Thoughts, ideas and solutions from a few EPM consultants.

Reinstalling Windows 8.1 on a Levono Yoga Tablet 2-1051F

So first to my EPM readers this one is not for you unless you have one of these tablets and its not turning on.

Recently our family received this tablet from Emily's dad. He is a old-school mainframe guy which is pretty cool for me. Anyway he wasn't using it and figured we might want it. When we received the tablet it initially was working but it had all of his information on it so we decided to do a reset to reload the Operating System. Little did we know at the time but that was a mistake.

Shortly after the rest the machine decided it was not going to boot into windows. I could see the touch screen was working but it was just a black screen and when you touched it you could see the mouse trials. I made multiple attempts to reload the operating system but honestly this thing is weird, it only has one micro-USB and one micro-HDMI. Eventually I realized this was not something I could do.

Emily called up Geek Squad, which was hilarious since they were baffled because it has no keyboard. They told her something to the affect that tablets don't have operating systems and they run Android, obviously anyone who has seen a surface pro knows that's completely false. Needless to say Emily now listens when I say that Geek Squad is worthless for PC repair.

Next Emily called Lenovo which told her that she needed a USB drive that they could send that would reload the operating system, Awesome! So a week goes by and we get the USB drive. I try to run it a few times but every time it gets stuck because the tablet BIOS is version 01WT17WW and the one the USB drive wants to load is 01WT12WW. I resisted digging into the USB drive for a while but eventually I decided to pop it into my desktop and do some recon.

I found a file called platform.ini and noticed a section that talked about the BIOS check.

; Supports on DOS WIN SHELL flash.
[Bios_Version_Check]
Flag=2  
CheckByBios=0  
CheckByBiosErrorMessage="This BIOS file is not allow to flash. The flash process will be terminated."  
;This flag is the switch of checking BIOS version.
;Flag                               (dwsDWS)
;                  default : 2.
;                        0 : Don't check rom file version.
;                        1 : Check BIOS version.
;                            When rom file version is older then BIOS, it will display
;                              a warning message and close application.
;                        2 : Depend on BIOS report.
;CheckByBios                        (dwsDWS)
;                  default : 0.
;                        0 : Normal process.
;                        1 : It will pass version by IHISI to BIOS and check by BIOS.
;                            When BIOS return not allow to flash, it will be terminated the process.
;                            When BIOS allow to flash, it will go ahead and do it's normal process.
;                            When this flag is enable but BIOS not support, it will skip version check and assume allow to flash.
;CheckByBiosErrorMessage            (dwsDWS)
;                  default : "This BIOS file is not allow to flash. The flash process will be terminated."
;                   String : User defined error message when BIOS is not allow to flash this version image.

I had to do this while she was asleep otherwise she probably would have not let but I decided to try out making a few changes to the file. Eventually I found that I could bypass the BIOS check error by changing one of the flags (CheckByBios=1).

; Supports on DOS WIN SHELL flash.
[Bios_Version_Check]
Flag=2  
CheckByBios=1  
CheckByBiosErrorMessage="This BIOS file is not allow to flash. The flash process will be terminated."  
;This flag is the switch of checking BIOS version.
;Flag                               (dwsDWS)
;                  default : 2.
;                        0 : Don't check rom file version.
;                        1 : Check BIOS version.
;                            When rom file version is older then BIOS, it will display
;                              a warning message and close application.
;                        2 : Depend on BIOS report.
;CheckByBios                        (dwsDWS)
;                  default : 0.
;                        0 : Normal process.
;                        1 : It will pass version by IHISI to BIOS and check by BIOS.
;                            When BIOS return not allow to flash, it will be terminated the process.
;                            When BIOS allow to flash, it will go ahead and do it's normal process.
;                            When this flag is enable but BIOS not support, it will skip version check and assume allow to flash.
;CheckByBiosErrorMessage            (dwsDWS)
;                  default : "This BIOS file is not allow to flash. The flash process will be terminated."
;                   String : User defined error message when BIOS is not allow to flash this version image.

With the flag now changed I put the drive back on the tablet and attempted to reload the operating system. This time when it went to the BIOS check it skipped the error message and went strait into flashing the BIOS back to the older version (01WT12WW.) After that it took maybe another 20 minutes but we appear to have a working Windows 8.1 tablet!

So if anyone else out there runs into this problem I hope this helps.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.