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Intel SSD Toolbox destroyed my Windows install?

Last response: in Storage
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June 2, 2012 7:02:44 AM

I tried out the Intel SSD Toolbox software on my Intel X-25M SSD. One of the first options is to "optimize" the drive by performing TRIM.

So I performed the Intel TRIM maintenance and immediately when it finished the computer froze up. When I reboot, the DOS screen says "BOOTMGR is missing."

The IDE mode is normal in the BIOS, not using RAID.

WTF did TRIM do to my Windows installation? I don't know what to try next to recover the drive and all my programs, because I don't know what this official Intel utility did to the drive...
June 2, 2012 7:16:37 AM

The TRIM command only works if the controller is set to AHCI mode. If you are using RAID mode, even if the drives aren't in an array, TRIM won't work.

At this point, I suggest you pop in your Windows 7 DVD and try to run a repair installation on your OS. That will restore any damaged OS files while keeping your data intact. If the repair installation doesn't work, you may have to reformat the drive and reinstall Windows. Hopefully you backed up anything important that you kept on that SSD.
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June 2, 2012 7:21:02 AM

Correction, I just checked the BIOS and my drives are set to IDE mode and not RAID. I have a pretty straightforward setup. I am puzzled how this official Intel utility can do such damage without warning. I will try Windows repair from the CD but this is a disaster for me, I had so many other things to take care of this weekend. What could TRIM possibly have done, misaligned some bits on the SSD due to an Intel programming bug?
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June 2, 2012 7:24:31 AM

No idea how it could have screwed up so badly. TRIM doesn't work in IDE mode, so I'm surprised the command even executed. Could be bad software from Intel, or your SSD just decided to die right when you tried to execute the TRIM command.
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June 2, 2012 7:42:04 AM

Good news, I ran the Repair option from the Windows CD and it detected the problem with the boot manager and fixed the boot manager file, and now Windows appears to work fine. I am sooooo relieved this did not turn into one of those weekends I have to stay up all night to reinstall everything.

Since I was able to repair it, I felt adventurous and ran TRIM again, and again... This time it completed without freezing Windows or causing any further problem.

So I'm wondering...

- How could this only mess up the Windows boot file? Is it possible that running TRIM for the very first time messes with the boot sector but not the other part of the drive?

- Is this even supposed to work in IDE mode? I would imagine the option should be greyed out in the Intel utility if it detected the wrong mode.

- Why would it mess up the boot file on the first TRIM but not subsequent TRIMs?
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June 2, 2012 8:20:26 AM

TRIM shouldn't even work in IDE mode. No idea why that happened. Oh well consider yourself lucky that you got Windows back without too much issue. I would recommend switching your controller to AHCI mode to get better performance out of your SSD. See the stickied thread here in the storage forum about how to set up Windows to do that without reinstalling the OS.
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June 2, 2012 12:57:06 PM

Supernova1138 said:
The TRIM command only works if the controller is set to AHCI mode. If you are using RAID mode, even if the drives aren't in an array, TRIM won't work.

At this point, I suggest you pop in your Windows 7 DVD and try to run a repair installation on your OS. That will restore any damaged OS files while keeping your data intact. If the repair installation doesn't work, you may have to reformat the drive and reinstall Windows. Hopefully you backed up anything important that you kept on that SSD.


On Intel chipsets, "RAID" mode is actually AHCI+RAID, not IDE. RAID member disks are exposed as individual AHCI disks with a unified volume which allows them to be monitored individually by the Intel storage manager. Similarly, non-member disks will be run in plain AHCI mode. As far as I know however, TRIM does not currently work on SSDs that are in RAID mode
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June 2, 2012 8:41:49 PM

This is one of my older computers, with the MSI K8N Neo2 motherboard. I stated incorrectly that it has the Intel RAID chip; actually it has the nVidia RAID chip but I haven't been using that mode. The BIOS is set to IDE mode. The other option would be to set it to RAID mode. I am not sure is this motherboard too old and pre-dates AHCI? Maybe that is why the Intel utility caused the corruption, because maybe Intel has not fully tested the TRIM feature of this utility with older motherboards.

If the Intel toolbox allowed the TRIM command to execute, then it makes me wonder whether Windows 7 is also performing TRIM on this drive behind the scenes. But since running it cause the BOOTMGR corruption I tend to think Win7 might not be performing TRIM and this was the first time.
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June 3, 2012 5:20:40 AM

If you do not have AHCI mode available, Windows 7 will not perform TRIM. It could be that AHCI support may have been added in a BIOS update, so you may want to check for that. If not, it just means garbage collection won't be performed, so your SSD performance will likely degrade faster.
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June 3, 2012 6:21:01 AM

NForce motherboards do not support AHCI, supposedly there's a workaround but I wouldn't trust it.
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