This past month has been a downhill struggle with my Lenovo laptop, my previous post already expressed my utter hatred for this company. After the issues with the graphics and having no way to fix that, my wifi card finally decided to start kicking the bucket. I would constantly drop connection or speeds would constantly drop from a full 144.4Mbps down to under 10. This was getting extremely frustrating because of the way I work on my laptop at times. I tend to remote into my desktop and work via VNC to have full performance without any lag.
I went and purchased a new wifi card for the laptop, an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160. After a huge fiasco with Fedex and the delivery I finally got the card and went to plug it in. Standard stuff, removing the old one and replacing it, one thing I will give Lenovo is their laptops are setup in a nice manner to upgrade things if need be, but that does not help with the next part..
Once the card was replaced, I booted up the machine and was greeted with a lovely black screen message showing:
"Unauthorized Wireless network card is plugged in. Power off and remove it"
Immediately I was like wtf?? and hit the web to research the error. Within a few minutes I found dozens of sites complaining about how Lenovo has a "whitelist" restriction in their BIOS' to prevent users from upgrading certain parts of their machine that are not Lenovo-qualified parts. Yet again does Lenovo dictate MY device after I purchased it. Best yet? It's out of warranty and they refuse to help at all. So not only do they lock your system down without telling you, they refuse to help you with this when problems like this happen after the fact. Yes, that's right. Lenovo has 0 mention of the whitelist in their BIOS. None of the documentation for the laptop has any info about this. Their websites help center, nothing. This seriously has to be illegal..
So now frustrations aside, here is how to fix this. Please note, this information is specific to the Lenovo Ideapad z710!
This may/may not work for other models!
This can brick your laptop as well! (Meaning it will no longer work.)
You are doing this at your own risk. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENS!
1. Download The Attachment
- Download the attachment that is with this post. Once the download is finished, extract to a new folder on your desktop. Something such as:
- Next, we need to create a USB drive that can be bootable to EFI. This is very simple to do. Plug in your USB drive (into a USB 2.0 port) then open 'My Computer' or 'This PC' or whatever your OS calls it. Right-click on the drive and choose 'Format'. Change the format type to 'Fat32' and format the drive. You can use 'Quick Format' to format the drive fast if need be.
Once done, open the new folder on your desktop from before and locate the EFI Shell.rar file. Extract this to the new formatted USB drive.
It should create a new file like this:
- Next, the last preparation step to do is to set BIOS to allow legacy booting.
Restart the system and mash the F2 button until you are in BIOS.
Once in, you are going to want to make sure that boot mode and such are all set to Legacy support.
Afterward, you can exit out of bios ensuring to save all settings.
- After you exit out of BIOS saving your changes, mash F12 until you get the boot list.
Once the list shows, there should be an option to boot from an EFI USB disk. Choose this option.
If done correctly, you should be greeted with a message saying something like:
Code: Select all
Welcome to GRUB! Entering rescue mode... error: file not found grub rescue>
- Now that we have the GRUB console, we need to enter the following two commands:
setup_var 0x4ab 0x0
setup_var 0x1ee 0x1
Please note: Your system may seem to lockup after you enter each of these commands. The first setup_var may never seem to finish. Give it a few minutes and if nothing happens, force-reboot the machine and redo step 4 to get back to the GRUB console. Once there, enter the second setup_var command and allow the same to happen. If nothing happens again, just give it a few minutes then force restart the machine.
After you have done both of these commands restart the machine and boot into Windows as normal.
- Almost done! Last step is to flash the BIOS. This requires us to use a glitch with Windows and it's Sleep mode.
To do this, be sure to follow the steps carefully! Open the folder we made on the desktop.
Copy EVERYTHING from this folder and place it directly into your C:\ drive.
Once done, open up a command prompt as Administrator. (IT MUST BE ADMINSTRATIVE LEVEL PERMISSIONS!)
You can do this via opening the start menu, type in cmd then right-click and choose 'Run as Administrator' on the cmd program to start an instance of it as an admin.
Once the prompt is open, navigate to C:\ You can do this via typing:
Until you see the prompt show as:
Next, force the system to sleep. You can do this via the start menu. In the power options choose 'Sleep'.
Once the system is asleep, wake it up as normal. (Press the power button.)
Now the system should restore to what it was, go to the command window we opened and enter the following command:
fptw64 -f bios.rom -bios
The system should now flash the BIOS and complete within a few minutes. Once done, reboot and your system should restart without issue.
After you have restarted, restart again and press F2 until you are in BIOS again. You should now see all the new unlocked options and the whitelisting should now be removed!
Again, HUGE thanks to bubu2002 from bios-mods.com for helping me with this. Without him I'd still be going insane trying to unlock the BIOS.