Jan 7, 2021

Lenovo e550 Thinkpad Red Light Only No Boot (Possible Solutions)


Have a user with a Lenovo E550 laptop. The laptop was working fine while watching videos, etc, but would sometimes appear to turn off without being able to come back on.

The Thinkpad light would come on (red light in the logo in the wrist rest area), but the unit would not power up. Fans would not spin up, no POST, no boot, no hard drive sounds.

We found several solutions that have worked intermittently  (that is, seemingly randomly):

  • Remove the battery. Leave the AC plugged in. Hold power button for 30 seconds. Red Thinkpad light will blink 3 times. Unplug the power. Hold the power button down again for 30 seconds. Plus the AC back in, but leave the battery out. Turn on the laptop. If it boots, shut it down and put the battery back in. Boot the laptop.
  • Remove the battery. Leave the AC plugged in. Connect an external VGA monitor. Hold the power button for 30 seconds (until red Thinkpad light blinks 3 times). Turn on the laptop. If the laptop boots, it will most likely show on the monitor instead of the built-in display. Once booted, change the display options to make the built-in display panel the primary display. Shut down the laptop. Unplug the VGA cable. Boot the laptop. If it boots, shut down the laptop, insert the battery, and reboot the laptop.
  • Turn off the laptop (hold power button until Thinkpad red light goes out). Remove the battery. Unplug the AC adapter. Turn the laptop over and remove the three screws holding the large plate that covers the RAM and hard drive. Remove back cover. Near the hard drive, find a wrapped CMOS battery (looks like a watch battery). There are two wires with a plug adapter at the end. Disengage the plug gently. It is a TIGHT fit, so be careful. With the CMOD battery disconnected, turn the laptop over and plug in the AC. Open the laptop and turn it on. When it boots, you will get an error that the time and date a re wrong. Hold the power button until the laptop turns off. Unplug the AC adapter. Turn the laptop over again. Reconnect the CMOS battery. Again, this is a TIGHT fit, so be careful. Replace the back panel and attach the screws. Turn the laptop back over, reinstall the battery and connect the AC. Turn on the laptop. You should get an error about the time and date. Follow the on-screen instructions for setting those then you should be able to boot as normal.

As we find other solutions to this problem, I will update this post. Hope it helps!