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Author Topic: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.  (Read 3004 times)

superboyac

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issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« on: January 18, 2015, 05:45:15 PM »
i was planning on upgrading a windows 7 desktop to windows 8.  the first time i tried installing, it worked fine, but i first had to disconnect all drives other than the OS drive to be able to go through the installation.  Then, I couldn't connect my external drive because it would be the 7th drive connected.  So i remember this issue back when i was upgrading to windows 7.  it had something to do with a 6 drive limit, drives larger than 2TB, uefi booting, and ahci. 

So it appears i'm having this issue again.  Except this time, I can't seem to be able to install windows 8 in uefi mode.  I've tried all the instructions online, mainly the advice to boot from usb on a rufus created disc with fat32 and uefi options chosen.  the problem is that this disc will not boot into the installer.  it just hangs with a blinking cursor.

I have run out of options.  I think part of the problem is the alienware motherboard I'm using, which I'm not too thrilled with.  it's an obscure, off the consumer market board, and not much available in terms of online discussion or drivers or anything.  I believe it's actually an MS-7543 motherboard originally made by MSI v1.0.

Anyway, I'll probably give up and just do a new computer later.  Probably the server i've been planning to build for years.

ewemoa

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2015, 06:30:07 PM »
Not helpful for your situation, but I have not had good luck with UEFI (too many glitches and at least one additional administrative burden that seems to arise from its use) and these days I avoid it.  IIUC, the quality of UEFI implementations varies considerably.  At least the glitches might get ironed out eventually...may be?

superboyac

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2015, 11:36:57 PM »
Not helpful for your situation, but I have not had good luck with UEFI (too many glitches and at least one additional administrative burden that seems to arise from its use) and these days I avoid it.  IIUC, the quality of UEFI implementations varies considerably.  At least the glitches might get ironed out eventually...may be?
i think my experiences have been similar, quite painful.  however, somewhere during all these headaches, i thought i learned that you need uefi for large drives (>2tb) or more than 6 drives.  I really am not sure.  But I want to say I've encountered this issue like 3 times before.

ewemoa

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 12:49:14 AM »
What you said at least about large drives is one of the "draws" of UEFI, IIRC -- perhaps number of drives too, not sure. I happen to not have drives that exceed 1 TB, nor simultaneously connect that many so have "escaped"...What I was lured by was the support for a large number of the same type of "first-class" partition -- i.e. MBR only supported up to 4 primary partitions and with UEFI you get many more of the "standard" partition.

It turned out though that there is an additional headache taking a drive from one machine to another if using UEFI -- I found the drive wasn't enough (at least for what I tried), it was also necessary to modify something that is stored in the PC.  With MBR / legacy setups, I could take a drive from one machine and use it on another without any other "state" that needed to be transferred -- with some caveats regarding hardware.  This additional complication was enough of a turn-off for me that I now look for motherboards that support MBR / legacy mode.  I don't know how much longer this approach will be viable though...
« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 12:57:14 AM by ewemoa »

xtabber

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2015, 01:14:33 PM »
i thought i learned that you need uefi for large drives (>2tb)

You can use non-system drives >2TB if the partition table is GPT and not MBR. You must also be running a 64-bit operating system because a 32-bit OS cannot address more than 2.2TB.

UEFI is a replacement for the system BIOS, not a drive partition manager. You only need UEFI if your system drive is >2TB because a BIOS cannot boot from a GPT partition table.

Windows can support up to 24 drives (C through Z), but your motherboard will limit the number of internal drives your system can support.   If you have more than 4 drives in a PC, you really should be looking at offloading them to a NAS box.

superboyac

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 10:04:20 PM »
What you said at least about large drives is one of the "draws" of UEFI, IIRC -- perhaps number of drives too, not sure. I happen to not have drives that exceed 1 TB, nor simultaneously connect that many so have "escaped"...What I was lured by was the support for a large number of the same type of "first-class" partition -- i.e. MBR only supported up to 4 primary partitions and with UEFI you get many more of the "standard" partition.

It turned out though that there is an additional headache taking a drive from one machine to another if using UEFI -- I found the drive wasn't enough (at least for what I tried), it was also necessary to modify something that is stored in the PC.  With MBR / legacy setups, I could take a drive from one machine and use it on another without any other "state" that needed to be transferred -- with some caveats regarding hardware.  This additional complication was enough of a turn-off for me that I now look for motherboards that support MBR / legacy mode.  I don't know how much longer this approach will be viable though...

Yes!  I remember this, it may even be a thread on here from a few years ago.  It's true...I had moved a desktop to my living room, and switched a couple of the hard drives around.  And the computer wouldn't boot after removing one of the drives.  Also, I moved a large drive from the working computer into the new one, which didn't yet have a large drive.  Well...I had to do all sorts of things with Intel RST, and there was a point where it kept asking me to format the whole drive.  Man, it was messy.
I think someone here explained that with uefi or something, there is boot information that is stored and distributed on all the connected drives, so if one is disconnected it won't boot anymore because info is missing.  Anyway, it was a big headache and I don't even remember how I solved it.  I think i just didn't use the large drives for the problem pc.

superboyac

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2015, 10:06:19 PM »
i thought i learned that you need uefi for large drives (>2tb)

You can use non-system drives >2TB if the partition table is GPT and not MBR. You must also be running a 64-bit operating system because a 32-bit OS cannot address more than 2.2TB.

UEFI is a replacement for the system BIOS, not a drive partition manager. You only need UEFI if your system drive is >2TB because a BIOS cannot boot from a GPT partition table.

Windows can support up to 24 drives (C through Z), but your motherboard will limit the number of internal drives your system can support.   If you have more than 4 drives in a PC, you really should be looking at offloading them to a NAS box.

I believe you are correct.  All my large drives are GPT, it is a 64 bit system.
Interesting point, you say I only need uefi if I use the large drive for my system drive.  I am not!  My system drive is a small SSD drive, about 200GB. 
I'm going to reinstall the OS using a different method and see if it works.

ewemoa

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2015, 02:10:40 AM »
I think someone here explained that with uefi or something, there is boot information that is stored and distributed on all the connected drives, so if one is disconnected it won't boot anymore because info is missing.

I don't know about the info being stored in a distributed manner -- may be that happens -- in the local case I believe what I wasn't terribly happy about was that some critical info is stored in the PC's nvram that is required for appropriately using the disk (specifically regarding booting).  Having to manage that was something I didn't feel like doing -- at least not at that time :)

ewemoa

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2015, 02:17:45 AM »
UEFI is a replacement for the system BIOS, not a drive partition manager. You only need UEFI if your system drive is >2TB because a BIOS cannot boot from a GPT partition table.

Sorry for making confusing remarks regarding UEFI / GPT.  I had them fused inappropriately :)

Shades

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2015, 05:25:14 AM »
If you didn't do this already, make your system's boot slower. In BIOS/UEFI you have an option to turn 'fastboot' off.

When you go for the limits, that is usually the first thing I would do. With 'fastboot' turned on, it is a possibility that not all drives properly register themselves in BIOS/UEFI during boot. If the watts of your power supply is more or less equal match the watts required to run your system, the drives may not have enough power available to spin up properly during boot.

In that case it doesn't matter at all what filesystem you are using on your HD's. But it can be fixed by adjusting a tiny setting in BIOS/UEFI. I was running a 6-drive Linux server here, but that has been reduced to 5 drives, because hd capacity is cheap and I could combine content from 2 drives to one. The other 4 are part of a software-based RAID setup.

The suggestion in a previous pot about getting a NAS solution is solid with the amount of drives you are running.

MilesAhead

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2015, 05:51:48 AM »
I believe Shades is correct about fast booting.  Also it may be helpful to post here:
http://www.eightforu.../installation-setup/

I'm sure many there have put W8.x on W7 boxes with custom builds and huge drives.

40hz

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2015, 10:24:12 AM »
There may also be an issue with how many drives the desktop version of Windows can realistically support. Especially with the controllers supplied on a workstation-class mobo. The server versions of Windows now support drive pooling. Or in Microsoft-speak: Storage Spaces. If you're in a total Windows environment, considering something like the Windows Essentials Server might be one viable - and easy - solution for home use. There's a lot to like. (Even I have to admit that much. >:D) And it's affordable. Especially if you buy it with an inexpensive server from somebody like Dell.

Alternatively, a (possibly FOSS) NAS solution, as has been previously suggested by xtabber, would also be an excellent (and likely less expensive) alternative.
 8)

superboyac

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2015, 03:05:42 PM »
There may also be an issue with how many drives the desktop version of Windows can realistically support. Especially with the controllers supplied on a workstation-class mobo. The server versions of Windows now support drive pooling. Or in Microsoft-speak: Storage Spaces. If you're in a total Windows environment, considering something like the Windows Essentials Server might be one viable - and easy - solution for home use. There's a lot to like. (Even I have to admit that much. >:D) And it's affordable. Especially if you buy it with an inexpensive server from somebody like Dell.

Alternatively, a (possibly FOSS) NAS solution, as has been previously suggested by xtabber, would also be an excellent (and likely less expensive) alternative.
 8)
i think you're right.  After 6 drives, I have consistently encountered problems, and every time I seem to figure out and solve the problem, the next time it occurs, it is slightly different.  So yeah, maybe windows just has problems with it at a certain point.  I know I've had threads discussing these before.

I'm definitely going with the Home Server for the multi drive tower I'll build.  I like storage spaces, it's easy to use for a windows guy like me.  I also like the idea of the linux servers and ZFS, but that experiment will have to wait for when i have more time.  There are some complaints with storage spaces regarding expansion and reliability, but after seeing it in action I can't really see myself running into such issues at my small scale.  Home server is just easy.

40hz

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2015, 03:42:37 PM »
Home Server for the multi drive tower I'll build.  I like storage spaces, it's easy to use for a windows guy like me.  I also like the idea of the linux servers and ZFS, but that experiment will have to wait for when i have more time.  There are some complaints with storage spaces regarding expansion and reliability, but after seeing it in action I can't really see myself running into such issues at my small scale.  Home server is just easy.


AFAIK, they've discontinued Home Server. They created Foundation as one replacement. The main drawback is it's single-CPU and with no Hyper-V virtual machine support plus it has to be purchased installed on a server. No retail copies available. It's also fairly brain-dead when it comes to management tools. So skip Foundation. Essentials is a better deal. Better tools, better features, supports 2 physical CPUs...and you can install it on anything you want that will run it. And Essentials RC2 (the current version) now allows for one virtual machine to be hosted on it. Very handy at times that is.


superboyac

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2015, 03:53:19 PM »
Home Server for the multi drive tower I'll build.  I like storage spaces, it's easy to use for a windows guy like me.  I also like the idea of the linux servers and ZFS, but that experiment will have to wait for when i have more time.  There are some complaints with storage spaces regarding expansion and reliability, but after seeing it in action I can't really see myself running into such issues at my small scale.  Home server is just easy.


AFAIK, they've discontinued Home Server. They created Foundation as one replacement. The main drawback is it's single-CPU and with no Hyper-V virtual machine support plus it has to be purchased installed on a server. No retail copies available. It's also fairly brain-dead when it comes to management tools. So skip Foundation. Essentials is a better deal. Better tools, better features, supports 2 physical CPUs...and you can install it on anything you want that will run it. And Essentials RC2 (the current version) now allows for one virtual machine to be hosted on it. Very handy at times that is.


ok thanks for the heads up.  Looks like the price of essentials is a little more expensive to what home server used to be, ~$250.  Not too bad, but anything more would make me think twice to moving to freenas.

40hz

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Re: issues with uefi, more than 6 drives, ahci, windows 8.
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2015, 04:05:42 PM »
^Microsoft will let you download a free 180-day full-featured trial copy. I'd suggest trying it out before you buy to see if it works for you. Look here.

I'd also try FreeNAS and anything else you're curious about that you think might work. Servers aren't one-night stands. You'll be working with whatever you select for a long time barring a major disaster. So it's important to shop around and test before you commit - and like (or a least not mind) what you eventually decide to go with.
 :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 07:49:51 PM by 40hz »