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News Lenovo slammed for OS-locking BIOS block

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Gareth Halfacree, 22 Sep 2016.

  1. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    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.
     
  2. Jimbob

    Jimbob Member

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    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.
     
  3. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    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.
     
  4. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    @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...
     
    Last edited: 23 Sep 2016
  5. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    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!
     
    Last edited: 23 Sep 2016
  6. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag New Member

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    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.
     
  7. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    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.
     
  8. Jimbob

    Jimbob Member

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    "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?
     
  9. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    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.
    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.
     
  10. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    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.
     
  11. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag New Member

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    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.
     
  12. Jimbob

    Jimbob Member

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    "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.
     
  13. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    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?
     
    Last edited: 23 Sep 2016
  14. Jimbob

    Jimbob Member

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    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?
     
  15. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    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
     
  16. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    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?
     
  17. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Yes but those features don't mandate the need of a driver that's only available for one particular OS.

    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.

    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.
     
    Last edited: 24 Sep 2016
  18. Jimbob

    Jimbob Member

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    "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.
     
  19. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    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.)

    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.
     
  20. Jimbob

    Jimbob Member

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    "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.
     

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