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[Solved] Can't boot my back up drive...

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March 12, 2012 7:47:54 PM

Hello,
I posted in the ASRock motherboard forum, but hopefully this will appeal to a wider audience and I can get some help from the experts here.
I'm not a newbie but I have learned there are different levels of knowledge and hopefully a guru will weigh in.

Background:
I just completed my new build with ASRock 970 Extreme4 motherboard and it booted up nicely right from the build and loaded Windows 7 64 bit. I have opened up the AMD Phenom II to 6 cores which is a nice feature of the board and the CPU. Computer works flawlessly however I can't figure out how to boot to my back up drive.

I have two identical Seagate 250G SATA drives. Both are recognized in Disk Management as healthy and on line with respective letters C and F.

I have UEFI BIOS 1.50 and when I go into Advance Storage it shows both identical hard drives which they are except for serial no. reflected in a submenu of the BIOS.

Here is the rub. When I go into the Boot category of the UEFI BIOS, both Boot Option no. 1 and Boot Option no. 2 only reflect one Seagate model no. Again both drives are identical which makes sense. However toggling repeatedly between Option 1 and Option 2...mostly out of whim...I can not get the second drive to boot. It doesn't try to boot it....always goes straight to the HD connected to the SATA 1 port aka C drive.

When I go through Computer F drive...all the files are there...pictures, music etc...as I successfully cloned the second drive from the primary drive. To tell them apart, I changed the desktop in the C drive and a few files.

Further....I went in and detached my primary SATA drive and hooked up the back up drive to the SATA 1 port and it booted right up...there is nothing wrong with the back up drive....I just can't figure out how to boot it from the BIOS.

I know this is silly but I have tried probably 50 times with every different permutation I can think of in the BIOS.

I am operating in IDE mode and not RAID.

So I am stumped and frustrated and would sure appreciate it if somebody could offer some help.

I will tell you what my next step is if I can't figure this out. I will have to change my back up drive to another mfr...like WD or another size and model of Seagate. It is ludicrous that the UEFI BIOS as highly evolved as it is, doesn't prefix the two identical drives in the BIOS to tell them apart. I can't even boot the back up drive by accident so I am unconvinced that having two identical drives...that the BIOS can even tell them apart.

Under Boot Hard Drive BBS Priority....it does show two drive as follows:
Boot Option #1: SATA ST3250312A3
Boot Option #2: SATA ST3250312A3

Identical of course which they are.

If anybody has any suggestions, I would sure appreciate it as I am close to ordering a different brand of hard drive to differentiate it from my primary drive as silly as that sounds.

Thanks.

More about : solved boot back drive

March 12, 2012 7:58:16 PM

I think it is a problem with your boot files, when you - install - an OS, it writes into the MBR that it is bootable if you look - here -.

If you don't do two separate installs, I am pretty sure that you can't convince the MBR that there are two OSs.

The MBR doesn't just go around polling every drive connected to the motherboard asking if there is a bootable OS on it.

That being said, I am not entirely sure what you are trying to accomplish here. Is there any good reason you need to be able to boot into both of them at the same time?

If one of them is going to be a backup in case the other fails, then its probably better if you just leave everything like it is.

The way it is working now is more optimal than the way it will be working if you do manage to change things if you manage to get both drives bootable at the same time.
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March 12, 2012 8:02:44 PM

2wheelfan said:
Hello,
I posted in the ASRock motherboard forum, but hopefully this will appeal to a wider audience and I can get some help from the experts here.
I'm not a newbie but I have learned there are different levels of knowledge and hopefully a guru will weigh in.

Background:
I just completed my new build with ASRock 970 Extreme4 motherboard and it booted up nicely right from the build and loaded Windows 7 64 bit. I have opened up the AMD Phenom II to 6 cores which is a nice feature of the board and the CPU. Computer works flawlessly however I can't figure out how to boot to my back up drive.

I have two identical Seagate 250G SATA drives. Both are recognized in Disk Management as healthy and on line with respective letters C and F.

I have UEFI BIOS 1.50 and when I go into Advance Storage it shows both identical hard drives which they are except for serial no. reflected in a submenu of the BIOS.

Here is the rub. When I go into the Boot category of the UEFI BIOS, both Boot Option no. 1 and Boot Option no. 2 only reflect one Seagate model no. Again both drives are identical which makes sense. However toggling repeatedly between Option 1 and Option 2...mostly out of whim...I can not get the second drive to boot. It doesn't try to boot it....always goes straight to the HD connected to the SATA 1 port aka C drive.

When I go through Computer F drive...all the files are there...pictures, music etc...as I successfully cloned the second drive from the primary drive. To tell them apart, I changed the desktop in the C drive and a few files.

Further....I went in and detached my primary SATA drive and hooked up the back up drive to the SATA 1 port and it booted right up...there is nothing wrong with the back up drive....I just can't figure out how to boot it from the BIOS.

I know this is silly but I have tried probably 50 times with every different permutation I can think of in the BIOS.

I am operating in IDE mode and not RAID.

So I am stumped and frustrated and would appreciate it somebody could offer some advice.

I will tell you what my next step is if I can't figure this out. I will have to change my back up drive to another mfr...like WD or another size and model of Seagate. It is ludicrous that the UEFI BIOS as highly evolved as it is, doesn't prefix the two identical drives in the BIOS to tell them apart. I can't even boot the back up drive by accident so I am unconvinced that having two identical drives...that the BIOS can even tell them apart.

Under Boot Hard Drive BBS Priority....it does show two drive as follows:
Boot Option #1: SATA ST3250312A3
Boot Option #2: SATA ST3250312A3

Identical of course which they are.

If anybody has any suggestions, I would sure appreciate it as I am close to ordering a different brand of hard drive to differentiate it from my primary drive as silly as that sounds.

Thanks.


Hi,

From what I am reading it looks like you cloned everything, including the operating installation. The Primary Boot Partition with the master boot record may be your problem and defaulting the boot to your first hard drive even though the motherboard is directing you to your preffered hard drive.

The way I have a dual boot system (I am guessing this is what you want) is to install windows on to one partition or hard drive, and then install windows again on to another hard drive/partition. This creates a Primary boot partition which you can select which operating system you boot into via Dos.

If on the other hand you want redundancy you should go for Raid 1 and install your operating system once onto the array.
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March 12, 2012 8:17:39 PM

Raiddinn said:
I think it is a problem with your boot files, when you - install - an OS, it writes into the MBR that it is bootable if you look - here -.

If you don't do two separate installs, I am pretty sure that you can't convince the MBR that there are two OSs.

The MBR doesn't just go around polling every drive connected to the motherboard asking if there is a bootable OS on it.

That being said, I am not entirely sure what you are trying to accomplish here. Is there any good reason you need to be able to boot into both of them at the same time?

If one of them is going to be a backup in case the other fails, then its probably better if you just leave everything like it is.

The way it is working now is more optimal than the way it will be working if you do manage to change things if you manage to get both drives bootable at the same time.

First Raiddinn, thank you for your response...appreciate it.
I am not trying to boot both up at the same time. I have done this on a few computers. I install a back up drive and clone the primary drive for insurance. I go in periodically and reclone the primary drive. To verify that the cloning was successful, as a check, I go in through the BIOS and boot the back up drive. This is pretty straightforward...or has been in my past but not with this BIOS. I am at a loss but I tend to agree that it is quite possible the BIOS in this case can't tell the two drives apart even though they are separately identified in Disk Management.
If you have any further suggestions, I would appreciate it. Seems ridiculous, I have to physically disconnect the primary internal drive and plug in the back up drive to check it....never had to in the past.
Thanks again.
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March 12, 2012 8:24:40 PM

bleechy said:
Hi,

From what I am reading it looks like you cloned everything, including the operating installation. The Primary Boot Partition with the master boot record may be your problem and defaulting the boot to your first hard drive even though the motherboard is directing you to your preffered hard drive.

The way I have a dual boot system (I am guessing this is what you want) is to install windows on to one partition or hard drive, and then install windows again on to another hard drive/partition. This creates a Primary boot partition which you can select which operating system you boot into via Dos.

If on the other hand you want redundancy you should go for Raid 1 and install your operating system once onto the array.

Thank you very much for your response bleechy. I am not looking to dual boot. I also wanted to avoid doing a Raid install. I have done this successfully in the past on very primitive Dell and Compaq computers with XP with a very basic BIOS and no problem. Install back up drive...they were IDE and not SATA....single partition clone of primary drive..and boot to back up drive to confirm integrity. I just can't seem to do it with this mobo and BIOS. I really don't want to install RAID unless it is physically impossible to do what I consider to be pretty simple procedure.
Thanks for any further advice.
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March 12, 2012 8:42:24 PM

I think your right, selecting the boot priority should be all you need to do.

I can only guess that the IDE option is the problem (but it shouldn't matter), enabling AHCI on your ports may fix it, it will probably increase the read/write speeds of your drives anyway.

But I can very much reccomend raid 1 (onboard controllers have come a long way) for it's constant redundancy and the slight read speed advantage.
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March 12, 2012 8:50:52 PM

bleechy said:
I think your right, selecting the boot priority should be all you need to do.

I can only guess that the IDE option is the problem (but it shouldn't matter), enabling AHCI on your ports may fix it, it will probably increase the read/write speeds of your drives anyway.

But I can very much reccomend raid 1 (onboard controllers have come a long way) for it's constant redundancy and the slight read speed advantage.

So bleechy, do you think that being in IDE mode with my SATA hard drives is what is keeping the BIOS from being able to boot my back up drive?...because in IDE mode, the BIOS always boots the SATA 1 port before the SATA 2&3, 4&5 ports etc? Do I have to do a clean reinstall of Windows if I want to format in AHCI? I tried setting my BIOS to AHCI mode and my computer wouldn't boot...so apparently AHCI is incompatible with the way I installed Windows 7. Again, I am not inclined to do RAID. I don't want perpetual back up. I prefer incremental back up which I do manually as discussed.
Please let me know if you think AHCI is my next step and if I must do a fresh install of Windows 7 to enable it.
Many thanks.
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March 12, 2012 9:26:08 PM

2wheelfan said:
So bleechy, do you think that being in IDE mode with my SATA hard drives is what is keeping the BIOS from being able to boot my back up drive?...because in IDE mode, the BIOS always boots the SATA 1 port before the SATA 2&3, 4&5 ports etc? Do I have to do a clean reinstall of Windows if I want to format in AHCI? I tried setting my BIOS to AHCI mode and my computer wouldn't boot...so apparently AHCI is incompatible with the way I installed Windows 7. Again, I am not inclined to do RAID. I don't want perpetual back up. I prefer incremental back up which I do manually as discussed.
Please let me know if you think AHCI is my next step and if I must do a fresh install of Windows 7 to enable it.
Many thanks.


If you have new hard drives, they almost certainly support AHCI, it lets read/writes happen at a faster speed...tbh I do not know if it will fix your problem, it could be a bug that you cannot boot different drives when in IDE mode, I personally have only ever used Asus =( .

When you enable ahci it should be fine... I'm guessing since you could not boot you are using windows XP? You really need to follow this guide to get AHCI working if so (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/265501-14-system-re...)

Regards
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March 12, 2012 9:33:32 PM

bleechy said:
If you have new hard drives, they almost certainly support AHCI, it lets read/writes happen at a faster speed...tbh I do not know if it will fix your problem, it could be a bug that you cannot boot different drives when in IDE mode, I personally have only ever used Asus =( .

When you enable ahci it should be fine... I'm guessing since you could not boot you are using windows XP? You really need to follow this guide to get AHCI working if so (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/265501-14-system-re...)

Regards

bleechy,
I have Windows 7 64 bit SP1. I am pretty sure poking around the web...and I confirmed this by trying is...one can not enable AHCI mode without either a clean install of Windows 7...or somehow loading related drivers.
I believe this in my case was due to...when I installed Windows 7, I had IDE mode enabled for my SATA drives in the BIOS...believe IDE is the default mode in the BIOS.
Do you suggest, I try a reload of Windows? I have two identical drives. I could reload my Win 7 OS with AHCI mode enabled in the BIOS.
What do you think?
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March 12, 2012 10:13:27 PM

2wheelfan said:
bleechy,
I have Windows 7 64 bit SP1. I am pretty sure poking around the web...and I confirmed this by trying is...one can not enable AHCI mode without either a clean install of Windows 7...or somehow loading related drivers.
I believe this in my case was due to...when I installed Windows 7, I had IDE mode enabled for my SATA drives in the BIOS...believe IDE is the default mode in the BIOS.
Do you suggest, I try a reload of Windows? I have two identical drives. I could reload my Win 7 OS with AHCI mode enabled in the BIOS.
What do you think?


Hi,

You can change the registry to allow AHCI... but I really don't want to show you a guide that could kill your system which I have not tested :( 
Also I cant be sure it will fix your boot issue since I have never used Asrock, it is a very wierd problem.

Hopefully someone with the mobo will come along :hello: 
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March 12, 2012 10:33:15 PM

bleechy said:
Hi,

You can change the registry to allow AHCI... but I really don't want to show you a guide that could kill your system which I have not tested :( 
Also I cant be sure it will fix your boot issue since I have never used Asrock, it is a very wierd problem.

Hopefully someone with the mobo will come along :hello: 

I guess I should sit tight and see if somebody comes along that really knows the UEFI 1.50 BIOS with the new ASRock mobo. There is something called S.M.A.R.T. in the BIOS as well that can either be enabled or disabled. I have tried both. No idea what is does. It lists all the drives...both my hard drives show up...and optical DVD and what SATA ports they are attached to on the mobo. I even tried moving my second hard drive to SATA no. 4 port...still shows up...but doesn't change ability to boot it.
What is hard to believe...maybe not...the service manual or supplemental BIOS booklet has no detail about how the boot sequence works..or what S.M.A.R.T. is...why to enable it etc.

I have an email into ASRock technical support asking them for a solution. The mobo seems to be very good but if I can't boot a second drive with it...not happy.
Thanks again bleechy...
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March 13, 2012 12:37:23 AM

The registry does need to be changed before you change to AHCI in the BIOS in order for it to work.

You have to go back to IDE, boot into Windows, make the change, then change it back to AHCI when you restart.

If you don't do it like that, it will give you the error you got.

I haven't done this myself, but I have seen threads where people were encouraged to do this and it worked during my time here.

For what its worth, it still sounds like a problem with the way the stuff was installed.

I also second the raid option. You can just set the raid mode to put everything on the first one also on the second one and if either failed you would still have one that works perfectly. You wouldn't have to continually clone things if you went this route.
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March 13, 2012 9:13:30 AM

Raiddinn said:
The registry does need to be changed before you change to AHCI in the BIOS in order for it to work.

You have to go back to IDE, boot into Windows, make the change, then change it back to AHCI when you restart.

If you don't do it like that, it will give you the error you got.

I haven't done this myself, but I have seen threads where people were encouraged to do this and it worked during my time here.

For what its worth, it still sounds like a problem with the way the stuff was installed.

I also second the raid option. You can just set the raid mode to put everything on the first one also on the second one and if either failed you would still have one that works perfectly. You wouldn't have to continually clone things if you went this route.

Thanks for the confirmation on the registry change necessary prior to the change to AHCI...agrees with others that have gone this route.

You mentioned...a problem with how the stuff is installed...in what regard? I have performed the same scenario on many computers and never had a problem and hence my plea for help here.

Maybe I do need to keep an open mind about Raid. I just like to decide when I want to back my primary drive but sounds as though this maybe an option with Raid. Cloning a back up drive is pretty easy and routine for me I guess is the point. When I have made enough changes to my primary drive, I just clone it and have it in safe keeping as my back drive. This has been simple and effective for me for years. It seems ludicrous I can't boot whatever drive I want on my computer, when I want without disconnecting the cables inside the machine.
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March 13, 2012 12:18:35 PM

I admit to being slightly surprised there aren't more responses from guys who build their own computers on this issue. You all must use different back up strategies or never had a problem. A seemingly simple issue that is hard to solve I guess.
In my impatience, I decided to order a WD SATA 320GB drive. Now the BIOS can't confuse the two drives because they will be distinctly different. We will see once and for all if the SATA IDE mode is the culprit as to always booting to my SATA 1 port...even though both identical HD's are identified separately in the BBS Boot Priority.

I will update the thread and let you know if having a different hard drive allows the BIOS to boot to it.
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March 13, 2012 4:23:06 PM

Honestly, I don't really care if my boot drive crashes. I just care if my data drive crashes. Most people I think are pretty much the same way.

If my boot drive crashes, I can just reinstall the OS and my programs and be on my way again within 24 hours. Not such a big deal for me.

It is nice to have a much quicker time to return to operational status, but it does cost more money and more time to accomplish such things and most people want to spend neither.

The Raid method is the easiest way to manage it because it is fire and forget. You setup the raid and you have 2 perfect clones at all times either of which can work without the other if the other needs to be replaced.

The way you want to do it is much more painful than that and that could be why not a lot of people are interested in running a similar setup.

I don't know, maybe there are some people here that have experience with that sort of thing, but I wouldn't expect it to be very many. With those few people and as many threads as this board receives on a daily basis, the chances are probably not good one of them will stop by here.

We do tend to get a lot of eyes on each problem, but they aren't guaranteed to be people who have experience with the exact same setup. All I can do is tell you about my knowledge and experiences and you can take it as you will.

Something you might try is going on the internet and looking up FIXMBR and doing the steps that are entailed with that. If you have both of your drives connected when you do it, it might get things working like you want.
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March 13, 2012 10:07:17 PM

This is indeed a very good day. This simple issue has been a pretty serious PITA since I built my new computer a couple of weeks ago. In spite of your comments Raiddinn..cloning an OS along with back up files is super easy and effective...I've done it for years and been through a couple of HD crashes and easy as throwing a switch to get back on line....especially if you can boot that drive whenever you want.

Pull up a chair you guys as if you don't know this stuff...and my guess is many don't here...worth knowing if you want a simple back up strategy without RAID or even AHCI mode with two SATA drives with Windows 7.

Credit where credit is due. Sometimes finding answers is like finding a needle in a hay stack. This was such the case. I 'scoured' the internet and went into my BIOS a hundred times without success. The lesson is never give up and I didn't want to.
I should have gone to Tom's storage forum first...but ended up there via Google and two very knowledgable members were gracious to share an answer with a member who had a similar issue. The answer is interesting and makes sense:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/279406-32-boot

As mentioned there was nothing wrong with my back up drive I cloned from my C drive...just that when I cloned it, there was no boot manager installed which is the difference between a clone and fresh Windows install. That is what you get if clone a drive and not install Windows on a fresh drive. But who wants to install Windows twice? Not me. Never had to before.

There are two simple ways to boot my second hard drive:
At start up for ASRock mobo's...select F11. For other mobo's it maybe F12 etc. This takes you right to the boot manager outside the BIOS. Select the drive you want...in this case it was the second Seagate HD listed and bam...the machine boots right to the second cloned drive.

It gets better...much better really. Enter Easy BCD freeware. Easy BCD is a sweet programmable boot manager software you download into your OS that allows you to customize your boot sequence at start up. Since I had no boot menu for my F drive but Windows saw the drive as active and healthy right along...I simply added it to Easy BCD as a second option for boot up. Now I have two hard drives to boot to. Cool part? You can set the default drive you boot to...either HD...and in the start up screen when you hit the start button, a screen comes up and asks you which drive do you want to boot to. Or...you can nix this screen and just have your computer normally boot to your default drive...or back up drive. It is pretty awesome and I am hugely pleased to discover this after all my toiling with this issue.
For those that have read through this I will offer a further bit of advice for those that have a background with cloning hard drives like me. Older versions of Acronis don't work on Windows 7 64 bit. There is a super clean freeware called EaseUS ToDo Backup...that works as good as Acronis if not better.

My suggestion is...if you want a simple and cost effective back up strategy without installing Raid...as I choose to back up my OS only if it isn't buggy or will pull back in my last saved good OS from my back up drive and move files over....all you need is a back up SATA drive and the freeware mentioned and you are good to go. A very good day for me. It now couldn't be easier to boot another drive or even an external drive with Easy BCD.

Hope that helps others and my great thanks to the talented and giving gents that provided this information after searching as long as I did.
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March 14, 2012 1:02:54 AM

Ah well, good to know I guess.

I figured it stemmed from the fact that it wasn't installed twice and thus the information for the second drive never got entered into the MBR, which it seems was right on the money if all you did was download a program that lets you enter in that data and all of a sudden it works.

I just didn't guess there would be a program that would easily write things into the MBR.
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March 14, 2012 10:05:05 AM

Raiddinn said:
Ah well, good to know I guess.

I figured it stemmed from the fact that it wasn't installed twice and thus the information for the second drive never got entered into the MBR, which it seems was right on the money if all you did was download a program that lets you enter in that data and all of a sudden it works.

I just didn't guess there would be a program that would easily write things into the MBR.


Thanks. A couple of good lessons in this. Computers are really a learning process. The thing is to try and stay hopeful that a solution is out there. I struggled with this issue and yet the solution was there and it works about as perfect as I could hope. I just needed to find the guys with the expertise who wrote about this issue and was fortunate to do so after exhaustive searching. The biggest lesson as we try to solve our computer issues is...never give up. Getting good at anything takes that kind of dedication. The guys with more answers struggled through the same learning process and we learn from each other. This is why I wanted to come back and state the solution as clearly as I could.
Thanks again.

PS: I just cloned my back up drive for the second time since building my computer. A follow up for others that may decide to use Easy BCD I referenced, after creating a new clone of primary C drive, of course there is no boot menu to tell Windows to boot up it up...same issue as before. All you have to do it go into EasyBCD and delete the obsoleted F: drive boot prompt and recreate it. This will add it to the new cloned F drive and it will boot from the start up screen.
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