Register    Login    Search    FAQ     Articles & downloads     Who We Are    Donate

Board index » Technical Forums » Partitioning and dual booting




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:29 pm 
Offline
welcoming committee

Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:13 pm
Posts: 1325
Location: Dunedin, Alba.
This issue has beaten me completely and is without doubt the strangest, weirdest, most annoying computer issue that has happened to me since I first got interested in PC's.

I'll try to be as brief as possible but to explain the hoops I've jumped through, and what the problem is exactly, might take a bit of typing.

Probably the best place to start is with my system specs:

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3P
CPU: AMD FX-8320E
Memory: 24GB consisting of 2 x Kingston 8192 MBytes DDR3 running as Dual Channel, plus 1 x Team Group 8192 MBytes DDR3
Graphics: 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT730 (set up for dual monitor)

HDD's (where the real crux is)...
Currently I have 3 installed but this time last week I had 4, for reasons that will become clear I (probably wrongly) removed one as defective.
Crucial CT250BX1 250GB SSD
WD Blue 1TB WD10EZEX
Samsung 1TB HD103SJ
The one that i removed as faulty today: WD 500GB Caviar Blue WD500AAKS

The rest of the specs are likely irrelevant so I won't list them, but will if requested.

I'll come to the issue in a second but a bit on the background as to what led me here in the first place may be useful...

About a week or so ago my PC started to behave oddly just after the GUI loaded, namely the GUI would appear and some but not all of the notification icons would appear, there was a delay of about a minute between half of them loading then suddenly the rest would all burst on screen.
During the delay the PC was totally non-responsive to anything I did but when the "pause" ended everything I clicked on would suddenly flash before my eyes.
At first I thought I had some sort of driver conflict or a corrupt programme but after disabling everything i could think of at startup the problem persisted, even in safe mode etc.
I next looked at my memory and ran checks on that but i kind of knew that was pointless because the only time the system stalled was right after the GUI loaded... it would run all day and night and no matter what i did i couldn't replicate the pause, except by rebooting.
In my mind that left one thing, i had an infection that my antimalware and antivirus software hadn't caught so i wasn't going to waste any more time on it and formatted my C drive...

This is when the real problems started! :evil:

As i usually do when i suspect my C drive is infected and I'm about to re-install Windows i like to disconnect all other drives to make sure my Windows install is clean and on the correct drive, so that's what i did.

After the install (and when I'd finally got Windows Update working, ffs Microsoft, get a grip of this will you!) i reconnected my drives one by one, rebooting in the process.... horror ensued after i connected the 500GB WD drive, it wouldn't boot, instead the system tried to get into the recovery environment.

The only way to stop that happening was to disconnect the drive so my logic told me there was some issue with that drive (rootkit, virus, MBR infection? I had no idea but ignoring it was likely a really bad idea) and that it needed to be formatted so that's what i did... formatted the drive and i booted into windows with no issues.

Thinking i was now good to go i repartitioned the WD 500GB drive and rebooted.... only for the system not to boot!!
The system was again trying to load the recovery console/environment (whatever it's actually called i don't know because it's never got there).
I get one of two messages every time, it's either (wait for it, I'm not done...):

"Reboot and select proper Boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key"

Or,

"Onboard sata controller disabled, reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key"

I tried every possible permutation to boot from the "proper boot device" using F12 etc but none of them worked.
I tried enabling and disabling the sata controller, rebooted until i couldn't reboot any more and the pc still wouldn't boot... i even loaded my Win7 disc but that just went into the loop earlier or said something along the lines of incorrect media or version...

At this point, convinced that the only logical reason nothing i was doing was working was because there was something i hadn't thought of so i slept in it... then it came to me, it must be the MBR on the HDD, it's the only thing that makes sense.

I woke up, formatted the drive again and set it as one partition, but it didn't work.

Convinced this has to have something to do with the UEFI bios and the basic mbr on the drive i took the drive out of my PC and connected it to my wifes PC that doesn't have a UEFI bios... formatted it into one partition, took it back to my PC and apart from selecting "Start Windows Normally" it booted straight away!

I thought I'd cracked it, it was a corrupt mbr after all, so i formatted the drive again on my pc and partitioned it... rebooted... and ffs... i was right back at square one!
Took the drive out my pc, plugged it into my wifes, formatted it with a single partion and it booted.
Took the drive out again, plugged it back into my wifes, partitioned it this time (2 partitions), plugged it into mine... wouldn't boot!!!

Faulty drive i thought so i downloaded DataLifeguard for Windows from WD and let it run overnight in enhanced mode... it passed every test... that's no guarantee of course but it does lean heavily in the direction it may not be the drive.

If you're still following this you probably have an idea of the issues I'm facing.... but it gets worse...

Along the road of what is above i accidently overwrote the first and last 1,000,000 bytes of the wrong WD drive with the WD software in an attempt to rule out once and for all the basic MBR on the WD 500GB drive as being the culprit.

I recovered almost all the data from the 1TB drive thanks to a piece of freeware called "Recuva" from Piriform (be aware of foistware) :)

After many more hours i let out a sigh and decided i should retire the 500GB drive to history so formatted the now empty WD 1TB drive and partitioned it.... only to be thrust right back into the position i was in with the 500GB drive... the PC won't boot with that drive installed if it's partitioned either!

There's something seriously wrong and i haven't a clue what it is, I'm having a hard time believing that a company the size of Gigabyte would allow they're BIOS's to have such a serious flaw that they would stop partitioning of a hard drive so i must be something glaringly obvious.... any ideas what that might be??

I could test on a third drive but I'm all out of space doing my own testing so simply put, I'm not going to.

For one drive to (allegedly, I now don't believe it has) fail after 7 years of use is one thing, but for another that isn't even a year old to fail replicating a simple partition process to that of the first is so far out of this world that not even Patty riding on top of a D'Kyr science vessel could explain it :338:


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:39 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
A couple of possibilities...

1) If I read correctly you normally run in 'non-SATA mode'. If your formatting and partitioning is GPT I don't think that this will work but could be wrong.

2) I don't have a UEFI system but DO have an EFI hybrid. If I switch between the two SATA modes (or it MAY be EFI and Native IDE) the system will boot to a BSOD. You have to do a registry change before changing the BIOS setting or just boot to Safe Mode between changes to the BIOS settings.

3 ) On the problem system were you formatting/partitioning through windows' tools or third party. If using Windows I would suggest trying a third party program named EaseUS Partition Master. For this purpose the free version should suffice.
http://www.easeus.com/download/epmf-download.html

4) It is possible that the drive controllers on the mother board are going. I had this happen a lot of years ago with an Epox board (Anyone remember Epox; are they still around?). This was long ago enough that the system was strictly PATA but, in principle there is no difference in this case. In my case the system went dead as to booting. As a last ditch attempt I tried changing IDE ports and all was well. If you have enough SATA ports on the board you might try different ports. I know that on my Gigabyte board I have enough SATA ports to where I could put all 4 (including optical) on different ports. Of course you would have to adjust the hard drive priority to adjust for the different port in your BIOS.

5) Speaking of drive priority I assume that when you add a drive, and the system fails, that you have gone back to your BIOS to check the drive priority.

6) Am I correct in that you can still do a single partition/format on your wife's system and throw back in yours and the system will boot? If so I would do that with all drives and then use EaseUS to set up your partitions.

7) Would not be totally out of line to look at the possibility of a BIOS update but I would first look to the Gigabyte site for updated mother board driver updates.

I'm sorry that I can't give a definitive solution but you know as well as I that this type if issue is really hard to troubleshoot long distance. :(

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:10 am 
Offline
welcoming committee

Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:13 pm
Posts: 1325
Location: Dunedin, Alba.
Hi Jay, thanks for taking the time to throw those possibilities at me, you did indeed throw up a couple that I really thought might help but sadly not... my reply is in order of yours:

1) My drives are all in SATA mode and always were, Disk 1 has always been GPT and the rest MBR since I installed this motherboard (that was the way the BIOS and Windows set them up), I did try changing them all to IDE mode but the results were the same so I reverted back to SATA mode.

2) I'm not entirely sure I know what the difference between UEFI and EFI is but there are options to boot from 'UEFI and Legacy' or ' Legacy Only' or UEFI Only' in "Boot Mode Selection". I've tried them all with the same result. 'UEFI and Legacy' is the default and what worked before this problem arose.

There is a section called "Storage Boot Option Control" that suggested to me that it may be relevant for the drives (except for the drive that boots Windows), with options for each HDD... Disabled, Legacy Only, UEFI Only, Legacy First, UEFI First.
I played around with the settings but that also made no difference, the exception being that selecting "Legacy Only" hid (or removed?) all my drives in the BIOS except for the drive that boots Windows and the only way I could make them visible again (that I could find) was to reset the BIOS using "Load Optimized Defaults".

3) Initially I used AOEMI Partition Assistant Standard Edition (free version) to partition the 500GB drive that's when the issue first arose, so I formatted that drive (at my wife's PC) and tried again with Disk Management on my PC, same result.
When I removed that drive and tried again on the 1TB drive I did use EaseUS Partition Master, for no other reason than to rule out AOMEI or disk Management as the cause... same result.

4) Re the MB controllers, anything is possible but the board is only about 6 months old so unlikely, that said, after the weekend if I've still not nailed this down I will contact Tech Support at Gigabyte.

My board has 6 SATA ports, I've tried them all including removing them all bar the drive that boots Windows and a drive that being partitioned has issues (for the record Hot Plugging is disabled and has never been enabled).

5) At first I was doing that, until I realised F12 brought up the Boot Menu options that overrode the pre-configured BIOS settings.

6) Yes and I've since learned that I can delete the partitions and reformat the drive into a single partition on my PC and boot to Windows again using either the AOEMI or EaseUS recovery discs, so no more need to hop from one computer to another.

My next step is to format the SSD drive that contains Windows back into one partition and install Windows, it hasn't been completely formatted, the C partition was but not the D & E partitions.
For the purpose of that test I'm not going to install anything other than the SSD drive and one other HDD, after I've installed Windows and the latest drivers I'll try partitioning the HDD and see what happens.

7) This is where I thought I'd most likely get a result because I had forgotten to go to the Gigabyte website for the latest drivers, I need to use the driver disc that comes with the motherboard to install the Lan drivers to get online so I usually just install all the drivers on the disc, then go online to update Windows, then to Gigabyte for the latest drivers, but I forgot the latter because of the trouble I had getting MS Update to work.

Just for good measure and to rule it out as well, I re-flashed the BIOS (I already had the latest version but re-flashed it anyway).

Sadly neither of those worked either.

If formatting the SSD drive doesn't work then I guess, as Sherlock Holmes once said...
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
...It must be the motherboard :smash1:


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:01 pm 
Offline
welcoming committee
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:39 am
Posts: 601
Location: Johnstown, NY
If you are messing with the drive that contains the system on it and have multiple drives in the machine, make sure you only have the drive that is the system drive connected the first time you boot. Something about having the multiple drives seems to mess things up the first time you boot after doing work on that drive.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:13 pm 
Offline
welcoming committee

Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:13 pm
Posts: 1325
Location: Dunedin, Alba.
Success, finally!!! :nana1:

Formatting the entire SSD drive instead of just the C partition on the SSD drive has worked, ALL the drives, including the two that after being partitioned caused Windows not to boot are now up and running, fully partitioned, formatted, and partitioned again :)

@dvair, that was one of the first things I tried, I pulled all the drives except the SSD however I only formatted the partition that contained Windows, that apparently wasn't enough to have the fresh install of Windows delete and/or re-write both the GPT & MBR boot managers that the system had previously installed (I'm assuming that was the root cause?)... I have no idea why not and likely never will because whilst I do have a base level understanding of how an MBR works and what it does I have absolutely no idea when it comes to GPT (or for that matter UEFI/EFI)... which is something that my PC appears to be hell bent on rectifying if the last week and today are anything to go by :twisted: ;)

That said, my work is not done and my hands are currently meeting my head because no sooner had I got all the drives formatted and running as I want them than I'm pretty much going to have to start all over again.... I forgot to load the ACHI drivers (F6) for the SSD drive during the Windows install and for the life of me I now can't seem to force Windows into changing the HDD controllers from SATA to ACHI... I'm actually amazed that Windows didn't install the generic MS ones because my BIOS's default settings enable ACHI... go figure.

To cap that off, when I installed Speccy as a means to try and confirm that the ACHI drivers weren't in fact actually present, the phone rang and I accidently clicked past the option screen to NOT install Chrome and the Google Toolbar... AARRGGHHHH!!!!!

Simply uninstalling Chrome I could've lived with but I regard ALL toolbars as invasive malware so I may as well format the SSD drive again while there's very little software on it... and damn well get it right this time or it'll be more than my hands meeting my head! :mad3:

Happy days, onwards and upwards... these new fangled BIOS's do look nice though, kind of like AOL on steroids... nuff said ;)


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:16 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
Congrats on your success!! :)

Quote:
.... I forgot to load the ACHI drivers (F6) for the SSD drive during the Windows install and for the life of me I now can't seem to force Windows into changing the HDD controllers from SATA to ACHI... I'm actually amazed that Windows didn't install the generic MS ones because my BIOS's default settings enable ACHI...

If the BIOS setting for the drive was set to AHCI I'm not exactly sure why Windows did not install proper drivers either, are you sure that it did not? One way to test would be to change the BIOS setting off of AHCI and boot. If you get a BSOD the drive is set to use AHCI drivers and they are there. Don't worry as setting the BIOS back to AHCI will restore your boot.

Windows only installs drivers for devices that it finds. While your BIOS default is AHCI are you sure that the current setting is actually AHCI and not SATA or Native IDE (actual names in your BIOS could be different and it is possible that they are not even there.)? UEFI BIOS also has, if I understand correctly, a setting per drive to run normal or legacy. Bbarry MIGHT be able to give insight on this as he went through dealing with such legacy settings a while back to, I believe, get his optical drive enabled to boot.

Note #1:
If you search for a way to switch from or to AHCI and other modes you will find many solutions that say to change a registry value... actually delete a value... and then go to your BIOS and change the mode. This DOES work but is not needed. All you need to do is change the setting in your BIOS and then boot to Safe Mode. A boot to Safe Mode detects the drivers that the drive should use and applies. The nice thing about this is that you can set the BIOS to each of the possibilities and then boot to Safe Mode. Now ALL the concerned drivers are present and you can switch modes in the BIOS without issue.

Note #2:
The difference between UEFI and EFI... I can't totally say that I am 100% correct but this is what I've come to believe. EFI is UEFI while still in diapers. UEFI affects the entire system while EFI just deals with the installed drives. Think in relation to graphic cards. We had PCI then AGP then PCIe. EFI relates to AGP.

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:50 pm 
Offline
welcoming committee

Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:13 pm
Posts: 1325
Location: Dunedin, Alba.
jaylach wrote:
[b]If the BIOS setting for the drive was set to AHCI I'm not exactly sure why Windows did not install proper drivers either, are you sure that it did not?

To be honest I'm not sure, it may well have done but it may have been overridden by the fact that I manually chose IDE for the SATA port where my DVD drive resides... i.e. ports 4 & 5 have the option of IDE or SATA Type.

In the Peripherals section of the BIOS there is a section labelled "OnChip SATA Type" with options "Native IDE" "SATA" "AHCI" that I assume is system wide.

By default the BIOS is set at AHCI and I reset the BIOS to load the default settings just prior to re-installing Windows (again) with the exception that I went back into the BIOS and changed the DVD (port 5) from "As SATA Type" to "IDE.

It turns out that after reading the manual again (and if I'm not reading the manual incorrectly) what I actually did was disable the SATA controller and configure it to IDE mode.

Suffice to say,after changing the port that hosts the DVD drive back to "As SATA Type" my 'AS SSD Benchmark' has gone from the mid 300MB/s to around 500MB's which is more or less where I expected it to be :)
(I didn't attach a pic showing the results of a full benchmark because for the purposes here I didn't need to and it saves time)
Attachment:
as-ssd-bench CT250BX1 00SSD1 20.11.2016 21-27-04.png


As an aside, well not so much of an aside actually because as it turns out I think I may have worked out what was causing my PC to pause on booting as the GUI loaded that got me here in the first place, it looks very much like I had some form of malware, rootkit, virus etc that wasn't/couldn't be detected, I have no idea which exactly but whatever it was I've been suffering from multiple spam emails lately that contain my real name... I never publish my real name and on the odd occasion I do I keep it separate from the email address that I was receiving the emails from. At times I was getting up to 20 or 30 a day.

The last time I had one of those emails was when I formatted my C drive last week :)

As for right now... I'm off to watch some TV (if I can still find it!) and :drink9:


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 

Board index » Technical Forums » Partitioning and dual booting


Who is online

Registered users: No registered users

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

Similar topics

New Acronis boot media
Forum: System Recovery
Author: jaylach
Replies: 0

Restoring Acronis image failure
Forum: System Recovery
Author: jaylach
Replies: 9

hard drive failure
Forum: Hardware
Author: jaylach
Replies: 18

Windows 10 Update Failure
Forum: Microsoft Windows
Author: Ritzter13
Replies: 7

Can't Boot!
Forum: Microsoft Windows
Author: gmfry
Replies: 10


Jump to:  

cron