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Lenovo slammed for OS-locking BIOS block

Lenovo slammed for OS-locking BIOS block

Lenovo's Windows 10 Signature Edition machines, including the pictured Yoga 900S, have been found to block third-party operating system installations through a BIOS lock.

The consumer PC arm of tech giant Lenovo has denied locking alternative operating systems out of its Yoga family of laptops, but evidence suggests the presence of a very deliberate BIOS lock for exactly that purpose.

Lenogo's Yoga 900 and 900S convertible laptops, boasting what Lenovo describes as 360-degree hinges designed to easily convert between laptop and tablet modes, are available with a bloat-free variant of Windows 10 installed known as Windows 10 Signature Edition. These machines have been tempting those looking to ditch the factory-fitted operating system - and, in the case of Lenovo's consumer offerings, possibly with very good reason - in favour of alternative operating systems such as GNU/Linux or a BSD variant.

Unfortunately, it turns out that's not possible. Users have taken to social media to complain that the storage device in these laptops is locked into a RAID mode - an odd choice for a single-drive system - which is exclusively compatible with Windows 10 with the installation of a Lenovo-penned driver module. Those attempting to install any other operating system - including older versions of Windows - find the storage device entirely absent from the list of places on which to install said operating system.

'Our Yoga design requires very specific, complex and unique drivers that require even greater amounts of testing, to ensure class-leading performance with Windows 10. To support our Yoga products and our industry-leading 360-hinge design in the best way possible we have used a storage controller mode that is unfortunately not supported by Linux and as a result, does not allow Linux to be installed,' Lenovo has claimed in a statement on the matter, published late last night. 'Beyond the controller setup limitation, other advanced capabilities of the Yoga design would likely not work with current Linux offerings. Lenovo does not intentionally block customers using other operating systems such as Linux on Yoga or any of its devices and is fully committed to providing Linux certifications and installation guidance on a wide range of suitable products.'

The trouble with Lenovo's explanation is that it doesn't hold water. The use of a RAID mode for storage devices has no impact on the clever-or-otherwise hinge mode. More tellingly, users have succeeded in modifying the stock BIOS to allow a previously unavailable AHCI storage mode to be selected - at which point installing any third-party operating system becomes entirely possible, and the laptop works perfectly during and after installation. Lenovo's statement also flies in the face of a comment received by an affected user from Lenovo's official support department, published to reddit as part of a complaint thread: 'This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft.'

Microsoft has previously toyed with device-locked licensing for low-end Windows machines, offering Starter Editions for netbooks and small-screen tablets entirely free of charge on the understanding that the manufacturer enables Secure Boot and other technologies which can make it difficult or impossible to install an alternative operating system. Lenovo's Yoga 900 and 900S, along with any other devices the company releases under the Windows 10 Signature Edition programme, appears to merely be the latest example of this. Lenovo, too, has form: it has long operated a BIOS whitelist of hardware on its ThinkPad range of devices, preventing the use of unapproved third-party upgrades such as Wi-Fi modules without the installation of a modified and unsupported BIOS.

While Lenovo's devices have been highlighted for this issue, if the block is truly part of Microsoft's Windows Signature Edition programme then all Signature Edition devices can be expected to behave the same way.

UPDATE 20160923 09:16
Microsoft has denied that its Signature Edition licensing terms include any requirement to prevent the installation of third-party operating systems. 'Lenovo recently adopted RAID on SSDs in certain product configurations, which require additional steps to support all system features,' a company spokesperson claimed in a pre-prepared statement to press. 'Recent claims about software installation issues related to Microsoft Signature are inaccurate.'

UPDATE 20161028 09:21
Lenovo has backtracked on its claim that the storage controller in the affected laptops does not support Linux, releasing a BIOS update which removes the BIOS block and reinstates the controller's AHCI mode as a selectable option. With the new bios and the storage controller set to AHCI mode, Linux - or another alternative operating system, including older versions of Windows - can be installed on the laptops without issue.

49 Comments

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Paradigm Shifter 22nd September 2016, 10:10 Quote
I love my (now aging) Yoga 2 Pro, but I don't really see how this is a surprise... Microsoft originally specified that SecureBoot could be turned off for Windows 8/8.1 machines; to my knowledge they removed that clause for Windows 10. As such, Lenovo are now free to do what they like with regards to SecureBoot toggles. If there is a clause about Win 10 Signature Edition saying SecureBoot has to be enabled... then it's game over.

I can't say I'm a fan of Lenovo's practices in this regard (BIOS whitelists and such) and RAID on a single disk is just an excuse to cause people who want to tweak trouble, frankly. Laptops have always been a bit of a walled garden anyway... it's when mobo manufacturers start leaving the SecureBoot toggle out that the real trouble will start.

That said, I'm running Windows 10 Pro and Linux Mint 18 (technically not supported with SecureBoot) with SecureBoot enabled with 3rd party drivers (nVidia for CUDA on a 980M) and "3rd party codecs and multimedia" also working 100%. Absolutely no problems at all. The only 'issue' is that every time I have a kernel update, it whines at me to turn off SecureBoot. I ignore it, kernel installs and system boots from new kernel perfectly. I don't know about Hibernate/Sleep because I literally never use them when in Linux.

That said, I run a policy of isolation for Windows/Linux now. Windows (including bootloader) on one SSD; Linux (including GRUB) on another. GRUB looks for Windows bootloader, BIOS points to Linux SSD for boot... everyone's happy.
proxess 22nd September 2016, 11:48 Quote
Hopefully this can go to EU courts (sorry, UK) and be considered anti-competitive, forcing Lenovo to allow disabling of SecureBoot.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd September 2016, 12:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
Hopefully this can go to EU courts (sorry, UK) and be considered anti-competitive, forcing Lenovo to allow disabling of SecureBoot.
It's not SecureBoot that's the problem (apologies if the article didn't make that sufficiently clear). The problem is that Lenovo has set the Intel storage chipset to RAID mode (on a single drive, which is ridiculous) and released a driver only for Windows 10. No other operating system supports this particular Intel storage chipset in RAID mode, but they all support it in AHCI mode. Trouble is, Lenovo's customised the BIOS so that you can't even see the setting to change the mode over. If you hack around and see the setting, it resets to RAID when you leave the BIOS. It even resets back to RAID if you try changing it directly in the EFI shell. The only way someone's been able to get the chipset to run in AHCI mode (and, in doing so, prove that it's an artificial rather than technical restriction, because Linux then installed just fine and dandy) is by wiring an external SPI flasher to the BIOS chip and modifying the BIOS to ignore the "ignore this setting" instructions Lenovo put in.
jrs77 22nd September 2016, 12:18 Quote
Makes me ashamed to own a Thinkpad.
Corky42 22nd September 2016, 13:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
It's not SecureBoot that's the problem (apologies if the article didn't make that sufficiently clear). The problem is that Lenovo has set the Intel storage chipset to RAID mode (on a single drive, which is ridiculous) and released a driver only for Windows 10. ...

From what I've read part of the blame lies with Microsoft and part with Lenovo, apparently Microsoft's NVME driver is awful when it come to power management (no surprise there i guess), that in turn forced Lenovo to run it in RAID mode so it would use the Intel driver.

At least that's what this blog post seems to suggest.

Ninja edit: Oh and i guess part lies with Intel for not supporting Linux properly.
Anfield 22nd September 2016, 13:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Ninja edit: Oh and i guess part lies with Intel for not supporting Linux properly.

I'm inclined to agree,

It would be Intels job to make sure their controller works with Linux regardless of the selected mode.

That doesn't leave Lenovo blame free however as I can't see how they would justify locking down basic bios options.

(and if Microsoft told them to, they should have told Microsoft to get lost and pre install Linux).
Gareth Halfacree 22nd September 2016, 13:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
From what I've read part of the blame lies with Microsoft and part with Lenovo, apparently Microsoft's NVME driver is awful when it come to power management (no surprise there i guess), that in turn forced Lenovo to run it in RAID mode so it would use the Intel driver.
Yeah, I saw Matthew's post - but that only (potentially, given he's just guessing) explains why Lenovo defaults the setting to RAID despite there being only a single drive, not why it goes to great lengths to prevent someone from changing it to AHCI. Also, Lenovo's in charge of the operating system image; they could very easily load any driver they want into Windows, there's no reason it would have to run the default driver from Microsoft. Hell, they have to do that anyway in RAID mode...
Corky42 22nd September 2016, 13:54 Quote
Like everyone I'm only making semi-educated guesses ATM but the only reason i can think of for Lenovo wanting to lock-down the BIOS is to prevent future problems/support calls, locking it down to only using RAID rules out any chance of it using the Microsoft driver and all the problems that would come from that.
rollo 22nd September 2016, 14:04 Quote
Reminds me why I don't buy pre built machines.

Intel can fully support who they want, that's like blaming nvidia for Apple OSX driver support been rubbish.

How is it anti competitive ? Lenova sells the device as a windows 10 Laptop. No where in there advertisements do they suggest otherwise.

Doesn't stop the likes of Dell making something similar and offering a Linux version or Lenova themselves doing that.

Seems like a lot of fuss for very little.
Corky42 22nd September 2016, 14:15 Quote
I get the impression it's more to do with Intel's announcement a few months back about new generation processors only being fully supported on Windows 10, i.e without Intel drivers on Windows 10 you won't get the full benefit of some features.

It seems Lenovo took that a step further and have attempted to prevented anyone from running anything but Intel's Windows 10 driver.
schmidtbag 22nd September 2016, 14:21 Quote
Ugh well isn't that just great... Lenovo was one of the few brands I felt I could trust. I guess this doesn't surprise me though, seeing as my current (and probably last) laptop from them was one of the worst pieces of computer hardware I have bought.

Lenovo has really gone down-hill, and at this point I'm not sure who I can trust anymore.
theshadow2001 22nd September 2016, 16:21 Quote
I had considered getting an x1 carbon from them since it is red hat certified hardware but reconsidered after seeing compatability issues being reported. I'm glad I did too, they are a scummy company. The straight up lying in their PR response is just further evidence of a long list of under handed things they do.
Anfield 22nd September 2016, 16:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Intel can fully support who they want, that's like blaming nvidia for Apple OSX driver support been rubbish.

Intel can choose to not release drivers for Linux, but we can only attribute that decision to Intel, not to Lenovo.
Jimbob 22nd September 2016, 17:04 Quote
95% of this article and comments are total BS.

Not only that, but even if it was "BIOS locked" which it isn't. So? Did they sell it to you as Linux compatible?
schmidtbag 22nd September 2016, 17:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
95% of this article and comments are total BS.

Not only that, but even if it was "BIOS locked" which it isn't. So? Did they sell it to you as Linux compatible?

You're missing the point... 99% of computers aren't marketed as "Linux compatible", but, they aren't designed specifically to prevent you from installing it. A PC as we know it is nothing more than just a specialized collection of components to fulfill a purpose. In most PCs, every single component is Linux compatible, whether the manufacturer intended it to be that way or not. So even though these Lenovo products are fully compatible, they lied and stated otherwise.

You should not have to modify and replace a BIOS to do something that should have been readily available to you from the beginning, especially considering doing so may void your warranty, and that is not justifiable. As far as I'm aware, users cannot be legally restricted from doing whatever they want to their hardware. Though Lenovo allows you to replace the BIOS, they're still distributing a product with the intention of limiting users to strictly Windows 10.
Corky42 22nd September 2016, 18:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
95% of this article and comments are total BS.

Perhaps you'd like to be more specific, especially when being so contemptuous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
Not only that, but even if it was "BIOS locked" which it isn't. So? Did they sell it to you as Linux compatible?

I could be wrong but aren't they selling x86/x64 compatible devices?
edzieba 22nd September 2016, 18:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
You're missing the point... 99% of computers aren't marketed as "Linux compatible", but, they aren't designed specifically to prevent you from installing it.
Neither is this laptop.

The sole reason why Linux will not install on this laptop at the moment is there is no Linux RAID driver for the particular Intel controller used. That is the only blocking issue. Once Intel releases a Linux driver (or someone else writes one, I'm not familiar with which is more common in the Linux world) Linux will install on this laptop just fine.

Microsoft has absolutely positively nothing to do with this issue. They have not made any demands to Lenovo to set up their laptop this way (as evidenced by all the other machines with Windows 10 released as 'signature editions' that can have Linux installed on them just fine). Nor is it their choice as to what drivers Intel release: that decision is up to Intel. The only thing insinuating their involvement is a comment by a "Lenovo product expert" on a Best Buy comment thread. Which is like getting your information on Apple's 3rd party device licensing policies from some guy on the Apple stand at PC World.

The lack of even the most basic fact-checking of this story as it's made the rounds is embarrassing.
The only lesson to be drawn from this debacle is: "If you hire lowest-cost outsourced moronic tech support they will make up any nonsense about your product to get someone off their back. This will reflect poorly on you"
schmidtbag 22nd September 2016, 19:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
Microsoft has absolutely positively nothing to do with this issue. They have not made any demands to Lenovo to set up their laptop this way (as evidenced by all the other machines with Windows 10 released as 'signature editions' that can have Linux installed on them just fine). Nor is it their choice as to what drivers Intel release: that decision is up to Intel.
Right.... then mind explaining the Reddit post then? Also as far as I'm aware, there are no RAID controllers made by Intel that are explicitly incompatible with Linux (or FreeBSD for that matter). It is well within Lenovo's power to supply their own modified RAID controller. In fact, I find that pretty likely - my Gigabyte motherboard has 2 separate RAID controllers, one of them is a jmicron that is tweaked by Gigabyte.
Quote:
The lack of even the most basic fact-checking of this story as it's made the rounds is embarrassing.
Bold statement, for a hypocrite. Find us a source that proves:
* The RAID controller is made by Intel and is not tampered with
* MS has nothing to do with this issue, when according to other sources disagree:
https://fossbytes.com/microsoft-doesnt-want-you-to-install-linux-on-its-signature-pcs/


If you're going to act like you know all and that people's facts are wrong, you need to supply your own sources.
Corky42 23rd September 2016, 08:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
Microsoft has absolutely positively nothing to do with this issue.

That's doesn't seem correct, if it wasn't for Microsoft insisting on setting a default of forcing people to update drivers only from Microsoft there wouldn't have been a need for Lenovo to force the BIOS into a state that prevented Microsoft drivers from being used.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
Also as far as I'm aware, there are no RAID controllers made by Intel that are explicitly incompatible with Linux (or FreeBSD for that matter).

I'm not sure it's a matter of being explicitly incompatible, it's a matter of degraded performance, possible power management issues, and lack of features.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd September 2016, 09:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
95% of this article and comments are total BS.
Well, your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! :p
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
The sole reason why Linux will not install on this laptop at the moment is there is no Linux RAID driver for the particular Intel controller used.
That's not actually true, though, is it? The sole reason why Linux will not install on this laptop at the moment is that Lenovo has very deliberately modified the BIOS to prevent the storage controller from being switched into AHCI mode. When in AHCI mode, the storage controller works fine in Linux - as proven by the guy who wired up an SPI flasher and bypassed Lenovo's added code to get the thing running in AHCI mode then installed Linux just fine.

So, to clarify: Lenovo has installed a BIOS block preventing AHCI mode which has the effect of locking the OS, just like the headline says. Now, it's entirely possible - as per Matthew Garret - that the intention of the block is not to prevent the installation of third-party operating systems, but the effect of the block certainly achieves that.

Anyhoo, the article has now been updated with a comment from Microsoft. 'Cos, y'know, I didn't do 'even the most basic fact-checking of this story' (such as, gee, I don't know, gathering comments from people who have experienced the problem, a guy who has bypassed the block and proven the laptops can run Linux in AHCI mode, Lenovo, and now Microsoft.) :p
Corky42 23rd September 2016, 09:56 Quote
I love Microsoft's statement, yes their not actively blocking the install of other systems but through the actions of Intel, Lenovo, and Microsoft that's effectively what's happened.

Microsoft by default forces driver updates on people, that in turn caused Lenovo to lock the BIOS to prevent inferior drivers from being automatically installed, and Intel refuses to provide fully working (optimised) drivers for anything but Windows 10.

Maybe Lenovo should have just bit the bullet and swallowed the extra problems that could have come from customers who changed the default Intel Windows 10 RST driver.
Jimbob 23rd September 2016, 12:49 Quote
Thanks edzieba for writing more than I could be bothered with.

" to clarify: Lenovo has installed a BIOS block "

No, Sorry Gareth but this is NOT a "BIOS block", It's a "limitation" or "driver issue" but not a block. Lenovo set it this way for whatever reason (it's up to them) it's not there or Microsoft fault that there is no Linux driver. Sure, they could add ACHI support in the BIOS but perhaps Linux user should stop being such entitled pricks. This is sold as a Windows Laptop, if you don't like it buy something else.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd September 2016, 13:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
No, Sorry Gareth but this is NOT a "BIOS block", It's a "limitation" or "driver issue" but not a block. Lenovo set it this way for whatever reason (it's up to them) it's not there or Microsoft fault that there is no Linux driver. Sure, they could add ACHI support in the BIOS but perhaps Linux user should stop being such entitled pricks. This is sold as a Windows Laptop, if you don't like it buy something else.

It would appear that your reading comprehension skills are low. Lenovo would not have to add AHCI support into the BIOS. It's already there. They simply would have to *not* have added *extra* code to disable it.

Oh, and a quick warning: the Zeroth Rule of this forum does not allow for calling people pricks. Please rein in your attitude, or I will ask the mods whether you need a nice little cooling off ban.
Corky42 23rd September 2016, 13:11 Quote
@Jimbob, I'm curious, what would you call the blocking of a BIOS setting that effectively means only a certain driver available for a certain OS can be used?

EDIT: Found this Reddit post that says this lock-out in the BIOS is not present in otherwise identical models that are sold in Germany and Europe, i don't read German so can't verify anything but it would make for an interesting development if true.

Oh and in that same post (s)he says...
Quote:
Therefore it is completely valid to say that AHCI mode was locked out. Because Linux needs AHCI mode, this clearly also locks out Linux.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd September 2016, 13:32 Quote
For those still struggling with the concepts introduced in the article, two metaphors ('cos we all know how much I love metaphors.)

You rent a house from me. I don't want you going into one of the rooms, so I brick up the doorway. I think it would be fair to describe what I did as blocking you from full use of the house, yes? And if I hadn't explained to you at the point of rental that I would be blocking off said room, you might get a little upset with me. The doorway is there, the room is there, but because of my block you can't use the room - and I didn't tell you that was going to be the case.

You buy a car from me. I describe it as a "lovely little city car." You get it home, and discover that I have put a limiter in which prevents it from going over 60 miles per hour. At no point did I tell you this limiter was there. When you complain, other car owners say you're being an "entitled so-and-so" and that it was "sold as a city car" so you have no right to get upset with me because I did nothing wrong. If anything, it's the city's fault: if cities had roads where you could go more than 60 miles per hour, the other car owners feel confident I wouldn't have put the hidden limiter in there in the first place.

Oh, and to add insult to injury: when you ask me about the limiter, I tell you it's because of the amazing industry-leading hinges I put in the doors then stop answering your questions.

There. I think those should help clarify matters!
schmidtbag 23rd September 2016, 14:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
I'm not sure it's a matter of being explicitly incompatible, it's a matter of degraded performance, possible power management issues, and lack of features.
Yes, that is a complete possibility and I'm sure you're right about that for some chipsets. For example, Intel has Linux drivers for most of their wifi devices, but some features (usually power saving related) don't work. The device is still usable for it's primary intention, though. To my knowledge, RAID is the same way - all Intel RAID controllers work, but could be lacking something small. It shouldn't be anything significant enough that you couldn't access the array.

And to clarify, there's still the possibility that Lenovo is using an Intel RAID controller, but one with modified firmware.
Corky42 23rd September 2016, 14:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
And to clarify, there's still the possibility that Lenovo is using an Intel RAID controller, but one with modified firmware.

From my understanding that's exactly what they've done, their using BIOS that doesn't allow customers to change the SATA mode selection option in the BIOS.
Jimbob 23rd September 2016, 19:58 Quote
"It would appear that your reading comprehension skills are low. Lenovo would not have to add AHCI support into the BIOS. It's already there"

There are many, many features not included from hundreds of laptop BIOS's for various reasons. If a Linux compatible driver is made then it will install and operate no problem. If however, in the BIOS it detected a specific OS and stopped it installing then that would be a BIOS block.

"You buy a car from me. I describe it as a "lovely little city car." You get it home, and discover that I have put a limiter in which prevents it from going over 60 miles per hour. At no point did I tell you this limiter was there."

It depends, did you sell it to me specifically as a 60mph car? If so tough luck. This is sold as a Windows laptop. It does not state or imply anywhere on Lenovo it is compatible with Linux. If I bought your car that you said would do 60mph and then took it back to you because I wanted to modify it to go 100mph and it wouldn't what would you say?
Gareth Halfacree 23rd September 2016, 20:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
There are many, many features not included from hundreds of laptop BIOS's for various reasons. If a Linux compatible driver is made then it will install and operate no problem. If however, in the BIOS it detected a specific OS and stopped it installing then that would be a BIOS block.
I'm not sure you've actually read the article, or my follow-up comments. You appear to be talking about features "not included" in a BIOS; what we're talking about here is a feature deliberately removed (technically, hidden - it's still there, you just can't get to it) from a BIOS. As in, it took considerably more effort for Lenovo to prevent the feature being used than it would have taken to leave it in (the latter, you see, having taken no effort.)

You also appear to be misunderstanding what the words "BIOS block" mean. The BIOS block to which I am referring is a literal block on changing a setting in the BIOS. A block. On a BIOS setting. A BIOS block, if you will.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
It depends, did you sell it to me specifically as a 60mph car? If so tough luck. This is sold as a Windows laptop. It does not state or imply anywhere on Lenovo it is compatible with Linux. If I bought your car that you said would do 60mph and then took it back to you because I wanted to modify it to go 100mph and it wouldn't what would you say?
No, I sold it as a city car. Just like Lenovo is selling these laptops as coming with Windows (they're not "Windows laptops," by the way, they're AMD64 laptops with Windows pre-installed) without mentioning that the AHCI functionality of the storage controller is locked away behind a - yes - BIOS block.

Forget Linux. What if I wanted to use AHCI within Windows, for whatever reason? I can't. Why can't I? Because Lenovo has installed a BIOS block to prevent me.
theshadow2001 23rd September 2016, 20:31 Quote
Someone reversed the bios on the lenovo forum. They basically skip over certain features when displaying them. It's basically there, they just don't show you. I'm sure someone will publish a hacked one eventually.
schmidtbag 23rd September 2016, 20:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
It depends, did you sell it to me specifically as a 60mph car? If so tough luck. This is sold as a Windows laptop. It does not state or imply anywhere on Lenovo it is compatible with Linux. If I bought your car that you said would do 60mph and then took it back to you because I wanted to modify it to go 100mph and it wouldn't what would you say?
Semantics are an important detail. For just about every PC, the sticker will tell you that the computer either comes with Windows or is "designed for Windows <version>". That does not imply it is limited to Windows, it just means that the hardware was chosen for Windows and if you want customer support, you need to be using the version of Windows supplied with the PC; that being said, if you ran Windows 11 on this computer, Lenovo is not obligated to assist you with OS-specific issues.

In another perspective, when you buy a Mac, you're [typically] getting it for the OS. However, Apple does not prohibit you from running any other OS; in fact they even give you the tools to do it. Its hardware meant for a specific OS, but it isn't limited to that OS.


Using your car analogy, here's how most PCs work:
You buy a car that can reach 100MPH, but you're stuck by the law with a speed limit of 60MPH. Nothing is stopping you from taking your car to a track, but when you buy the car for the purpose it was sold for (which, let's face it, it's for commuting if it tops out at 100) then you're going to have to follow the rules of the road if you don't want trouble.

The reason people are complaining is because Lenovo is selling us a car with a locked speed limit of 60MPH, and isn't very explicit about it. The car can easily go faster. There is no reason you should buy a new ECU or ECU tuner so you can do what it should have already been able to do. After all, what if you encounter a road with a speed limit of 70MPH? You're being held back for no reason.
Jimbob 23rd September 2016, 20:37 Quote
"I'm not sure you've actually read the article, or my follow-up comments. You appear to be talking about features "not included" in a BIOS; what we're talking about here is a feature deliberately removed (technically, hidden - it's still there, you just can't get to it) from a BIOS. As in, it took considerably more effort for Lenovo to prevent the feature being used than it would have taken to leave it in (the latter, you see, having taken no effort.)
"

No I've read it, however is what you don't understand is that there are many features in a BIOS "locked out" The code for a BIOS is shared among dozens of models and depending on model certain features are removed. Sometimes it's a setting because they don't want to mess about with support calls, sometimes it's just some lazy git couldn't be arsed to test a feature properly.

It IS sold as a Windows laptop. Under TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION it list OS as Windows 10. It doesn't say, Windows 7, Linux, OSX, Chromium etc. It just says Windows 10. Like you car analogy, it doesn't say 70mph, it doesn't say with mods it can do 500mph. It says Top speed 60Mph.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd September 2016, 20:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
It IS sold as a Windows laptop. Under TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION it list OS as Windows 10. It doesn't say, Windows 7, Linux, OSX, Chromium etc. It just says Windows 10. Like you car analogy, it doesn't say 70mph, it doesn't say with mods it can do 500mph. It says Top speed 60Mph.
You've failed to address my final point: I can't use AHCI in Windows on the Lenovo laptops, because Lenovo has hidden the setting in the BIOS. Nowhere in the technical specifications does it say that I can't use AHCI in Windows. If you do not consider said hiding of the setting within the BIOS - which even extends to resetting it if you try to change the setting via the EFI shell, something only a highly technical individual would even try - to be fairly described as a "BIOS block,' what would you call it?
Jimbob 23rd September 2016, 20:59 Quote
If you were to pull in every laptop you see/review in the next month and check the BIOS you will see that they all have features missing/different. For example, in some you can enable/disable hyper-threading or enable virtualization, set the amount of RAM for the on-board GPU etc. All BIOS's alreay have the ability to switch these as a great deal of code is shared but on many devies these options are left out.

Like I said, some companies will leave these out for various reasons. Hell, how do you know there isn't a fault in the implementation of AHCI so it was dropped to prevent crashes or other technical issues?
theshadow2001 23rd September 2016, 21:00 Quote
It also prevents Windows 10 being installed without first adding the drivers during installation. It is very much a work around that is required to install windows
Gareth Halfacree 23rd September 2016, 21:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
Like I said, some companies will leave these out for various reasons. Hell, how do you know there isn't a fault in the implementation of AHCI so it was dropped to prevent crashes or other technical issues?
Because Lenovo sells the same laptops without the BIOS block, and AHCI works fine. As it does on the blocked model that someone SPI-flashed to unblock. That's how I know. The Intel storage controller Lenovo is using fully supports operation in both RAID and AHCI modes.

You're still not answering my question. What would you call it when a hardware feature is blocked in the BIOS, other than a BIOS block?
Corky42 24th September 2016, 03:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
There are many, many features not included from hundreds of laptop BIOS's for various reasons.

Yes but those features don't mandate the need of a driver that's only available for one particular OS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
If a Linux compatible driver is made then it will install and operate no problem.

It's not just Linux, it's any other operating system other than Windows 10, by virtue of the driver that's needed to make the device work only being available for that particular OS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
If however, in the BIOS it detected a specific OS and stopped it installing then that would be a BIOS block.

Wouldn't that be an OS block and not a BIOS block?

EDIT: To use a metaphor that's already been used, it's like buying a car only to discover that once you've used the free tank of petrol that came with the car you can't use standard petrol, instead you're forced to use one particular type of petrol, or when it comes time to change the oil you discover you can't use any oil that meets requirements, you must use oil that's only available from a single company.
Jimbob 24th September 2016, 08:20 Quote
"You're still not answering my question. What would you call it when a hardware feature is blocked in the BIOS, other than a BIOS block"

I would call It a missing BIOS option or feature. To be honest, if you want to be completely correct it would be a missing UEFI feature.

Throughout all this though, I still maintain that people should be complaining to Intel. If they made a driver available this wouldn't be an issue.
Gareth Halfacree 24th September 2016, 08:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
I would call It a missing BIOS option or feature. To be honest, if you want to be completely correct it would be a missing UEFI feature.
And that is where we differ. Still, you must agree, calling it a "BIOS block" is nowhere near as inaccurate as you have previously implied, even if you personally would call it "a missing UEFI feature" (sadly, "Lenovo slammed for OS-locking missing UEFI feature" is a bit too wordy for a headline.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
Throughout all this though, I still maintain that people should be complaining to Intel. If they made a driver available this wouldn't be an issue.
Porque no los dos? If Intel made a RAID driver available for non-Windows 10 operating systems for that particular revision of the storage controller, it wouldn't be a problem (aside from massively triggering the sysadmin in me. A Redundant Array of Independent Disks made up of a single drive? That's just wrong, man.) If Lenovo didn't block the option to set it to UHCI in the BIOS, it also wouldn't be a problem. Hell, if Matthew Garret is to be believed if Microsoft didn't ship Windows 10 with a botched UHCI driver for that particular model of Intel chipset then Lenovo wouldn't have been forced to lock it to RAID mode (though that doesn't explain why identical laptops sold in other markets and/or identical laptops without Windows Signature Edition do not have the BIOS block) and it also wouldn't be a problem.

Basically, it's Lenovo's, Intel's, and Microsoft's faults. However, Lenovo is the one that could have resolved the issue with minimum effort, and Lenovo's the one that people are directly giving money to when they buy the laptops - so it's little surprise to find that people are angriest at Lenovo.
Jimbob 24th September 2016, 09:50 Quote
"Basically, it's Lenovo's, Intel's, and Microsoft's faults." No, I'm sorry I disagree. In no way is it Microsoft's fault (and in my job I'm happy to bash them when required). They have not not requested a block on 3rd party OS's (and if they did there are easier/better ways to do it rather than remove AHCI) Lenovo should get a slap, but IMO Intel are at fault here.

As for calling it RAID mode with a single drive, I agree but this is far from the only case. It's becoming quite common to have only an IDE or RAID option in a BIOS. I'm not sure why.
Gareth Halfacree 24th September 2016, 09:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
"Basically, it's Lenovo's, Intel's, and Microsoft's faults." No, I'm sorry I disagree. In no way is it Microsoft's fault (and in my job I'm happy to bash them when required). They have not not requested a block on 3rd party OS's (and if they did there are easier/better ways to do it rather than remove AHCI) Lenovo should get a slap, but IMO Intel are at fault here.
Did you read Matthew Garret's blog post, linked upthread and referenced in my comment, that claims Microsoft (allegedly) ships a faulty AHCI driver loaded by default with Windows 10 that (allegedly) causes a drop in system efficiency which (allegedly) harms battery life, and that Lenovo (not allegedly 'cos we know they did this bit) blocked off AHCI in the BIOS in order to (allegedly) force Windows to ignore the faulty AHCI driver and load the RAID driver instead?

That would be Microsoft's fault, no?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
As for calling it RAID mode with a single drive, I agree but this is far from the only case. It's becoming quite common to have only an IDE or RAID option in a BIOS. I'm not sure why.
Except here we're talking about a BIOS that only has a RAID option and nothing else. Y'know, because of the BIOS block. That is most certainly not common.
Jimbob 24th September 2016, 10:23 Quote
I've not read that post, but have seen it mentioned. However that's just an install time driver, it's updated after installation via windows updates so it's problems are very limited. There is nothing that can be done about it now, although I believe it should be patched in 10.1 ISOs.
Gareth Halfacree 24th September 2016, 10:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
I've not read that post, but have seen it mentioned. However that's just an install time driver, it's updated after installation via windows updates so it's problems are very limited. There is nothing that can be done about it now, although I believe it should be patched in 10.1 ISOs.
So there really was no excuse for Lenovo to install a BIOS block that prevents AHCI mode being used. Good to know!
Jimbob 24th September 2016, 10:42 Quote
OK, say it is a deliberate ploy to stop Linux running on it. Say you work for Lenovo, one day your boss says "Gareth, I feel like blocking Linux from our laptops" after trying to change his mind you reluctantly agree to sort it for him. Would you A, turn off AHCI which could be circumvented by getting a driver made, or B, turn on Secure Boot features which is designed specifically for the job. (OK, not for that job but you get the idea)
Gareth Halfacree 24th September 2016, 10:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
OK, say it is a deliberate ploy to stop Linux running on it. Say you work for Lenovo, one day your boss says "Gareth, I feel like blocking Linux from our laptops" after trying to change his mind you reluctantly agree to sort it for him. Would you A, turn off AHCI which could be circumvented by getting a driver made, or B, turn on Secure Boot features which is designed specifically for the job. (OK, not for that job but you get the idea)
Except that Linux can boot under Secure Boot just peachy these days, so that wouldn't work.

Recall, too, that what Lenovo has done also prevents any version of Windows prior to 10 (and even Windows 10, if you don't have a copy of Lenovo's special driver) being installed. That's a pretty poor show from what you say is a laptop made exclusively for Windows use, wouldn't you say?
Corky42 24th September 2016, 13:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
No, I'm sorry I disagree. In no way is it Microsoft's fault (and in my job I'm happy to bash them when required). They have not not requested a block on 3rd party OS's (and if they did there are easier/better ways to do it rather than remove AHCI) Lenovo should get a slap, but IMO Intel are at fault here.

No they haven't, but they've made an OS that on default settings automatically downloads and installs drivers as it sees fit, that's why Microsoft are being apportioned blame, if Windows 10 didn't do that by default Lenovo wouldn't have needed to lock the BIOS as the driver they installed would never accidentally be automatically replaced.

Besides Microsoft also stated that only Windows 10 is going to support newer processors, a stance that was then followed by Intel and AMD, if that's not Microsoft at fault IDK what is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
Would you A, turn off AHCI which could be circumvented by getting a driver made...

Except you can't because both Intel and AMD have agreed to align themselves with Microsoft's support policy of only supporting newer processors on Windows 10.
Gareth Halfacree 28th October 2016, 09:19 Quote
Remember this? Remember how it "wasn't a BIOS lock," and how it "wasn't Lenovo's fault," and how "Linux needs to get its act together," and how "Linux needs to support the laptops, not the other way around," and how "Lenovo didn't have a choice?"

Well, Lenovo's just released a BIOS update which adds the missing AHCI mode, allowing Linux to boot and operate just fine on the affected laptops. So much for those arguments, eh? Not to mention the company's "we're using a storage controller that isn't supported by Linux and doesn't allow Linux to be installed" claim, which it turns out should actually have read "we're deliberately disabling the mode that would allow the storage controller to work just fine under Linux."
GeorgeK 28th October 2016, 09:48 Quote
^haha - it's almost like you know what you're talking about isn't it - almost like it's your actual job or something :p
Gareth Halfacree 28th October 2016, 10:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
^haha - it's almost like you know what you're talking about isn't it - almost like it's your actual job or something :p
Who'd a thunk it, eh?
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