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Windows 7: Recent Windows Update fixed my "restart" and other hardware issues!

31 Aug 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
Recent Windows Update fixed my "restart" and other hardware issues!

Just thought I'd pass along this observation...

Something done by Microsoft in a fairly recent (say no more than the past 3-4 weeks) has addressed TWO specific seemingly BIOS-related issues I've had on my Supermicro C2SBX motherboard ever since installing Win7 back in December 2009. The issues are obviously specific to this mobo (and possibly others) because they do NOT show up on my other machine which uses an ASUS P5Q3 board.

Anyway, the two problems were:

(1) Windows "restart" does not work, but rather seems to hang up in the midst of the hardware re-boot sequence. I see the "hard drive in use" light stuck on, which is tied to my Adaptec 39320 SCSI Adapter card when in use, not to my SATA drives.

So this might be an issue relating to the Adaptec card in this C2SBX board. Don't know.

Anyway, I'm forced to use "shutdown" which does work, and then a cold power-on re-boot from OFF... as my replacement for a simple "restart" to avoid the intervening power off/on sequence.

(2) Although I have three SATA drives in the machine, inevitably only one or two of them appear in the BIOS-produced device discovery list of hard drives that appear during the VERBOSE output at boot time.

Sometimes, all three will appear. But this is generally after some time of significant maintenance to Window. However before too long again the list will drop one or two drives, and things are back to how they've always shown at boot time from the BIOS.

NOTES: (1) neither of these two symptoms affects Win7 performance at all; (2) neither of these two symptoms is exhibited by WinXP running multi-boot on the identical machine.

In other words, when I boot to WinXP I can use its "restart" with no problem, using the exact same C2SBX board and Adaptec 39320 card in it. Also, when I do reboot WinXP repeatedly, on each reboot the BIOS list of SATA hard drives shows all three drives!

So there is (or was) something about how Win7 saved data in NVRAM or hardware configuration or something when it shut down and/or restarted that was clearly slightly different from how WinXP did those same functions. And for me, the effect of those differences was to cause my two symptoms described above.

Well, I'm thrilled to report that NEITHER OF THESE TWO SYMPTOMS APPEARS ANY LONGER!!! Just within the past 3-4 weeks this has changed, and obviously it's only Windows Update that could account for it.

I've been running with SP1 installed in Win7 for a long time now, so it's not tied to SP1. It's something much more recent which has finally fixed this issue.

Now, not only can I "restart" perfectly but also at re-boot the BIOS now shows ALL THREE SATA HARD DRIVES... always.

MS has obviously fixed something, and Win7 now behaves exactly like WinXP for me on these matters.

Also, there's yet one other symptom I faced early on with Win7 and its hard drive "spin-down after a user-specified period of inactivity". I'd initially thought this issue may have involved only my SCSI drives, and this perhaps implicate just the Adaptec drivers used for my SCSI drives. But subsequent experimenting and observation suggested that it also affected SATA drives.

Turns out NONE OF MY DRIVES were ever going into "sleep" spin-down mode, as I wanted them to do after 15-minutes of inactivity. I'd even gone to the trouble of using a program named HDDScan, which has a function to manually spin-down/up drives. All I really needed to do was spin a drive down, and Win7 would automatically spin it back up if it was needed.

Anyway, I'd been using this approach for a long time now, ever since discovering that for some reason the spin-down/up functionality which worked perfectly on my hardware setup in WinXP did not seem to work under Win7. No matter what tweaks I tried and adjustments to Win7 power management setup, I just couldn't get my drives to sleep.

I also thought it might have been due to some software program or Windows task that was constantly inquiring of my drives, and thus never letting them reach "idle" limits. But no matter what programs or threads I stopped to test out that theory, the drives would just not spin down.

Until about 3 months ago (actually, I can't recall exactly but I think it might have happened shortly after SP1 came out). I can now report that I have absolutely confirmed that my drives are now spinning down as desired!

Obviously, again something from a Microsoft provided Windows Update has done this (and there's been no Adaptec driver update applied). Again, this affects BOTH my SCSI drives as well as my SATA drives, so it's obviously something generic in Win7's power management handler that was responsible for the problem originally and has now finally been corrected.

I know others have reported that their drives "sleep" properly, so it's very likely something tied to my own hardware setup (but it happened on both my C2SBX and P5Q3 machines, which are fairly similar after that).

Nevertheless, I had the symptom on both of my machines. And now I have "solution" on both machines, and the drives now spin down/up as desired on both machines.

In summary, obviously Microsoft is fixing things, and this particular set of fixes to my hardware-related issues is much appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2011   #2

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit. SP1.

Good idea to share your observations.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Recent Windows Update fixed my "restart" and other hardware issues!

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