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  1. #1
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    Win8 prevents BIOS access

    I recently upgraded from “Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)” to “Windows 8 Pro 64-bit”, using the “Keep Windows settings, personal files, and apps” option. All except one of my programs work in Win8, and my Win8 desktop is unchanged (except for the Win8 Start Screen replacement for the Win7 Start Button). I am using a 2-year old desktop PC with hardware described at the bottom of this post.

    Since I upgraded to Win8, I cannot access my BIOS settings!! The information that previously displayed during computer Startup no longer appears (so I do not know exactly when to press the [Delete] key for access to my BIOS Settings)! I have tried the following procedures, but none of these attempts would give me access to my BIOS Settings, or display any information during Startup:

    • I pressed the [Delete] key repeatedly after the computer beeped once.
    • I held down the [Delete] key immediately after starting my computer.
    • I held down the [Delete] key before and during startup of my computer.
    • I disconnected the power and data cables from my SSD system drive (to hopefully remove any influence from Win8), and started my computer.
    • From the Win8 Start Screen, I selected “Charm Bar > Settings > Change PC Settings > General > Restart now”.

    I am surprised that I cannot find any info online for this very significant problem with Win8. My questions:

    1. Has anyone else had this problem?
    2. How can I fix this so that I have access to my BIOS Settings?
    3. Can I replace my traditional BIOS with UEFI on my existing motherboard?
    4. Should I replace my motherboard with a newer one that includes UEFI?
    5. Should I just accept that I can never access my BIOS Settings, or never change my boot device priority?
    6. Why do Microsoft and/or Forum Members not warn of the Win8 problems with computers without UEFI? Please see below for some of my other disappointments with the Win8 upgrade on a traditional BIOS system.

    My computer Startup is much slower with Win8; i.e. more than 40 seconds!
    Win 8 will not let me perform a System Image restore.
    USB 3.0 is not working with Win8’s native drivers. Backups to my USB 3.0 HDDs are very much slower with Win8.
    ----------------------------------------------
    My system = Self-built in November 2010 with an Intel Core i7-950 processor; -- ASUS P6X58D-E motherboard; -- 6GB of DDR3 1333 RAM; -- ASUS ENGT450 GPU; -- ASUS 12X BD-ROM ODD; -- Samsung 128GB SSD Series 470 system drive; -- 3TB and 2TB HDDs for data; -- Corsair CMPSU-850HX 850W PSU; -- and dual 24” monitors.

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  3. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    It is very possible some of your problems are related to the Upgrade Install rather than going the Custom Install route. Yes the Custom Install takes longer, but ultimately gives a more pristine installation.

    On every PC I have read about, the Win 8 start up is quicker. My PC (with Fast Start enabled) on a conventional platter HD is about 15 secs. I have not found a problem at all with non UEFI, in fact just the opposite. The UEFI system secure boot can cause problems with Image restoration using Linux Rescue Boot Disks.

    I can access my Bios as I could with Win 7. No problems at all.

    I did go the long route and did a Custom Install from Media I created during the installation. I also formatted as part of the installation. From the moment I started by installation until I was complete was less than 5 hours, including all apps installed, all updates done, defrag done and 3 system Images created. 2 of the 3 Images were intermediate in case I ran into problems, which I did not so after creating the final, initial Image I deleted the first 2 Images. Installed were 29 apps plus Office 2010 Pro Plus.

    I also did most of my basic customization's during this 5 hour time frame. I do not think that's bad from start to finish.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  4. #3
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Windows 8 makes some changes in the boot menu, including the method of getting to the BIOS even if UEFI is not enabled. When I had it on my Dell laptop, I used F12 to get into boot options, and from there it was F7 (formerly F2 on a typical reboot) that allowed me to get into the BIOS. I then put my boot manager, BootIt Bare Metal, back in charge and took the boot menu away from Windows 8. After more than a month with Windows 8 Pro, I restored my Windows 7 Ultimate drive images on my laptop, and that's what it's running now. And once again, F2 on boot will get me into the BIOS.

    In your case, it depends on your PC manufacturer and the 'normal' method of getting to boot options. I'm dual booting Windows 7/8 now on my desktop, but I'm using the Windows 7 bootmgr for my boot menu - I don't care for the way Windows 8 bootmgr forces a reboot to get into the other OS. And I still use BootIt BM on my desktop, so that the ultimate control rests with me.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
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  5. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have a Sony Vaio laptop. As soon as the initial Vaio screen is displayed, I tap F2 and the Bios opens. This is the same as it was for Win 7. My laptop does not have the Secure Boot or UEFI. It has a regular Bios with the normal Bios options. I have left the Win 8 MBR in charge at present. I could use EasyBCD to change to the Win 7 MBR I believe, but this is working for me.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  6. #5
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post
    I have left the Win 8 MBR in charge at present.
    Since you don't dual boot, it doesn't matter.

    To the OP, I would suggest trying the function keys one at a time until you find one that works.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  7. #6
    mart44
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    Answers below written from experience of both problems:

    My computer Startup is much slower with Win8; i.e. more than 40 seconds!

    Is 'Fast Startup' enabled? See the article linked to below. Note what it says about the Fast Startup option not showing and what to do about it if that is the case:

    http://helpdeskgeek.com/windows-8/tu...power-options/

    If that doesn't work at first, go back to the 'Fast Startup' option, untick the box and restart the computer. Now tick the box again and restart again. Try a full shutdown and restart. Make sure you can actually hear the computer power right down before restarting.

    Win 8 will not let me perform a System Image restore.

    If you opted to upgrade directly (keeping files and programs), rather than make an upgrade installation disk, the files needed to restore an image from a Windows 8 'WindowsImageBackup' folder will be missing. An image can be made but not restored from. The files necessary for accessing the image are only installed when upgrading using a Windows 8 upgrade installation disk. The missing files means that you can't make a recovery disk either.

    If you don't want the hassle of rectifying this, use a third-party program for disk imaging needs. A boot-up disk made by the chosen program will find and use the created image(s). However, if you want to use Windows 8's disk imaging function, I think you will have to make an upgrade installation disk and reinstall from that. A nuisance but you will only need to do it once.

    Have a look for a folder on the C: drive called 'ESD'. In this folder are all the files required to reinstall Windows 8. It is possible to make a bootable upgrade installation disk from the folder using 'ImageBurn' (follow link below). Use the resultant DVD to reinstall the system. This will install the files necessary for recovering an image made by Windows 8's own disk imaging function. Recovery can now be initiated either from within Windows or the created installation disk.

    http://www.pagestart.com/win8esdtodvd11041201.html
    Last edited by mart44; 2013-01-21 at 01:03. Reason: typo

  8. #7
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    Here is a blog post from MSDN, about getting to the BIOS settings if you have a EUFI BIOS, which you don't (I checked the ASUS site). Even so, you may get something useful out of it.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2...er-before.aspx

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  10. #8
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I have to use restart rather than shut down/turn on to get into BIOS. Fast shutdown (enabled by default) is a hybrid hibernation and doesn't completely shut down the computer. You can also disable Fast Boot and then you should be able to get into BIOS after a shutdown. The problem occurs on bot UEFI and non UEFI systems.

    Jerry

  11. #9
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    Has anyone tried this little doohickey, if so, does it resolve any of the issues discussed here?

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  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mart44 View Post
    Answers below written from experience of both problems:

    My computer Startup is much slower with Win8; i.e. more than 40 seconds!

    Is 'Fast Startup' enabled? See the article linked to below. Note what it says about the Fast Startup option not showing and what to do about it if that is the case:

    http://helpdeskgeek.com/windows-8/tu...power-options/

    If that doesn't work at first, go back to the 'Fast Startup' option, untick the box and restart the computer. Now tick the box again and restart again. Try a full shutdown and restart. Make sure you can actually hear the computer power right down before restarting.

    Win 8 will not let me perform a System Image restore.

    If you opted to upgrade directly (keeping files and programs), rather than make an upgrade installation disk, the files needed to restore an image from a Windows 8 'WindowsImageBackup' folder will be missing. An image can be made but not restored from. The files necessary for accessing the image are only installed when upgrading using a Windows 8 upgrade installation disk. The missing files means that you can't make a recovery disk either.

    If you don't want the hassle of rectifying this, use a third-party program for disk imaging needs. A boot-up disk made by the chosen program will find and use the created image(s). However, if you want to use Windows 8's disk imaging function, I think you will have to make an upgrade installation disk and reinstall from that. A nuisance but you will only need to do it once.

    Have a look for a folder on the C: drive called 'ESD'. In this folder are all the files required to reinstall Windows 8. It is possible to make a bootable upgrade installation disk from the folder using 'ImageBurn' (follow link below). Use the resultant DVD to reinstall the system. This will install the files necessary for recovering an image made by Windows 8's own disk imaging function. Recovery can now be initiated either from within Windows or the created installation disk.

    http://www.pagestart.com/win8esdtodvd11041201.html
    Thank you, mart44, for your suggestions.

    Slow Startup: "Fast Startup" was enabled. As per your suggestion, I unchecked "Fast Startup", Restarted my computer, re-checked "Fast Startup", Shutdown my computer, and after several seconds I Started my computer again. This did NOT allow access to BIOS Settings, or shorten the time for booting (= 49 seconds).

    System Image Restore: I do use a 3rd-party program and I have many System Image Backups on my data HDD. BUT, Win8 will not let me restore any of my System Image Backups without booting to a Rescue Disk, and I cannot boot to my DVD Drive because I cannot access my BIOS Settings to change the Boot Device Priority!!

    Since my original post, I have replaced my Win8 "Upgrade" with a "Clean Install", but that has not fixed my problem!

  14. #11
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    Apologies if you've already done this, but when you said you disconnected your SSD drive you didn't mention disconnecting any other drives you may have in the machine - and if your special Windows 'system' partition (not the 'boot' partition in which your Win 8 system resides) were on a still-connected drive it would still begin the Windows boot process (just as fast as always).

    I ask because I don't think (though I certainly could be wrong) that Win 8 modifies the BIOS (at least any traditional, vs. UEFI, BIOS) in any manner that would result in the behavior you describe, especially if no disk is connected. And if that's true, then disconnecting all disks should allow you to enter the traditional BIOS (which your motherboard seems to have) in the normal manner and change the boot order before reconnecting the drives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    Windows 8 makes some changes in the boot menu, including the method of getting to the BIOS even if UEFI is not enabled.
    I think your statement is not accurate in its overreaching generality. My laptop was not changed - I access BIOS the exact same way I did with Windows 7. The same happens with another laptop I migrated from XP to 8. Both laptops have a single OS - Windows 8.

    @pauldknight.
    I think it may have simply been a coincidence. Windows 8, to my knowledge, does not have the effect you describe and that's probably the reason you cannot find other people experiencing the same issue. The removal of the SSD and the behavior persisting seems to be an indication that the cause for that behavior may lie elsewhere. I would follow BBrearren's advice and try multiple options regarding keys - my laptop goes into BIOS by pressing ESC and then F1.

  16. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I access the bios in all three of our PCs (2 Sony laptops and 1 Dell desktop) exactly the same after custom installing Win 8.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  17. #14
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    I think your statement is not accurate in its overreaching generality. My laptop was not changed - I access BIOS the exact same way I did with Windows 7. The same happens with another laptop I migrated from XP to 8. Both laptops have a single OS - Windows 8.
    My laptop is UEFI capable, but UEFI is disabled by default. Before installing Windows 8, my boot screen showed the Dell logo, (F2 for BIOS) (F12 for Boot Options). After installing Windows 8, (F2 for BIOS) was no longer on the boot screen. And just as pauldknight's del key no longer took him to BIOS, F2 would no longer take me to BIOS. F12 had an additional entry, "F7 for BIOS" that had never been there before. From within the Boot Options menu, I could press F7 and go to BIOS.

    This was all done by Windows 8, and my guess is that it was done through bootmgr. When I restored my Windows 7 drive images, my boot menu returned to normal - I didn't have anything to do with it, other than restoring my Windows 7 drive images.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-01-22 at 20:06.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  18. #15
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    That's VERY surprising, since it's usually possible to get to the BIOS (at least a traditional, non-UEFI BIOS) from the POST screen without having any disk attached at all, suggesting that this screen is displayed before any on-disk boot manager is invoked. And my experience is the same as ruirib's and Medico's: I can use the same function keys I've always been able to during POST to get to the BIOS or boot alternate devices.

    Are you by any chance describing the boot settings in the WINDOWS boot-options menu that's reached during early Windows on-disk boot manager activity rather than on the initial (black) screen displayed during POST immediately following power-on? If not, it would be really interesting to know exactly what's going on, since it certainly doesn't sound like any behavior in previous Windows versions (and does suggest that Win 8 is indeed modifying the BIOS in some way in this area: I wonder whether Win 8's boot manager is detecting the presence of UEFI even though it's disabled and exhibiting different behavior because of this).

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