how can BIOS boot priority settings change all by itself??


L

Linea Recta

I have been installing a PC for someone, mainboard Asus P5L-VM 1394.
New hard drive
http://www.mycom.nl/opslag/interne-harde-schijf/7624/seagate-desktop-hdd-500gb-35

I installed Windows XPSP3, all hardware drivers and applications.

Problem is this: I did all settings in the BIOS, SAVED them before exiting
the BIOS and the PC boots fine.
Now the next time I try to boot the system I sometimes get a message on a
black screen: 'wrong drive. reboot from the system drive.' When I now enter
the BIOS settings, I see the WRONG hard disk as booting priority. So I
choose the right drive again, save and exit BIOS. Now I can boot again
succesfully (for the time being).

Why is this setting not retained? I never heard of BIOS settings changing
all by themselves anyhow...
CMOS battery is only 4 months old and date & time and other settings still
OK.



--


|\ /|
| \/ |@rk
\../
\/os
 
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G

GlowingBlueMist

Verify that the SATA cables are of the locking type, and the motherboard
has matching locking sockets. I have had non-locking cables come
partially loose from vibration causing problems like you are having.
Had one customer who usually dropped textbooks on his desk and later the
PC would refuse to reboot due to what I found to be loose cables.
Second time I had replacement cables ready and put locking cables on his
machine.

A loose drive cable on any drive, be it a CD/DVD, SATA or IDE hard drive
can trigger a reconfiguration on many motherboards making what you
describe happen. Same for a boot drive that is just on the edge of
being too "slow" to respond during a power-up reboot sequence.

A weak power supply might not be getting the drive up to speed fast
enough before the motherboard times out. See if it has any method of
waiting for a slow drive.

Some controllers will power on the drives sequentially and force the
motherboard to wait until all drives are up to speed before allowing the
motherboard to proceed with the boot. The option also helps keep the
power-on surge current under control if you have say 4 drives attached
to a board or 3rd party SATA card.

On some motherboards it can make a difference which SATA port you plug
the boot drive into. The manufacturers claim not but stranger bugs have
made it out into the market. So if you have the option, try another
SATA port for the boot drive.

A weak data block on the boot drive that the motherboard is having
problems reading at times may cause this. When you formatted the drive
the first time did you do the longer slow format or just the quick
format. The slower method is usually preferred for an install as it can
look for problem sectors or blocks and try to add them to the bad block
section so they later get skipped for actual data use. If all you have
done is the fast format, I hate to suggest it, but a reformat using the
slow method may be needed and then a reload.

Last resort on my list of things to try would be a reloading of the
motherboard BIOS using what ever "safe" method the manufacturer offers.
Much like an upgrade but with the latest version even if that is what
is already on the motherboard.
 
L

Linea Recta

Wolf K said:
Is the "wrong" HDD drive zero? If so, you could try switching the cables,
so that the right drive is drive zero.

Well I don't remeber that anymore. I did take care to connect the system
drive SATA cable to the SATA1 connector of the MB, which was advised in the
MB manual. Gosh...
Manual page 1-27
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P5LVM_1394/HelpDesk_Manual/

Futhermore there is an IDE drive and IDE DVD burner connected to the IDE
connector.


thanks,


--


|\ /|
| \/ |@rk
\../
\/os
 
P

Paul

Linea said:
I have been installing a PC for someone, mainboard Asus P5L-VM 1394.
New hard drive
http://www.mycom.nl/opslag/interne-harde-schijf/7624/seagate-desktop-hdd-500gb-35


I installed Windows XPSP3, all hardware drivers and applications.

Problem is this: I did all settings in the BIOS, SAVED them before
exiting the BIOS and the PC boots fine.
Now the next time I try to boot the system I sometimes get a message on
a black screen: 'wrong drive. reboot from the system drive.' When I now
enter the BIOS settings, I see the WRONG hard disk as booting priority.
So I choose the right drive again, save and exit BIOS. Now I can boot
again succesfully (for the time being).

Why is this setting not retained? I never heard of BIOS settings
changing all by themselves anyhow...
CMOS battery is only 4 months old and date & time and other settings
still OK.
There is more than one mechanism for the boot order to
change, and I'm not referring to the battery going
flat either.

On Asus, there is an "overclocking recovery" function that
can reset the settings. As well as the settings changing
when you add or remove physical disks between power cycles.
I change disks enough here, I just use the F8 "popup boot menu"
key to select what disk to boot from. The popup boot menu
was added around the time that the BIOS had a USB page
added to it (a separate page with USB settings all
recorded in it). If you have a fourteen year old motherboard,
no, it doesn't have popup boot.

Paul
 
L

Linea Recta

Paul said:
There is more than one mechanism for the boot order to
change, and I'm not referring to the battery going
flat either.

On Asus, there is an "overclocking recovery" function that
can reset the settings. As well as the settings changing
when you add or remove physical disks between power cycles.
I change disks enough here, I just use the F8 "popup boot menu"

I discovered that recently. Never used it myself, but it solved my problem
of blank screen after booting. I thought I'd done a weeks work in vain.
After using F8 that PC booted again, but I don't like the idea that booting
is unreliable for my customer (with no internet access).

key to select what disk to boot from. The popup boot menu
was added around the time that the BIOS had a USB page
added to it (a separate page with USB settings all
recorded in it). If you have a fourteen year old motherboard,
no, it doesn't have popup boot.

Until today I had the illusion that the BIOS settings were stricktly
personal (optionally protected by passwords) to prevent people from
tampering aroud with them. But what's the use of the whole idea if things
can change spontaneously??



--


|\ /|
| \/ |@rk
\../
\/os
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

I discovered that recently. Never used it myself, but it solved my problem
of blank screen after booting. I thought I'd done a weeks work in vain.
After using F8 that PC booted again, but I don't like the idea that booting
is unreliable for my customer (with no internet access).


Until today I had the illusion that the BIOS settings were stricktly
personal (optionally protected by passwords) to prevent people from
tampering aroud with them. But what's the use of the whole idea if things
can change spontaneously??
That, however, seems to me to be so unusual that I wonder if it's really
spontaneous.

Is it possible that your customer is doing something (s)he hasn't
mentioned?

Or that (s)he is afflicted with malware?
 
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L

Linea Recta

GlowingBlueMist said:
Verify that the SATA cables are of the locking type, and the motherboard
has matching locking sockets. I have had non-locking cables come
partially loose from vibration causing problems like you are having. Had
one customer who usually dropped textbooks on his desk and later the PC
would refuse to reboot due to what I found to be loose cables. Second time
I had replacement cables ready and put locking cables on his machine.

The cable connects with quite some force (at both ends) so I don't think it
is a loose cable.

A loose drive cable on any drive, be it a CD/DVD, SATA or IDE hard drive
can trigger a reconfiguration on many motherboards making what you
describe happen. Same for a boot drive that is just on the edge of being
too "slow" to respond during a power-up reboot sequence.

A weak power supply might not be getting the drive up to speed fast enough
before the motherboard times out. See if it has any method of waiting for
a slow drive.

Some controllers will power on the drives sequentially and force the
motherboard to wait until all drives are up to speed before allowing the
motherboard to proceed with the boot. The option also helps keep the
power-on surge current under control if you have say 4 drives attached to
a board or 3rd party SATA card.

On some motherboards it can make a difference which SATA port you plug the
boot drive into. The manufacturers claim not but stranger bugs have made
it out into the market. So if you have the option, try another SATA port
for the boot drive.


I did take care to connect the system
drive SATA cable to the SATA1 connector of the MB, which was advised in the
MB manual.
Manual page 1-27
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P5LVM_1394/HelpDesk_Manual/

Futhermore there is an IDE drive and IDE DVD burner connected to the IDE
connector.



A weak data block on the boot drive that the motherboard is having
problems reading at times may cause this. When you formatted the drive
the first time did you do the longer slow format or just the quick format.
The slower method is usually preferred for an install as it can look for
problem sectors or blocks and try to add them to the bad block section so
they later get skipped for actual data use. If all you have done is the
fast format, I hate to suggest it, but a reformat using the slow method
may be needed and then a reload.

I always use long time formatting when formatting a new drive for the first
time. And indeed it took a long time...

Last resort on my list of things to try would be a reloading of the
motherboard BIOS using what ever "safe" method the manufacturer offers.
Much like an upgrade but with the latest version even if that is what is
already on the motherboard.

OK, in any case I have the latest BIOS version, exept for the beta version.


thanks,


--


|\ /|
| \/ |@rk
\../
\/os
 
L

Linea Recta

Gene E. Bloch said:
That, however, seems to me to be so unusual that I wonder if it's really
spontaneous.

Is it possible that your customer is doing something (s)he hasn't
mentioned?

No, this happened when I booted the computer for the first time at my
customers place. Of course leaving a bad impression :-((
Few hours before at my place it had still booted fine.


--


|\ /|
| \/ |@rk
\../
\/os
 
S

Shadow

Until today I had the illusion that the BIOS settings were stricktly
personal (optionally protected by passwords) to prevent people from
tampering aroud with them. But what's the use of the whole idea if things
can change spontaneously??
Malware can change the BIOS. And if a BIOS can be flashed, any
program can mess with it.
Also, the bigger the BIOS, the easier it is to find an
exploit. It's UEFI is all about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFI#Criticism

So cheer up, you have an old, small, fairly safe BIOS. Most
antivirus can pick up the malware which was made for it a decade ago.
;)
[]'s
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

The cable connects with quite some force (at both ends) so I don't think it
is a loose cable.
Check it anyway. I notice that you said elsewhere that the computer
worked at your house, but not after it was transported...
 
G

Gene Wirchenko

On Mon, 22 Sep 2014 19:55:47 +0200, "Linea Recta"

[snip]
Until today I had the illusion that the BIOS settings were stricktly
personal (optionally protected by passwords) to prevent people from
tampering aroud with them. But what's the use of the whole idea if things
can change spontaneously??
How is the battery? The settings might have been lost because of
a flat battery.

Bit errors can happen, too, as with any storage medium.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
 
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P

Paul

Linea said:
No, this happened when I booted the computer for the first time at my
customers place. Of course leaving a bad impression :-((
Few hours before at my place it had still booted fine.
For overclocking recovery, a good design is to reset BCLK and multiplier
(if available). Set the memory back to "By SPD". That's all that is really
needed. Asus resetting all the settings to their default value, while maybe
being an implementation shortcut, is overkill.

A few motherboards, have "profiles". Profile1, Profile2, etc. If
the board is ever reset, you can "Load Profile1" or equivalent,
to quickly set up the board to some custom settings again.
(It might involve few enough steps, you could explain it
over the phone.) The human installer makes sure that the current
(good) settings, are stored in Profile1, for later emergencies.

For boards on which no settings needed to be changed, a user
might not even be aware anything is different. A machine
with one CD/DVD drive, one hard drive, might continue on as if
nothing changed. If your settings changes were more ambitious,
then more visible (bad) things happen.

I like the Asrock implementation a bit better. With Asrock,
say your motherboard won't start. You press the reset button
three times in a row, with maybe a 30 second delay between
each application. Three dirty resets in a row is interpreted
as a request for overclocking recovery. The advantage of this
approach, is if the user powers off the computer while Windows
is running, that counts as one dirty reset, but the computer
will likely reboot and come back up. And then there aren't
enough contiguous resets to cause the settings to be reset.
With the Asus approach, people hardly know it's even happening,
and they aren't prepared for it.

I bought a $65 Asrock motherboard, and the hardware was fine.
There was a nice VCore regulator, with hardware offset capability.
But the design was spoiled by a miserable BIOS, with bugs that
after more than a half dozen releases, they hadn't fixed. It gave
the appearance there were legal troubles with Intel, preventing
them from "doing the right thing by customers". I used a hacked
BIOS from someone in Germany, to make a useful board from it. I
think Asrock continued to make those boards, until they ran
out of chipsets to use. And that's when I learned about their
reset button feature :) While fooling around with my $65 bargain.

Paul
 
P

Paul

Gene said:
Check it anyway. I notice that you said elsewhere that the computer
worked at your house, but not after it was transported...
First generation SATA, seemed to have no retention force.

The connectors now, are a compression fit. Some force
is needed to fit them. The latest SATA cables I got,
have the metal "jaw" on the end, intended to hold
the cable in place until the user actuates the release.
Where that doesn't work, is the WD hard drive I purchased,
doesn't support the jaw action (Seagate does), and you're left
with whatever compression fit exists with the plastic portion.

But the second generation cables are a bit better than some
of those first generation ones, which could fall off from
vibration or shaking of the case.

The record for crappy, was a certain motherboard, where you plug
in your compression fit SATA cable. Later, when you go to pull
on the cable (by the connector, not the cable body), the
connector on the motherboard side gets ripped right off
the motherboard. I had someone report a case like that
in a hardware group, and I can just imagine the shocked
look on their face, when there is nothing left on the
motherboard :) And both male and female portions are
still clinging to the cable. I haven't heard of any
cases like that lately.

Paul
 
R

Rod Speed

Linea Recta said:
No, this happened when I booted the computer for the first time at my
customers place. Of course leaving a bad impression :-((
Few hours before at my place it had still booted fine.
That did involve physically moving the machine,
so the cable question might still be relevant,
even if the cables do feel solid. Maybe they
just feel solid but arent electrically solid.

Or maybe you have an intermittent short to case
that sees the physical movement of the system
cause a problem. How is the motherboard
mounted in the case ?
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

First generation SATA, seemed to have no retention force.

The connectors now, are a compression fit. Some force
is needed to fit them. The latest SATA cables I got,
have the metal "jaw" on the end, intended to hold
the cable in place until the user actuates the release.
Where that doesn't work, is the WD hard drive I purchased,
doesn't support the jaw action (Seagate does), and you're left
with whatever compression fit exists with the plastic portion.

But the second generation cables are a bit better than some
of those first generation ones, which could fall off from
vibration or shaking of the case.

The record for crappy, was a certain motherboard, where you plug
in your compression fit SATA cable. Later, when you go to pull
on the cable (by the connector, not the cable body), the
connector on the motherboard side gets ripped right off
the motherboard. I had someone report a case like that
in a hardware group, and I can just imagine the shocked
look on their face, when there is nothing left on the
motherboard :) And both male and female portions are
still clinging to the cable. I haven't heard of any
cases like that lately.

Paul
I had an optical drive that came unplugged (at the drive end) just about
every time I was inside the case. I figured the plug was bad - and hoped
it wasn't the connector on the drive.

The connection was a Molex to SATA adapter, so I got one on eBay (there
aren't any unused SATA connectors on the PS).

When I took the old one out of the drive this last time, the SATA part
of the plug broke :)

The new cable had little nipples on the SATA connector that added extra
friction. I'm happier now.
 
G

GlowingBlueMist

At this stage I'd be inclined to replace the SATA cable with another,
reset the boot order in the BIOS and then see how it holds during a
reboot or five.
 
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J

Joe Morris

Linea Recta said:
I have been installing a PC for someone, mainboard Asus P5L-VM 1394.
New hard drive
http://www.mycom.nl/opslag/interne-harde-schijf/7624/seagate-desktop-hdd-500gb-35
I installed Windows XPSP3, all hardware drivers and applications.
Problem is this: I did all settings in the BIOS, SAVED them before exiting
the BIOS and the PC boots fine.
Now the next time I try to boot the system I sometimes get a message on a
black screen: 'wrong drive. reboot from the system drive.' When I now
enter the BIOS settings, I see the WRONG hard disk as booting priority. So
I choose the right drive again, save and exit BIOS. Now I can boot again
succesfully (for the time being).
Why is this setting not retained? I never heard of BIOS settings changing
all by themselves anyhow...
CMOS battery is only 4 months old and date & time and other settings still
OK.
Only time I've seen that behavior was with a name-brand system board (too
many years ago for me to recall which brand) that had an IDE removable drive
caddy. If you configured the boot order to start with the disk in the caddy
everything worked, but if you removed the caddy and booted the machine
(meaning that the first drive in the boot sequence didn't exist) that IDE
drive was removed from the boot order. When you finally re-installed the
caddy, that drive didn't get back its place as the boot disk.

However...are you certain that you are editing the BIOS boot order, and not
the one-time settings? Your description does sound like you're making the
correct changes, but it's worth checking.

Joe
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

Only time I've seen that behavior was with a name-brand system board (too
many years ago for me to recall which brand) that had an IDE removable drive
caddy. If you configured the boot order to start with the disk in the caddy
everything worked, but if you removed the caddy and booted the machine
(meaning that the first drive in the boot sequence didn't exist) that IDE
drive was removed from the boot order. When you finally re-installed the
caddy, that drive didn't get back its place as the boot disk.

However...are you certain that you are editing the BIOS boot order, and not
the one-time settings? Your description does sound like you're making the
correct changes, but it's worth checking.

Joe
That's an excellent question, but from the OP (quoted above), we have

"Problem is this: I did all settings in the BIOS, SAVED them before
exiting the BIOS and the PC boots fine."

But I can't recall ever seeing a SAVE button in a one-time boot screen,
which makes it sound like Linea Recta knew which screen he was looking
at. Not to mention the reference to "all settings"...

Still, it's possible, I guess.
 
W

. . .winston

Linea said:
I have been installing a PC for someone, mainboard Asus P5L-VM 1394.
New hard drive
http://www.mycom.nl/opslag/interne-harde-schijf/7624/seagate-desktop-hdd-500gb-35


I installed Windows XPSP3, all hardware drivers and applications.

Problem is this: I did all settings in the BIOS, SAVED them before
exiting the BIOS and the PC boots fine.
Now the next time I try to boot the system I sometimes get a message on
a black screen: 'wrong drive. reboot from the system drive.' When I now
enter the BIOS settings, I see the WRONG hard disk as booting priority.
So I choose the right drive again, save and exit BIOS. Now I can boot
again succesfully (for the time being).

Why is this setting not retained? I never heard of BIOS settings
changing all by themselves anyhow...
CMOS battery is only 4 months old and date & time and other settings
still OK.
You're going to have to back up..

Provide the sequence of events that occurred in chronological order
e.g. configured BIOS settings, ran Windows setup, chose the option to
load SATA drivers, installed Windows XP, and so on with an explanation
of what you did and when.
 
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L

Linea Recta

Paul said:
For overclocking recovery, a good design is to reset BCLK and multiplier
(if available). Set the memory back to "By SPD". That's all that is really
needed. Asus resetting all the settings to their default value, while
maybe
being an implementation shortcut, is overkill.

A few motherboards, have "profiles". Profile1, Profile2, etc. If
the board is ever reset, you can "Load Profile1" or equivalent,
to quickly set up the board to some custom settings again.
(It might involve few enough steps, you could explain it
over the phone.) The human installer makes sure that the current
(good) settings, are stored in Profile1, for later emergencies.

For boards on which no settings needed to be changed, a user
might not even be aware anything is different. A machine
with one CD/DVD drive, one hard drive, might continue on as if
nothing changed. If your settings changes were more ambitious,
then more visible (bad) things happen.

I like the Asrock implementation a bit better. With Asrock,
say your motherboard won't start. You press the reset button
three times in a row, with maybe a 30 second delay between
each application. Three dirty resets in a row is interpreted
as a request for overclocking recovery. The advantage of this
approach, is if the user powers off the computer while Windows
is running, that counts as one dirty reset, but the computer
will likely reboot and come back up. And then there aren't
enough contiguous resets to cause the settings to be reset.
With the Asus approach, people hardly know it's even happening,
and they aren't prepared for it.

I noticed 2 profile options in the BIOS, but they seemed greyed out.
Couldn't figure out what to do with them. Afraid I didn't have enough time
to seach and did out the required information.

I bought a $65 Asrock motherboard, and the hardware was fine.
There was a nice VCore regulator, with hardware offset capability.
But the design was spoiled by a miserable BIOS, with bugs that
after more than a half dozen releases, they hadn't fixed. It gave
the appearance there were legal troubles with Intel, preventing
them from "doing the right thing by customers". I used a hacked
BIOS from someone in Germany, to make a useful board from it. I
think Asrock continued to make those boards, until they ran
out of chipsets to use. And that's when I learned about their
reset button feature :) While fooling around with my $65 bargain.

Nice to know that there are people making "custom" BIOSses. I'll keep that
in mind for doing some searches (of course: when I have the time!)

ciao,


--


|\ /|
| \/ |@rk
\../
\/os
 

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