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Windows 8.1 not letting me access bios, boot, or repair


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#1 unbwogable

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 06:31 PM

I recently lost connection to my pc running Plex, turns out Windows made the decision to upgrade to 10 for me. It stopped halfway through, 'unable to complete', attemped several times to restore it to Windows 8.1, and failed. I tried a USB recovery disk, and now when I power on my PC, I get the Samsung logo (normal), and a bar accross the bottom that says 'f2 for setup, f4 for recovery', along with a logo that says 'Phoenix'. If I press buttons, it goes into recovery, regardless of which button I push. If I press no buttons, it goes into recovery. I had the recovery app (which appears to not be a Microsoft product, but I have no way to find out, there's no help or about) reinstall Windows 8, but alas, it continues to do the same loop and put me back into recovery (this happens even if I remove the USB disk and turn the PC on). I've also unplugged everything and left the CMOS battery out for a couple of hours, same issue. I'm at a total loss here. I can SEE files in the recovery app, so I know the hard drive isn't toast, but...how the heck do I get into my BIOS or into Windows? I BELIEVE the issue could be a setting in the BIOS, I did try a trick that a forum mentioned, which was to set the boot away from UEFI, but now I can't get back to change it.



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 07:44 PM

If you are looking to recover your data before a clean install of Windows 8.1 use a live linux disk or USB flash drive to recover your data.

 

A Samsung's boot menu can be accessed by tapping either Esc, F12, or F2 at boot in order to select your boot device.

 

Download Fatdog64, burn the iso to CD or use Rufus to create a bootable USB flash drive. Select MBR for a partition scheme. Leave all boxes as checked. Where you see FreeDos select iso image in the dropdown box. Click the icon and browse to the FatDog iso. Press start. If Windows 8 had hybrid shutdown it's possible Fatdog will not be able to mount your windows partition which will be labeled sdaX in the lower left of the FatDog desktop, X being the number of your Windows partition which on a Windows 8 computer may be sda3. If Fatdog cannot mount the partition then you may need to attach the drive to another computer using a USB enclosure or USB adapter. If you login to your Windows 8 using a Windows Live account the files may be encrypted.

 

If you get to the FatDog desktop by tapping one of the bootmenu keys post back and I can give further instructions on copying your files to an external drive. After the files are copied you can do a clean Windows 8.1 install using the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool. Because your computer came preinstalled with Windows 8 the key is embedded in firmware will self-activate once oneline.


Edited by JohnC_21, 11 March 2016 - 07:45 PM.


#3 unbwogable

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 08:12 PM

I just tried the bootable CD, I actually HAVE been using rufus to create my USB drives. They'll boot fine on my laptop, but they refuse to do anything on my other PC. I tried f2, esc and f12, and I get the same loop. I know the keyboard is working because it responds when I hit the any key, or when I'm in the GUI for the recovery that doesn't seem to do much.



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 08:52 PM

Try the following. Once you get to the Troubleshooting Section try a System Restore but I am not sure this will work as the computer went halfway through a Windows 10 upgrade. I am not sure why you cannot access BIOS. There have been posts where Windows 10 borked the BIOS but I don't think it was that common. If the below steps do not solve the problem I am not sure what else to try. Edit: Your last option would be to pull the drive and attach to another computer too pull your data.

 

  1. Hold the Power Button for 5 seconds or until the computer completely shuts off.
  2. Press the Power Button to turn the computer on.
  3. As soon as you see the rotating loading circle, press and hold the Power Button until the computer shuts off.
  4. Repeat this process 2 or 3 times until you see the Preparing Automatic Repair screen.
  5. Let the computer boot to the Automatic Repair screen.
  6. Click Advanced Options, and then select Troubleshoot.
  7. Select Refresh your PC if you do not wish to erase data.

Edited by JohnC_21, 11 March 2016 - 08:53 PM.


#5 unbwogable

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 08:56 PM

Just gave that a shot. No go. I'm not sure how, but I used to see the samsung logo with the dancing dots. Now all I see is the samsung logo, a progress bar, this phoenix logo, and the f2/f4 options, no dots chasing each other. The only thing I've done involving software is to use my original windows 8 download to create a bootable usb and boot from that. I also changed the boot mode to CSM to test another idea someone had given me, but now I can't access the BIOS to get switched back.

 

To be honest, I'm pretty sure the data on the drive is gone at this point. I've made peace with that. I'd be happy just to get this thing to boot properly.


Edited by unbwogable, 11 March 2016 - 09:00 PM.


#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:13 PM

Did you try powercycling the computer? Pull the power and main battery if a laptop. Hold the power button down for 30 seconds. Attach the power adapter but do not replace the main battery.

 

Do you have a model number of the Samsung. There may be a key press to do a factory reset at boot.  Have you tried emailing Samsung Support?



#7 unbwogable

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:18 PM

Model np300e5e, I did email them, waiting for a response. Figured I'd try what I can in the mean time. 

Also, this is what I see when I power it on (seconds after powering it on): http://imgur.com/a/3oXUW

 

 

I did remove the battery, power supply and cmos battery for about 2 hours



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:27 PM

The Phoenix logo is for the BIOS/UEFI developer. I don't know if there would be a UEFI update on Samsung's site or even if can be flashed outside of Windows. It does seem the UEFI/BIOS has a problem.

 

If found this thread and F4 is the key to tap on your model for a factory reset but it's possible the Windows 10 install wiped the recovery partition.. 


Edited by JohnC_21, 11 March 2016 - 09:27 PM.


#9 unbwogable

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:35 PM

Well at least I know what it is now. Odd that it was never there previously tho, that's why it was confusing. I miss the old days where you could see the POST and have a clue what is wrong. Even if Windows 10 did wipe anything, shouldn't a complete reinstall of Windows 8 resolve that? Unless the drive is physically damaged (which I doubt, I can see files in the recovery)?



#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:46 PM

Yes, a complete reinstall would solve the problem but if the UEFI is borked then you are basically dead in the water. From doing some Googling it's possible to recover a bad Phoenix UEFI but it's not an easy solution. Here are a couple of links to get you started.

 

https://github.com/antonizoon/archivis.me/wiki/Phoenix-UEFI-BIOS-Crisis-Recovery

 

http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/samsung-laptops-bricked-by-using-uefi.706510/

 

Some more info on the Samsung UEFI problem

 

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/22/uefi_boot_memory_full/



#11 unbwogable

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:51 PM

Forgive me if I'm missing something, the only change I made was to access the bios from the hotkey, change it to CSM. The logo being visible and the other issues did start prior to that. But am I correct that you think changing that is what stopped me from being able to access the bios or boot? I'm just trying to understand all of this. I didn't flash anything. And I do see the USB light flickering when I power up.



#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 10:30 PM

Changing to CSM boot should not have caused the problem. I am guessing the bad Windows 10 install may have done something to UEFI. From what I have read Windows 10 works closely with UEFI. Just to confirm, you cannot access a boot menu on the Samsung, correct? If a Windows 8 disk or USB flash drive cannot boot then I am not sure how you can proceed any further.

 

Edit: If you pull the hard drive can you access UEFI by tapping F2 at boot?


Edited by JohnC_21, 11 March 2016 - 10:37 PM.


#13 unbwogable

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 10:38 PM

Correct, I cannot access boot menu, DVD and USB won't boot. I've tried creating bootable drive multiple different ways. Pretty sure it's toast. Which is truly sad. But I appreciate your advice and will see what Samsung has to say regarding warranty. Which has probably run out by now.



#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 10:40 PM

Per my edited post, can you access UEFI with the hard drive pulled? 

 

Some more info on the Samsung UEFI.

 

https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/22855.html

 

Edit: If you mention to Samsung that their UEFI has a known bug they may replace your MB.


Edited by JohnC_21, 11 March 2016 - 10:41 PM.


#15 unbwogable

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 10:44 PM

Missed that, apologies. Same exact thing with the drive removed. I did pop a different, fully working, drive in, knowing full well that it's likely not even getting to the point of accessing the drive, still nothing.






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