New HTPC build, won't boot/load OS

Hi all. First, let me just say that as a noob,this community has been invaluable in giving me the knowledge and confidence to attempt my first home build for HTPC.

That being said, I cannot get the damn thing to load OS! I've encountered multiple problems:

1. if I set the SATA drives to AHCI in BIOS, it doesn't recognize them at all in CMOS IDE channel screen (just decided to sidestep by going with default BIOS... This means no AHCI. Is that bad?)

2. After POST, (in "native IDE" mode - all drives recognized), I get "Loading Operating System ..." And thats it! Stays like that, and nothing else happens. Tried setting boot order at POST with F12 to cd rom, but then it just says:
"Loading Operating System ...
Boot from CD/DVD :"
...and nothing.

Please help!


Mobo: gigabyte a75m-d2h
CPU: and a8-3850
Ram: crucial ballistix sport 8GB (2x4gb)
Primary SSD: crucial m4 128GB. ---> set as IDE channel 0 master
Secondary HDD: seagate 1TB---> set as IDE channel 0 slave
Dvd drive: LG GH24 ---> set as IDE channel 1 master
Psu: 400W ATX 2.2 12v
Reply to Nogudnik
26 answers Last reply
More about htpc build boot load
  1. Come on y'all, help a brotha out!
  2. Have you tried running it with only the SSD?
  3. When you used the F12 and select the dvd drive, at the point where it says "Boot from CD/DVD"... I think you need to hit the "Enter" key. Is this a Windows disc or Linux?
  4. Oh, and Windows disc
  5. I've tried it without the secondary HDD, and I definitely hit Enter to boot from CD... I get the "boot from cd:" freeze.
  6. This looks simple - why IDE? Set the SSD to SATA_6GB/s 0, AHCI, unplug the second HDD, put the DVD drive in SATA_3, enter BIOS and set everything to SATA, apart from the AHCI option for the SSD. Then reboot and try again. Don't use IDE anymore unless you know you have to, which is definitely not here.
  7. I'm not attempting to challenge your reply, but just for clarity... at the point where it says "Loading Operating System" "Boot from CD/DVD" that's where I meant to maybe hit the "Enter" key. That's what I had to do on my Gigabyte motherboard to get it to boot the disc. I waited for 5 minutes with nothing happening (because it LOOKS like the install should have begun), then I hit enter and the disc spun up and installed.
  8. Did like this. Same issue. Still doesn't work
  9. @spankmon: yeah, tried it and nothing
  10. Well, this is a long shot... but maybe try installing with the monitor hooked up to a different video connector if available, the HDMI or DVI. I had problems booting a Linux live cd on my daughter's A4 3400 when using the VGA connector, but no problem with the DVI. Although that is with an ASRock motherboard.
  11. Tried two different monitors... No dice.

    Btw, I'm on the second mobo, as first one had same problem. Gigabyte support said it was probably bad SATA ports, recommended new mobo. I switched out mobo. Same problem.
  12. One more long shot. At the point where it says "Loading Operating System", try hitting the "Esc" or "F8" or "Delete" key. Something might happen.
  13. Tried all kinds of keystrokes. Nothing.

    What could possibly be the issue here?
  14. This is mysterious. I thought for sure that hitting enter at the "Loading Operating System" screen would kick it into action... because that's what my Gigabyte board required. Maybe your keyboard is dead at that particular point. You can check in BIOS and make sure Legacy support for keyboards is enabled, but I doubt that is the problem. While in BIOS you also might try changing combinations of the boot priority for the Optical drive and Hard drives... it's possible that might do something positive. Normally when installing Windows on a new SSD, the SSD should be the only drive plugged in (plus the optical drive). But you already tried that. Another possibility; when changing the BIOS settings and saving them... after the machine reboots, try shutting it down completely (by holding in the power button til it shuts off). Then boot back up with the install disc still in the tray.
  15. I have a 3870K and a Asus F1A75 V Pro, no problems, have you got the latest BIOS?
  16. @spankmon: tried all that too. :(

    @ smeg45: How do I know if I have the latest BIOS?
  17. Download HWinfo, then check what it says compared with your motherboard's website. Have you tried the info in my earlier post?
  18. The bios version will be listed in your bios somewhere. While in the bios, set the Northbridge to "Onboard Graphics" rather than pcie (assuming you are using onboard). I'm also assuming the SSD and hard drive are brand new, with no existing partitions. AHCI is the right setting for the SSD (master and slave don't apply here).
  19. also use a hard wire keyboard.some wireless keyboard wont work right intill there in windows.
    also go into the bios and turn off EFI CD/DVD Boot Option that one will cause you issue trying to boot from drives smaller then 3 tb.
    First/Second/Third Boot Device set the cd-rom as first boot device and nothing for the others.
    OnChip SATA Type set to achi
  20. smorizio said:
    also use a hard wire keyboard.some wireless keyboard wont work right intill there in windows.
    also go into the bios and turn off EFI CD/DVD Boot Option that one will cause you issue trying to boot from drives smaller then 3 tb.
    First/Second/Third Boot Device set the cd-rom as first boot device and nothing for the others.
    OnChip SATA Type set to achi



    Hardwired keyboard: check!
    EFI option disabled: check!
    Boot device order set: check!
    OnChip SATA type set to AHCI: check!

    ... and no go.

    i thought it might be a DOA dvd drive, but it gets recognized in POST...
  21. continued to mess with it, and keep running into the same roadblock...

    i've sunk close $500 into this, 4 days of my life that i will never get back, and it STILL doesn't work!

    please, someone save me from putting a gun in my mouth...
  22. Smeg45 said:
    This looks simple - why IDE? Set the SSD to SATA_6GB/s 0, AHCI, unplug the second HDD, put the DVD drive in SATA_3, enter BIOS and set everything to SATA, apart from the AHCI option for the SSD. Then reboot and try again. Don't use IDE anymore unless you know you have to, which is definitely not here.



    so i finally got it working! turns out, though i disconnected the SATA cable of the secondary HDD, the power cable was still plugged in. I disconnected it, and it booted and loaded Windows!

    However, i had to keep it in "native IDE". AHCI simply would not work. DO you think this is a problem going forward? What are the drawbacks?
  23. AHCI in theory could be faster. If it works though, I'd leave it.
  24. It's possible to switch from IDE to AHCI after Windows installation. It's slightly tricky (you can't just switch it over in BIOS). I've done it before.
  25. rwpritchett said:
    It's possible to switch from IDE to AHCI after Windows installation. It's slightly tricky (you can't just switch it over in BIOS). I've done it before.



    can't be trickier than the BS i had to deal with trying to set it in BIOS...

    found this guide for IDE --> AHCI switch-over after Windows installation: http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=313676

    sound about right?

    the system is stable now. the question is: is it worth it to swtich over to AHCI? What is the ACTUAL, quantifiable imrovement/benefit?


    as far as my issue of not being able to boot when BIOS set to AHCI, i read on one of the Tom's forums that:

    "If you have a CD/DVD drive or Blu-ray drive on the same controller as your SSD then you will probably have to use IDE mode. Most optical drives only work in IDE mode."

    can anyone confirm this?
  26. That quote doesn't make sense. Virtually every $20 optical drive is SATA and a controller can handle a few drives attached to it. For AHCI:

    http://www.neowin.net/news/neowin-guide-how-to-change-from-ide-to-ahci-without-reinstalling-windows

    http://forums.anandtech.com/archive/index.php/t-2155391.html
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