Windows 8 laptop a brick – can’t boot from anything except hard drive

Not so long ago, I was given the job of adding a new laptop to a small network of 20 pcs plus two Windows servers. The only thing was, the laptop came with Windows 8, and they needed a custom application that only runs in Internet Explorer 9 or below (I know, I know…  )

As we have volume licences for Windows 7, I assumed this would just require booting from a USB stick or DVD, wiping the hard drive and installing Windows 7. However, whatever F key I pressed, it started the Windows 8 installation process. After some reading online, it appears that the newer type of BIOS, called UEFI, can be modified by the OS and therefore, the only way to alter this was to install Windows 8, then go into advanced startup options, and choose the USB or DVD.

So, an annoying delay where I had to install an operating system I didn’t want, followed by tweaking the startup options. Still no joy. Just an error message. Tried changing various UEFI setting in the bios to no avail. Then tried modifying various USB sticks to include bootx64.efi and other boot drivers.

More online reading, and it appears that the implementation of UEFI is flawed in some makes of laptop, notably Lenovo and Toshiba. So, laptop returned to supplier.