Laptop is bricked

Discussions related to using VirtualBox on Windows hosts.

Laptop is bricked

Postby 390Dennis » 4. Mar 2021, 16:40

Note: This is an HP Elitebook 8440p running Windows 7

I installed VirtualBox 6.1.18, then imported the SAS University Edition vApp .ova file. I didn't make any configuration changes. There were issues with the default configuration so I wasn't able to start Virtualbox, though I did try. I thought it just didn't start, but searching the forum I see that I should have been more careful in how I shut down Virtualbox, but this was my first use of the product.

I shut down my laptop last night and started it back up today.

I arrive at the pre-boot screen with "hp" showing in the center, "Press the ESC key for Startup Menu" showing in the bottom, left corner of the screen and a green cylinder icon in the bottom, right corner of the screen.

I have powered off and back on many times trying several keystrokes that are not registering. I have tried the ESC key, the F8 key (trying to boot into safe mode) and the caps locks doesn't show as being recognized so it doesn't appear that the keystrokes are being recognized. I've tried to boot to a Linux thumb drive (Kali Live), but nothing happens.

I'm guessing there is no hope at this point and that the laptop is bricked, but thought perhaps someone has run across this and has a solution besides throwing the laptop away. I really do appreciate any suggestions that could, at least, point me in the right direction. Thanks for all suggestions !!
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Re: Laptop is bricked

Postby mpack » 4. Mar 2021, 19:23

It's not clear to me why you are asking about an HP laptop failure on the VirtualBox forums. You should ask HP for support.

FYI, VirtualBox is an ordinary application, it doesn't do any magic tricks on the host hardware. Only your host OS controls your physical hardware. The only thing that VirtualBox controls is simulated hardware, which are implemented using standard host OS calls that will also be made by any CAD program or gaming program.
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Re: Laptop is bricked

Postby 390Dennis » 4. Mar 2021, 19:49

Thanks for the feedback. The reason that I posted here is that the only change made was to install Virtualbox before the issue. Nothing else has been changed to the O/S in a long time.

I get that nothing should change the host O/S, but something clearly did. Perhaps it had something to do with keyboard control or perhaps the virtual USB device that gets installed impacted device manager, but the normal, daily restart suddenly failed.

That said, with the encouragement that the O/S should not be impacted, I continued repeatedly trying ESC and F8. The ESC key finally did work.

I am copying everything off the local hard drive as a cautionary step, but will reboot and go into BIOS (hopefully) and set up a 5 sec delay in the boot up options to allow more time to hit ESC/F8/etc prior to boot. The boot did continue to fail until I was able to get into Boot Options and boot to the network drive.

I'm going to finish backing up the C: drive before I reboot again, but I'll look closely at the device that the machine is trying to boot to, but again, no changes other than the installation of Virtualbox. I'm just relaying what I'm seeing on the ground here and am grateful for your feedback. I'l provide additional notes on what I find soon. For the record, I uninstall Virtualbox and, other than copying files from the C: drive to a thumb drive, will not make any further changes before I reboot.

Thanks,
Dennis
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Re: Laptop is bricked

Postby scottgus1 » 4. Mar 2021, 19:56

390Dennis wrote:I arrive at the pre-boot screen with "hp" showing in the center, "Press the ESC key for Startup Menu" showing in the bottom, left corner of the screen and a green cylinder icon in the bottom, right corner of the screen.

I have powered off and back on many times trying several keystrokes that are not registering.

it sounds like your laptop had a coincidental problem that showed up at the same time as Virtualbox was installed. The above state of the laptop is before the host OS even starts, and there is no way Virtualbox could cause the BIOS to lock up.

It's just a coincidence, not a cause.
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Re: Laptop is bricked

Postby 390Dennis » 5. Mar 2021, 02:18

Well, I finally finished backing up the C: drive and took advantage of this rare opportunity to organize files/folders ... good times. Anyway, rebooted the laptop and just let things go to see if it would boot into Windows as it normally does on a daily basis.

It could be serendipity, but out of hundreds of days of successful booting into Windows on a daily basis Mon-Fri, with no other installations or changes in a long time, it does seem likely that the Oracle software impacts the O/S. I've uninstalled it, so searching the registry should be fruitless, but I'll bet it updates the registry and makes other changes to the host O/S as part of the installation.

Uninstalling Virtualbox without touching anything else (other than to copy C: drive data to external drives) and rebooting successfully logged into Windows using the Notebook Upgrade Bay hard drive. I dunno, but thanks for the quick response earlier. I do appreciate the consultation :) ...
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Re: Laptop is bricked

Postby mpack » 5. Mar 2021, 11:24

I'm sorry, but the idea simply doesn't make sense. The problem here is that you believe that VirtualBox is doing some kind of voodoo, and maybe that voodoo is affecting the host. Ooh scary. Problem is: VirtualBox doesn't do voodoo, it's just a very ordinary app, doing very ordinary things. You don't need to do special hardware things in order to simulate hardware, and certainly nothing that can affect the host when VirtualBox isn't even running.

You need to look elsewhere.
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Re: Laptop is bricked

Postby scottgus1 » 5. Mar 2021, 17:53

There is one possibility for Virtualbox to have caused problems, and that is if this:
390Dennis wrote:I arrive at the pre-boot screen with "hp" showing in the center, "Press the ESC key for Startup Menu" showing in the bottom, left corner of the screen and a green cylinder icon in the bottom, right corner of the screen.

is actually a leftover from the BIOS boot sequence that doesn't get erased before Windows starts booting, and Windows is actually attempting to boot by this time. Then the Virtualbox drivers might not have integrated well with the laptop's OS.

However, I find this to be a more possible problem:
390Dennis wrote:This is an HP Elitebook 8440p running Windows 7

I installed VirtualBox 6.1.18

Windows 7 is no longer a supported OS: https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch01. ... tossupport
Could be the HP Windows 7 drivers don't like Virtualbox 6.1.18 drivers and blocked the startup.
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Re: Laptop is bricked

Postby mpack » 5. Mar 2021, 19:05

scottgus1 wrote:There is one possibility for Virtualbox to have caused problems, and that is if this:
390Dennis wrote:I arrive at the pre-boot screen with "hp" showing in the center, "Press the ESC key for Startup Menu" showing in the bottom, left corner of the screen and a green cylinder icon in the bottom, right corner of the screen.

I don't know what the "green cylinder" is about, but that seems to be the BIOS boot screen. There are no Windows drivers loaded at that point. And AFAIK you can't brick a laptop with a dodgy driver anyway. You would get a BSOD.
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