Description: My older T530 runs Ubuntu, Ubuntu LTS, Fedora and Windows 10 Pro. I recently booted into Windows for once in a while again to check some things. It installed one of the update batches which are now default, nothing suspicious to me since this machine is configured to also receive Insider updates. I turned it off, then tried to wake it up a few days later via WoL+SSH. No reaction. I went to the machine, powered it on, looked at the boot options: No Ubuntu and no Fedora, just Windows! No other boot devices for recovery like HDDs or USB devices either!

That has not happened to me after familiarizing with UEFI.

Further observation: The boot options menu looks different from what I recall and there are no USB devices there. I can't remember if the menu was this way before, but after carefully scrolling up and down the entire (short) list of boot options, enabling entries, rebooting and updating the to latest firmware update from the Lenovo website (I have a suspicion that Windows installed an older firmware update, this was almost a year old and I recall updating it earlier this year or at least in fall last year, not summer) I still can't find any other useful option to boot from. The Fedora entry was enabled but didn't work and sometimes did not appear in the list, Ubuntu entries don't show up at all when enabling them.


My suspicion is that you're correct that the Windows updates included a firmware update that wreaked havoc. Unfortunately, sometimes firmware updates on EFI systems wipe out boot entries. Windows is usually unaffected by this because it installs a copy of its boot loader in the fallback position (EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi) and many EFIs recognize the Windows boot loader in its normal position (EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi) as a fallback filename. Ubuntu and Fedora aren't so lucky, though; if their entries get wiped, they most likely won't boot.

In general, the solution is to be prepared with an emergency boot disk. This could be an Ubuntu installer that you can use to run Boot Repair, a copy of my rEFInd boot manager on a USB flash drive or CD-R, an EFI shell on a USB flash drive or CD-R, or knowledge of how to use your firmware to launch an arbitrary boot loader and where the boot loader for your OS lives (but note that many EFIs lack this feature). Depending on your solution, you may then need to manually re-create boot entries. Sometimes this is most easily done by re-installing your boot loader, but that's overkill; one or two efibootmgr commands will normally do the trick.

Of course, in your case you had the added complication that your firmware stopped showing you options to boot from removable media. That could be a matter of firmware configuration settings that you could tweak -- sometimes these options are hidden by "fast boot" or "minimal USB initialization" settings. This is getting into territory where model-to-model differences are extremely important, so it's hard to say what's normal or common.

| improve this answer | |

There was only one option left:

Load Setup Defaults
 - OS Optimized Defaults [Enabled]

After loading these default values the boot list was repopulated with familiar entries like CD, HDD0, HDD1, HDD2, HDD3, HDD4, USB HDD and so forth. The machine did some rather scary power cycling and showing messages I have never seen before but booted back to Fedora/Ubuntu again where I could clean up the mess.

If my paranoia level was just a bit higher I would have installed Coreboot, de-soldered ICs or scrapped the entire device. Thanks Microsoft, Lenovo or who ever was responsible for this!

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.