Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I read people complaining that certain EFI-enabled Samsung laptops can be accidentally 'bricked' when trying to install an OS or when using certain programs in them, which doesn't happen with BIOS mode. The way I read it, it seems software can cause the hardware to be irreparably bricked (hard-brick). What does it mean in hardware terms to irreparably damage a laptop due to a software or firmware failure? Is it not possible to re-flash the firmware, even it that means opening it up and using special tools?

EDIT: I understand that even if it takes a lot of effort to unbrick, that would still be considered a "soft brick", not a "hard brick". For example, for routers, sometimes the solution is to open...

... the case, shorting some jumper pins on the board, then connecting the router by the USB cable to an old PC with USB 1.1 hardware, running a special DOS level program supplied by the manufacturer, and powering the router up. This procedure will flash the router to factory settings and original firmware. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brick_%28electronics%29#Systems)

share|improve this question
    
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brick_%28electronics%29 is a good starting point. –  Karan Feb 8 '13 at 8:44
    
^^ especially the bit about soft-bricks and hard-bricks –  mcalex Feb 8 '13 at 9:16

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

While software can cause permanent hardware changes and/or damages (specially the software controlling frequencies/voltages/etc or burning one time programmable fuses) in my experience (and I work in embedded systems development industry - I get to see a lot of bricked devices) very few "bricks" are really irreparable. Usually the difference between "soft" and "hard" bricking is in the complexity of the recovery procedure - unbricking of a hard-bricked device usually requires special skills and/or equipment.

As for the specific problem mentioned (UEFI implementation bug in some Samsung notebooks) - it seems that clearing NVRAM fixes the problem (it reverts the BIOS/UEFI mode setting to its default value, which is luckily the "BIOS").

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.