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Other Troubleshooting Boot Issues - Hardware Related

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Stewb, 12 Sep 2013.

  1. Stewb

    Stewb New Member

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    Hi and thanks for any help,

    td;dr is any advice for troubleshooting what could repeatedly cause corruption/loss of boot information on different SSDs (one new and definitely healthy).

    Over the past few months my Windows 7 installation has got increasingly unstable, seemingly randomly requiring checks of the disk (like after powering off unsafely) and sometimes needing to system restore entirely using recovery disks - generally after system updates - as it failed to boot. I assumed this was issues with the installtion as it had always been slightly dodgy, so did a clean install.

    This seemed to work until about two weeks later it failed to boot again - I can't remember the exact details unfortunately but from what I recall the installation wasn't even detected by recovery disks. I did another fresh install and this failed to boot while windows was installing old updates (so after 2-3 cycles from install).

    I decided that it must be my SSD failing/failed so ordered a new one, with hindsight seeing as all my data was intact on the drive this was a poor choice... This had been absoutely fine until today (so about a week, though probably only 2-3 power cycles after fully bringing windows up to date update wise) when it seems like the entire boot sector of the drive has gone. The drive wasn't recognised at all as being a boot one - checking using gparted on a linux live-disk the boot flag had gone. Resetting the flag the error I receive is bootmgr is missing. I've tried a couple of methods online to fix this but with no luck. When I received the SSD I checked it's health and it was OK - it still is OK checking it under linux.

    So I think the issue must be something hardware related (the motherboard maybe?). Unfortunately I've just got no idea where to even start. This was my first build that had been almost completely rock solid (hardware wise) for nearly 4 years (so please treat me like a beginner still) - full specs are below. The two HDDs I've got have never had any problems, but they've never had an OS on them.

    I think the most telling fact is that my files on the drive have never been damaged - I'm transferring from the drive now using an ubuntu live-disk.

    Thanks for any help!

    Specs:
    Asus P6TD Deluxe
    i7 920
    6 GB RAM (can't remember exact details sorry)
    2 x 5870 Vapor-X in Crossfire
    Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB (OS disk, new SSD, replacing a 128 GB Crucial)
    2 x Spinpoint F3 1TB (no problems with these ever)
    Enermazx Revolution 850W (had failed last year under warranty, so ~1 year old)
    Asus Xonar DX

    (I apologise if this is in the wrong forum btw, I feel that as I'm 90% sure this is a hardware issue it belongs here rather than software)

    EDIT: I don't mind buying a new mobo/processor/ram if people think that's the issue it's a bit earlier than I'd planned to upgrade but not really a big issue.
     
  2. Instagib

    Instagib Well-Known Member

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    Couple of quick things to check and rule them out;

    1) Have you checked what mode the sata controller is running in: IDE, RAID or ACHI? If you set up the SSD in ACHI (the best setting for a ssd) when you set it up originally, and it has since switched to IDE (typically the default setting) this would cause issues when booting. (By issues, read; it won't).

    2)Have you checked which drive is set at the primary drive in the bios? If one of the storage drives is set as the primary, as opposed to the SSD with an OS, then this will give you the "bootmgr missing" error.

    3) Can you swap the sata cable to the SSD? It's a 20p job, but it can be a really simple thing that gets overlooked all too often.

    Just out of interest, are you able to run ssd life on the original SSD? Do you recall if you configured TRIM on the SSD when you originally set the system up? I'm just thinking that 4 years of operation without TRIM would of trashed a ssd. It's probably not the case though as you would of seen some major slow down in performance and some data corruption also.
     
  3. Stewb

    Stewb New Member

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    2) BIOS is all setup correcty, should have said that. I've double/rtriple check by unplugging all other SATA devices as well.

    3) I haven't swapped it totally for a fresh one, but I've used one from the HDDs and it doesn't fix it. Although I can't be sure it didn't cause the problem initially. I'll swap them around.

    1) This could be it... It's set-up for AHCI and still is in the BIOS but I may have messed it up during the clean install. For the old SSD it was IDE and I changed to AHCI for the new one. But I don't recall exactly when...

    I'll do another clean install switching the SATA cables around and making sure AHCI is done correctly. I'll also check the health of the old SSD at the same time.

    When I did the original SSD I remember doing as much as I could to ensure TRIM was on but never being 100% certain that it was. I didn't see any slowdown noticeably but it was primarily a boot drive, I didn't have many programs I used throughout it's life.

    Ideal here is that the first problem is dead SSD which I can check after doing the reinstall. Second problem is me messing up the ACHI/IDE switch and getting a similar outcome.

    Thanks for the help!
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2013
  4. Stewb

    Stewb New Member

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    Clean install done and seems to be OK. Although I thought that last time...

    Ran SSD life on the old SSD, it says it's OK but I don't really know how to interpret the specifics. I've just noticed now though I didn't keep on top of firmware updates. One thing mentioned in the change logs for a newer firmware is "fixed issue with remaining life not being properly displayed on SMART information". So it could be reporting incorrectly. I'll update the firmware and have another look.

    SSD life report:
    [​IMG]

    EDIT: Well this is just getting amusing now. It appears that the latest FW for the drive has an issue where it can completely disappear from the BIOS after flashing to it and that my drive is affected. Of course I see this after flashing and the drive disappearing from the BIOS. Why in the name of all that is holy has a 2 year old FW not been pulled if it has an issue that severe?

    So the upshot is the screen shot above is all I have to tell the health of the drive as it was, it's now 100% a brick. Do you think that it could be a degraded SSD that caused the issues originally?
     
    Last edited: 13 Sep 2013
  5. Instagib

    Instagib Well-Known Member

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    Seems like you found your problem then a dodgy firmware. It sucks, but it happens. How's your new one holding up so far?
     

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