash by removing the BIOS chip from a powered on mainboard of the same type as the one that had failed, then inserting the bad ROM (the board was still running), then flashing the bad ROM from a good image. But I doubt that is possible with today's boards, and of course the BIOS chip would have to be socketed, which is often no longer the case.

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dablerAuthor Commented:
Yes, I think that what you say is probably the case here.

I've heard of that trick of 'hot swapping' BIOS chips - Not for the faint hearted!

Looks like it will have to go to the menders, although I have just read about using an original keyboard to resolve the issue. I'll get hold of it and give it a go.
you say that this happened just after making a change in the bios?
then it seems the bios write did not work well - probably a bricked bios
contact HP; and hope they don't tell you to buy a new laptop - unless it is in warranty
MikeIT ProfessionalCommented:
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned.

I have recommended this question be closed as follows:

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