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Pitout
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HP Z400 Strange behavior

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HPZ400
Microsoft Windows 7 (64-bit)

Hi All,

Before asking my question, I wish to thanks SDH and BambiB for their very useful answers. Helps me much. Also, the Forum was very helpful to me about choosing components for my HP Z400.

 

My question:

* I bought used HP Z400, ver.2, in August 2018 from e-bay seller. Xeon E5649, 12gb  RAM-all RAM slot populated.

* Until now, the computer was flawless and I enjoy very much working on stable hardware environment. No problems at all. And my experience with awful hardware was a nightmare. The system is used only for simple office use- I do not play games (old man), do not run CAD or any kind of special software, but run one VMware virtual console from time to time (learning Linux).

* I do not add anything to the system-  the hardware is as he was on purchase.

* The  system have a superb thermal behaviour, never go beyond 65 on CPU on load, 20-22C normal. No bad capacitors- I checked them all visually.

* I switch off the comp every night.

* Yesterday, trying to boot W7, the system "forget" the boot order, constantly beeping... the F5  and F10 displays normally low right of the screen- the blue light in front was on, no blinking, no other colour. The system just try to boot from network environment, BIOS setting was available normally, screen is on, no problem. BUT, the BIOS splash screen disappear on boot (was on 2-4 sec before booting to the Windows). Checking the BIOS- the splash screen was disabled- but I DO not disable him!

* I disconnect all drives (minus the system drive), and choose to boot from him (by using the F5 boot order), not inside BIOS (F10).

* The win logo appear, but the system was beeping continuously until I press the "Esc" key. If I Press "Esc", the beeping stop, the system go on booting. After 3,4 Esc keys pressing in scope to stop the beeping, the system boot normally. And work normally for hours. Like usual. My impression  was that this beeping is because the system "searching" for devices and not finding them, and this behaviour was circumvented by pressing 'Esc".

The BIOS are accessible on F10, shows the version (3.20) and is responsible on F10- all menu are ok. BUT, the splash boot screen disappear on boot. The BIOS menu, section>> "System information" was accessible but curiously 2/3 black, the rest from this frame is readable. And quickly disappear, not staying normally on screen. All the rest BIOS menu was ok.

* The system is on surge protector APC device.

* When I boot to W7, I check the Windows file-system and the drive- all is ok. The HDD is ok too- no bad sectors, no SMART errors at all. The system drive is recognized in BIOS.

* No one have access to my computer.

 

Questions:

 

* Is IT a CMOS battery failure or starting to fail? The BIOS time was ok.

* Possibility the BIOS to be corrupted somehow? And why? The Windows log file shows normal shutdown, no any error messages of any kind of sudden power off ( power surge or so on).

* The latest BIOS for Z400 is rev 3.61A. IS IT needed a sequential BIOS update, and  WHAT BIOS version ( minimum needed) must be installed in scope to do the upgrade to this latest 3.61A? My BIOS is 3.20 (quite old). It is possible from 3.20 to jump directly to 3.61A?

* The USB drive, where the new BIOS "bin" files is, must me FAT32 formatted MBR  or GPT? I will use Rufus, and will use the "USB bin method" inside the F10. BUT, I DO NOT want to upgrade the BIOS, if this is possible.

 

Thank you all for your kindness and support.

 

Pitout

 

 

2 REPLIES 2
SDH
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Message 2 of 3
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That is a strange one.  Sounds like some form of CMOS/BIOS corruption to me.  Yes, it is true you can have a cosmic ray impact memory or a chipset and cause issues.  I did not believe that until I looked it UP .  

 

I'd clear CMOS the long way we've posted in there.... you want everything cleared out and that involved detaching all peripherals while the battery is out and pushing the on button, and CMOS button, and time and repeat a few times, all while unplugged from power.  Then finally put in a new CMOS battery, set BIOS to factory defaults, and save on way out of BIOS, and reboot. 

 

I'd update to the latest BIOS, from within BIOS.  In your workstation you simply put the latest .bin file at the top level on your freshly defaults-formatted FAT32 small thumb drive.  BIOS looks for an attached floppy or thumb drive with a .bin file right up on top.  You want to set BIOS back to factory defaults before rather than after you update BIOS from within BIOS.  Rufus is not used for this.  Rufus is used to set up a thumb drive to boot from, which you are not doing when you update BIOS from within BIOS.  You are booting from BIOS and simply presenting to BIOS what it is programmed to look for on an attached floppy or USB stick. 

 

You don't need to do each BIOS update in order.... just jump straight to 3.61.

 

No that is not too big of a jump to go from 3.20 to 3.61.

 

 

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Pitout
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@SDH

Thank you.

I use Rufus only to format (prepare) the USB stick. Probably, he is the best existing tool to do this.

These old (relatively) workstations are a treasure. And very capable machines. It is remarkable, how good the thermal solutions works. 

My machine was a part of working tech environment- probably, and because of this, the BIOS system info was obscured.

The rest of the BIOS menu worked as should.

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