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Beginner
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Cheap laptop with Cherry Trail x5 z-8350 won't boot

Hi everyone,

In the continuing saga of the cheap laptop (Schneider SCL141CTP) I bought about a month ago, I have something new to report, and it's not pretty. This afternoon, I shut down Windows via the Start menu (a rare occurrence in my case; I usually hit the Alt-F4 combo and choose from the shutdown menu), let the PC shut itself down, then unplug it from the main, the way I always do with all my PCs and Macs.

Except this time, when I turned it back on, I had this blue screen telling me that I needed to enter my Bitlocker key (I didn't even know the darn thing was activated in the first place: this PC runs Windows 10 Home, and I thought Bitlocker was reserved for the Pro version, but I may be mistaken).

Not knowing where to find the offending key, I went into the BIOS/UEFI, thinking I'd disable Fast boot and Secure boot and that would be it. (Remember, I didn't think I'd actually had Bitlocker enabled on this PC); at that point, I'd removed any USB peripheral I had plugged into the PC.

I also tried to restore to a previous restoration point, only to discover that, according to Windows, I had none to fall back on. So much for devoting 2 GB of my tiny SSD (32 BG in total; 8 of them free) to System Protection...

After that, there was a prolonged period during which the PC would loop-boot on the BIOS: I would press F4 to validate whatever changes I had made (even if there were none), the PC would restart, and presto, I was back in the BIOS... I probably disabled one too many thing in there, because long story short: I now have a PC that won't boot...

Or I should say: it does boot (the power diode is alight, along with, for some reason, the num lock diode which, I think indicates something on startup, like POST went alright or something), but the screen remains dark, and nothing else happens.

A little help and/or advice would be much appreciated at this point...

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12 Replies
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Super User Retired Employee
188 Views

Unfortunately, this is about what I expected. Sounds like the BIOS was a rush job. What I suggest you do (if it will let you) is reset the BIOS configuration to defaults. Then, if you have to, restore the Windows configuration to defaults as well.

Hope this helps,

...S

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Beginner
188 Views

Hi,

I wish it did (help), and I wish I could (go back to the BIOS, reset all defaults, and try to boot on Windows, especially now that I have that pesky Bitlocker key), but alas, when I start the PC, I'm not greeted by a black screen with the manufacturer's name on it: it goes straight from power up to a blank screen, and I can't enter the BIOS, even if I press the Del or Escape keys (that's what triggers access to BIOS on this PC)...

In fact, i was wondering if there was a key combo that would allow me to enter the BIOS, some kind of failsafe magic combination that I wouldn't know about? On a Mac, I could go into Single User mode and do pretty much what I want to correct what mistakes I have made, but here...

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Super User Retired Employee
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Hold power button down for >4 seconds, so hard powered off. Then press and hold power button for 3 seconds and then release. This sometimes brings up a recovery menu...

Is the battery removable on this laptop? If so, removing it (for ~5 minutes) in some designs causes a CMOS clear which will reset the BIOS...

Hope this helps,

...S

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Beginner
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I've done all that already, didn't work, but yes, the battery is removable. The only thing I haven't tried yet (will do that this afternoon) is to unplug the battery from the motherboard (it's a tiny thing!) and press the Power button for a full minute or so to flush the capacitors.

It's rumored to be enough to reset the CMOS and start over. Fingers crossed... I'll keep you posted on my progress, or lack thereof. Thanks, and have a great day!

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Super User Retired Employee
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Ah, you are referring to having a separate battery to maintain the contents of the CMOS memory and clock. Yes, if your laptop has a separate battery, you need to unplug it (as well). Since CMOS drain rates can vary from device to device, I usually say wait 15 minutes. Holding the power button drains that mains, but may not affect the CMOS device.

Hope this helps,

...S

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Beginner
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I haven't found a separate battery for the CMOS, but then, I haven't dismantled the whole thing, because I may have to bring it back to the shop I bought it from... I've just taken the battery out, and I'll leave the PC like this overnight. Hopefully, it'll be enough to reset the BIOS/UEFI to defaults.

Unless you have a better idea?

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Highlighted
Super User Retired Employee
188 Views

No, sorry, no better thoughts. Let us know what happens...

...S

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Beginner
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No need to be sorry, it's very nice of you to try and help me! I must add that removing the battery and leaving the PC gutted open overnight didn't work either: I still got the same blank screen this morning when I put the battery back in place.

This leads me to another question: the BIOS/UEFI on my PC comes from American Megatrends, but I don't know the origin of the motherboard; can anyone here tell me if it's common for a Cherry Trail platform such as mine to come with a separate battery for the CMOS?

Do you have any pictures of the motherboard of a run-of-the-mill Cherry Trail motherboard, so that I can compare it with I have on the PC? I've searched online, didn't find anything conclusive.

Also, I know what a coin battery looks like, and there sure isn't one in the visible part of the motherboard, but it could be hidden under it.

Again, I'd rather not dismantle the PC, especially since bringing it back to the shop looks more and more like the only solution to my problem...

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Beginner
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In addition to what I've already said: if I plug a smartphone into the USB port on the laptop, it'll start charging, so the USB ports receive power, BUT when I plug the PC into the wall charger, the charging red LED stays off.

Right now, the PC is supposedly running (the power-on LED is on), the screen is dark/blank, the keyboard works, because the Fn-F12 key combo does trigger the num lock functionality (or so I think, judging by the fact that the dedicated LED comes alight), but I can't access the BIOS/UEFI via the dedicated Escape or Delete keys.

If I want to turn the PC off, I have to keep my finger on the Power button for up to 20 seconds, as opposed to the customary 5 or so. That alone tells me something's wrong, but I can't for the life of me find out what that is...

Tomorrow's a holiday here in France, so unless one of you guys comes up with a magic trick before Tuesday morning, I think I'll bring the PC back where I bought it and explain my predicament to the good people there. Presumably, they'll send it to the manufacturer's customer service, one thing I would have preferred to avoid, but hey, you do what you have to do, right...?

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Super User Retired Employee
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As I said in the other discussion, I think it is time to return it to the vendor for replacement...

...S

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Beginner
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I'm afraid you're right, and I intend to do just that tomorrow morning. This PC is just one month old, after all, and maybe it's nothing, but in its current state, it's useless to me...

Thanks for your help, and have a very fine day!

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Beginner
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For everyone's information: I brought the PC back to the shop I've bought it from. The Customer Service person I saw there told me I should get it back in a couple weeks. I'll keep you posted when I get it back.

FWIW, I've read several Web articles over the past couple days, stating that a recent Windows Update could cause a failure to boot/reboot on some machines. I wonder if it's as widespread as some websites purport it to be, or if it concerns only a handful of people, though.

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