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(solved) G20AJ not booting to win10 after 3GB hdd install

VerKer
Level 7
Greetings!

I ll try to be as short as possible:

I ran a G20AJ for some years now, using the stock SDD as the win10 64bit (boot) C: device, while the stock toshiba 1GB HDD DT01ACA100 held my data as drive D:. Everything fine, sure, i had to upgrade the bios to the latest v0703 to make win10 64bit work. Meanwhile i am running out of space, so i grabbed the most similar HDD upgrade possible for the data storage drive: a toshiba 3GB HDD partnumber DT01ACA300. Being aware of the 2.2GB OS barrier, i 1st ran the new drive externally in a USB3 docking station, partitioned and formatted it NTFS into 2 volumes each 1.5TB large. Then i cloned my old data drive onto the new one, still in the docking station, verified things, and swapped the drives.

After the 3GB HDD had been installed, the UEFI bios refused to boot. I tried literally every setting possible, it just wouldnt boot windows, but drop into the bios on every restart. It insisted on having CSM setting to be able to boot, strange enough since it still has to bood the small SDD drive and not the new 3GB HDD. Disabled secure boot, no effect. Disabled all drives but the SDD, no effect. Changed boot orders, no effect. Disabeled USB support, no effect. And so on, i spent a day reading forums and possible solutions, even disconnected keyboard and all USB devices as somewhere was indicated. Tried F8 bootselect workaround. Loaded standard settings for the bios several times. Nothing worked.

I ended up swapping the drives again, got into the bios once, saved and exited, and with the old 1GB HDD as the data drive my G20AJ bootet me into win10 on the first attempt. WTF?

I am pretty sure a lot of us ROG users ran into the same or similar issues, still none of the solutions or suggestions worked for me. And hell its a pain to swap HDDs in and out of this case... Anyone with any pointers or any proper solution? Thanks in advance!
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haihane
Level 13
When using your old ssd, can you go and check Windows' system information and see if you're running Windows in UEFI or LEGACY mode ?
no siggy, saw stuff that made me sad.

haihane wrote:
When using your old ssd, can you go and check Windows' system information and see if you're running Windows in UEFI or LEGACY mode ?


My Win10 pro from the boot SSD says "bios mode UEFI". To avoid misunderstandings, i did not try to change the SSD where windows sits and where i boot from. I only swapped the data drive! Thanks for your advice.

haihane
Level 13
when i first saw your thread, i subconsciously replaced the 1 GB into TB (made more sense for me).

Being aware of the 2.2GB OS barrier, i 1st ran the new drive externally in a USB3 docking station, partitioned and formatted it NTFS into 2 volumes each 1.5TB large. Then i cloned my old data drive onto the new one, still in the docking station, verified things, and swapped the drives.

the 2 TB barrier, is caused by the drive using MBR partition style. to get around and over it, you can choose to initialize the new 3 TB drive as GUID drive.
this was also my initial suspicion as to why the drive wouldn't work. then you mentioned you didn't at all touch the boot drive, which is weird.

i'll show you my disk management view:

look at Disk 0, that's my boot drive. i'm also a different drive like you as Data Drive.

can you show me the disk management layout for your system? the problem might be there.
no siggy, saw stuff that made me sad.

My Disk management looks as follows (with the old data drive). Unfortunately, since i cannot log into Win10 with the new drive attached, i cannot show that one. What should it look like - or, if i manage to initialize it as a GUID drive (whatever that means), will there be any data loss and how would i manage doing so? The new 3GB drive i partitioned into 2 logical drives 1.5TB each, in order not to run into this at all.

EDIT: Thinking about it, i recall that i initialized the new drive as GPT, because that popped a waring message, that it might be incompatible with older versions. Might that be the problem? Judging from your post however it seems to me you were estimating that i initilized the drive with MBR, what i didnt do since its above 2TB capacity. And yes i didnt touch the SSD boot drive at all. What i cannot fathom is, that even if the data disk had a bad or unrecognizeable boot record, the system should still boot from the SSD no matter what, since thats the primary boot drive set in the bios. But it doesnt. I dont know how, but somehow detecting the new 3GB data drive lets the bios go nuts. If it helps: There is a flash program function in the bios - going into it, i can even see the files on the new 3GB data drive when its buildt into my case... So i d say it recognizes the drive and all data involved, and the boot record is fine as well.

66545

haihane
Level 13
i think i know what's wrong now.

in order to boot a drive, it first needs to search its MBR, EFI (remember seeing "Windows Boot Manager" when you choose boot priorities in bios?).
in my case, the EFI partition and Recovery and Drive C is all under the same drive.

in your case, for reasons unknown to me, your EFI partition is on your Data Drive. so, if i'm a PC and trying to boot into windows, couple of these things might happen:
- Old setup, Old SSD, Old Data Drive. i do power on self test, all seems ok. next i go check your boot records. finding... finding. one drive C:\ empty. ok find the other drive D:\ -> ooh here it is. it tells me to load stuff from C:\ (weird, but ok). *loads stuff*. everything looks ok. you're good to go.

- new setup. Old SSD, New Data drive. POST -> ok. lemme find boot information.... nothing on Drive C, ok. nothing on drive D. ok. what do i do now?!


if i put it this way, then your device not booting makes sense.
while i'm curious how your boot partition managed to find its way on another drive, i don't know. but that is peculiar in best of circumstances.


i would suggest first backing up all your data, then reformatting with just the SSD plugged in. this way, your EFI partition will have nowhere to go but Drive C and you can and should be able to change your data drive without problems
no siggy, saw stuff that made me sad.

Good points haihane - i can even explain the "reasons unknown to you": Asus shipped the G20AJ with the large HDD being the boot drive, but that didnt make sense to me when there s an SSD equipped as well. At some point i reinstalled windows on the SSD. Seems i have done a mistake doing that? Might even have been i fiddeled that on purpose since SSD space was so low.

Reinstalling win10 pro on the SSD is a problem though, my PC is part of a network behind a server in my companies office. I am afraid i cant reinstall windows and all stuffs on it without the (expensive) help from the company running my hardware stuffs. So - either there is another solution possible, or this will take really long. Either way, thanks for your pointers. I ll keep you updated how i proceed or come back with the next question.

Thinking about it, given that i have to install everything from scratch as it seems (i just hope this really solves the troubles) i might buy a new SSD as well, to ease things up concerning the new windows install. What you think.

VerKer wrote:
Thinking about it, given that i have to install everything from scratch as it seems (i just hope this really solves the troubles) i might buy a new SSD as well, to ease things up concerning the new windows install. What you think.

Your Original SSD is a 60 GB drive, aye?
that does seem a little cramped. so if you don't mind spending the money, sure!

but just to put your mind at ease before committing to the SSD purchase, you might as well use the current system as a guinea pig to experiment with.
try a clean install with just your 60 GB SSD. if it boots, then you know where the problem is (the position of EFI boot partition being the culprit).

side tip:
i tend to put the very large files on the Data Drive (drive B in my case, drive D in your case). i really favor having portable apps (HWinfo65, CrystalDisk programs, to some degree, even my entire steam library) reside in my data drive with this format: B:\Program Files\

if one is more adventurous than that, you can even move your default folder: open file explorer, quick access view -> Documents -> right click -> Properties -> Location -> change just one letter (from C to D) -> hit apply. your entire documents folder will be moved to your data drive. repeat this for any quick access shortcuts (?) you want moved.

though, for essential programs and those proving pesky to run without their registry entries, i'll still leave them on the default program path (C:\Program Files or the x86 variant).

these combined allowed me to save spaces on my own SSD drive.
no siggy, saw stuff that made me sad.

Unfortunately i didnt manage to solve things yet. Following your advice i created an win10 image including EFI partition, while i removed all drives but a new bought SSD reinstalling it. This didnt work, because windows refuses to play the image back onto the SSD, because it cant find a 2nd drive where it can play the formerly from disc 😧 grabbed partition on to.

Copying the image, there was a dropdown menu where you can select user data you wish to include into your image, and ofc you are forced to include the EFI partition. But when you do select this, it automatically selects drives c: and d: and includes their data into the image, no matter if you deselected their data in the dialogue above. My image took like 6 hours to create being over 1TB large, so i have to be sure it contains all drive d: data and not only the EFI partition.

When reinstalling from the image, there is no way to deselect any data or drives you do not want to have played back. And ofc even the large new SSD is too small to receive all data from the image. So what now? Any way moving the EFI partition before i create the image, or any way to backup the image without drive d: data? Sigh, over 2 days went into this, and i just wanted to add a larger HDD. Whadda crap this windows still is...