Matthew Garrett’s Guide to Surviving Bricked UEFI Samsung Laptops

By Sunday, March 24, 2013 0 , , , Permalink 0

According to Garrett, storage space constraints in UEFI storage variables is the reason Samsung laptops end up bricking themselves. Garrett said that if the storage space utilized by the UEFI firmware is more than 50 per cent full the laptop will refuse to start and end up being bricked.

The Nebula programmer revealed that whenever the Linux kernel triggers an exception, diagnostic data is written to the UEFI firmware’s storage space. Now, if the storage space is more than 50 per cent full the Samsung laptop may not boot. This is contrary to what UEFI specification states.

In a blog post Garrett notes, “The problem with Samsung laptops bricking themselves turned out to be down to the UEFI variable store becoming more than 50% full and Samsung’s firmware being dreadful, but the trigger was us writing a crash dump to the nvram.”

Previously it was claimed that Linux was to blame for the laptop meltdowns. But, UEFI guru countered the claims and proved that even running an application on Windows would brick those laptops.

The solution? According to Garrett, users should ensure that they have got enough space available in the laptop’s protected storage area. Garrett has also submitted a Kernel patch that would ensure that Linux does not fill up more than  50 per cent of the UEFI firmware’s flash memory.