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SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues (Read 14093 times)
Dan Goodell
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #15 - Feb 26th, 2015 at 8:55pm
 
Brian wrote on Feb 26th, 2015 at 3:36pm:
I need the WinRE.wim to create IFW recovery media and I think some other imaging apps use it too.

Interesting.  Hadn't thought of that benefit.  Do you need to keep the recovery partition with it, though?  Or can you just keep only the winre.wim file (in an archive or on an external disk, for example) and point the IFW builder to it when you need it?  From the TB tutorial it sounds like the builder will look for winre.wim in a few predesignated locations, but doesn't mention what your options are if it can't find it.



Quote:
I wonder what we are missing [by not using EFI]? If anything. We can't boot from a drive larger than 2 TB but that isn't relevant if you have the OS on a SSD. We don't have Secure Boot but does it really matter?

My thoughts, exactly.

Secure Boot should help prevent boot sector virus infections, but I can count one hand the number times that might have been useful to me in the past.  That is, exactly once.  And that wasn't the result of a hacker, it was the result of an overly arrogant company called Intuit and their TurboTax program, which they had purposely designed to modify the boot track for their own secret, copy-protection scheme.  (Needless to say, Intuit lost me as a customer for life with that debacle.)

I suppose Secure Boot could be beneficial to less careful, or less knowledgeble, users who might be more susceptible to malware.  Or who knows, Secure Boot may find it's true calling to be in helping block the overreach of the NSA.

I agree with you on 2TB boot disks.  I can't imagine going back to a non-SSD boot disk, and I figure it will be a l-o-n-g time before I'll have a SSD larger than 2TB so there's no incentive to switch to EFI.  There's no problem using GPT data disks with an MBR boot disk, so I can foresee using a combination of under-2TB MBR boot SSD with large GPT data HDDs for quite some time to come.

 
 
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Brian
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #16 - Feb 26th, 2015 at 9:10pm
 
Dan Goodell wrote on Feb 26th, 2015 at 8:55pm:
Do you need to keep the recovery partition with it, though?Or can you just keep only the winre.wim file (in an archive or on an external disk, for example) and point the IFW builder to it when you need it?


After doing the GPT to MBR conversion I put a copy of winre.wim in C:\System32\Recovery and I could then create an IFW TBWinRE. I wasn't interested in getting the Recovery Environment working.


Like you, my MBR mode Windows OS are installed into a partition, not Unallocated Free Space, so there are no extra Microsoft partitions.

 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #17 - Feb 27th, 2015 at 12:54am
 
Repairing the Recovery Environment was easy. If you want to have it. WinRE.wim (extracted from an image backup) was copied to C:\Windows\System32\Recovery

From an Admin Command Prompt..

reagentc /disable
reagentc /enable

Fixed. C:\Recovery has been created. WinRE.wim has been moved from C:\Windows\System32\Recovery to C:\Recovery\WindowsRE

http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=587
 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #18 - Feb 27th, 2015 at 2:16pm
 
Dan Goodell wrote on Feb 26th, 2015 at 8:55pm:
Do you need to keep the recovery partition with it, though?  Or can you just keep only the winre.wim file (in an archive or on an external disk, for example) and point the IFW builder to it when you need it?

Aha, the TB tutorial in your last link (http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=587) answers that question under the section "Unable to Build TBWinRE Boot Media". 

So you don't need to actually have Recovery installed on your system to create a TBwin boot iso.  One can archive the winre.wim file and pull it out whenever you need it.




Looks like that last link is good for building a Recovery Environment on the OS partition, ala the old XP strategy.  Maybe not as ideal (from a RE perspective) as having it on a separate partition, but better from an OS perspective in that it should permit a generalized BCD and avoids the inherent problems of imaging/restoring a Windows installation split across multiple partitions.

So adding RE to the OS partition restores some of the benefits without any of the downsides, and also wouldn't add much to the size of an image.  My policy has been to just forego the RE, but this may be worth rethinking my standard practice.


 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #19 - Mar 1st, 2015 at 5:31pm
 
Dan,

I used a variation of your method where an image restore isn't required...

Boot BIBM
delete two partitions (MSR and EFI)
change Disk Type to MBR
set Win8 partition Active

Boot WinPE in MBR mode
bootrec /rebuildbcd

Boot into Win8

The following is optional if you desire a Recovery Environment.
the Recovery partition will have a drive letter. Say G:
copy G:\Recovery\WindowsRE\Winre.wim to C:\Windows\System32\Recovery
(I used TBOSDT as I couldn't do it from a Command Prompt)
from a Command Prompt
reagentc /disable
reagentc /enable

In Disk Management delete the Recovery partition.

All seems fine.
 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #20 - Apr 20th, 2015 at 4:53pm
 
TeraByte now has a script called chgdtype.tbs. This can convert a UEFI Win8 to a MBR Win8 in 1 second. You run the script from BIBM boot media.

You can convert back to UEFI Win8 in 5 seconds. And back to MBR Win8 again in 1 second.
 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #21 - Apr 22nd, 2015 at 1:28pm
 
Have you tried it?  (I don't have any UEFI/GPT systems to test.)

I'm confused by what's actually being changed.  UEFI is an alternative to BIOS, while MBR is an alternative to GPT, so it seems like the terminology is being mixed up.

Is the script perhaps converting GPT to MBR and vice-versa?  And if so, I wonder what kind of MBR layout it creates when converting a GPT disk containing more than four partitions--like the configuration of some new OEM systems.


 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #22 - Apr 22nd, 2015 at 3:28pm
 
Dan,

I've tried it many times on my test computer.

Here are my partitions (Win8.1 OS installed in UEFI mode)...

Recovery         300 MiB
EFI                     99 MiB
MSR                 128 MiB
Win8.1         25000 MiB
Free Space 584952 MiB

I run the script from BIBM (you can run it from TBOS boot media too) and I get a MBR disk with these partitions...

Recovery         300 MiB
Free Space       227 MiB
Win8.1         25000 MiB
Free Space 584952 MiB

If I run the script again I get a GPT disk with these partitions...

Recovery         300 MiB
MSR                 128 MiB
Free Space        99 MiB
Win8.1         25000 MiB
Free Space 584852 MiB
EFI                   100 MiB

If you want to make it look neater you can copy (clone) the 100 MiB EFI partition to the 99 MiB of Free Space and delete the 100 MiB partition. Win8.1 still boots fine.

It is certainly a faster method than we've been using.
 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #23 - Apr 22nd, 2015 at 3:54pm
 
Another test...

Recovery         300 MiB
EFI                     99 MiB
MSR                 128 MiB
Win8.1         25000 MiB
Part1          100000 MiB
Part2          484952 MiB

Running the script creates a MBR disk with 4 primary partitions...

Recovery         300 MiB
Free Space       227 MiB
Win8.1         25000 MiB
Part1          100000 MiB
Part2          484952 MiB


If you want to run the script again (testing) you have to resize the Recovery partition smaller and you get...

Recovery         299 MiB
MSR                 128 MiB
EFI                   100 MiB
Win8.1         25000 MiB
Part1          100000 MiB
Part2          484952 MiB




 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #24 - Apr 23rd, 2015 at 4:50am
 
Okay, so it's doing a GPT to MBR conversion.  I'm guessing you're also switching to/from UEFI vs BIOS/Legacy boot in your BIOS Setup?

It looks like the script is simply abandoning the GPT's EFI and MSR partitions when it does the conversion to MBR, and leaving the space marked as unallocated.

That means your experiment #2 didn't go quite far enough because there weren't more than four partitions left when those two were unallocated.  What if you split Part1 and/or Part2 to add a Part3 or Part4?  When EFI and MSR are abandoned that would leave more than four remaining partitions, and I'd be curious what the script does in that case.

I was wondering if the MBR->GPT reversion resurrects the abandoned partitions or creates them anew.  Your experiment #1 seems to establish that at least the EFI is created anew (because it's not in the same place), as well as confirming that partition order is not an issue on a GPT disk.

I don't think either the EFI or MSR partitions are very complicated, so I would guess it's not hard for the script to create them anew.  That's probably why it takes a few seconds longer converting in that direction.

In reply #23, what do you mean by, "If you want to run the script again you have to resize the Recovery partition"?  I see that the script wants 228 MB of unallocated space to work with, but what if you shrank Part2 instead of Recovery?  Experiment #1 implies that should work, as well.

Your experiments make me curious about a lot of questions.  Maybe I'll have to rebuild a GPT/EFI layout on a spare disk and try my own experiments.  Trouble is I only have one machine at the moment with a UEFI BIOS, and it's not a testbed machine.



 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #25 - Apr 23rd, 2015 at 6:17am
 
Dan Goodell wrote on Apr 23rd, 2015 at 4:50am:
What if you split Part1 and/or Part2 to add a Part3 or Part4?When EFI and MSR are abandoned that would leave more than four remaining partitions, and I'd be curious what the script does in that case.


I tried that. The script created an EMBR disk with 5 or 6 primary partitions. Win8 boots but fails to fully load. You see a BSOD. I didn't install BIBM but I think it would allow Win8 to load. Tomorrow I'll try it.

Dan Goodell wrote on Apr 23rd, 2015 at 4:50am:
In reply #23, what do you mean by, "If you want to run the script again you have to resize the Recovery partition"?


The MSR and EFI wouldn't fit in the 227 MiB of Free Space. They needed 228 MiB of Free Space.

Quote:
but what if you shrank Part2 instead of Recovery?


Do you mean Win8.1? You would have to slide it too and that is time consuming..

Dan Goodell wrote on Apr 23rd, 2015 at 4:50am:
as well as confirming that partition order is not an issue on a GPT disk.


In earlier restoring tests (unrelated to this script) I've restored the 4 partitions in random order and scattered them across the HD, separated by Free Space. Win8 still boots fine.

Quote:
I'm guessing you're also switching to/from UEFI vs BIOS/Legacy boot in your BIOS Setup?


I don't have to with my computers. Compatibility Support Module is enabled in the UEFI/BIOS so if I restore an Entire Drive image of a Win8 OS installed in UEFI mode it boots and if I restore an Entire Drive image of a Win8 OS installed in MBR mode it boots. Editing the UEFI/BIOS between OS isn't needed.

Similarly, in my boot menu I have MBR and UEFI choices on how to boot a USB flash drive. For BIBM I must choose MBR but for IFL I can choose UEFI or MBR. No editing the UEFI/BIOS between flash drives is needed.

 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #26 - Apr 23rd, 2015 at 6:38am
 
I created extra partitions and converted GPT to MBR. An EMBR disk was created with 6 primary partitions. BIBM was installed but only 4 primary partitions are allowed in the partition table of the Boot Item. The other 2 partitions are "unusable" although you could have another Boot Item containing those partitions and omitting 2 others. Win8.1 loaded normally.

BIBM couldn't be uninstalled without deleting 2 primary partitions. Two partitions were deleted, BIBM was uninstalled and Win8.1 loaded normally.
 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #27 - Apr 23rd, 2015 at 3:32pm
 
I know why I got the BSOD mentioned above. It is repeatable. After restoring an entire drive image to get back to "normal" I must let Win8.1 load once into Windows. If I'm in a hurry and omit this step and do the GPT to MBR/EMBR conversion, I get a BSOD.

So, repeating the earlier test where I had extra partitions and finished up with an EMBR disk with 6 partitions. The Recovery, Win8.1 and 2 other partitions were inserted into the empty partition table (the script tells you it will be empty) and the Win8.1 partition was set active. Win8.1 loaded normally without BIBM being installed. The other 2 partitions were represented by Unallocated Space in Disk Management. This is standard for unlimited primaries on an EMBR disk.
 
 
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Re: SSDs, Win7, Multibooting--Best Practices, Questions, and Issues
Reply #28 - May 3rd, 2015 at 4:42pm
 
Just messing around with Win10. I converted MBR to GPT. It took 1 second. You get a 3 partition system...

Win10
MSR
EFI

Recovery remains in the Win10 partition.
 
 
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