When I boot up I get the following errors:

 mei 0000:00:16.0: init hw failure.
 mei 0000:00:16.0: initialization failed.

(they don't prevent the bootup, I'm just curious as to what they are and if I should be worried).

I googled of course, but I only found reference to Supermicro motherboards on servers. I have simply a home laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad S540) and my motherboard vendor simply shows as Lenovo.

More googling lead me to believe it's something to do with Intel vPro technology, "an interface that uses the Intel ME hardware features to enable an interaction between high- and low-level hardware systems in a system. With this Intel feature, the administrators can now handle the tasks without intervention of the human beings."

According to /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:16.0, vendor is 0x8086 and device is 0x9c3a, which Google translate as 0x9C3A Intel Management Engine Interface driver and 0x8086 Intel Corporation.

Could anyone shed more light on mei , and if possible what this error is regarding?

  • 2
    0000:00:16.0 smells like a PCI bus address to me. Have a look in /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:16.0 and see if any of those might provide something google-able. At the very least edit your question to include the values from the device and vendor files, as those should provide clues as to what device mei actually finds looking there. The combination of the three pieces of information (mei module error message, vendor, device) might actually lead you down the path to a proper answer. – a CVn Jan 14 '14 at 12:16
  • That said, stock kernels come with all sorts of hardware support built in or provided as modules loaded on boot, and if the corresponding hardware isn't installed on the particular system, you'll often see errors such as the one in your question. Generally speaking, unless there's a specific issue, I wouldn't worry too much about it. – a CVn Jan 14 '14 at 12:17
  • @MichaelKjörling OK, I guess it could just be like you say, an extra unneeded module from the Ubuntu kernal that my HW has no use for. The laptop does have a couple of problems, and I'm trying to work out which errors are the relevant ones...Regard /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:16.0, yep plenty of files and directories in there giving irq, modalias etc...which thing to google? – fpghost Jan 14 '14 at 12:22
  • device and vendor might be a good start. They should tell you what hardware (by IDs unfortunately, it seems) is actually installed at that hardware bus location. – a CVn Jan 14 '14 at 12:24
  • cat device:0x9c3a, cat vendor: 0x8086, googling gives me: 0x9C3A Intel Management Engine Interface driver 0x8086 Intel Corporation. Also "Lynx Point LP". – fpghost Jan 14 '14 at 12:27

Things I've discovered so far: I believe the module mei is the driver for Intel(R) Management Engine Interface (more info here) which is one part of Intel's VPro suite. I believe the purpose of the imei is to allow remote administrators to login to the machine to do such things as apply patches, defrags, and other administrative tasks (even if the OS on the machine is damaged).

Googling my processor Intel i7 4500U, suggests I don't actually have vPro capabilities, and a look in the BIOS seems to confirm this (despite having anti-theft and VT, which seem to be part of the vPro suite).

Hence, I would conclude that the error seen is simply because the linux kernel comes with the mei module by default, even though not all machines will have this hardware capability and thus will produce a failure initialising said hardware.

To get rid of the error (and maybe save some boot time?), I can probably just blacklist the module with

sudo echo  "blacklist mei mei_me" > /etc/modprobe.d/mei.conf

You can also edit it on boot by editing the Grub boot entry and appending

modprobe.blacklist=mei modprobe.blacklist=mei_me
  • Thanks for the tip. In the modprobe.d/mei.confsyntax, my experience (with Ubuntu 14.04.4) is that you need two separate blacklist lines (one for each module) rather than both modules listed on one line. – sxc731 Apr 17 '16 at 7:23

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