Monday, September 05, 2016

Lenovo Y50 Hard Drive Replacement and Windows 10

About a month ago I was asked by a family at the church-house if I could give them some advice about their son’s two-year-old Lenovo Y50 laptop.

Apparently the hard-drive had failed and time was short before he headed off to college out of state.

They had purchased a new 1 TB Western Digital laptop drive similar to the one in it but despite good effort had been unable to get Windows 10 reloaded on the device. They suspected more was wrong with the system and wanted to confirm before picking up a new laptop before he shipped out.  Basically, they said the BIOS detected the HDD but they could not get Windows 10 reloaded on the laptop.

I asked them to let me look at the system along with the bits and pieces and then I would let them know.

So, armed with my various troubleshooting tool kits and USB sticks I sat down in our sound-booth with it and ran a quick assessment.

I’m more of a Dell-guy and hadn’t had much experience with the Lenovo line. As such, getting into the BIOS took a bit of research.

The trick was something called the “NOVO” button.

I booted into the BIOS (on the Y50 using the NOVO button to the immediate left of the power button) and checked a few things.

I was able to confirm the BIOS was picking up the new HDD. 

I look under the boot tab options and saw that it was set to EUFI.

I changed it temporarily to “Legacy” and saved. I needed it that way for the next step to work more smoothly in my troubleshooting assessment. 

I attached one of my custom USB sticks that I can use to boot a system and load/run an OS (Windows/Linux/Whatever) directly from the USB stick and not off the local HDD. 

I then hit the NOVO button again and selected to boot from my USB stick. That allowed me to load a WinPE build and run some commands to…

  1. confirm that I could see the new HDD,
  2. confirm that it was a 1 TB drive,
  3. rebuild the drive partition configuration (MBR type) and make it bootable, and then
  4. formatted it as NTFS using DiskPart from a command prompt window.

        1. Diskpart
        2. > select disk 0
        3. > clean
        4. > create partition primary
        5. > active
        6. > assign letter = C
        7. > exit

Followed up by a final

format C: /fs:ntfs /q /y

It worked perfectly. That confirmed the laptop recognized the drive while running under a Windows OS and it was working as expected. Now I needed to get the Win 10 OS loaded on the hard drive.

I shut it down and rebooted it again with the NOVO button. I went back in to the boot options tab and set it back to UEFI, saved the changes and rebooted. 

This time I had swapped USB sticks and now used a Windows 10 Installation Media USB that I had previously built when I was working on my own laptops a while back.

The Win 10 lnstaller loaded and the setup wizard started.

Only I had forgotten that the HDD was still configured as MBR with my pre-testing. 

Win 10 and UEFI BIOS support enabled didn’t like each other and the wizard refused to continue with the installation. So at that point in the installation options I had to just delete the MBR partition I had made so Win 10 could automagically create the partition again as a GPT type which it required. 

It did and then the rest was just watching Win 10 install, reboot a few times, creating a local user account, and dumping on the OS updates. 

Because it had Win 10 on before, it automatically loaded the license key from BIOS storage and activated Win 10 once fully installed and after I connected it to the Internet. 

Done. The Y50 was a sharp looking (and running) laptop and I was impressed during my short service time with it.

Note: I had planned on looking at the failed hard-drive to see if any data could be recovered and ported back over onto the new drive, but they said that wasn’t needed and would just go with a fresh-start. I left it to them to follow up with any remaining software application reinstalls as well.

I didn’t kick off the new Win 10 "Anniversary Edition" build update release since this was to be just a short “assessment” service but told them that it should eventually auto update in a week or so. I also let them know they could force it on early by heading over to this Microsoft site page and following the instructions. 

And I advised them to keep these link handy as well. 

                The family didn’t have to shell out for a new laptop and all was well.


                Claus Valca


                Additional reference notes:

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