Lenovo x61 Tablet Hard Drive (Near) Disaster

Andrew Bolster

Senior R&D Manager (Data Science) at Synopsys Software Integrity Group and Treasurer @ Bsides Belfast and NI OpenGovernment Network

So, I love my lenovo tablet, so far through all the trails, tribulations, transcontinental visits, banging, bashing, bumping, swinging, twisting, scribbling, et al, its survived and become a near essential piece of my working and personal development.


Appear back at the house last night after a fwe bevvies with the guys and loe and behold,

“Error 2100 - Hard drive initialization error”

The BIOS cant see the harddrive. But wait, lenovo built in that seemingly pointless blue button to do recover right? Recovery off the hard drive… That it cant see.

Anyway, enough of the problem, on to the solution. Starting from here and here

Lots of lovely corroborating evidence telling me unless your very…VERY lucky, your out of luck. (I have the Hitachi Hard drive, and had already reseated the drive in the bay).

Now, the X61 Tablet doesn’t have a optical drive. So what does Lenovo produce to solve this out-of-nowhere-disaster? A 30MB iso. In a format that cannot be booted from USB (please, correct me if I’m wrong)

Fortunately one of the guys in work (Thanks Mossey) had an external DVD burner. Borrowed that, grabbed the firmware update from here, burnt it to a DVDR (30MB wasted on a DVD!) and while praying, booted the machine.

It dropped into a lovely old-skool PCDOS display that, after some humming and haaing politely said “No firmware upgrade available”……

Fair enough, I’m one of those unlucky people, no worries, I’m sure i can just send in the harddrive for a replacement, only a few weeks…. But just to try it, i booted again, and magically, all back to  normal.

Now, maybe i just wasnt paying attention and the firmware DID get updated while i wasnt looking, but either way its a very strange “Success” message….

UPDATE: Problem got an awful lot worse but Lenovo treated me right, detailed here