Samsung BIOS Crisis Recovery

10-27-2016

  • Not a Laptop specific firmware image … (I didn’t need one. Your mileage may vary.)
  • sflash64.exe: Most any Samsung firmware image in that class of laptops contains sflash64.exe.
  • F1-F12 key that is bound to a boot device, (F9 for USB HDD on NP700Z7CH).
  • A WindowsPE USB/DVD, or Windows Installation Media, or Linux Live USB, with the ability to run sflash64.exe; or perhaps sflash32.exe may work under older dos/windows 98 boot media.

Steps to Fix, to Enable UEFI And Still Be Abile to Enter BIOS Normally with F2 Key:

  • Required: Acquiring some Samsung Firmware executable to extract sflash64.exe or sflash32.exe, (or from a different package).
  • Optional: Acquiring Your Firmware: Samsung’s BIOSUpdate utility will not work, (because you cannot launch windows). However, their Firmware Update Webservice can be used to download the specific firmware executable, which must be extracted. Consult: http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/samsung-laptops-roll-back-bios-updates.696197/
  • Firmware Webservice for NP700Z7CH Phoenix BIOS P06AAE and P04AAE: http://sbuservice.samsungmobile.com/BUWebServiceProc.asmx/GetContents?platformID=AAE&PartNumber=AAAA
  • Firmware Executables For NP700Z7CH:  (just examples)
    http://sbuservice.samsungmobile.com/upload/BIOSUpdateItem/ITEM_20130313_1027_WIN_P06AAE.exe ; and http://sbuservice.samsungmobile.com/upload/BIOSUpdateItem/ITEM_20120809_617_WIN_P04AAE.exe
  • Manually Extract Firmware Executable: It is originally, “UnPacker.exe“(??) and cannot be extracted with 7-zip, or as a RAR. But – When it runs on a different computer, a pop-up should appear, (an error about the battery or something) – DO NOT CLOSE. The extracted files will appear in %APPDATA%\Local\Temp\__Samsung_Update. However, on my system the files were still deleted before closing that pop-up window. As a work-around – opened up two command prompt windows, and spammed “xcopy *.* /S /Y C:\Temp” over and over after running the Firmware executable from another command window, (As Administrator).
  • Note: The Samsung Publisher certificate expired, so you will have to run the executable in an escalated command prompt as administrator.
  • Boot to USB Media, (Or CD, Floppy, whatever works): On NP700Z7CH – USB Boot Function key, (F9) Should still work. Boot from Windows Installation USB, dos recovery disk, or linux with wine, etc.
    • At Command Prompt: sflash64.exe /cvar /patch, (or perhaps sflash32.exe if using an older dos recovery disk). Wait for the process to complete. It should automatically REBOOT. WAIT.
    • Enter BIOS using F2: After reboot – Function Keys should work normally again to enter BIOS, (F2 in my case).
    • DISABLE FastBoot. (Will likely help with future issues).
    • Configuring for UEFI is FINE – as long as it is the FIRST configuration, (after this fix) – set to UEFI, reboot – and then disable FastBoot just to be extra safe. The issue seems to revolve around subsequent configuration changes made AFTER changes from Legacy BIOS Mode to UEFI Mode – those subsequent changes, especially after OS installation will likely result in data corruption.
    • Set Partition Table Type: In Windows Setup – Press Shift+F10 for command prompt BEFORE starting installation. Use Diskpart to create a GPT disk if still in UEFI mode if desired, or MBR disk if in Legacy BIOS Mode. Example that will wipe the drive: > diskpart ; > select disk 0 ; > clean ; > convert gpt ; OR > convert mbr;
    • Monitor Partition Table Type: Alt+Tab back to Windows Install, and make drive partition changes as desired. (Alt+Tab back to diskpart to verify the disks are still GPT or MBR; Example: > list disk, (will show an asterisk if it is GPT).
    • Test 1: If you have set the disk to GPT, and Windows will not install to it, with a “GPT error”, or – if after the partitions have been made, and checking diskpart shows that Windows has created an MBR Disk – then the BIOS is still reporting Legacy BIOS Mode, and the data corruption issue was not resolved.
    • Test 2: After Windows is Installed, BIOS should still be accessible with F@ keys after Shutting down the computer and rebooting.

If this BIOS Crisis Recovery method does not work, you will need to Contact Us for our BIOS repair services.