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Old 03-12-2019, 12:23 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 10,363
Default Fun with UEFI and USB...'-}}

I'm finally getting started on the process of imaging my system--now that I know that my new 3TB external drive works well as that's where I'm planning on storing the drive image(s). Macrium Reflect (free) has a good rep and I decided to test the process using my old desktop system which, with respect to O/S (Win7/Pro/64bit) and my drives, is configured the same way as my current desktop system--although the old system is AMD and the current system is Intel.

The other day, I finally cleaned off my work table which in addition to having the monitor for my old desktop system is also home to a laptop I use as a backup/testbed system--there's also another old Sony Vaio on another corner of the work table.

I held my breath after turning on the monitor (my old Nec 2090UXi) and then the desktop to see if it would boot--it's not been booted for at least 2 years but it is plugged into a UPS--and fortunately, it booted up just fine. I had to tidy up a few things and get the usb/ethernet dongle driver installed (the ethernet cable has been plugged in to the laptop and the desktop system pc case has the ethernet port on the back of the case and I didn't feel like crawling around on the floor and under the work table to plug it in so the usb/ethernet dongle was an easy workaround--particularly after the driver was installed).

I installed Macrium and basically spent the afternoon getting the Rescue Disk created. The first problem I ran into was that Macrium only listed the card-readers on the system--4 of them I never ever used but the reader also has extra USB ports--and none of the USB ports. I thought to myself, well, maybe I need to actually have a thumbdrive plugged in but that didn't work either; however, in plugging the thumbdrive in I realized I need to fiddle with the drive letter so spent a bit of time getting 3 thumbdrives set with new drive letters--I wasn't sure which thumbdrive I was going to use as I have a USB2 and two USB3s. In doing that I closed Macrium and I had one thumbdrive still plugged in when I opened Macrium again and bingo! Macrium saw the drive so I now had that as a viable option.

I went through the process to create the Rescue Disk on the thumbdrive but it didn't complete properly displaying an error message with an "Error 9" notation and a link to an page with error info. The info page wasn't all that useful, particularly since it didn't list "Error 9" (there was an "Error 98" and an "Error 99" but the info for those didn't match the error message that had displayed). I decided to give up on trying to create a USB Rescue Disk and created a Rescue Disk on DVD instead--very easy, very quick.

I then compared the DVD Rescue Disk with the USB Rescue Disk and they looked to have the same files. In reading through the other error numbers on that error info page, it seemed that the problem with the USB drive was that it wasn't FAT32 so I decided that even though Computer Management > Disk Management (via Control Panel > Administrative Tools) showed that the USB drive was FAT32, that I'd confirm it (so to speak) by (re)formatting the drive to FAT32. I then did the create Rescue Disk process again selecting USB and that was successful.

So, at this point, I'd learned 2 things:

1. (re)Format the USB drive to FAT32 before starting the create Rescue Disk process

2. Plug the newly reformatted USB drive into a port before opening Macrium

I now wanted to see if I could boot from the DVD and the USB. The DVD boot was no problem, put the DVD in the drive, restarted my system and was prompted as I should be about using the DVD. Unfortunately that did NOT work AT ALL for the USB drive.

One major issue was that I couldn't remember how to get into the BIOS/UEFI. I thought it was F2 and that didn't work. I tried F12 and that didn't work either so I rooted around and found the mobo book and couldn't believe that I'd forgotten that it was the DEL key--duh! The next problem was that my mouse didn't work while in UEFI and using the keyboard keys didn't get me very far. I finally remembered that I had to plug the mouse into one of the USB ports on the back of the case--it's really, really annoying having to crawl around on the floor and under the work table then feel around for the USB ports and then get the damned thing plugged in but the aggravation was worth it as that did the trick. The only problem was that the UEFI didn't show the USB drive that was plugged in.

At that point, I decided that I'd done enough for one day and would try again tomorrow but as I was watching tv, I suddenly realized what the problem was--I couldn't believe it had taken me that long to figure out it. I needed to plug the USB drive into one of the ports on the back of the case--just like the mouse and the keyboard...duh! Did that and there was my USB drive listed in the UEFI for boot priority...'-}}

So...I learned 2 more things:

3. NONE of the front USB ports are recognized by UEFI

4. For UEFI, any USB device must be plugged in to the ports on the back of the case

I suspect that items 3 and 4 may not be true for my current desktop system--had it custom built (by MicroCenter) a couple of years ago--but now at least I'll know what to do if I do have similar problems and the back of the case for my current system is much more accessible...'-}}

One interesting additional test I did was to plug in a USB2 hub into the USB 3 extension cable which is pluged into a USB3 port on the back of the case and I then plugged the USB 3 thumbdrive into the hub. With that convoluted setup, the USB 3 drive was listed as a possible boot source. Interestingly enough, while the USB3 drive was plugged into a USB2 hub (which is plugged into a USB3 port), the USB3 drive was listed in the boot list as "USB3"--given that the hub is USB2, my guess is that any data transfer would be at USB2 speeds.

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