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Lenovo BIOS Simulator (lenovo.com)
222 points by segfaultbuserr 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments





I realize this just the photos from the associated manuals merged into a basic website, but damned if it isn't cool.

I feel reassured when the people who were responsible for my computer's creation aren't doing their very best to hide the fact that what they sold me was, in fact, a computer.

I get machines are now marketed as lifestyle accessories, but they can also, unapologetically, be computers. The two aren't mutually exclusive.


Are you sure? The date/time was live for me.

Edit: Looked at the network requests, it's not images. It's returning config files with the information to emulate it. https://download.lenovo.com/bsco/schemas/ThinkPad%20X1%20Car...


Good Catch! I was being overly reductive! I should have said:

I realize this is a rather shallow simulator working more closely on the with the view layer than the underlying model/hardware, but...


I miss useful computers for people who make computers useful for people. MacOS X used to feel closer to this ideal. Operating systems feel like they have moved toward throw away consumerism (maybe they always were throw away given the pace of change). Linux feels increasingly like a subsystem for running web apps and systems. I kind of miss the nerdiness of it all.

You can easily make Linux feel like whatever you want, if you are willing to put a bit of setup work in up front. If you are going with the default desktop setup, it's not surprising it doesn't feel like it's really enough for you: most distros' default options are there to make it easy for people who don't know what they want yet.

Almost 20 years ago I would use chasms.com, which had similar click-through screens for Windows. It was hugely helpful in being able to see the various dial-up Internet configuration screens when I worked part-time on an ISP help desk.

The site is still there and still being updated! The oldest example is now https://www.chasms.com/winxp/desktop.htm#


Wow, this is great! I don't do a lot of remote support, aside from immediate family, but I don't remember settings by name -- especially for an older OS I no longer use -- so this is a great resource.

So often I've had a frustrating conversation like "Okay, do you see something that says 'wifi' or 'ethernet'? Hm, ok, no go back.. is there another button that says 'Network' or 'Adapter settings' or something like that on the screen?".

I like that Lenovo has this resource too (and exposes it publicly), and really every manufacturer should, but I honestly can't think of a time I've ever had to remotely fix a system by changing something in BIOS. It's pretty rare to change a setting there in the first place, aside from when you're doing the initial build or major hardware changes. If you were providing remote support to the people doing the hardware changes, though, this would be invaluable.


This is cool. Seems odd that it starts with the X230/T430 generation though.

The 220's are still very popular especially with the crowd that would find this interesting or useful.


I imagine this is intended for support personnel to guide users over the phone through bios changes. So there would be no need to provide models out of warranty.

It's like 2014 forward which is good history

I used to work phone support for Dell and we had tools similar to this to help troubleshoot over the phone without having access to the exact hardware the customer had.

I don't understand what is interesting about this, but if you find this sort of thing interesting, perhaps you would also enjoy the router admin interface emulators of TP-Link: https://emulator.tp-link.com/VR600v2/index.htm

> I don't understand what is interesting about this

Maybe you've never done remote support with an individual who is not particularly skilled with computers, but as someone who has, this is exactly the kind of tool you'd want at your disposal.

> perhaps you would also enjoy the router admin interface emulators of TP-Link

Yes!


> Maybe you've never done remote support

Oh sure, it's great that it exists and I would like to have these for Windows or MS Office (most family questions are about that), but I don't particularly care to browse through a random BIOS/router/Windows interface just for the heck of it.


One of the reason these are more valuable than one for Window or Office is 90% of the time once you are in windows you can just use a Remote Support tool to remote into the system

Attempting remote support that requires BIOS or Router changes is much easier if you can tell the person, exactly, what the click word for word, or even provide screenshots with instructions in say a manual... Getting them can be harder tools like this help alot

I have used things like this when development instructional material for new Technicians or as reference for people that many not work with those systems every day...

Just as an example


I spend a significant amount of time taking photos of BIOS settings to help technical staff image our PCs. Screenshots from something like this would be way better. Shame we tend to use Fujitsu :)

Would be even more mind-blowing if it ran real BIOS code on js x86 emulator.

The problem with that would be emulating all the embedded controllers and other hardware associated with the various bios menu entries. What would be cool is if the bios interface was coded using a certain menu rendering system that could be replicated in JS and all you would need is a BIOS dump of certain structures which would then render the appropriate menu without having to run the code associated with the underlying choices. Shouldn't be that hard to do. I believe that's sort of how it alrwady works. It would be nice to see it happen though.

Most of the junk in BIOS settings doesn't actually talk to the hardware. It just stores flags that other layers of the firmware read.

That's cool, but I really wish it had a search feature. Like start typing in a name of a setting, immediately get a suggestion list, select a specific one from it and see where exactly in the menu hierarchy it is.

Seems like you can "Permanently Disable" ME using their BIOS on Thinkpads.

I think it just disables the management feature, the ME itself is always active to an extent. BTW, don't forget to also disable Computrace.

I haven't done any reading into this but as far as I know on the used Thinkpad I have Computrace is "available" but hasn't been connected to any sort of third-party tracking service.

Should I disable this forever? Is Computrace tracking me even with the service not connected to anything?


The main concern here is not "Computrace is tracking you", but "Computrace may be exploited". Basically, if Computraced is activated, it will actively attempt to inject its payload into Windows via BIOS to achieve persistence even after an OS reinstallation - like a rootkit. If a vulnerability allows an attacker to somehow control this process, nobody knows how far the attacker can go...

* Deactivate the Rootkit: Attacks on BIOS anti-theft technologies

https://www.blackhat.com/presentations/bh-usa-09/ORTEGA/BHUS...

* Stuff just got real - First Computraced-based UEFI rootkit

https://tcsltesting.blogspot.com/2018/09/stuff-just-got-real...


Just a note, it doesn't seem to have all the latest updates, since those can sometimes change what's on the setup screen.

Missing the Thinkpad X20 and probably others.

But why?

When you have remote hands and need to tell, over the phone, what to edit in BIOS of a specific Lenovo PC?



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