Are BIOS and/or boot screens really able to be seen on a HDMI external monitor?

frankus333

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G'day folks

I have a HP-15 notebook with a broken screen which I use via the only external monitor port it has, a HDMI port. I have an in-line HDMI to VGA adapter which drives my VGA monitor.

I have seen a number of posts reporting that it should be possible to see the initial boot screens and/or the BIOS screens with this configuration, but no combination of function keys works.

I would love to hear from anyone who has in fact seen this working with a HDMI external port, as opposed to a VGA external port, so I can be assured it is worth continuing to pursue this possibility.

Cheers
 

frankus333

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G'day again folks
My situation has been resolved by being able to get a new screen for half price, because it had one locked pixel, so I can see everything now. It is now clear that any attempt to have reset the BIOS blindly would have been too complicated, and potentially been disastrous, so I am glad I held off. I have changed back to UEFI booting, but have not disconnected the new screen to test if that actually solved the display problem above; chose to leave well enough alone.

Not really a solution to similar dilemmas, but my resolution in this particular case.

Cheers.
 
Hi, I use this configuration for about 4 years now, I can go in the BIOS easily and I see the boot screen when I restart, I have an Acer connected to a 24" monitor via the HDMI port of the laptop. What I did is select "do nothing" when I close the lid in the configuration, so the lid is always close, I open it just to wake the laptop and close it after. BTW the laptop's screen is cracked, and I use an external mouse, keyboard, HDD and WiFi.
 

frankus333

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Thanks jarotech

This does not seem to work on mine. I have Wondows 8.1 and Linux Mint 18.1 KDE dual booted on this machine (hence my need to see the boot screens for trouble shooting). The F4 key switches through the display options available in either OS, but does nothing in the initial boot period. I have set the lid switch to Do Nothing in both OSes, and also tried the special option available in LM 18.1 of turning off the laptop display only, leaving the external display on, when the lid closes. No combination changes the behaviour at boot time.

What OS(s) do you have on your machine? More importantly, did you make any changes in your BIOS to get this to work as you describe. Not sure if it is significant, but my laptop has UEFI (another reason I would like to be able to access this, to turn off secure boot).
 
I have Windows 7 Home Premium, I do not change anything in the BIOS, any option for this feature. Maybe it will work if you disconnect the screen, it will use the monitor by default, but not 100% sure. Can you use only the VGA port from your laptop to the monitor?
 

frankus333

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Thanks jarotech

This laptop has only a HDMI port, no VGA port. Are you able to see your boot/BIOS screens via your HDMI port? Is your machine UEFI or legacy BIOS?

The lid switch options in Win 8.1 only involve actions of the OS (sleep, hibernate, shut down) and have no effect on display options. The display on/off option in LM18.1KDE lid switch options seems more relevant, but again seems to have no effect on boot/BIOS screen access prior to OS loading.

I have also experimented with using a small (2cm or about 0.8 inch diameter) disc magnet from the back of a fridge magnet to simulate the lid closed so I can still access laptop keys. This seems to mimic lid closure, but also seems to disable some keys, so not all that useful. I am using a PS/2 keyboard (and mouse) via a USB adapter, and the keys needed to select OS boot options (Esc, F9, down cursor and Enter), and to toggle display options (F4 on this machine; not Fn +F4) work at boot time OK. So I have tried accessing boot/BIOS screens after reboot with the lid closed, pausing the sequence, but get nothing on the external display until the selected OS has booted.

I have seen another post which said that disconnecting the screen did not prevent the laptop from thinking it was still there, so this would only be a last resort for me to try, unless someone actually has confirmed this might work on a HP-15 like mine.
 
I have the legacy BIOS, and yes, I can see the boot/BIOS screens via my HDMI port with the external keyboard.

I bought the laptop (2011/11/28) for $50 CAD because the screen was broken by the owner 13 days after he bought the laptop (a teenager).

Many people have failed to go into the BIOS after closing the lid, maybe that is how their laptops are configured by the manufacturer.
 

frankus333

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Thanks jarotech

You have given me an extra variable (lid switch) to explore; much appreciated.

I wonder if anyone else out there has experience with the HP-15 notebook (Product K2N67PA#ABG, BIOS Insyde F.23-09/19/2014), UEFI, and has been able to get boot/BIOS screens to show in an external HDMI monitor? Or, who has some detailed information on the accessing steps to the BIOS screens (e.g.; service manual), so I can get in and shut down Secure Boot (or change whatever else in BIOS that might allow HDMI output during boot)? Or, who might know whether there is the possibility of accessing a VGA port on the motherboard?

Thanks All
 

Mister_MO

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Some notebooks with hdmi only wont use hdmi output in bios when internal lcd is still plugged in, so if you disconnect it and then turn noetbook on, it should work. But before you try disconnect lcd cable from motheroard, be 1000% sure battery is disconnected, because lcd connector have very small pins are is easy to short out. You should disconnect battery as first thing you do no matter what electronic device it is.
As for lid switch, most of time you cant turn on notebooks with lid closed
 

frankus333

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Thanks Mister_MO
The service manual I downloaded suggests that disconnecting the screen is actually relatively straightforward on this machine, so I will give it a go in a day or so and report back.
 

frankus333

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Mister_MO and community

I was able to disconnect and remove the screen from the connector in the lid; I did not go all the way to the motherboard and remove the other end of the cable. This did not seem to have done anything on the initial bootup, but after a reboot, it worked; I could see the boot menu, and enter BIOS, but did not see any sign of the Linux GRUB booting menu.

I was able to turn off Secure Boot (but did not purge the Secure Boot keys) and correct the clock in BIOS. The initial screens remained available through a series of reboots, starting in Safe Mode, and shutdowns, while I explored to see if I could locate the GRUB menu. So far so good.

However, after switching to Legacy boot mode in BIOS to see if that would allow the GRUB menu to show up, I got a warning that this might prevent any OS booting. I opted to go ahead anyway. Both OSes can be booted as before, but now the initial boot screens and BIOS are no longer available; I am back to square one!
I completely shut down the machine, removed the battery and purged any residual power by holding down the power button as before, to see it this would allow it to get back into the recognizing there was no longer an internal display. No change on restart; no HDMI output until OS booted.

I find it hard to believe it can still think there is an internal display attached, so I suspect the regression relates to the legacy boot selection. However, I also opted to change action key operation so that Fn + [action key] is required, not just the action key, so the regression may be related to that, although it seems less likely. I don't want to risk blindly trying to navigate my way back to the BIOS section to turn off Legacy Boot again; too many steps and thus room for seriously stuffing up the BIOS.

Maybe the simpler steps of navigating blindly to reset the BIOS to default settings will restore UEFI booting? I think from memory that would involve getting to the BIOS screen (Esc > F10) then moving to the most right hand menu item by one [left arrow] key press (because I am not sure how many [right arrow] steps would be required). Then, two [down arrow] key presses should get me from Exit Saving Changes > Exit without Saving > Reset to Defaults. Now pressing Enter should complete the reset, unless there is a confirmation dialogue related to this action.

If anyone could confirm that my assumptions and these steps are accurate or not, that would be a great help. The BIOS on this HP15 is Insyde F.23-09/19/2014, and SMBIOS version 2.7 if that is helpful. I am also curious about whether anything I have changed in the display settings in either OS (e.g.; whether there are one or two displays, and which is primary) could have any effect on the display selection during boot/BIOS entry, before any OS has loaded. I suspect not, but would be nice to confirm this. I also wonder if the changes in BIOS can limit or change what the OS display options are now. I ask because there seems to be some changes/limitations to display options, particularly in Win 8.1, such as not being able to get letterbox effect as before when resolution set to recommended optimal for this display.

Many thanks for any ideas.

Cheers
 

frankus333

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G'day again folks

Is there anyone familiar enough with this type of UEFI BIOS to know whether I have a ghost of a chance of being able to reset it to UEFI booting without being able to see it on the screen? Thinking about the above reset to defaults idea, it might be too difficult if it asked for entry of a code on the screen to reset Secure Boot, as it required to disable it.

I may have to live with not ever being able to adjust BIOS or troubleshoot GRUB. I can still boot into either OS OK: do I just have to just keep my fingers crossed that nothing else fails?

Cheers
 

frankus333

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Jun 10, 2017
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G'day folks

Is anyone able to give me the keystroke steps to enter a HP-15 notebook (Product K2N67PA#ABG, BIOS Insyde F.23-09/19/2014) BIOS and reset it from Legacy boot back to UEFI boot and get back out again, with no screen to see it?

Cheers
 

frankus333

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Jun 10, 2017
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Thanks Mister_MO

I am concerned that a blanket reset to defaults will mean it will ask for entry of a code displayed, to allow resetting Secure Boot, which I turned off, and so this can't be done blindly.

Even just trying to reset from Legacy Boot back to UEFI Boot may ask for confirmation after a warning about possibly not being able to boot an OS, but this may be doable blindly, if someone could supply the key sequences.

Cheers
 

frankus333

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Jun 10, 2017
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G'day again folks
My situation has been resolved by being able to get a new screen for half price, because it had one locked pixel, so I can see everything now. It is now clear that any attempt to have reset the BIOS blindly would have been too complicated, and potentially been disastrous, so I am glad I held off. I have changed back to UEFI booting, but have not disconnected the new screen to test if that actually solved the display problem above; chose to leave well enough alone.

Not really a solution to similar dilemmas, but my resolution in this particular case.

Cheers.
 
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