Lenovo T500 could not complete the installation

Finally, late in the evening, I was able to press the power button of my brand new ThinkPad T500 for the first time. First I was greeted by the Vista error menu: Windows was not closed properly … do you want to safe start / start normally etc. That did not look too good. I pressed “Start Windows normally”. Disk clicking. Then an ominous error bling. Then the dialog window (pictured). Could not complete the installation? I thought this was supposed to have a preinstalled OS, straight from the Lenovo factory? I attempted restart. I tried pressing the blue ThinkVantage button. I tried pressing F8. F11. Always the same sequence: I can get either to the bios setup, or start-up the broken Vista, and be faced with the “Install Windows” message. Not even the Rescue and Recovery workspace, so that I could restore the factory default settings of the OS. Damn. Looks like this is not my lucky Friday.

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

13 thoughts on “Lenovo T500 could not complete the installation”

  1. I have been hunting abount the net for clues, and currently the best theory is the following: the clueless civil servants in the customs open the lids of laptops to check that they are indeed “real” computers. This will initiate the Windows installation script as the machine starts to boot up, but then the good customs man puts the lid back down, the machine will shut down, and the install script will be stopped ungracefully. Don’t know whether this is what really happens, but it fits the symptoms: it is possible to press ctrl-atl-del and then kill the “runonce” process to access the Vista desktop. The OS and the computer seems to work just fine. But if I click the OK button in the “Install Windows” dialog, then the system will crash/reboot and come back to the same “Install Windows” message again. Not fun. As it is still impossible to do factory reinstall from the Recovery partition (it seems to be there, but I cannot get the machine to boot from there), it now looks unlikely that there are other options than to send the laptop back, or get a full Vista install DVD to do a clean install of the OS. A similar story can be found here: http://forums.lenovo.com/lnv/board/message?board.id=T_Series_Thinkpads&thread.id=16391

  2. Trying more ways to fix or work around this: using REGEDIT to hunt for erroneously set ‘runonce’ values, but finding nothing there. Then I used the Rescue & Recovery utility to burn a ‘rescue media’ (Vista startup DVD), but it appears that Lenovo has configured T500 model so that it has no option to recover it to ‘factory settings’ (only manually made backups are allowed), meaning that as the install itself is broken, there is no way to restore the system to its proper state. Great…

  3. As the T500 was delivered in a sealed box, the hypothesis of someone in the customs messing with the laptop looks now unlikely. Also, there was another identical T500 acquired at the same time, and also that gave “failed to shut down correctly” error when booted the first time. Thus, it unfortunately looks like there is something systematically wrong in the way Lenovo prepares the Vista installation in their T500 ThinkPad line.

  4. Frans, why bother trying to fix the thing yourself? I mean it’s clearly DOA and should be taken care of by the shop.

  5. You are right, and Lenovo has promised to send the full system disks to our department. On the other hand, I have only few hours per week to learn about these devices and software solutions on my own. A broken OS installation from a major manufacturer is irritating, but it is also interesting — what has exactly gone wrong, how this kind of bugs are possible, is it possible for the user to recover the system on their own, etc. But, I admit, there are also many, probably more worthwhile things to study…

  6. Continuing this saga, I spent one night making BIOS and display driver updates to make the Mobility Radeon card to function. When we were sold this particular model, the feature list mentioned “switchable graphics”, which means that T500 features both an integrated, low-power consumption Intel graphics chip, as well as a more powerful, 3D powered (and more energy-wasting) ATI Mobility Radeon 3650 HD. Supposedly you can swap between the two modes on the basis of your needs and preferences. Unfortunately the device manager cannot find any ATI card in this computer. The 3D graphics power tests suck. It now looks like this is some cheapo sub-model that does not have the promised 3D chip after all. I must say I am pretty much ready to send the entire laptop back to shop. Sad that we have used several working days to transfer my files and data profiles (emails, etc.) to this one already, damn.

  7. I am into 5th week of using T500 now and the performance seems to be absolutely pathetic. With only 3 IE7 windows open, the system gets stuck 70% of the time showing clouded screen. After waiting for more than 25-30 minutes, the system is unable to recover resulting in hard rebooting. Somehow this machine is very slow and am unable to understand why. There is no new software installed and the system comes with Windows Vista Home Basic OEMAct.
    I am wondering if installing Windows xp professional will make any difference.
    Had spend around 1100$ on the machine and am repenting every bit of it. There is zero support from lenovo and seems to be doomed. One suggestion-Never buy Lenovo!

  8. I don’t understand what the exact problem is: First off, I wouldn’t use OEM images. I know some of you shy away from reimaging, but it wouldn’t harm anything to wipe it clean, if you have all your data elsewhere, and install Vista yourself. Once that’s done, I can walk you through all the drivers that need installed to be able to get the switchable graphics to work. I’m runing Vista Business x64 on my T500 now, and its just fine.

  9. I got my T500 fresh out of the box, and its one problem after the other! Uncle Google has been my best friend ever since in trying to find solutions. First there was the TPM error, then an unknown error, then a flickering of colors when 5 or more apps are open, when the system goes on standby there’s no way to get it back on, except force shutdown, then the graphic card crashes unexpectedly and asks to restart. How did these laptops get on the market in the first place? Do they test these machines before selling? One more crash and I’m going for the hammer…
    I’m going back to Dell.

  10. Thanks everyone for your efforts you saved me coutless hours of troubleshooting. I used the suggestion of going to the task manager when the error is displayed and KILL the AUDIT.EXE process this will load windows as normal. THEN follow the steps below.

    using this command from the DOS prompt.
    c:\documents and settings\administrator>cd c:\windows\system32 directory

    c:\windows\system32>sysprep /oobe

    what has happened is that when Lenovo is creating the image they use, they run this command from dos: >sysprep /audit this allows the OEM to create custom builds, then what they are SUPOSED to do when they are done is reseal the OS with the >sysprep /oobe – command (oobe = out-of-box experience), what that does is allows you to accept the EULA and set your regional settings. What will happen is after running the command the computer/laptop will shutdown, turn it back on, it will reboot itself (mine did this twice) and then bring up the EULA etc. It then goes throught the rest of the initial setup process and loads to the desktop. 0– Problem solved.

    Thanks

    your friendly neiborhood IT Guy..

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