W8 UEFI trouble

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W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:29 am

I'm cleaning up a laptop running Windows 8 / restricted UEFI Bios.

I've come to a point where I need to boot to a cd / usb drive.

This is where the problem arises. The machine doesn't have a built in optical drive ( which is becoming quite common ), so I attach my external usb optical drive, and get myself into the UEFI bios to set the drive as the first boot device. It allows me to move it up in priority, but when booting it skips right to Windows 8. I try booting from a usb image, and no change. I don't have the option to disable the hdd as a boot device, or perform a network boot.

So I assume it is the secure boot / UEFI getting in the way. I try enabling the f12 boot menu and I'm not shocked to see that the USB image and the cd drive don't appear. The problem I have is BIOS doesn't allow me to switch to legacy from UEFI, and it doesn't allow me to disable secure boot.

The next option I have is to disassemble the machine and mount the hdd to another machine. However, because of the ' slim, all in one ' design of the laptop I'm working on, this is going to be a HUGE hassle.

Before I start down that road, does anyone have a suggestion for me moving forward?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:55 am

Probably not secure boot.

Sounds like the firmware is set for UEFI only, which means you need a thumb drive with a UEFI boot loader.

I've seen this "problem" on modern Lenovo machines.

With most machines there is a way to cut if off UEFI boot and drop back to legacy (BIOS) (including Lenovo).
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:12 am

I have tried a uefi boot drive, but it still doesn't show up as a bootable device.

And there is no option to get back to legacy bios. I know the option it would need, but it isn't in this bios. The bios is very spartan on this machine. There is almost nothing changeable.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:54 am

Had this issue on my new laptop as well. Found out that installing via a DVD drive using secure boot doesn't work on a lot of machines.

I see you used a USB image. I'm assuming an image of the disk? At any rate, what worked for me was copying the contents of the Windows 8 install disk to a flash drive (non-bootable) and having the machine do the rest. Again that's just copying the file contents of the disk, not creating a bootable image on the flash drive. You may have to have the UEFI loader try and boot from the USB drive but I can't remember (and if the drive is empty it'll attempt it anyway)

I'll try to find a link with a more in depth explanation but it really wasn't more work than that.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:58 am

Here's a link with a bit more information: http://eraserandcrowbar.com/windows-8-u ... n-install/

Only thing I forgot is that the drive has to be formatted as FAT32 and can only contain 1 partition. Other than that you should be all set, I think.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:09 am

I do appreciate the details very much, thank you.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. It was similar to something I tried with a repair disk on the usb drive.
The problem I am having, even with the above method, is that the drive isn't being seen at all. Even if the drive is created as a secure boot drive.

You can select it from the bios, and set it as the first boot device, but it just floats right past it to windows.
If you go into the boot menu, the drive isn't even listed.

Made sure it wasn't ntfs, or exfat or anything else.

Tried a couple different USB drives, and they all come back the same. Ugh..

EDIT - I've done this sorta thing on countless W8 laptops with a wide variety of different BIOS, and I've never had such trouble with getting them to boot. I've also never seen a BIOS that was THIS locked down. I can change the time, add a bios password, enable / disable the boot menu, and change the boot order which impacts nothing.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:18 pm

Is USB Legacy Support turned on?

This isn't sounding like a UEFI or SecureBoot issue. Sounds like the firmware doesn't initialize USB until the kernel starts (fast boot) and/or that it needs legacy USB support to treat the USB sticks as a drive volume.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:23 pm

Turn off all 'fast boot' settings.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:32 pm

Not able to disable fast booting I'm afraid.
Nothing to enable legacy usb either.

:(
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:18 am

I won't be able to help since i have encountered a simillar problem last year with a friend's laptop. Personally i couldn't help him due to a proprietary chip on the motherboard that prevented the laptop to boot from something else (probably a decision taken by the vendor to limit the user's options when it comes to repairs).

If you do find a solution i would like to know just for future reference.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:54 am

I'm skipping to the bottom of this thread but some vendors have reboot to legacy BIOS as a W8 option, because the POST during secure-boot or "ultra fast" boot is complete before the keyboard is active.

You'd need to look up the specific vendor of your laptop to see if it's one of these.

You can try holding the ESC key or the PAUSE/BREAK key during secure boot too, some laptops (Lenovo, Samsung) revert to the BIOS or at least a menu with this method.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:48 pm

Use google to see how to install "Linux" onto the laptop model, most likely someone will have figured it out. Some laptops now require stupid utilities because they ALSO neglected to include a UEFI loader shell.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:53 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:I'm skipping to the bottom of this thread but some vendors have reboot to legacy BIOS as a W8 option, because the POST during secure-boot or "ultra fast" boot is complete before the keyboard is active.

You'd need to look up the specific vendor of your laptop to see if it's one of these.

You can try holding the ESC key or the PAUSE/BREAK key during secure boot too, some laptops (Lenovo, Samsung) revert to the BIOS or at least a menu with this method.


Can't reboot to legacy, sadly. I will try hitting esc and various other likely candidates during boot to see what I can get.
Nothing I can find in the literature for this laptop model about it, so we'll see...

keltor wrote:Use google to see how to install "Linux" onto the laptop model, most likely someone will have figured it out. Some laptops now require stupid utilities because they ALSO neglected to include a UEFI loader shell.


I did come across some Linux talk, but nothing that really applied to this particular model unfortunately.
I don't have the model memorized and it isn't in front of me now. It's an Acer, but the model numbers on those things is like 20 characters. Starts in E1, ends with 4402, but there is a lot in between. Will update later...
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:04 pm

I haven't seen it explicitly stated, so do you know how to use the Advanced Startup option in Windows 8 to reboot into BIOS/UEFI?
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:57 pm

Yes, I do.
It isn't so much getting there. The problem is I can't change much of anything from the BIOS.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:36 am

Have you tried F12 during bootup? While looking around, I found this. I like the last line "If the boot menu feature is not available in the BIOS setup menu, then the option is not available on your system."

If Acer is indeed selling laptops with the inability to change the boot sequence, then I'll make sure to never recommend them to anyone.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:09 am

The Egg wrote:If Acer is indeed selling laptops with the inability to change the boot sequence, then I'll make sure to never recommend them to anyone.


Hi, Here's a general-purpose computer with architecture that is hardware-compatible with a huge variety of operating systems.
We've locked it to Windows 8 so that we don't have a legal obligation to provide you with any drivers/support for anything else, because it saves us money.

THANKS FOR SHOPPING WITH ACER, WE VALUE YOUR CUSTOM.

When has Acer ever been a good idea, anyway?
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:20 am

Doesn't the spec for Secure Boot require that x86 systems implementing it provide a way to disable it? I seem to recall reading something to that effect.

Chrispy_ wrote:When has Acer ever been a good idea, anyway?

Acer LCD monitors have been fine in my experience (we own a couple here at home, and we also used them a fair bit at work prior to the corporate decree that everything had to be Dell). They're not fantastic mind you, but decent value for the (relatively low) price they charge for them, and seem to be pretty reliable.

OTOH their CD/DVD burners (back when they were in that business) massively sucked.

I guess my point is, it depends on the product line.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:32 am

The Egg wrote:Have you tried F12 during bootup? While looking around, I found this. I like the last line "If the boot menu feature is not available in the BIOS setup menu, then the option is not available on your system."

If Acer is indeed selling laptops with the inability to change the boot sequence, then I'll make sure to never recommend them to anyone.


Yeah, that brings up the boot menu with no options other than the HDD.

Chrispy_ wrote:When has Acer ever been a good idea, anyway?


They have some acceptable products. I definitely wouldn't have bought this laptop though.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:13 pm

just brew it! wrote:Doesn't the spec for Secure Boot require that x86 systems implementing it provide a way to disable it? I seem to recall reading something to that effect.


I'm not sure if the UEFI Forum (creators of secure boot) spec does, but Microsoft does as part of their logo program.

That being said I'm pretty sure this isn't a secure boot problem. It's reading like a fast boot problem and an Acer screwing their customers problem by removing basic and needed functionality from their firmware.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:24 pm

Assuming a SATA HDD, what about disconnecting the HDD and trying to boot from the USB stick and then hot-connecting the HDD once the USB boot is successful? If it won't boot from a stick even with no HDD in it, use it for target practice. Given usual laptop sizes, it'd make a decent 500yd target and a challenging 1000yd one.

EDIT: Didn't see that you were in Canada. Come on down and we'll ventilate that recalcitrant beastie.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:30 pm

I will give that a try.
At this point I'm not too optimistic, but damn. This seems like such a hassle, for something that used to be so expected I guess I just took it for granted.
How do you release a product that can't do something as important as booting to an alternate bootable device?
*sigh*

Thanks anyways guys. I appreciate you taking the time.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:44 pm

MaxTheLimit wrote:Yeah, that brings up the boot menu with no options other than the HDD.

Well....it's good that you have a boot menu; it's just failing to recognize your USB optical drive as a boot device. Do you have any other external optical drives available? Have you tried every USB port? Any other connection types on the laptop (eSATA, etc)?
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:56 pm

I've tried all three usb ports.
I've tried several usb sticks, my usb optical drive, I've even tried to get it to recognize another hard drive attached via my usb external tray. Nothing ever shows up in the boot menu.
They all show up in the BIOS, but not the boot menu. And obviously the machine refuses to boot from them.
I wish I was able to at least disable the HDD from the BIOS. I was forced to take the damned thing apart and remove it to see if I could boot to something else without the drive detected. Nope.

EDIT - No eSATA. No firewire either.
Last edited by MaxTheLimit on Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:57 pm

Damn. Any BIOS updates available?
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Sadly, no.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:20 pm

Target practice time. I've got the spot and the implements.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:08 pm

MaxTheLimit wrote:Not able to disable fast booting I'm afraid.
Nothing to enable legacy usb either.

:(


That may be the issue. Fast boot is probably making it so any USB connected devices aren't initialized until after Windows is already loading... that happens on my Z87 desktop with fast boot enabled. Even the PS/2 keyboard doesn't get initialized until after Windows is loading :roll:

It's a random guess, but what about removing the battery, unplugging the laptop, and removing the CMOS battery to clear the UEFI? For desktop boards fast boot is disabled by default after a reset so that's one way to get around the problem. Depending on what the laptop OEM defaults to it might work for that as well....
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:13 pm

Depending on the laptop, accessing the CMOS battery can involve a near-complete teardown. Some of the old HPs we had at the office were like that.
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Re: W8 UEFI trouble

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:11 am

Does the laptop have any internal ports (mSATA or a second hdd bay)?

As a last ditch effort, you could try installing Windows with the drive connected to another machine. Begin the install process, but when the machine reboots for the first time, shut it down at the POST, and then transplant the drive back into the original laptop. Windows Setup will load off the hard drive, and it should be able to read the disc from your external (though it might not look in the right spot initially). I don't *believe* Win8 installs any system-specific stuff before the first reboot, but my experience with it is fairly limited (intentionally).
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