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Lenovo: Unique Startup Problem - Blinking Cursor no matter what!


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#1 cl0ne

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 08:01 PM

Hello folks, 

 

This is my first post.  I've been a long fan of BleepingComputer.com but I have never needed to ever post something because the wealth of information here was able to help me resolve most problems.  That is, until now.  I have been fixing computers for years and I don't remember to have ever been in a position where I have exhausted all options and have surrendered to the reality that it may be the motherboard.  But, despite my experience, I know I'm a novice at this game so that's why I'm turning to the people here.

 

I have a Lenovo ThinkCentre M58 7244 Desktop.  This is not mine, but a friends.  The problem is as follows: When the computer boots up, there is a splash screen which says the "system is starting" and to interrupt the startup, I can hit enter.  If I hit enter, screen disappears and I'm brought to a black screen with the cursor blinking on the top left corner.  Clearly the issue is startup related so all I'm thinking about is trying to fix the MBR or even considering flashing the BIOS.  So, I attempt to get into the BIOS.  Since hitting enter brought me nowhere, I decided to use other common hot keys.  Hitting F1, F2, Delete, F8, F12 from the splash screen take me nowhere except to the blinking cursor.  I hit ESC and viola! Another screen that displays lots of text as well as memory information, which is all accurate. 

 

This screen also gives me two additional options: Hit F1 for setup or F12 to enter Startup Device Menu.  When I hit F1, I get a familiar error message: "PXE-E05: The LAN adapter's configuration is corrupted or has not been initialized. The Boot Agent cannot continue.".  The error sticks around only for a few seconds, then disappears and we're back to the blinking cursor.  When I choose to go with F12, it says that it is going into the boot menu, but after the screen disappears, it takes me back to the blinking cursor.  Aside from this, you should know that I've attempted using basic hardware configuration, which has done nothing.  

 

When the computer boots, the power seems to be going everywhere. All fans run, albeit a little too fast, but run nonetheless.  CD drive has power therefore I assume the hard drive is getting power as well.  The display obviously gets power.  I tried to isolate the issue by removing one hardware component at at time until only the basic components remained (power, one memory stick, keyboard, display).  Same results.  Also, you should know that I have heard no beep from this computer in all of these scenarios. Oh, and I've tried to clear the CMOS using the jumper.

 

The machine is totally locked me out and I can't seem to think of any other troubleshooting technique I can employ.  Either I'm overlooking something big that I needs consideration or this computer is gone.  Still, given the state of the hardware components as well as being able to get a display, sounds like there is definitely hope.  But I can't wrap my mind around how I can get to a point where I can boot from a removable media.  I just can't get there! This is driving me nuts! :exclame:

 

Any help would be much appreciated!

 

Thank you!



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 08:45 PM

Hello, and Welcome,

Have you replaced the CMOS battery with a new one? PXE errors can be due to a bad hard drive or bad CMOS battery. I would also powercycle the computer if you have not tried it yet. Pull the power cord. Hold the power button down for 30 seconds, Replace the power cord and boot.

 

Depending on how many RAM modules you have, start with one and try to boot. Change slots. If that does not help, replace with the other module if there is more than one and try both slots booting between each changed location.

 

I would also reseat any hard drive cables at the hard drive and motherboard. When booting, can you hear the hard drive spin up when the side panel is removed? Good Luck



#3 cl0ne

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 03:36 PM

Thank you JohnC_21 for the prompt reply.

 

The one thing I didn't do you pointed out: changing the CMOS battery.  I did just that and now I have a new set of problems.  While before, I was being led to the blinking cursor constantly, after changing the CMOS battery, everything remains frozen.  Meaning, when I boot up, the computer freezes on the splash screen with the text "system is starting up" near the bottom.  If I leave it for a few seconds, I lose the ability to hit enter to interrupt startup.  When I shutdown and restart, I get the chance to hit enter but I must do it right away.  If I do, the "system is starting up" text as well as the text indicating that I can interrupt the startup by pressing "enter" both disappear and everything else like "Thinkcentre", Intel logo, and "a product of Lenovo" text remains but is frozen.

 

If I restart again and choose to hit ESC, I get the other screen which shows the memory and gives me two options of hitting F1 or F12.  Regardless of which option I go with, the system hangs after displaying "Entering setup..." or other relevant text

 

Now, instead being presented with a blinking cursor, I'm dealing back to back frozen screens. 

 

What can this be?!



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 04:00 PM

Have you tried clearing CMOS again using the jumper? Have you tried swapping out the RAM modules?

 

Download Parted Magic, burn the iso and boot the CD. Hopefully the BIOS defaults to the Optical Drive as first boot device. If you can move around Parted Magic and open applicationss I suspect it would be a hard drive problem. You can check your hard drive by clicking on the Disk Health icon.

 

I googled this error and it looks like it is solely a Lenovo problem.

 

Edit: Press Ctrl + P at boot. Does it give you a Intel message?


Edited by JohnC_21, 27 July 2014 - 04:30 PM.


#5 cl0ne

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 06:49 PM

I have tried every one of your suggestion but result is the same.  

 

The hard drive is not the issue because in most cases, I am booting without the hard drive and the problem persists.  I can use any CD or removable media because I cannot get into BIOS or bring up the boot options otherwise.  I did attempt with both a CD and a flash drive but the boot priority is not setup in that order. 

 

At this point, I have concluded that it is the motherboard and I won't be spending more time on it. 

 

Thank you for your help!



#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 07:33 PM

No problem. Did you see my edited post. Did you try the Ctrl + P at boot? I have been reading about the BIOS on this computer and it has a Intel AMT sub-bios if you can call it that. Very unusual.

 

http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/thinkcentre_pdf/53y5286.pdf






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