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Problems Booting from SSD

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December 9, 2011 3:07:34 PM

Hello all,

I ran in to a problem this morning that has me a little perplexed. I went to sleep last night with my computer in sleep mode. This morning I woke up and it was on. This isn't unusual as it sometimes wakes itself from sleep to run updates or whatever.

Anyway, on to the problem. I turned on my monitor and it was on a black screen that was essentially saying my boot drive wasn't found. I haven't had a whole lot of time to mess with it, but so far I've checked all of the cables to make sure everything is plugged in properly, and have looked through bios, which is where the confusion occurs.

In my bios, my SSD (OCZ Vertex 60GB) is recognized as hardware, along with my WD 750gb drive. The SSD is my primary drive and has windows 7 64 bit installed. The quirky thing is, when I go to boot options, it does not recognize my SSD as a drive that I can boot from.

Quick summary: Computer worked fine last night. This morning, BIOS system status still recognizes both drives (60gb SSD and 750gb HDD) but boot options doesn't recognize SSD as a boot drive. It does however recognize the 750gb HDD as a boot option, though I have no operating system on it, so I can't boot my computer.

Does anyone know what might be going on with this? I don't understand how BIOS says it is connected but its no longer an option to boot from it in BIOS.

Thanks in advance for the help!
Zac

More about : problems booting ssd

December 9, 2011 3:26:11 PM

How long has it been working before this happened? have you checked if you bios setting were somehow reset? check if that drive is in IDE or AHCI mode, OCZ prefers their SSD's be in IDE mode.
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December 9, 2011 3:51:16 PM

-It has been running perfect since I built the computer last March so approximately 9 months of stellar use.

-I have not checked to see if BIOS was reset. I'll do this when I get home. I'm not sure how it could have reset itself in the middle of the night, but who knows. Computers do what they want! lol

-I believe it was in IDE mode when I last checked. Could it arbitrarily switch modes for one drive but not the other?
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December 9, 2011 3:56:55 PM

In the case of a mobo settings reset, if you had it set to AHCI (which most people think SSD's are supposed to be set to) it would then reset to the mobo defualt of IDE. Switching modes will stop it from booting. Check the settings for sleep mode in your bios as well, try disabling any sleep mode related settings. I know for a fact some mobo's have problems bringing itself back up with these sleep mode settings. another thought is to try updating your mobo bios. look online how to do this without windows booting.
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December 9, 2011 4:07:13 PM

Ill check through all of that when I get off for lunch here in a bit.

If scenario one were the case, what would I do to switch it back so that I can boot again.

With scenario two, I haven't changed any settings in several months. Would it be possible that a latent sleep/wake issue could just now be rearing its head?

And I will try updating my BIOS as I haven't done that since I've built the thing. I have an MSI board with their simple BIOS or whatever they call the UI, and it has a button for updating the BIOS.
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December 9, 2011 4:21:34 PM

Where these settings are located in the bios all depends on what model of motherboard you have, just look around for IDE or AHCI mode and check what its set at. for senario two, Ive had instances of power surges/power outages which would reset bios settings. Updating the bios would be a good second step if everything checks out with scenario 1.
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a c 353 G Storage
December 9, 2011 4:43:42 PM

@ TheSpieler: "OCZ prefers their SSD's be in IDE mode." Note true - When installing the operating system the Bios should be set to either AHCI (For Intel chipsets, Raid is OK as long as the drive is NOT a member drive of a Raid0/1 setup and the Intel Driver (iaSTor) is later than 9.6). If IDE mode is used SSDs will NOT perform at rated spec, and worst TRIM will not be passed to the drive (Win 7 installation).

Yes if the Mode has been changed from what was used to install the Operating system, that could prevent booting.

More likely when you resummed from hibernation the MBR was corrupted. This would cause the drive to not be recogized as a boot drive and/or prevent windows from booting. You can try to use the "repair" option on the Windows installation disk, if that fails (and it is not a simple mode change in bios) the next option is to REINSTALL windows.

Side Note. Many normally disable hibernation when an SSD is used as a OS+Program drive. Two reasons (1) Hibernation is know to cause this kind of problem (Fixed on most with newest firmware, and Newest MB bios firmware). (2) Hibernation uses a hidden file equall to the size of ram, for small SSDs disabling save that amount of space.
Also if you have not managed your restore point, that will also eat up space on a SSD and can be quite considerable over time. Remember you only have about 50 gigs not 60 gigs (you loose some because of the power of 2 conversion and you also should leave a min of 6 gigs free). Do you remember how much free space you had??
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December 9, 2011 5:19:00 PM

I'm not sure how to check or change the mode. Just went through BIOS and couldn't figure it out. I'm currently trying to update my bios then I'll pop in the windows disk and try to repair.

And if I had to guess I maybe only had 1gb of free space left. The SSD has the OS and programs while the HDD has documents, media, etc.

I wasnt aware of the issue with hibernation. I generally just put it to sleep so that I can wake it with my WMC remote when I feel like DVRing something, etc.
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December 9, 2011 5:31:38 PM

And the plot thickens...

I went in to BIOS, told it to load optimized settings and all of the sudden the SSD can be selected as a boot option, but now the HDD is absent. once again, they both show as hardware, but only one can be selected for boot.

Also, I was able to find where I can select IDE/ AHCI and it was in IDE by default. I just switched it to AHCI, saved and rebooted and finally windows recognized that there was an issue and is trying to repair itself right now.

On an semi-unrelated note, when AHCI is selected it gives me the option to make whichever sata port I want a "hot drive" or something like that. What's that all about?
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December 9, 2011 5:32:28 PM

And it couldn't repair itself. Back to work. When I get off I'll try popping in the windows disk to repair
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December 9, 2011 7:44:33 PM

Another question as well.

If none of these fixes seem to work, I can just recover everything from a system image, correct? I've saved a system image of my SSD to my HDD about once a week since I built the computer. I believe my most recent image was 3-4 days ago.
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December 9, 2011 10:56:37 PM

Frustration is setting in. I finally got it to recognize both drives at once and got it to find my system image from 4 days ago. Great, so I figure I'm good to go.

NOPE.

Windows won't let me use my system image because it says it has to format the disk that it is on. Pissed.
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December 10, 2011 12:42:13 AM

I've given up for the night. Tomorrow I'm going to do a fresh install of windows on the SSD then try to use system recover and my system image on the HDD to restore the computer back to the way it was.

Will this work? It's the last thing I can think of.
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December 12, 2011 3:21:25 PM

RetiredChief said:
@ TheSpieler: "OCZ prefers their SSD's be in IDE mode." Note true - When installing the operating system the Bios should be set to either AHCI (For Intel chipsets, Raid is OK as long as the drive is NOT a member drive of a Raid0/1 setup and the Intel Driver (iaSTor) is later than 9.6). If IDE mode is used SSDs will NOT perform at rated spec, and worst TRIM will not be passed to the drive (Win 7 installation).

Yes if the Mode has been changed from what was used to install the Operating system, that could prevent booting.

More likely when you resummed from hibernation the MBR was corrupted. This would cause the drive to not be recogized as a boot drive and/or prevent windows from booting. You can try to use the "repair" option on the Windows installation disk, if that fails (and it is not a simple mode change in bios) the next option is to REINSTALL windows.

Side Note. Many normally disable hibernation when an SSD is used as a OS+Program drive. Two reasons (1) Hibernation is know to cause this kind of problem (Fixed on most with newest firmware, and Newest MB bios firmware). (2) Hibernation uses a hidden file equall to the size of ram, for small SSDs disabling save that amount of space.
Also if you have not managed your restore point, that will also eat up space on a SSD and can be quite considerable over time. Remember you only have about 50 gigs not 60 gigs (you loose some because of the power of 2 conversion and you also should leave a min of 6 gigs free). Do you remember how much free space you had??



Heres the "old" official statement from OCZ

"AHCI is not officially supported on OCZ SSDs... but can cause hang-ups and intermittent freezes in SSDs since it allows multiple access requests to compete for a drive that is not made to address re-ordering of commands in the queue. We recommend AHCI is set to disabled in both Windows and in the BIOS. Native Command Queuing greatly increases the performance of standard rotational drives but it has no bearing on SSDs."

This still applies to certain models of SSD's, so either check for driver updates, or do some research.
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a c 353 G Storage
December 12, 2011 6:48:36 PM

@ TheSpieler
Seams I saw something to that effect while OCZ was tring to dig themselve out of the mess they had with their SATA III SSDs - they were blaming Users, and everthing under the sun rather than omit to a Firmware issue. One of the problems was speed, but it was firmware implentation - dropping back to IDE mode was not a "Proper" fix.

Can You find any other SATA III manuf recommending IDE mode????
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December 12, 2011 7:10:05 PM

Thanks for the help guys.

I think I've come to the conclusion that my SSD just failed. I looked up some recent reviews of it on newegg and the last 15 or so were one star reviews saying it died in the first 6-10 months. I had mine 9 months.

I finally gave up on the system image and just installed a fresh copy of windows. Windows repeatedly froze within 5 minutes of booting up the computer, even with all non-windows programs and services being turned off, so I thought windows may have missed something on its installation.

Went to reinstall windows and the drive wasn't recognized by my mobo or windows. Restart, still not recognized. Turn off computer, and back on, SSD is recognized. Try to install windows...freezes and fails back to boot screen. Once again, BIOS doesn't recognize drive.

So I think I'll just install windows on my HDD until I can pick up another SSD to get everything working smoothly again.

FWIW it's the OCZ vertex 2 60gb SSD. Lately it's been getting bad reviews due to them failing in the above mentioned time frame. Next purchase may be the Crucial M4 64gb SSD. Any thoughts on that one? Doesn't seem to have nearly as many issues as the OCZ drives do.

Thanks again guys
Zac
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a c 353 G Storage
December 12, 2011 8:04:50 PM

Have two M4s in my laptop - they worked great.
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December 12, 2011 8:09:06 PM

Work great or worked great? Haha
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a c 353 G Storage
December 13, 2011 1:58:32 AM

LOL - Yes they are still working.
Infact all eight of my SSDs are still working. The oldest being a Intel G1 (Did not buy intentionally) and a Intel G2. also have a Pheonix pro, and a crappy WD blue. the other 4 are sata III - 2 Agility III and 2 M4s. The two M4s are in my laptop. The one agility III that is a OS/Program drive WILL be replaced and the agility III will become a storage/work drive.

I have taken a solumn oath - Never By another OCZ product.
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December 13, 2011 2:09:47 AM

I'm along there with ya man. This week is finals week so my computer crashed the weekend leading into finals. Definately a headache I didn't need. Won't be trusting the stability of my computer with OCZ again. 9 months for an SSD is pretty inexcusable in my book. I would spring for an intel drive if I had the extra money because of their track record but I just need to get the thing running well before next semester starts up in January. Until then I'll just use the HDD.

That being said, if I were to make a 50gb partition on my HDD, could I create a system image and restore it to a 64gb ssd when I get one?
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a c 353 G Storage
December 13, 2011 12:13:23 PM

Not my recommendation. There are a few who say cloning from HDD -> SSD is OK, more recommend a fresh install.
1) You will need to manually edit the registry to activate Trim, not a real biggy.
2) More than likely you will not have the partition algigned for optium SSD performance.

Samsung's newer SSDs appear to rival Intel in reliability. Their 470 (a Sata II SSD) has a very good track record, and their newest 830 seems on track to also be very reliable. The Intel 510 differs from past Intel SSDs in that it is the first to NOT use an Intel controller, it uses a marvel controller the same as the M4. Difference between M4 and Intel's 510 is firmware and choice of NAND which gives Intel a slight edge over M4 in reliability.

Myself, I look to reliability and LEAST problems. Bench mark performance is much lower on my totom pole. So there is a 5 sec difference in OS load times and a program takes two blinks of the eye to open instead of one blink (LOL)
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December 13, 2011 5:32:03 PM

Great info. That being said, in the 64gb range for SSDs, what would be your choice for an OS+Program SSD?

Thanks for the help!
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December 13, 2011 6:52:05 PM

Those were the two I had my eye on.

If I were to RMA my OCZ, and sell the new one they send me, in effect gaining the money for a ~120gb would your choices be the same as far as samsung 830 and crucial m4?

I was doing some reading and it seems as though crucial, samsung and intel were considerably more reliable than the others, with intel being far and away the most reliable, at a little cost to speed. It seemed to me as though samsung does the best job of mainting reliability while pushing the most speed they can out of their drives, which is what had me leaning towards an 830. Is that a fair summary of the three?
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a c 353 G Storage
December 13, 2011 9:05:48 PM

Concur with you, My next one will probably be the Samsung.
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!