Solved! Lenovo Dead? Display? Hard-Drive?

OhGod

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Feb 17, 2020
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So, I come to you today completely broken-hearted. My trusty Lenovo Z51-70 might have died, and I need someone to help tell me it isn't so. I tempted fate by saying I'd never had a system conk out on me, but I am holding out hope that fate will be defeated by FAITH, and all you smart people. :)

SOOOO, I was having problems dragging and dropping from one folder to another (I'm guessing this bodes badly for the hardware/hard-drive). As such, I ran an SFC/ScanNow, and other such commands to clean it up and restore, fix, etc. It said it found some errors in the component store but I'm pretty certain it said it fixed them. A day later, I used CCleaner instead of my usual Iobit Advanced Care, and it picked up 6GB of trash. It was all in the AppData/Roaming/Temp folder so I thought it was okay to delete despite the huge size. I figuered it was leftovers from the restore/fix and began the cleaning, but then stopped it because the size of all that temp stuff bothered me. I then rebooted and it STARTED UP FINE, or at least if it did not take me to me desktop, it showed me the Lenovo sign-in Logo. (I can't remember).

Short version:
I can't get into it, but it's worse than that. I REALLY can't get into it despite trying everything I can think of. When turned off, it shows a black screen. When switched on, the screen turns light black (the light behind the screen comes on), but it does NOTHING ELSE. No logo, no mouse cursor. NOTHING. So, I phoned Microsoft and using another laptop, we created a new, updated bootable disk drive, but when inserted into the Lenovo, it too does NOTHING. Hitting F2, F8, F12, with or without the function keys does NOTHING. I held down shift, like I was instructed to by MS while turning it on, which is supposed to take you to the Windows Restore screen with the bootable disk in, but it does nothing. .... Again, I'm HEART BROKEN.

Longer version:
SO, then I called Lenovo, and despite being a Lenovo proponent and buyer for years, they are ^(&^% &(&%( %$R*&^'s! #-(|( their customer service. They were crap. They told me that since it is out of warranty I need to take it to an authorized repair shop. I then called Best Buy which they said is an authorized repair center and the guy I spoke to said that if it is a display issue they can't do anything because they NEED the display in order to troubleshoot it and that they do not keep laptop components on-hand enough to be able to do that without a working display. He was very helpful though, in that he told me that if it was him, he'd call Lenovo back and make sure it is a SATA hard-drive and if so, take the hard-drive and use a SATA to USB (adapter?) cable and test the hard-drive on another laptop.

All that said, my questions are:

  1. Can someone please link the SATA to USB cable I need to use to test the hard-drive on another laptop? I Googled it and found some but I want to just be certain that I am looking at the right thing.
  2. Does anyone have any thoughts on what else I might be able to try?
Thanks!
 

AlHuneke

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Thank you! Yes, I found quite a few SATA to USB cables, but wanted to be sure I was looking at the right thing. :)

As much as I'd prefer it to be the display rather than a hard-drive or motherboard issue, when this first happened, it was already connected via a KVM Switch to an external monitor. (I later disconnected it from everything). I will try connecting it up to another monitor directly.

I'm pretty certain that it is turning on and off. When turned on, it goes from a very dark (what we are used to viewing as an 'off') black screen to a 'lit' black screen .... basically, the light in back of the screen comes on. The tiny little "On" light in the front of it next to the orange charging light also comes on accordingly whether I turn it on or off, too, as does the power-button light.

Part of me is hoping that it IS the display because believe it or not - despite posting here for help on how to perform back-ups, I backed up everything BUT my important files because they were always changing. I could KICK MYSELF!

Wish me luck, please! 🙏
It's quite likely that your files are still recoverable from the internal drive. So if you can, pop that out and see using the USB/SATA interface cable. I liked the other fellows suggestion about trying a remote connection (which may or may not work depending on the windows version you have. Type mstsc into the run box to start the remote connection. You will need to know either your laptop name (windows name) of IP address. If you have windows 10 installed, it will need to be the pro version to work.
 
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AlHuneke

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Lots of SATA to USB adapters available. Any one should work but don't get the cheapiest one you can find. Read the reviews on Amazon. This will at least enable you to copy off your data (but I trust you have backups anyway :)). However, I don't think the drive is the problem.

What you describe tends to indicate something other than a bad drive. A bad drive is usually indicated by a system message. The fact that you can't get into the BIOS either is a problem. However--there is a chance the display is bad and the computer is running but you can't tell. One indication of this would be if during startup, the disk activity light flashes. If you don't have such a light, you can try to plug in an external monitor and use whatever function key is needed to switch to the external monitor.

If the drive light flashes, it's likely a display problem or the graphics engine on the motherboard. If an external monitor works, it still could be either of these issues, but more likely is a bad display, but at least you will then know the CPU related stuff is OK.

Good luck!
 
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OhGod

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Feb 17, 2020
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Lots of SATA to USB adapters available. Any one should work but don't get the cheapiest one you can find. Read the reviews on Amazon. This will at least enable you to copy off your data (but I trust you have backups anyway :)). However, I don't think the drive is the problem.

What you describe tends to indicate something other than a bad drive. A bad drive is usually indicated by a system message. The fact that you can't get into the BIOS either is a problem. However--there is a chance the display is bad and the computer is running but you can't tell. One indication of this would be if during startup, the disk activity light flashes. If you don't have such a light, you can try to plug in an external monitor and use whatever function key is needed to switch to the external monitor.

If the drive light flashes, it's likely a display problem or the graphics engine on the motherboard. If an external monitor works, it still could be either of these issues, but more likely is a bad display, but at least you will then know the CPU related stuff is OK.

Good luck!
Thank you! Yes, I found quite a few SATA to USB cables, but wanted to be sure I was looking at the right thing. :)

As much as I'd prefer it to be the display rather than a hard-drive or motherboard issue, when this first happened, it was already connected via a KVM Switch to an external monitor. (I later disconnected it from everything). I will try connecting it up to another monitor directly.

I'm pretty certain that it is turning on and off. When turned on, it goes from a very dark (what we are used to viewing as an 'off') black screen to a 'lit' black screen .... basically, the light in back of the screen comes on. The tiny little "On" light in the front of it next to the orange charging light also comes on accordingly whether I turn it on or off, too, as does the power-button light.

Part of me is hoping that it IS the display because believe it or not - despite posting here for help on how to perform back-ups, I backed up everything BUT my important files because they were always changing. I could KICK MYSELF!

Wish me luck, please! 🙏
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Well Lenovo telling you that an out of warranty system is out of warranty is not really bad support. It does not sound like a drive issue at all, motherboard or screen are way more likely. Did you connect the laptop to an external monitor to see if that gets a display? Another back-door way to see if the system is actually running is to check the router to see if it's connected and what IP is has, then try to remote into it or send a ping command to its IP to see if it responds.
 

AlHuneke

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Jul 7, 2020
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Thank you! Yes, I found quite a few SATA to USB cables, but wanted to be sure I was looking at the right thing. :)

As much as I'd prefer it to be the display rather than a hard-drive or motherboard issue, when this first happened, it was already connected via a KVM Switch to an external monitor. (I later disconnected it from everything). I will try connecting it up to another monitor directly.

I'm pretty certain that it is turning on and off. When turned on, it goes from a very dark (what we are used to viewing as an 'off') black screen to a 'lit' black screen .... basically, the light in back of the screen comes on. The tiny little "On" light in the front of it next to the orange charging light also comes on accordingly whether I turn it on or off, too, as does the power-button light.

Part of me is hoping that it IS the display because believe it or not - despite posting here for help on how to perform back-ups, I backed up everything BUT my important files because they were always changing. I could KICK MYSELF!

Wish me luck, please! 🙏
It's quite likely that your files are still recoverable from the internal drive. So if you can, pop that out and see using the USB/SATA interface cable. I liked the other fellows suggestion about trying a remote connection (which may or may not work depending on the windows version you have. Type mstsc into the run box to start the remote connection. You will need to know either your laptop name (windows name) of IP address. If you have windows 10 installed, it will need to be the pro version to work.
 
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OhGod

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Feb 17, 2020
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Well Lenovo telling you that an out of warranty system is out of warranty is not really bad support. It does not sound like a drive issue at all, motherboard or screen are way more likely. Did you connect the laptop to an external monitor to see if that gets a display? Another back-door way to see if the system is actually running is to check the router to see if it's connected and what IP is has, then try to remote into it or send a ping command to its IP to see if it responds.
Lol. I knew that by wording my dislike of Lenovo in the manner in which I did, that someone might misunderstand. :). I wasn't upset that they said the system was out of warranty. I actually told THEM at the beginning of each call, that it was out of warranty and that I had no problem sending it in to them for a fee (because that's how I thought it worked). I explain though that I first needed some guidance guidance on what they thought the issue might be (especially after what the Microsoft guy had me try), so that I could gauge whether it would be cost effective to send it in to them for repair. To my surprise however, they were %#!*. Seriously, it was as if the first two agents were just kicking back, calling in their time in order to cash a paycheck: screw the caller. The third lady I spoke to, after I spoke to the technician at Best Buy, was even worse in that it seemed like she cared too much ... to not help. :) It was like pulling teeth to find out -simply - if it was a SATA hard-drive in the system. You'd have thought she was guarding a national secret. I was exhausted after she finally said that it was. I also asked if they had some sort of instruction sheet which would detail how to remove the back cover correctly and you'd think I'd asked her to please find and then share with me, the latest nuclear codes. She said that Lenovo did not share those. I told her (again) that the system was out of warranty and so they bore no liability for what I did with it ... that all I was looking for was a guide in order to do it correctly, but it was still a "no", "sorry we can't help you". After a while of hitting the Lenovo brand of blow-off-customers, I counted myself lucky that she slipped the SATA data and figured I'd find a video on how to remove the cover and gain access to the hard-drive somewhere online.

I have not yet connected it to another monitor, but intend to do so tomorrow. Your router idea is really great(!) I will connect it tomorrow before connecting it to a monitor. We actually had to switch routers today. Again, great idea to see if it is 'seeing' it (which would be fantastic because I am just interested in some files) . If it does see it, though, I have no idea how to try to remote into it or even how to send a ping to it from the router. If you can provide more info. on how to do that or point me toward a guide, that'd be awesome!

Thank again, hang-the-9!!!
 

OhGod

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It's quite likely that your files are still recoverable from the internal drive. So if you can, pop that out and see using the USB/SATA interface cable. I liked the other fellows suggestion about trying a remote connection (which may or may not work depending on the windows version you have. Type mstsc into the run box to start the remote connection. You will need to know either your laptop name (windows name) of IP address. If you have windows 10 installed, it will need to be the pro version to work.
Thanks, AlHuneke! Will try both the router thing and connecting it to a monitor tomorrow and will advise what happens. Crossing my Fingers! Unfortunately, that system only had Windows Home. Even if I can't get in to it through the router or remotely though, it will go a long way toward letting me know if the hard-drive seems salvageable which is really all I'm worried about at this point. I'd LOVE to find a miracle that would get it to work as it was, of course, but I'll be happy with just being able to get some files from it.
 
Apr 5, 2020
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Hey, if it is a display issue you can connect it to some external display to check if it is even giving out a Video output, but anyways if the Data is the only concern then you can possibly take the HDD or SSD out of the laptop and try it in some other computer. And also if you might remember the Model Number or something you can search it up and find what sort of Storage Setup it is.
 

OhGod

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Hey, if it is a display issue you can connect it to some external display to check if it is even giving out a Video output, but anyways if the Data is the only concern then you can possibly take the HDD or SSD out of the laptop and try it in some other computer. And also if you might remember the Model Number or something you can search it up and find what sort of Storage Setup it is.
Thank you. Tried a couple of things as suggested, and more and more it's pointing to "not Good". 😭😭😭
 

OhGod

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Hi all!

A few more questions, please, even though I hear the funeral dirge already playing for my sweet laptop. :)

1. Router did not see it. Even though we switched routers yesterday, I guess isp keeps a record of devices, and it's there, just "Not connected since 8/24". Sad.

2. External Monitor #2 did not see it. "No Signal". Very sad ....

So, I opened it up. Figure I have little to lose. Where is the battery though, so that I can disconnect it please? I don't want to fry it if it isn't totally fried yet.

Also, fan seems super dirty and dusty (eeeew) in pictures. Should I clean it with a brush, or vacuum attachment)?

Thanks again!



 

AlHuneke

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Hum..I suspect the battery is the large black object at the very top but it is not a familiar configuration to me. Usually batteries are flatter and wider. Looks a little small for a main battery. Easy to pull though. Looks like a couple of screws and one connector.

I'm not a network guru, but your ISP should have no idea of what devices you have connected unless you are using their router (a router they manage remotely) in your home. The router replaces the device addresses with its own address when going out over the internet (using a process called NAT). All the ISP would see are packets with the Router address on them. I would expect you would have to log into the router yourself to see what the connected device history is. This assumes you own the router yourself.

The fan does look dirty. A few screws and a connector should allow it to be removed. Then you can vacuum away!
 

AlHuneke

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The round thing in the middle bottom is the CMOS battery. If you pull that out, you will need to restore your BIOS settings. Were you asking about the main battery or the CMOS battery? Pulling the main battery will reset all the motherboard circuits. I would leave the CMOS battery installed.
 

OhGod

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Hum..I suspect the battery is the large black object at the very top but it is not a familiar configuration to me. Usually batteries are flatter and wider. Looks a little small for a main battery. Easy to pull though. Looks like a couple of screws and one connector.
I've been mourning all day over it. I seriously had not only important documents on it, but my most-used programs . Harder still for me to take is that I had customized almost each and every icon, the background/wallpaper, fonts. Lol. Way too much time spent on it since I had it. Earlier this evening I had to be physically pulled away from it - lol - and later came back and put it in a drawer until I receive the SATA to USB cable. I'll be sure to disconnect the battery and clean the fan then, and will try the aluminum foil trick to ground. Earlier I had draped a blanket over our kitchen table thinking that may help. It's only the second time I open a laptop up. Last time I was going to thermal paste my other one but chickened out. from doing it myself. :) Oh, and yes, I connected to (logged into) the router and I guess my isp keeps a list of all the devices (phones, printers, gaming systems, etc.) we've connected. It only showed a couple of them online and said the others were offline. When I connected the Lenovo to it, nothing changed even though I tried to refresh the page, log out, logged back in ... I thought about 'forgetting' the device in the router properties, but then thought it might not pick it back up again and I might need it I even connected it via an ethernet cable hoping that would help it see it - and nothing. Oh well, Dem's da breaks. Hurts like heII, but it could be worse.

Thanks for your kind thoughts and suggestions. I'll probably be back with another wall of text after my next go at it. :D

 

AlHuneke

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I see what you are looking at now. You are logging into your router and it is the router itself that keeps the device list. Your ISP likely does not have access to this (unless they own the router). Neither here nor there--just an FYI.

I also with I know of no way to capture and transfer settings. Most of this stuff is buried in the registry. Maybe someone knows of some SW that will copy this. DO NOT try to copy the entire registry and reuse that. That would be an invitation to disaster.
 
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OhGod

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I see what you are looking at now. You are logging into your router and it is the router itself that keeps the device list. Your ISP likely does not have access to this (unless they own the router). Neither here nor there--just an FYI.

I also with I know of a way to capture and transfer settings. Most of this stuff is buried in the registry. Maybe someone knows of some SW that will copy this. DO NOT try to copy the entire registry and reuse that. That would be an invitation to disaster.
A way to copy the laptop's registry from the router somehow? Sorry if I'm confused. This is a brand new router we connected the day after my Lenovo ... became ill. ;) I do still have the old router though. Let me know please if there is a way to get info. off of it or if I misunderstood. please.

Also, another question if you don't mind: IF there is nothing wrong with my hard-drive, will I be able to see and move my files via the USB to SATA cable or will getting the files involve another process? (I am still holding out hope that I'll be able to salvage something).

Thanks, Al!
 

AlHuneke

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Sorry for the confusion. I was talking about moving settings from your existing laptop to a new install of windows. There is no way I know of to keep all the work you did setting things up. The good news is that connecting your existing drive to a USB adapter will likely allow you to access files with Windows explorer and move them over to another machine easily. I've sometime run into issues with Windows security--this would be the case if you had set file access permissions. If you had encrypted the entire drive that will be bad news. Make sure you are using an account with admin permissions when you try to access the old drive.
 

OhGod

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Sorry for the confusion. I was talking about moving settings from your existing laptop to a new install of windows. There is no way I know of to keep all the work you did setting things up. The good news is that connecting your existing drive to a USB adapter will likely allow you to access files with Windows explorer and move them over to another machine easily. I've sometime run into issues with Windows security--this would be the case if you had set file access permissions. If you had encrypted the entire drive that will be bad news. Make sure you are using an account with admin permissions when you try to access the old drive.
Ahhh! Got it. Thanks so much for all the information. My USB to SATA cable was supposed to arrive today but there were delays with the carrier apparently. Hoping beyond hope it'll work.
 

OhGod

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Just an update ...

So it seems as if it was a hard-drive failure. :(

I have connected the hard-drive from the Lenovo to the ASUS via the USB to SATA cable and it SEES two drives. One is my old D drive which I was able to copy the files from; and the other, I am guessing is what used to be my main C drive, only it can't access the files. It tells me that I do not have permission and to click for permission, but when I do, it hangs at the very end portion (bar on top).

I tried to use a recovery program when all this first happened, which I am now using to see if I can at least get to some files. It is scanning the drive but has not come back with whether anything can be saved, yet. Will post images and update on whether, and if so, how, any files were recovered.
 

OhGod

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Ello. Still need a little more help, please.

I used two recovery programs. The first, ICare, just showed me around 550 recoverable partitions, but did not say what was in each so I didn't know which to recover. The second, EaseUS took about 5 hours to find all recoverable files, but when I tried to recover three folders of documents inside Documents, it got stuck (hung up) on the first (1) of 5065 files and would not move for a little over an hour.

Then, I tried changing just the drive letter and running Check as denoted here: https://fossbytes.com/repair-corrupted-hard-drive-fix-disk/ AND it seemed to work!!! I was able to actually see, access and move my files.

My issue is that afterwards, I connected the hard-drive back into the Lenovo, because for all intents and purposes it was working perfectly after running Check and changing the drive letter, but again, it did nothing.

As such, with the display being ruled out and the hard-drive (mostly) being ruled out (unless changing the drive letter messed it up for the Lenovo), is it a motherboard issue?

Thanks!

Sorry for all the questions and walls of text. It's just that this was my 'MAIN' laptop and if there's a chance of saving it, that'd be awesome.
 
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