Adventures with UEFI
As I said in this post,
After making fresh images of my partitions/logical drives on my laptop, I tried to enable EFI. After clicking that radio button in BIOS, I immediately got an error message "no boot device". My drive is formatted MBR, and EFI only works with GPT. Conundrum #1.
Originally Posted by bbearren
I put my Dell Windows 7 Pro SP1 x64 OEM installation disk in the drive (Dell ships a full install disk with the laptop if requested, at no extra charge), shut down the laptop, and then started it again, and got back into BIOS. This time when I clicked the EFI radio button, my CD/DVD drive appeared as a device, and I put a check in the box, clicked apply, and Exit. The laptop booted into the Windows 7 Pro setup. When there is no disk in the CD/DVD drive, it is not an eligible EFI boot device - must have media. When setup had progressed to the point of selecting a partition for installation, I used Shift +F10 to get a command prompt, then typed in "diskpart".
Using diskpart, I cleaned my MBR drive, then converted it to GPT, created a 102MB EFI partition and a 32MB MSR partition. From what I've read, those two are necessary for booting from a GPT drive. Next I created a couple of 60GB partitions, and selected the first of those to install Windows 7 Pro.
That went well. I didn't bother with any personalization, since I intended to format it again to install Windows 8. I had previously prepared a thumb drive for booting and installing Windows 8. So after Windows 7 Pro was running, I shut down, plugged in my USB drive, and selected USB under the list of LEGACY BOOT Devices. Clicked Apply and exit, booted into the Windows 8 setup, pointed to the 60GB partition holding Windows 7 Pro, and it refused. It couldn't install in a GPT partition. Conundrum #2.
So I rebooted, and got back in BIOS and Boot Sequence. Paying a bit more attention, under UEFI BOOT was listed "Windows Boot Manager", and below that, "UEFI: INT13(,0x80)". It was listed there before, as well, but it doesn't say USB, and USB was listed under LEGACY BOOT. But I selected it, anyway, and booted, once again into the Windows 8 setup. This time when I pointed at the 60GB partition containing Windows 7 Pro, got no complaints, clicked on Format, and only got the usual warning about losing everything on the partition.
And Windows 8 Pro Upgrade did the format, installed, and activated without a hitch. I even applied for my free Media Center Product Key and got the 72 hour email promise. The first time I installed Windows 8 on my laptop, EFI was disabled, and during the inspection by the upgrade advisor, I was told that my system was not capable of Secure Boot. I didn't run the advisor this time, just the installation, but I didn't see anything about Secure Boot. My guess is that it is enabled, but I haven't examined all the nooks and crannies of the BIOS yet to find it now that Windows 8 Pro Upgrade is installed.
Does appear there is a much more involved setup with UEFI. There is no way the average user could have accomplished what you did IMO. Heck, until I started reading some of these threads, I did not have any idea that UEFI required GPT, and would not have had any idea how to convert on my own without investigating these things. The average person would probably not be able to even find information about this.
This just shows one reason why the average person is having problems Upgrading on newer systems.
Yeah it's a huge pain getting UEFI up and running and tweaked, at least is was for me.
The board I have supports both regular BIOS and EFI implementation, but after tinkering in UEFI I ended up going back to BIOS.
There wasn't anything worth keeping the UEFI setup. It was actually slower bootup on my system, and whenever I tried to tweak it I ended up not being able to boot at all.
Lesson: Either get yourself a full 100% EUFI motherboard implementation, or just a plain BIOS based board, not both.
I think UEFI could use a few more years of experience and maturity, to put a bit more distance between the old and the new.
The main reason I'm going this route is that folks who purchase a new machine will have 100% UEFI and a GPT hard disk drive. Hopefully I'll pick up some useful information in what I'm doing that I might be able to pass along here in the future.
Originally Posted by CLiNT
Originally Posted by Medico
This is why us average people rely on you above average people. Like you, bbearren, CLiNT and others.
Well, we have to thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us :).
Originally Posted by bbearren
Windows 8 Pro Upgrade over Windows 7 Pro SP1 is activated, up and running, all drivers installed, finishing a last round of Windows Updates and then I'll make a drive image of a pristine setup. From there I will continue to tinker. My BIOS is transitional, meaning to say that it is not wholly UEFI only. So I may have an option or two unavailable to a true UEFI. For boot sequence, I have to tap F12 like a woodpecker (it goes by really fast), then under LEGACY BOOT I have CD/DVD and Internal HDD listed (my assumption is that one might dual boot through BIOS using a GPT HDD or MBR HDD). USB drive shows up there also, if there is a USB Drive in one of the ports. Under UEFI, Windows Boot Manager is always listed, but the other options don't appear unless the appropriate device is already populated with media.
In other words, unless there is a UEFI capable bootable CD or DVD in the optical drive when BIOS is entered, the CD/DVD drive doesn't show up in the UEFI section. If there is UEFI capable bootable media in the drive (such as a Windows 7 or 8 installation DVD), it shows up under UEFI (and still shows up under LEGACY BOOT). The same goes for bootable USB. if the files on the USB are UEFI capable, it will show up under the UEFI header, but in my case, it isn't listed as "USB". My Windows 8 Pro USB installation drive is INT13(,0x80). It will also show under LEGACY BOOT.
And I also have OTHER OPTIONS, which are BIOS Setup and Diagnostics. To continue with a regular boot into Windows 8 I select Windows Boot Manager.
My BIOS has a Security section containing such items as Trusted Platform Module (AKA Secure Boot) which is currently disabled. There is also Signed Firmware Update, which is also disabled. If enabled, it means that the system BIOS can't be updated unless the update contains a valid digital signature. There are also options for admin password, system password, hard drive password, and other such goodies in Security. So, it appears that the Windows 8 setup did not enable Secure Boot during installation. Microsoft has demanded that OEM's only sell machines with Secure Boot enabled, but the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade from Microsoft didn't enforce the issue in this case. That means that I could enable Secure Boot myself, but I'm not going to at this time.
This process really hasn't taken all this long, but I've pooched it twice trying out some ideas as I went along. A couple didn't work...
But I'm faithful to those drive images, one of which I'm going to make right now.
As many of you know, I have been a faithful TeraByte customer for many years. I usually install BootIt on hard drive 0, but on the now GPT disk, that requires an extra step that I don't want to take just yet. I probably will as soon as I have read up some more on it and consulted the folks at TeraByte Support. In the meantime, I can still boot the CD and do partition work, which BootIt BM can do on a GPT drive.
When I installed Windows 8 on GPT and let it format a couple of 60GB partitions for me, it formatted them NTFS. I used BootIt to create another NTFS partition on some of the unallocated space, where I'll be installing programs.
Dual booting, I can always create a drive image of the system I'm not using. But I'm not dual booting on my laptop (yet). I've burned a TBWinRE boot disk, and I've also modified my winre.wim to include IFW. There's a very good tut in TeraByte's How-To section, and the TBWinRE builder is a free download. It allows me to boot into the Windows Recovery Environment, which is a RAMDISK (which now has Image for Windows installed) and create a drive image from outside the Windows environment - it runs totally from RAM (drive X)
I'm creating a total hard drive image with Windows 8 Pro in pristine condition with all drivers installed. From this point I can tinker around with the laptop without fear. I intend to get a dual boot going next with Windows 7 Ultimate, like I have on my desktop.
An aside: StartIsBack
In this journey, I stumbled upon StartIsBack early on. I don't recall seeing it mentioned here on this forum, did a quick search and couldn't find it here. From the StartIsBack site, "Think of it as a transition path which Microsoft should have made for Windows 8."
Turns out that Microsoft mainly disabled the Windows 7 Start Menu, as it was impractical to build the Windows 8 architecture without it. Much of the code is still right there natively in Windows 8. StartIsBack is extremely lightweight, zero privileges (can be installed by a standard user account), and from my couple of days experience with it, is the Windows 7 Start Menu, with some added customizations for the Start Screen and desktop, including the "live" areas/corners of the desktop. It can also pull all of the "non-app" tiles from the Start Screen and put their shortcuts in the Start Menu, leaving the Start Screen strictly Apps.
My stated goal was to become usably familiar with UEFI and GPT, since that is without doubt the path upon which we all are migrating, slowly but surely. (Anyone with an external hard disk drive larger than 2.2TB is using GPT without knowing it. My NAS is 3TB, and it is a GPT disk, one huge partition formatted in NTFS). But secondarily, I didn't see much sense in not using the Windows 8 setup after all the ruminating and rummaging around to build it.
Toward that end, in installing programs and utilities I was spending all my time on the desktop. One of my preferences in choosing a utility for anything is that it have a small footprint, be nonintrusive, and simple to setup and use. StartIsBack fits those requirements. It has a 30 day fully functional free trial, and a license fee for two PC's is only $3. I'm still using it in the free trial mode, but I definitely will be buying it. $3!!! Plus I like the fact that it is primarily Windows 8 native code.
Making the conversion to UEFI/GPT on my laptop was facilitated by having the laptop on my computer desk in front of the monitor for my desktop. I could use my desktop to find pertinent information, and be able to read from the desktop monitor while I finagled with my laptop. Aside from occasionally using the wrong mouse or keyboard, that was a real boon.
And stumbling upon StartIsBack while looking for something else in the beginning of this undertaking, I downloaded it to give it a try. I must say that I have not found any difference at all between StartIsBack on Windows 8 and the Start Menu on Windows 7. The interface for personalization is exactly the same, with the addition of options for the Windows 8 Start Screen. And as far as usability, it is totally familiar.
Of course, if one disliked the Windows 7 Start Menu, StartIsBack would certainly not be an option to consider. Personally, I have had no problems with the Windows 7 Start Menu, am very familiar with it and comfortable using it. This may very well be my own transition to using Windows 8 (as I am right now to post this) on a more regular basis. I can literally pull any part of my Windows 7 Start Menu and/or desktop (either by mounting a drive image, or across my network) directly into Windows 8. That is a great time saver, right there.
Oh, and one more thing. Simply installing StartIsBack has eliminated the "carriage return/new line" issue with IE10 that so many (me, too) have experienced right here in the forums.
I replaced Classic Shell with StartIsback three weeks ago and it seems very good.
Originally Posted by bbearren
Version 2.0 (currently Beta) will have some nice additions:
- Shortcut to Start Screen in Start Menu
- Modern Apps (Start Apps) are included into MFU, search and all programs list
- Closing Modern App returns you to desktop or start screen, whichever was used last
But I think the forum IE10 compatibility is pure coincidence and nothing to do with StartIsBack; a forum change was made on January 22nd:
Originally Posted by I.M.O.G.
What about the Windows Security screen option from the Start menu when on Remote Desktop?
I'm not sure what you mean by "Windows Security screen option". The "Administrative Tools" folder is in the Start Menu, and "Local Security Policy" is in that folder, but I don't know if that's what you're asking about.
Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown
Whenever I'd been in Windows 8 prior to this, I had been hitting "Compatibility View" out of habit, so I wasn't really aware of the changes in the editor.
Originally Posted by BruceR
But I do like the familiarity of StartIsBack, and the small footprint.