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Drive booting issues - Win7, UEFI, BIOS


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#1
Eegad

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Trying to figure out and learn about boot drives / UEFI / BIOS : I've got a 4 year old HP 750-055xt desktop with Win7 pro, 64-bit, SP1 (HP's site allowed a custom config with Win7 at the time). It came with a WD 1TB HDD. I bought another identical WD 1TB HDD right away, and every few months I've used Macrium Reflect to clone the current boot drive onto the other one. Then I swap cables and leave the just-cloned-boot-drive unplugged, and start using the clone as my boot drive. It's my backup in case a drive fails. (I also back up really important files onto a usb drive). The only issue I find is that upon first booting the new clone, I'd always get some sort of "Realtek error", or "no bootable drive found" error. I then boot into the bios, and change the boot order...the new drive appears under the UEFI boot devices at the bottom, so I move it to the top. After that everything works fine. Until... Several months ago I got a 1TB SSD and cloned onto it. Same boot process occured where I had to move the SSD to the top of the boot list. I've been loving the SSD speed, but when I recently tried to clone it, I couldn't because of a bunch of bad sectors. I copied all my files from the past several months onto a usb drive and was going to "update" the older HDD with these files in case the SSD dies anytime soon. I unplugged the SSD, and plugged the HDD into that SATA cable (0). When I tried to boot, I got the usual error BUT...no amount of fiddling with the boot order would get the drive to boot. No boot drive found. Then I put the SSD back on SATA cable 0, and hooked the HDD to SATA 3. And was totally puzzled that the computer then booted off of the HDD on SATA 3! AND...after updating my files on the HDD and disconnecting it, now the SSD won't boot regardless of what I do with boot order. But if BOTH the HDD & SSD are connected, it will boot to the HDD, regardless of my boot order settings (once in Windows, the SSD is accessible as drive F). I'm stumped. Can anyone explain what the heck is going on and help demystify this whole boot process? I have only the most vague understanding of UEFI, and from what little I've read online, it's really a Win8 & Win10 thing. I don't want to mess around with BIOS too much since I have no experience with it. If I disable all the UEFI devices and leave Legacy Boot devices enabled, will it solve this type of issue? What I want is to be able to swap drives after cloning, and just have the computer boot from whatever drive is the currently connected one. Why is it so problematic?
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#2
phillpower2

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:welcome:    Eegad,

 

You would have been better either disabling the device in the BIOS that you did not want to be accessible, or alternatively by taking the drive offline using Diskpart. how to take a hard drive offline using Diskpart

 

Depending on how often a computer needs to be cleaned out of heat trapping dust opening up a computer should be a last resort, every time that you do you risk damaging something + keep in mind repeatedly disconnecting and re-connecting will at some point lead to a flaky port. 

 

Regarding UEFI BIOS, it is now more commonly used with Windows 8/8.1 onwards, along with SSDs, pros for UEFI include that it stores the Windows product key so no need to re enter it if clean installing and cons include that you can have problems booting from USB** devices with the most common workaround being disabling secure boot/switching to Legacy boot.

 

** Only Realtek device that I could find that is associated with the MB in your computer was for Realtek USB Card Reader Driver, see under Driver - Storage here

 

As an asides Eegad, you really should look to try and upgrade to Windows 10 for free before support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020, unless you switch to a free OS such as Linux you will be needing to pay circa $140 for 64-bit Windows 10 Pro.


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#3
phillpower2

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Not heard back from you Eegad, do you still require assistance or is the issue now resolved, an update would be appreciated.


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#4
Eegad

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Not resolved... Still a mystery as why this computer is so finicky about booting after swapping cloned drives. I did however manage to get it booting off the ssd again after bios fiddling and multiple cable swaps. So I'll just keep using it as is and keep my fingers crossed that the ssd holds out for a few more months. Then I'll just buy a new machine with win10 in the fall.
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