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Windows 7: Failure to Boot When Re-start Computer

01 Feb 2014   #1

Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit / Win 8.1 Pro 64-bit dual-boot
Failure to Boot When Re-start Computer

PC boots OK after Shutdown, no problem.

But, the PC fails to boot when Restart is selected in Windows.

PC will cold boot OK. It does POST as normal, advances to an add-on SATA III controller card, continues to a dual-boot screen (Win 7 / Win 8.1 with Win 7 as the default), then starts Win 7 without problems. The "First Boot Device" in BIOS is set for my boot drive/add-on controller card. "Second Boot Device" in BIOS is set for CD/DVD-ROM.

The problem occurs whenever i do a Restart. The PC completes the POST routine but never reaches the dual-boot screen. Instead it displays this:
"CD-ROM Boot Priority ... No Medium. Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key."

If i then press the "Reset" button the PC reboots and the same error message appears again. If i press Reset and then enter the BIOS the Boot setup screen still shows First Boot Device as being a hard drive, but my boot drive is not listed and a spare data drive is the first one listed.

My boot drive is an SSD and it's connected to the add-on SATA controller card mentioned above. Also, a regular HDD is connected to that controller card. After the boot failure when doing a Restart, the controller card along with the two drives attached to it are no longer listed in the BIOS.

So, then i hold down the Power button to force a Shutdown. After waiting the usual 10 or 20 seconds for the power supply capacitors to dissipate i press the Power button to turn on the computer and, voila!, it boots normally and all is well.

The issue can be provoked again by selecting Restart. It doesn't matter if the PC has been on for 2 minutes or 2 hours.

To recap, the PC cold boots OK every time, but it fails to boot on Restart every time. Clearly, the ADD_ON CONTROLLER CARD IS NOT RECOGNISED when Re-booting, yet IT IS RECOGNISED WHEN COLD BOOTING !

If there's a loose connection the problem should not occur only when Restarting. If it's a driver problem on the controller card then, again, why does it only occur on Restart?

Hoping one of you brilliant troubleshooters can help me resolve this mysterious problem. Any suggestions?

P.S. Almost forgot, the Win 8.1 boot drive is a separate drive connected directly to a SATA II port on the motherboard,; i.e. it's not connected to the add-on controller card.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2014   #2
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot

Can you connect your Win 7 SSD directly to the motherboard? It's looking like BIOS can't see that drive on a warm restart (I don't know why). Most of these add on SATA cards don't boot very well as it is. If you can rearrange your storage, you're far better running a boot drive from the motherboard if you can.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2014   #3

Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit / Win 8.1 Pro 64-bit dual-boot

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, i can connect the SSD boot drive directly to the motherboard. In fact, it was used in that way for almost a year. Then the add-on controller card was installed, and everything worked fine for about 5 or 6 months. The failure-to-boot-when-Restarting problem only began 2 or 3 weeks ago.

The purpose of installing the add-on card was to achieve the best performance from my SSD and to be able to connect a total of 7 SATA devices to the system (the motherboard has 6 SATA ports and they are all SATA II).

I appreciate your suggestion, but am still seeking to resolve this mysterious issue while retaining full SSD performance and connectivity for all 7 devices (1x BD-ROM drive, 1 x DVD/CD burner, 2 x SSD, and 3 x HDD).
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Feb 2014   #4
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot

Fair enough. Have you recently updated the drivers for the add on card? Or any SATA controller drivers at all?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2014   #5

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

starvinmarvin, I don't know which version you have, but your system specs list Syba controller card. You may check and see which controller the card uses. Many of the Syba cards use a marvell controller. For some reason Marvell ports whether on a card or on the Motherboard do not get along well with SSDs. Another possibility is to update the firmware on your SSD, if you are not running the latest.

Another possibility and I do not know all this for a fact, but have had similar problems occasionally in the past myself. When you start from a cold boot, during post the computer initalizes every piece of hardware in your computer. On a reboot, it does the same. However, and this is my own conclusion, if you notice on reboot the computer does not completely shut down. Therefore during post it will sometimes miss initalizing certain things, particularly add on items. For this reason, I agree with Mellon Head and suggest changing the sata cable to remove that possibility and connecting it to a motherboard header, either port 0 or 1. You most likely will see very little difference in performance. An OS drive operates on almost exclusively the 4kb read speed and the access times which will not change much if at all. You probably will notice a difference in bench tests because they measure (and the manufacturers advertise) speeds that are not used during normal operation of an OS. That's my story and I'll stick to it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2014   #6
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1

I agree with essenbe on the controller problem. If fact the SSD may perform better if it is installed on the Intel controlled port on the board than on the add-in card. It should be SATA_0 or SATA_1, but check your manual.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2014   #7

Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit / Win 8.1 Pro 64-bit dual-boot

Mellon Head - Good point. Should have tried updating the controller card driver before posting here! (A Windows Update or new program install may have "broken" my card's compatibility somehow.) Will do that and report back later, thanks.

essenbe - You are correct about the general performance of an SSD-based system being very similar on both SATA II and SATA III. Boot-up times, program loading, internet browser launching, and most other tasks are completed in similar elapsed time, so close that the difference is a matter of 1 second here or there. Having said that, there are a couple of frequent tasks where i truly benefit from SATA III speed, namely loading levels in graphics-intensive 3D games and loading / transcoding / saving extremely large HD video files. Also noticed that Photoshop work shows benefit but i rarely use it. Even so, the biggest performance boost definitely occurs when moving from an HDD-based system to almost any SSD-based system. And, yes, it's mainly small file size Read/Write speed plus the SSD's extremely low latency/access time that is responsible for that quick and snappy feel. (Heck, we even put a basic 64GB Kingston SATA II SSD in our old SATA I sytem with a single-core Athlon 2.0GHz cpu and it made that slow old relic fly!)

In reference to your comments regarding Marvell controllers not getting along well with SSDs, i can shed some light on that subject. When SATA III was first launched, motherboard makers had certain design decisions to make based upon cost versus benefit. Full SATA III performance would require 2 "lanes" of bandwidth (total 1000MB/sec. duplex) for each and every port on the motherboard which was, at the time, ludicrously expensive to manufacture. They also considered that 98% or more of all boot drives and data drives were HDD back then, not SSD and thus did not require full SATA III bandwidth. Intel SATA III solutions were good but pricey. However, Marvell developed a SATA III controller chip (the 91xx series) offering max. sequential Read speeds of ~380MB/sec. (compared to ~280MB/sec. for SATA II) at a very affordable price. This meant that motherboard makers could include one or two SATA III ports offering very good HDD/RAID performance and good speed for early SSDs, too. Only later did SSD speed boosts begin to exceed that ~380MB/sec. ceiling.

Later, many users purchased cheap add-on SATA III cards ($20-$25) that employed the 91xx Marvell chipset. These cards fit in an PCI-e x1 slot with the limitation of only 1 "lane" of bandwidth so, again, the ceiling of ~380MB/sec. was encountered. To compound users' disappointment there are numerous motherboard BIOS that cannot handle having integrated Marvell SATA controllers plus an add-on card which also uses a Marvell controller, the result being incompatibility, especially if the operating system is Windows. Marvell designs and makes controller chips, but they do NOT control how those chips are implemented by the dozens of manufacturers who use them.

Eager to get started, lots of users plug in the new add-on card and connect their Windows boot drive to the card right away. When they try to boot up, disaster strikes! The system won't boot because no drivers have been installed, and Windows can't install the drivers because the system won't boot up - it's CATCH-22 !! To make matters worse, that boot failure may corrupt the Master Boot Record which in turn may result in subsequent boot failure - duh! Get out your Windows Repair disc and do Startup Repair. What fun!

You need to boot up Windows while the boot drive is still connected to the motherboard, install the controller card drivers, re-boot to complete the driver install, then Shutdown the computer and connect the boot drive to the add-on card. Finally, you can boot up and the whole thing should work ... UNLESS the BIOS experiences a conflict with existing motherboard SATA controllers - Hah!

Some users have avoided a conflict simply by letting Windows install its own generic drivers for an add-on card. Sometimes this works. The upside is compatibility, but the downside is lower performance than what is attainable using Marvell-specific drivers. But how would we know this if we couldn't use the Marvell drivers? Another Catch 22 situation - LOL. The real takeaway from this history is that unwary users (that would include most of us!) face a number of pitfalls when trying to maximise SATA III performance, especially with SSDs.

The next level up for users is to go for an add-on card with 2 lanes of bandwidth ($40-$70) which allows an SSD to achieve in excess of 500MB/sec. Read speeds. Such cards are technically "x2" in nature, yet you must plug them into an x4 slot (or higher). Why? Because there are no x2 PCI-e slots on a motherboard! There are x1 slots, and x4 and x8 and x16 ... BUT NO x2. More disappointed users: "I paid for an x4 card but it only works at x2 - what a rip-off" and so on.

i use one of these 2-lane (x4 slot) cards, namely the SYBA SD-PEX40054 which offers 4 internal SATA III ports plus 2 (selectable) external SATA III ports, plus RAID 0 or 1, plus Hyper-Duo (SSD caching) is also selectable. This is a ton of value for $42.99. Shortcomings include SATA connectors that likely won't withstand frequent plugging/unplugging, and confusing install instructions.

If you want to get really serious then you must look to x8 cards and above designed for commercial use and costing anywhere from $150 to over $1000. Compared to that, a Highpoint or SYBA card for $20 to $70 is a real bargain IF you understand exactly what you're getting and how to install and use it.

What all this adds up to is that you mostly get what you pay for, and that casual users who make an uninformed purchase at relatively cheap prices and then blame Marvell or SYBA or Highpoint have mostly got what they deserve because they didn't do their homework first!

In the end, i'll reiterate your wisdom from earlier. Unless you really need more SATA ports than your motherboard already has, you can get very fast performance by simply using the SATA ports you already have - no muss, no fuss!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Failure to Boot When Re-start Computer

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