Tricky boot manager issue.

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Installation' started by Jong, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    My system originally did not show an associated drive with the Windows Boot Manager. It was only after a few Bios updates that feature showed up. My Z68 board is about two years old and has had several bios updates.

    But look at it logically. The system boots fine with just your SSD. The system boots fine with the second drive connected, if the errant space is not used.

    Your disk management shows erroneous information about all drives other than the SSD. One bad drive in a system can cause problems for the system. If you want to test, get another internal hard drive (remove the current one) and see if Disk Management shows it twice. If nothing else, you could transfer the data on your Logical partition to the new drive. Not really sure why that drive is showing a logical partition, but maybe you know.

    I also noticed that the bios default may be set to use IDE as the SATA controller type. Have you changed it to AHCI or is it still IDE? No reason to change anything, just wondering.
     
    #21 Saltgrass, Jul 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  2. Jong

    Jong Active Member

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    There is other discussion about the phantom 3TB drive online. It is simply a consequence of seagate creating firmware which out of the factory presents the drive as 2 separate <2TB drives, for backwards compatibility. They provide a tool to merge them, but it seems to leave this phantom 2nd drive in disk manager. It is not an issue. The problems I am seeing are the same whether that drive is connected or not and if I move that drive to another system that system too shows 2 3TB drives, one unallocated, without issues.

    The problem for sure is with the MBR formatted 2TB drive, which has the 100GB partition. Several times today I have allocated and unallocated that 100GB volume and the results are completely repeatable. When allocated the system shows "windows is loading files" then fails to boot. When not allocated all is good. I even tried doing a full reformat (not quick) of the 100GB volume - it did not help. I also used MBRWiz to repair the MBR on that drive. Interestingly, the error after "windows is loading files" changed from "MBR error 1" to " reboot and select proper boot device". This absolutely proves to me that the BIOS is running the MBR boot manager and not the SSD one (I am 100% sure which drive I changed and MBRWiz couldn't change the SSD boot code if it wanted, it does not understand EFI). I don't know if you ever had 2 WBMs in your system before it associated a drive letter with each but, even if you did, it could be your BIOS made the opposite choice of which one to "randomly" use. It would not really prove anything one way or the other.

    But, yes, as I said, I am going to do what you suggest. Im going to transfer all the data off the drive and reformat it as a GPT drive. I am sure that will fix it. It's just been interesting to see what is happening and to get my head around UEFI. It seems pretty clear to me that if only one Windows Boot Manager is shown, with no drive ID, and there are two WBMs present in the PC, the BIOS has a problem.

    Thanks for all your efforts to help.
     
    #22 Jong, Jul 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  3. Jong

    Jong Active Member

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    Oh and the system is set to AHCI. All is good there :)
     
  4. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Last question...As far as you know, no utility or driver was placed on the SSD to facilitate the situation with the external drive and the partition sizes? It still seems strange to me, Disk Management is showing double instances of your hard drives. All I might think could be causing that, beside something actually on the second drive, would be Disk Management is corrupted, or some other driver was involved.

    It might be interesting to look at your system using something like Partition Wizard, which you could boot to outside of Windows.

    But whatever, I do not believe this is involved with the UEFI system itself.
     
  5. Jong

    Jong Active Member

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    It is only the new 3TB drive that is "doubled". As I said, when the 3TB drive arrived it was per-formatted as one ~2TB drive (not partition) and one ~700GB one. It is an odd consequence of the way Seagate has chosen to manage the thorny 2TB problem. When the Seagate tool to combine them was used it turned into 2x3TB with one unallocated. There are various discussions about this around the web if you look. And, as I said, if I move the drive to another PC that too shows the 2x 3TB drives. I won't deny it's odd. But I'm sure it is unrelated.

    So if you think I am wrong about the Gigabyte BIOS playing into this, how do you think the BIOS is to choose between the two WBMs it has available to it, when it only has one WBM entry in the UEFI Boot Manager? It has to choose one of them, but which one?
     
    #25 Jong, Jul 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  6. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    The Windows Boot Manager in the UEFI bios have no connection to any MRB boot partitions on a hard drive. I know you are thinking the problem is because of that, but I cannot see how. If your system is booting normally, then you do not need to pick another boot manager in the bios.

    You have no active partitions or boot files on any drive to which the system would even try to boot. If it did try to boot to the partition you create on that drive, since there is no boot system, it would give you an error message about the bootmgr missing.

    Do you know of a utility that was installed on your system that is related to the setup with the 3 TB drive? If not, I feel the problem is the way your system seems to be seeing your hard drives. Once you test with a new drive, or a cleaned version of the one you have, we will have a better idea of what is causing the problem. But so far, you have not eliminated that possibility.

    Did you look to see if there was a bios update for your motherboard?
     
  7. Jong

    Jong Active Member

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    Saltgrass, I really appreciate you spending the time on this.

    First, I am on the latest BIOS.

    Like you not seeing what the UEFI has to do with it, I don't see what the 3TB drive has to do with it. :). There is no special utility installed. There is no need. It is a GPT drive and its even on an EFI system. I could boot from it if I wanted (not that I need to!) without any specialness. Also, the drive works on my other Windows 7 system, without installing anything and that is even an old-style BIOS system! (Of course I could not boot from that drive on that system, but I don't want to anyway. It is a data drive. I don't want to confuse things still further!).

    I don't think you are right about UEFI as I understand it:

    - UEFI has its own Boot Manager that ALWAYS runs first. In fact there are various Linux people complaining that Windows has its own Boot Manager at all. It does not need one. Conspiracy theorists suggest it is all to make it more difficult to boot non-Windows systems. I will not get into that debate.

    At boot time this is what happens:

    - the UEFI Boot Manager runs and chooses what should be a "Boot Loader" to run. In my BIOS and it sounds yours, this is done by looking at the first in list of possibilities chosen by the user, which includes "Windows Boot Manager" (the UEFI BIOS knows to look for an EFI System partition on connected drives) and removeable devices and which can also include MBR-based boot loaders for backwards compatibility.

    - The UEFI Boot Manager then hands over to the "device"/"Boot Loader" at the top of its list and that takes over. In the case of Windows 7 that is its "Windows Boot Manager".

    - On a clean install of Windows 7 the Windows Boot Manager is in the special EFI System Partition, as on my SSD. The UEFI BIOS links to it directly. But on a Windows 7 Upgrade, as I performed on my previous system (moving from Windows XP), everything is installed to an MBR disc and part of the Windows Boot Manager (a bootstrap) is actually in the first few sectors of the system partition, just after the Volume Boot Record and outside of the normal file system.

    - When launching the Windows Boot Manager the UEFI passes control to either bootmgfw.efi directly (where an EFI partition exists) or the MBR (when it has an an old-style OS, or Windows 7 installed in "upgrade-mode" to deal with) which then loads the special bootstrap part of the WBM, which then loads the full WBM from a hidden system file on the partition. I am very confident it is that bootstrap bit of code that is running and displaying "reboot and select proper [FONT=inherit !important][FONT=inherit !important]boot[/FONT][FONT=inherit !important]device[/FONT][/FONT]" on the top line of the screen.

    What I ask you is if there are two Windows Boot Managers on the disc as I say there are (the same "reboot and select proper [FONT=inherit !important][FONT=inherit !important]boot[/FONT][FONT=inherit !important]device[/FONT][/FONT]" message appears on the screen even if I disconnect my SSD), how is my UEF to choose between them, if it only shows one entry in its list of possible boot locations? I guess you say it should realise that there is actually no OS on the 100GB partition, but I don't believe it is that clever. It simply asks the top thing on its list to boot and if it has 2 WBMs to choose from and no way to distinguish them it is picking out of a hat, or, IMO, more accurately, choosing to default to the MBR version.

    Anyway, I'll let you know what happens when I have copied off all the data and reformatted the drive as a "clean" GPT disc! :)
     
    #27 Jong, Jul 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  8. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    You could be right..


    I dual booted with a Linux system for a while. I loaded a UEFI version and a MRB version. The UEFI version has a separate boot manager in the bios. Right now, if you could look at the EFI partition (with perhaps Partition Wizard), you would see a file system that includes Microsoft. The Linux install was in another area, and I think I remember it was on a different boot manager, so you could pick to boot to the Linux or Windows Installs. Not completely sure, the Linux options may have been just another part of the EFI tree.

    You have a choice of booting to the UEFI bios, or directly to the MBR on a hard drive. If you use the MBR option, it does not use the UEFI bios. Your bios has a setting for "PCI ROM Priority" with options for Legacy ROM or EFI ROM. Changing that might make quite a difference in the way your system boots.

    You said you could boot your system from either the Windows Boot Manager, or the UEFI:SSD options. Therefore they are probably the same. This may be a problem with the bios design, not really sure. But if you were to install Windows 7 in a Non-UEFI configuration, which you should be able to do, you would not set one of the options just mentioned as the primary boot device, you would set just the drive, like you have probably done for years.

    If you actually had a bootable OS on the second drive, removing the SSD would, most likely, result in booting directly to the MBR on the second drive. Unless the BIOS setting mentioned earlier (which I also do not have) had some effect on how the system could boot.

    Edit: One more thing. The drive letters you show must not have been assigned by Windows. Maybe this is in some way related..
     
    #28 Saltgrass, Jul 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  9. Jong

    Jong Active Member

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    I am definitely going to look at that PCI Rom Priority option. Never even thought of that. Thanks. Anyway, the 1.6TB copy will be done in 4 hours, probably too late for today! But tomorrow AM I will clean the troublesome drive so it has one 2TB GPT partition and we will see what happens!
     
  10. Adamsappleone

    Adamsappleone U.S.Navy D.A.V.

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    Thanks for the help Saltgrass, greatly appreciated.

    Regards
    Don
     
  11. Jong

    Jong Active Member

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    Hmm, it seems unlikely the PCI ROM priority is going to help since EFI is the default and I have never changed it. I can't actually check because my big file transfer is still running. I will check though before I do my repartioning/cleaning of the troublesome drive.
     
  12. Jong

    Jong Active Member

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    Sadly the PCI ROM Priority was already set to EFI. Nice idea though. However, good news! I finished the transfer of the 1.6TB to the 3TB drive, deleted all partitions from the "troublesome" drive and changed it to GPT and I now have a totally empty 2TB drive, with no lost 100GB, and the system boots perfectly! :)

    Thanks for all the help. It has been great to bounce ideas around with people I can totally trust :applaud:
     
  13. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Glad it is working out. Information is always good, and hopefully you always get good info. I installed a UEFI system two years ago thinking there would be questions concerning such. But you are the first that really seems to be involved in the new type of Bios. It was good discussing the UEFI system...
     
  14. Jong

    Jong Active Member

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    HaHa! It turns out the "phantom" drive was a bug in the firmware for the JMicron chip in my USB 3.0 enclosure. I have updated the firmware and the extra drive has gone.
     
  15. Jong

    Jong Active Member

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    And, just for fun, as the drive was empty. I converted it back to MBR to see if that would stop boot again, but it did not.

    It seems it must have been a combination of some left-over boot code from the old system partition, maybe because it was a messy XP -> Win7 upgrade, plus some sloppy coding in the Gigabyte UEF that caused the problem. Good to see a regular clean MBR partitioned drive does not cause the same problem.
     

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