Written by: Paul Rubin
Primary Source: OR in an OB World
Broadcom UNDI PXE2.1 v15.0.1 <blah blah blah> PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable PXE-M0F: Exiting Broadcom PXE ROM No bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key
The message suggests that either the hard drive was down, the data cable to the hard drive was loose (or broken), or the hard drive was somehow no longer bootable. Searching online essentially confirmed that.
I opened up the laptop and confirmed that the ribbon cable seemed to be connected at both ends. That was a bit worrisome. Could the disk be dead? Then came one of those good news/bad news situations. I booted the laptop from a live Mint USB drive. Once I was at the desktop, I was able to mount the hard disk and read it just fine. So the disk was not dead, which was the good news. The bad news was that this sent me off on a wild goose chase.
If I could read the hard drive when I booted from a USB, but I couldn’t boot from it, logic said that the boot partition must either be corrupted or no longer marked as the boot partition. Right? A few episodes of cycling the power off and on confirmed that it consistently could read the hard disk when started from the USB stick and consistently could not boot from the hard disk. Only problem: running off the USB stick, I could read the boot partition just fine, and gparted confirmed that it was marked as the boot partition.
Unwilling to abandon my chase of the wild goose, I did the only thing I could think of: I reinstalled Mint (forcing me to update or reinstall tons of software — still not done with that). After the reinstallation, the laptop booted from the hard disk just fine. I took it to the coffee shop and slugged down coffee while some of the software updates ran. Things were back on track … until I got home and discovered it once again would not boot from the hard drive (same message as above). Grrrr.
Turns out a loose cable was at fault. It just didn’t look (or feel) loose. In hindsight, the Broadcom ROM media test may just be more accurate (or more finicky) than whatever Mint does when deciding whether to mount a disk. For the benefit of anyone else staring at PXE-E61, here’s a quick synopsis of what to check.
The first step is to remove the cover from the base of the laptop (Figure 1). (This might be a good time to apologize for the fuzzy images.)
|Figure 1: Laptop base|
Remove one small (and easily lost!) Phillips-head screw from the base (highlighted in the photo), then slide the case in the direction indicated by the arrow and remove it, exposing the innards (Figure 2).
|Figure 2: Laptop interior|
|Figure 3: Exposed cable end|
|Figure 4: Cable plugged in|