[SOLVED] BIOS Suddenly Stops Booting Internal Legacy Drives

Dec 22, 2020
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Hello, I have to admit I'm baffled here. It's a long story (sorry) but the generic answers I'm seeing to more generalized questions elsewhere aren't helping.

I typically load-up Windows computers in UEFI mode whenever I can, but there have been a few times when it's made the most sense to go Legacy. In fact, I frequently switch between Legacy and UEFI on my work computer (Dell Optiplex 3060) when imaging hard disks from older machines.

The other day one of my users (who has the same model Optiplex) was greeted by SupportAssist scanning her hardware and refusing to boot into Windows (10 Pro, probably 1009). Her computer had been running fine with MBR in legacy mode for the last 10 months or so.

I attempted to boot from a known-good Legacy USB drive to try a repair install but was getting a "no bootable devices found" error.

I decided to try UEFI boot. I formatted another flash drive as GPT and copied the latest Windows 10 ISO to it using the Microsoft USB Download Tool. I plug it in, power on the PC, and select it from the UEFI boot menu. Unfortunately is just sends me back to the SupportAssist hardware scan. So I burn the ISO to a DVD to attempt a UEFI DVD boot, but the UEFI option wasn't in the boot menu! I manually added the boot option for it in BIOS setup, but when I selected it I was just send back to the Support Assist scan, again.

I attempted several fixes after this. I restored BIOS defaults, then restored Factory Defaults. Then I pulled the CMOS battery and all power from the motherboard, and jumped the clear CMOS jumper for good measure. No change. I updated the BIOS and set defaults again. Nada.

I finally end-up booting from the DVD drive in Legacy mode. I do a clean Windows install, set everything up, and give the computer back to the user.

However, I still need to get some information/settings from the old hard drive, and these require that I boot into the drive. Thinking that there was just a problem with the BIOS on the user's computer I figure I could just install the old drive in my identical machine, swap to Legacy, and boot into it or do a repair install. But then, on this computer that I frequently change between Legacy and UEFI boot, the same things start happening. In fact, I even get a nice message at the F12 boot menu telling me that "internal legacy devices cannot be used to boot" and that I should "use UEFI instead".

I perform all of the same steps on this computer that I did on the first one, but to no avail. Now, even with that old hard drive disconnected, I have NO legacy hard drive or DVD options, no working UEFI DVD option (had to add it manually again...) and booting from a USB drive does not work in either Legacy or UEFI mode. One mode sends me to the SupportAssist scan, the other to a message I've never seen before about a file missing (if you think that error message could be helpful I can recreate the problem and post it.)

Do you have any ideas what could be happening here?

Thanks in advance!
 

pctech2005

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Mar 13, 2010
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Is the firmware up to date. If you have a drive you need data off of I would suggest you use a computer that is working and copy the files from the hard drive via an adapter.
 

pctech2005

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Mar 13, 2010
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Is the firmware up to date. If you have a drive you need data off of I would suggest you use a computer that is working and copy the files from the hard drive via an adapter.
 
Dec 22, 2020
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The drive firmware? I will check.

As for the data, I was able to copy it all off, but what I actually need are program settings, and that would require me to be able to boot into windows on that drive.
 

pctech2005

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Mar 13, 2010
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I was referring to the motherboard bios firmware. You could try cloning the drive to another drive to see if that would help. Also what kind of hard drive are you having an issue with?
 

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