Need Help ID'ing BIOS/Security EEPROM

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by divide_by_zero, Jun 10, 2011.

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  1. divide_by_zero

    divide_by_zero MDL Novice

    Jun 10, 2011
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    I have a laptop that I bought from a small company off of eBay (against my better judgment). At the time of purchase it was a great deal: 14" RGB LED, i3-350m, nVidia 335m, and the seller discounted the final price I won the laptop at because I had my own DDR3 and HDD that were better than the stuff it came with. When Alienware m11x's were going for $1k I paid $420. The seller has been pretty quick to reply, but BIOS updates are negligible, the system hardware is basically blank, and I have spent hours trying to find anything at all on this thing to help identify stuff on it. I can't even open the BIOS in MMTool and a few others.

    It had been over 6 months and I routinely wipe my storage drives on my two desktops to get things running nice and smooth on my SSD's and figured I'd do my laptop as well (WD Scorpio). So I ran Parted Magic to do a secure ATA erase on the scorpio and everything worked just fine (did this on my desktop). I mounted the drive afterwards to ensure it was accessible from Linux since I bricked a Barracuda in the past with this. After the erase I put it back in my laptop and put the Win 7 DVD in to start the install. For some dumb reason I decided to enter the BIOS (very stripped down version) and enable the USER password, this is an AMI BIOS. Foolishly, I didn't enable any administrative password and realized that immediately hitting F10 -> Enter. The laptop reboots and POSTs with the sellers custom Logo, goes to the password prompt, I enter it and hit enter, and then it hangs at a black screen. It does this if I hit Del, F7, F2, Ctrl+Home with AMIBOOT.ROM on a CD, with a different HDD, etc..

    In a desperate attempt to clear the CMOS I opened up the back and disconnected the battery wires from where they plug into the motherboard and let it sit for a couple of hours, put a screwdriver on the pins of the batter plug and hit power with no electricity supplied, and tried it with electricity plugged in. No avail... The manual for the laptop is terrible, but it gave me a clue as to the model and for the seller. It is called an N14BCP from the mfg., but I cannot find any documentation on it except webpages for buying them. I've even tried posing as a buyer to get more technical data. Last night I pretty much ripped the thing apart except for some areas under the keyboard that I could not figure out where the plastic was secured to get access to the other side of the motherboard. Anyways, I took some pictures of the notable areas (there are a few more but I can't get to them without possibly damaging the laptop and I don't want to void the warranty).

    There have been some bugs with the laptop but for the price I still enjoy it and use it primarily for my grad. studies. The seller offered me a barebone of the exact system, but he hasn't got back to me yet as to what his definition of barebone is since I don't have much experience with laptops. Sending it to the factory is the other option, but it's in China most likely and will suck either way (except the barebone if I can pull it off... it'd be nice to have a bunch of spare parts). If anyone recognizes this, can identify anything, or even tell me where the BIOS/Security crap is that would be great.

    *I checked under the WiFi adapter and there aren't any contacts under it... just plain green board. In the picture with the battery where I'm trying to view in behind it is a Winbond EEPROM that I labeled in the caption.

    *** Wow, I guess I should have made an account a long time ago instead of lurking because I can't post links or images. Thanks spammers... Anyways in the bibliography of my profile I have a link to the album on my Live account. I hope this doesn't irritate you admin, but I don't know how else to have people look at them. :confused:

    Thanks for any help! Again, I never set any Admin P/W just the User password. The seller told me he had a similar problem and changing the HDD fixed it for another customer, but not me. I have no access to anything upon powering up the laptop... the p/w I type is correct because the computer accepts it and the screen flashes sorta, and if I put in the wrong p/w it simply pops the p/w box back up so I know I'm not typing it wrong. :mad:
     
  2. divide_by_zero

    divide_by_zero MDL Novice

    Jun 10, 2011
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    Yea, I even tried posing as a buyer to get any technical info. I found a couple posts from a dev working on it last year but he never replied on the Microsoft forums. The seller hasn't replied in 3 days. It came with a 1 year warranty from the seller, who is ridiculously slow and I'd have never bought it knowing that. My Squaretrade warranty doesn't stary until a year after I purchased it.

    Crappy situation all around with the complete lack of support. I had to mod video drivers because the guy doesn't get anything updated and the vendor ID forbids nVidia drivers officially. Hopefully the seller will get back to me soon. I just don't understand how setting that user p/w in the BIOS causes it to hang at a black screen after I enter it. There is no way that I've found to flash the BIOS again or even get a hash after entering a bad p/w 3 times. This is SUCH an annoying situation. I filed a Paypal dispute right before my time to do so ran out because I had crashes from the video drivers he provided and after modding the newest I let it go, and I WISH I would have just got a refund. Nothing but problems with an m17x R2 and now this. I seriously hate laptops haha...


    Thanks for the reply, but I have all the company info.
     
  3. R29k

    R29k MDL GLaDOS

    Feb 13, 2011
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    Have you considered writing them by snail mail ?
     
  4. drewbug

    drewbug MDL Member

    Aug 15, 2010
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    Is there any way you can boot from anything? USB, CD, different hard drive with OS already installed? Do you have a copy of the BIOS file for analysis?
     
  5. divide_by_zero

    divide_by_zero MDL Novice

    Jun 10, 2011
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    The seller replied to me 3 times the night this happened and said I could return the laptop to him to send it to the factory (which would take forever), or he had one barebone system he'd send me to repair it myself. I asked what he meant by barebone since it can differ a lot and whether he could provide any technical documentation with it, because I won't bother if I have to do the PCIE wireless adapter and all that othet annoying stuff (would like to have a ton of spare parts). Since then it has been 3 days and Friday was obviously a business day.

    I tried booting from the Win 7 DVD, Parted Magic LiveCD, Ubuntu cd, and two separate HDD's with no luck. I can't access the BIOS and it won't boot to a usb device. I can link a copy of the BIOS ROM but I haven't found anything bit a hex viewer able to open it including a lot of AMI versions/software. There were two other forums a couple of weeks ago I posted it to specifically BIOS oriented and nobody could open it there either. ATM I'm moving my desktop upstairs and can post a link in my profile to it after. The .rat he sent me via email with the BIOS, AFUDOS, MD5 checksum, and batch file are in Chinese. I had a rootkit from someone using it and wanted to reflash it because wiping the HDD and rebuilding my MBR still didn't get rid of it so I thought the crap BIOS they wrote may have been vulnerable an wanted to reflash it. That never worked however even before this. The flash would never start from a DOS boot or emergency flash for AMI.