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Windows 7: Fresh install boots fine unless I install 2 specific HDDs

12 Oct 2015   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Fresh install boots fine unless I install 2 specific HDDs

So I got these two 2tb HDDs awhile back, and installed them in my secondary machine for network backup. I recently decided to sell that machine, so I took those HDDs out, put my old 500gb HDD in, and installed them in my main machine.

I have a MSI z97 PC Mate paired with a 4690k and a r9 290. Running Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit. 124gb SSD primary drive, 240gb SSD Steam drive, and the two 2tbs I'm trying to setup. This isn't a brand new build, I've been building and upgrading my PC for a long time and this specific build has been 100% stable for half a year. Haven't even overclocked anything yet, and everything is custom water cooled.

Now, I've been dealing with this issue since yesterday, when I first put them in my system. They weren't working so after many hours of trying every possible solution I could find, I did a clean install of Windows and its still not working.

I set my SATA controller to RAID before installing Windows 7 HP, and after it was installed I made sure I had downloaded and installed all the latest drivers, including the Intel RAID drivers. Before even restoring my backups I had made, I plugged in the two HDDs, set them up in a RAID 1 (which I was able to do before), and Windows will not boot like before. I have run many tests and fixes and nothing will work. I know the HDDs and SSDs themselves work just fine, as they all did in their previous environments. If I take out the 2 HDDs, I can launch Windows just fine after a Startup Repair. Its only when I plug them in is when I get all the problems.

If you want a more detailed play-by-play, here it is. (With the HDDs connected) Everything boots up to the Windows splash screen, except it just flashes then Windows Loading Files pops up, and the loading bar loads 2 times very quick. Then Windows Error Recovery pops up giving me the option to perform startup repair or boot windows normally. If I choose the startup repair option the screen will go black and return me back to the same Windows Error Recovery screen with the same two options. Choosing start windows normally will just do the same thing as before (splash screen flashes then windows loading files) then system reboots. After the reboot it will then say something like "Reboot and Select proper boot device or Insert boot media in selected boot device", and nothing until I reboot. Keep in mind that I have UEFI: Windows Boot Manager as the primary boot device, followed by my primary drive in legacy mode.

If I boot up from my windows installation disk and attempt startup repair it will say it cannot automatically repair and will show this in the details:

External Media
Bad Driver

I have nothing connected to the computer besides my wireless keyboard and mouse, monitor and ethernet. I don't know what bad driver it could be, as I just installed Windows fresh with the newest drivers from MSI's site (and newest non-beta AMD catalyst driver).

I can't seem to find a similar issue to this anywhere, leading me think it might not be a software issue but might be a motherboard issue. I'm not sure, but I can't think of anything else right now. I had to send this motherboard in right when I got it as 2 memory banks were dead, and they sent me a new one that has been doing just fine since.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated, thanks.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2015   #2

Linux Lite 3.2 x64; Windows 7, 8.1

It sounds like Win7 is bootloading correctly, but then snags on something. I would run a chkdsk /f on the W7 SSD, then reinstall the, or try a different, RAID driver. >=SATA II is hot-pluggable, so maybe pull the drives to boot, then plug them in and live-test the raid arrangement. Just some thoughts.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2015   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by paul1149 View Post
It sounds like Win7 is bootloading correctly, but then snags on something. I would run a chkdsk /f on the W7 SSD, then reinstall the, or try a different, RAID driver. >=SATA II is hot-pluggable, so maybe pull the drives to boot, then plug them in and live-test the raid arrangement. Just some thoughts.
Great idea on the hot plug. Did that and I'm currently building the RAID array in the IRST app. Once its done I'll see if I can still boot with them attached.

I read up some more and found that since I didn't load the IRST drivers when I first installed the UEFI Windows, I got the IRST Com (ctrl-I to setup array before BIOS loads), which may not support drives equal to or greater to 2tb. I checked the Intel site, and low and behold, MSI's IRST driver download is 4 editions behind. So I installed the latest before trying the hot plug, and will see if that helps me when I try to boot with them attached after they rebuild.

I'm hopeful this will work, but if it doesn't I'm pretty confident that if I install the IRST driver during the UEFI Windows 7 install, I shouldn't have any problems then. I see a lot of people on the 7 series Intel chipset get a IRST option in their UEFI BIOS when they install it during the Windows 7 install, and can build the array within BIOS.

UPDATE: Just rebooted after the array finished rebuilding, and everything booted up perfectly. Looks like everything is working after setting the RAID up with hot plugging and the IRST app afterwards. So, in the future I would probably want to install the IRST driver while installing Windows, and try to setup the RAID in BIOS or afterwards through the app.

Thank you Paul for the help!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Oct 2015   #4

Linux Lite 3.2 x64; Windows 7, 8.1

Excellent. I learned something about RAID myself here. BW.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Fresh install boots fine unless I install 2 specific HDDs

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