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Windows 7: "No bootable devices" error after I did something really stupid.

03 Apr 2014   #1
zeoive

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
"No bootable devices" error after I did something really stupid.

Well, a few months back my comp was running pretty slow and nothing I did fixed it. And me being the idiot I was, said "you know what? Let's upgrade the BIOS!"

I had no idea what I was getting into. I had the default Alienware BIOs AO2 and upgraded to AO4. Of course, it ended badly. I tried downgrading to AO3 but the problems were still there. (my comp is an Aurora R4)

When I boot up my computer I get the "No bootable device found" screen. However if I hit F12 when the alienware logo shows up and then press Escape Windows 7 will boot up just fine.

A few months later, and I'm fed up with this. I just want to figure out how I can fix this and let Windows 7 boot up normally. I've tried changing the boot order in the BIOS but it didn't do anything significant. I thought maybe doing a repair install on Windows might fix the issue but the disc I have is the Alienware W7 disc that came with the computer and from what I understand, you can't do repair installs with those discs? That's just what I've read on the internet though, I don't know how credible that is.

I already tried the Dell support forums but they were useless, as I expected.

When Windows 7 boots, for the most part it runs fine and I can game fine. I just hate that I have to manually boot up my system every time I shut it down. Perhaps I'm just overreacting but it's really bugging me and I'd like to hear some professional advice on what I should do.

I tried finding the old BIOS that I had thinking maybe downgrading would fix the issue but Dell doesn't even have the version that I had, I searched over and over with no luck.

I've also made sure my OS drive is plugged in and placed well and everything, so it can't be loose cables. I don't think my hard drive is crashing either, because I actually tested both of my hard drives with the WD Lifeguard Diagnostics program and both hard drives passed both the quick and extended tests.


This is probably the dumbest thread on the planet, and it makes me look like a complete noob. But I'm honestly at a loss here and I don't know how to fix this issue.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
03 Apr 2014   #2
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

How did you update the BIOS?
Meaning: which method did you use to do so? Windows based program, or Dell/Alienware utility?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #3
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Since you are already in the deep end, this is what I suggest.
Update the BIOS to the newest version again, but using the guide below. After the update is complete then we can work on fixing the settings to get things right.
But you might as well be on the most current BIOS version before you start.

To insure an error free update it is recommended to use the BIOS level update utility to flash a BIOS. Update programs that run from within the OS run the risk of being interrupted unintentionally by system processes or running programs like antivirus.

The proper way to upgrade any BIOS is to:
  • Make note of all your current BIOS settings (hopefully you did this before this all began).
  • Go to the Exit Menu and Restore BIOS Defaults - this is to reset any custom configurations to normal settings and cancel any overclocking - never update a BIOS on an overclocked system! That includes something as innocent as a changed RAM speed.
  • Install the USB stick with the new BIOS on it before you exit (reboot).
  • Go back into the BIOS and run the update utility from there. Do not disrupt the process for anything.
  • When it says it is finished reboot (if it does not do so automatically) and go back into the BIOS settings
  • Reset the BIOS defaults again, reboot and go back into the BIOS settings.
  • Now re-enter your BIOS settings you made note of before, Save Changes and Exit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

03 Apr 2014   #4
zeoive

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post
How did you update the BIOS?
Meaning: which method did you use to do so? Windows based program, or Dell/Alienware utility?
I'm pretty sure I just downloaded it from the Dell/Alienware site and then launched an executable, don't know if that would have launched an external program though.

The installation itself went smoothly, I don't recall my computer crashing in the middle of it or anything. It finished updating and told me to restart and the next thing I knew my OS wouldn't boot automatically.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post
Since you are already in the deep end, this is what I suggest.
Update the BIOS to the newest version again, but using the guide below. After the update is complete then we can work on fixing the settings to get things right.
But you might as well be on the most current BIOS version before you start.

To insure an error free update it is recommended to use the BIOS level update utility to flash a BIOS. Update programs that run from within the OS run the risk of being interrupted unintentionally by system processes or running programs like antivirus.

The proper way to upgrade any BIOS is to:
  • Make note of all your current BIOS settings (hopefully you did this before this all began).
  • Go to the Exit Menu and Restore BIOS Defaults - this is to reset any custom configurations to normal settings and cancel any overclocking - never update a BIOS on an overclocked system! That includes something as innocent as a changed RAM speed.
  • Install the USB stick with the new BIOS on it before you exit (reboot).
  • Go back into the BIOS and run the update utility from there. Do not disrupt the process for anything.
  • When it says it is finished reboot (if it does not do so automatically) and go back into the BIOS settings
  • Reset the BIOS defaults again, reboot and go back into the BIOS settings.
  • Now re-enter your BIOS settings you made note of before, Save Changes and Exit.
Just to verify, when you said "cancel any overclocking" would this technically count for factory overclocked hardware as well? My vid card was overclocked but not by me, it was factory overclocked (the EVGA 660 ti SuperClocked edition to be exact.) I never manually overclock, and if I ever own something that's overclocked it'll most likely be done by the company itself and not me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #5
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

What you will need to do is describe or show what the existing settings are. Then we can tell you what changes to make.
You could just write it out or post a screenshot. Do you know if your BIOS can take screenshots? (it would have one of the new Graphical User Interfaces that you can use a mouse in)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #6
zeoive

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post
What you will need to do is describe or show what the existing settings are. Then we can tell you what changes to make.
You could just write it out or post a screenshot. Do you know if your BIOS can take screenshots? (it would have one of the new Graphical User Interfaces that you can use a mouse in)
The BIOS interface itself is pretty ancient, I have to navigate it with the arrow keys.

All I've modified in the BIOS is the boot order. I didn't bother modifying anything outside of that, because I was afraid I would mess things up even more. So everything other than the boot order has been untouched.

As for the video card, it was factory overclocked, I couldn't find it in the BIOS but I could probably find it on the Nvidia control panel.

Back to the BIOS, this is what the boot order is:

Boot Set Priority: [UEFI]

Boot priority:
1st: CD/DVD
2nd: Hard Disk
3rd: USB CD/DVD
4th: USB Hard Disk
5th. Disabled (was originally Floppy, but I disabled it because my computer doesn't even have a floppy drive and seeing as how at the time I was trying to just boot from my HDD I didn't set a priority here.)
6th: Network
7th: UEFI

As for my video card, it came factory overclocked, I didn't do any of the overclocking. I can't find the GPU on the BIOS but I could most likely boost the card power even more if I wanted to through the Nvidia Control Panel, which I have no intention of doing.

The SuperClocked edition's core clock is at 980mhz, which is the boost clock of the regular EVGA 660 ti (its core clock is 915mhz.) The SuperClocked edition has a boost clock of 1059 mhz, I haven't modified the card at all so it should still at 980mhz.

I could however modify my CPU's settings through the BIOS, I didn't though, everything is still default there (everything's enabled, hyper threading and other various things)

As for my RAM, it's just basic 8GB DDR3 clocked at 1600mhz, I haven't overclocked it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #7
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Your video card is a separate thing. Forget about that.

Starting with the GENERAL TAB (the first screen that opens in BIOS), what changeable options do you have there?
What is the next TAB in the BIOS?

Hint: you can take photos of the BIOS screens with a digital camera or phone and then upload the photos to the forum. This may be easier than describing what you are seeing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #8
zeoive

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post
Your video card is a separate thing. Forget about that.

Starting with the GENERAL TAB (the first screen that opens in BIOS), what changeable options do you have there?
What is the next TAB in the BIOS?

Hint: you can take photos of the BIOS screens with a digital camera or phone and then upload the photos to the forum. This may be easier than describing what you are seeing.
There's VERY little tabs and even less modifiable settings. Main, Advanced, Security, Boot, Exit.

Here's the "main" tab:

imgur: the simple image sharer

Here's Advanced. The BIOS can see both of my drives, in sata ports 1 and 2. Those are them without question, so the BIOS definitley knows they're there. Could it be a corrupt Windows 7 file?

imgur: the simple image sharer

And further into advanced I found the CPU settings, and I could modify those.

I'm not sure if this is relevant, but I went into the CPU settings and took a closer look and according to the "Help" section on the right (which I didn't get all of in the picture I took so its probably not worth uploading, since the only things there were CPU settings. Hyper threading, XD Bit Capability, and Active Processor Cores which are all enabled and I don't think they have anything to do with my issue.) but it mentioned Windows XP and Linux, not Windows Vista, 7 or 8, just XP and Linux.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #9
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

That is one sparse BIOS!

First, do not play with the CPU settings. You are right, they don't have anything to do with your issue. That is only for overclocking and you need to do so with purpose and some advanced planning. Knowing what you are doing helps a bit too.
You can cause some real problems playing with that if you don't know what your doing.

I'm not sure how you get to CPU settings from the advanced tab anyhow. I don't see anything there. Is there something not in the pic?

And your problem is occuring at the System level, before the OS even loads, so it has absolutely nothing to do with Windows or any Windows file.

"No bootable device found" indicates that the system cannot find any hard drives, or cannot find an operating system to boot.
This usually occurs because of hard drive failure, loose cables, or a bad controller on the motherboard, but in your case it probably has nothing to do with any of those things. I suspect a corrupted Checksum. Something that happened during the BIOS flash.

Since the hard drives are recognized by BIOS, and you can boot into Windows (with the workaround), then that just leaves you with an incorrect BIOS setting for the hard drives or that bad checksum.

The first thing you should do is go to the Exit Tab and reset BIOS defaults and reboot. See if that changes anything.
If not:

What I would suggest is to do a ClearCMOS procedure. To do this you will need to locate the ClearCMOS jumper on your motherboard. This will be in your motherboard manual, or you may need to find that on the Dell site.

Once you know where it is, this is the procedure (follow all steps deliberately and carefully):
(Note: CLRTC is the same thing as ClearCMOS)
  • Note all your current BIOS settings
  • Shut down the computer > remove the power cord.
  • Remove the 3v motherboard battery.
  • Move the CLRTC jumper from pins 1-2 to 2-3.
  • Touch a metal part of the case and Press and Hold the reset button for approx. 30 seconds to discharge all power from the board.
  • Put the CLRTC jumper back on pins 1-2.
  • Replace the 3v battery > replace the power cord > boot.
  • Immediately go back into BIOS and reset all your preferred settings. If the CLRTC worked you will need to reset the date and time in BIOS.
Lets see if that clears it up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #10
zeoive

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post
That is one sparse BIOS!

First, do not play with the CPU settings. You are right, they don't have anything to do with your issue. That is only for overclocking and you need to do so with purpose and some advanced planning. Knowing what you are doing helps a bit too.
You can cause some real problems playing with that if you don't know what your doing.

I'm not sure how you get to CPU settings from the advanced tab anyhow. I don't see anything there. Is there something not in the pic?

And your problem is occuring at the System level, before the OS even loads, so it has absolutely nothing to do with Windows or any Windows file.

"No bootable device found" indicates that the system cannot find any hard drives, or cannot find an operating system to boot.
This usually occurs because of hard drive failure, loose cables, or a bad controller on the motherboard, but in your case it probably has nothing to do with any of those things. I suspect a corrupted Checksum. Something that happened during the BIOS flash.

Since the hard drives are recognized by BIOS, and you can boot into Windows (with the workaround), then that just leaves you with an incorrect BIOS setting for the hard drives or that bad checksum.

The first thing you should do is go to the Exit Tab and reset BIOS defaults and reboot. See if that changes anything.
If not:

What I would suggest is to do a ClearCMOS procedure. To do this you will need to locate the ClearCMOS jumper on your motherboard. This will be in your motherboard manual, or you may need to find that on the Dell site.

Once you know where it is, this is the procedure (follow all steps deliberately and carefully):
(Note: CLRTC is the same thing as ClearCMOS)
  • Note all your current BIOS settings
  • Shut down the computer > remove the power cord.
  • Remove the 3v motherboard battery.
  • Move the CLRTC jumper from pins 1-2 to 2-3.
  • Touch a metal part of the case and Press and Hold the reset button for approx. 30 seconds to discharge all power from the board.
  • Put the CLRTC jumper back on pins 1-2.
  • Replace the 3v battery > replace the power cord > boot.
  • Immediately go back into BIOS and reset all your preferred settings. If the CLRTC worked you will need to reset the date and time in BIOS.
Lets see if that clears it up.
I found the jumper on my mobo but it's not just one jumper, but two. And there are three sets of pins. 2 sets are 3 pins with jumpers on both, and a set of 2 with nothing on them.

I did some YouTube searching and from what I saw, they only covered what to do if you had one set of pins, not 2-3.

Here's a photo:
imgur: the simple image sharer

The two pin set is to the left of the jumper on the left. The ones with jumpers on them are both 3 pins.

EDIT: Nevermind, I found out which one I need. I'll update later with results.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 "No bootable devices" error after I did something really stupid.




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