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Thread: Suggestion for future BIOS releases




  1. #1
    LarryB is offline Junior Member
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    Default Suggestion for future BIOS releases

    If this is the wrong place to post this, please feel free to delete (and advised where i should place it).

    First, i have two Asrock boards - an old 880GM and a newer Z77 Pro-4 i love hem both! And am looking into a Z97 Pro sometime over the next month. So, obviously, i'm a fanboy.

    As seen in my profile, i use a tri-boot system. But it doesn't rely on any one boot loader. Instead each OS is installed on a separate drive and i chose the OS by hitting F11 on POST and selecting the drive i wish to boot from. This pre-empts MBR issues common to dual booting system. It also pre-empts issues with image backups with some older backup software, such as but no limited to Acronis True Image and ReDo Backup and Restore.

    So here's my suggestion for some future BIOS releases. A BIOS setting, off by default, that would allow the BIOS to advance directly to the select boot device screen without having to press F11.

    Also, a feature that would allow the complete disabling of selected SATA ports such that the mobo would actually see them as unplugged as opposed to lugged but disabled. Currently, with the BIOS in my Z77 Pro-4, if i unplug the drive end of a sata port that has been configured as a boot device, the system will not boot. I have to unplug the drive at the mobo to accomplish that.

    While neither of these ideas is going to change the face of computing (LOL) both, and especially the boot to "select boot device" screen would be a major plus for those of us who like to dual boot and might even be a selling feature. Especially with more and more people running more than one OS.

    Thanks.

    Larry

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    Default Re: Suggestion for future BIOS releases

    As someone who used to dual boot in this way, I agree that the first feature, where the system pauses on the boot device selection screen at startup, would be convenient.

    I do not understand your second suggestion, however.

    My recommendation would be to support/use coreboot for future boards

  3. #3
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    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Suggestion for future BIOS releases

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryB View Post
    If this is the wrong place to post this, please feel free to delete (and advised where i should place it).

    First, i have two Asrock boards - an old 880GM and a newer Z77 Pro-4 i love hem both! And am looking into a Z97 Pro sometime over the next month. So, obviously, i'm a fanboy.

    As seen in my profile, i use a tri-boot system. But it doesn't rely on any one boot loader. Instead each OS is installed on a separate drive and i chose the OS by hitting F11 on POST and selecting the drive i wish to boot from. This pre-empts MBR issues common to dual booting system. It also pre-empts issues with image backups with some older backup software, such as but no limited to Acronis True Image and ReDo Backup and Restore.

    So here's my suggestion for some future BIOS releases. A BIOS setting, off by default, that would allow the BIOS to advance directly to the select boot device screen without having to press F11.

    Also, a feature that would allow the complete disabling of selected SATA ports such that the mobo would actually see them as unplugged as opposed to lugged but disabled. Currently, with the BIOS in my Z77 Pro-4, if i unplug the drive end of a sata port that has been configured as a boot device, the system will not boot. I have to unplug the drive at the mobo to accomplish that.

    While neither of these ideas is going to change the face of computing (LOL) both, and especially the boot to "select boot device" screen would be a major plus for those of us who like to dual boot and might even be a selling feature. Especially with more and more people running more than one OS.

    Thanks.

    Larry
    I'm commenting on the part that is highlighted. I've never experienced what you described, the board failing to boot if the SATA data cable is unplugged from the drive rather than the SATA port, if I'm reading that correctly. Then again, I never disable a drive by removing its data cable. I'm curious what "the system will not boot" means. Are you stuck with a POST error in that case, which is my guess.

    If I want to disable any number of drives, I remove the power connection to the drive, and leave the SATA data cable untouched. The PC boots from another drive or an OS installation media just fine.

    A feature that exists now on some ASRock boards might give you some of the control that you want with your individual SATA port disable idea. That is the HDD Saver feature.

    It allows you to turn on or off two drives in the PC via a special SATA power cable that connects directly to the board. The interface for this feature is in the UEFI/BIOS and in the ASRock utility included with the board. IMO it is not the most elegantly functioning feature, but it does work to a degree. It tends to keep the two drives off after a cold start, so needs configuration in that case.

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    LarryB is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Suggestion for future BIOS releases

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Spain View Post
    As someone who used to dual boot in this way, I agree that the first feature, where the system pauses on the boot device selection screen at startup, would be convenient.

    I do not understand your second suggestion, however.

    My recommendation would be to support/use coreboot for future boards

    The second issue (Asrock z77 Pro-4) occurred when i went to upgrade from Mint15 to Mint 17.1. System contains 3 hard drives, each with it's own OS and each partitioned with an OS partition plus several storage partitions. So to upgrade i just detach all but the one i'm working on. Well after disconnecting two of the HDs by removing sata and power cable, the system refused to boot the Live CD. Just kept going to the Asrock Logo screen then back to post then back to Logo. However, once i removed the appropriate sata cables from the mobo it booted the Live CD.

    Having given it more thought i'm now considering that i needed to change the BIOS boot options. The UEFI bios features a screen that shows connected hardware But i haven't got around to checking that yet. Long story short, i had just upgraded Mint 15 to 17.1 on one drive with no issues. Then after finally getting it upgraded on the second Linux drive, i realized i'd forgot to move my virtual box XP machines to a storage drive so i had to: 1) make a back up image of the new Mint 17.1, 2) re-install an image of the old Mint 15 back to recover my VB machines, then 3) re-install the freshly made Mint 17.1 image back. To make matters worse, on each image restoration i had to boot the Live Cd, open a terminal, mount the drive and re-install Grub. Anyway, that's why i haven't had the time to properly troubleshoot this issue. But my understanding of sata cables (which is not all that good i admit) is that there should be no way for the mobo to think a cable is attached unless it's attached to a device. Just not sure on that though.

    Hope this all made some sense. You know what they say, knowledge is powerful but a little knowledge is dangerous. I don't have enough to understand it all but just enough to be dangerous. :)
    Last edited by LarryB; 12-31-2014 at 03:29 AM. Reason: To insert 2nd and 3rd steps ....

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    LarryB is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Suggestion for future BIOS releases

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    I'm commenting on the part that is highlighted. I've never experienced what you described, the board failing to boot if the SATA data cable is unplugged from the drive rather than the SATA port, if I'm reading that correctly. Then again, I never disable a drive by removing its data cable. I'm curious what "the system will not boot" means. Are you stuck with a POST error in that case, which is my guess.

    If I want to disable any number of drives, I remove the power connection to the drive, and leave the SATA data cable untouched. The PC boots from another drive or an OS installation media just fine.

    A feature that exists now on some ASRock boards might give you some of the control that you want with your individual SATA port disable idea. That is the HDD Saver feature.

    It allows you to turn on or off two drives in the PC via a special SATA power cable that connects directly to the board. The interface for this feature is in the UEFI/BIOS and in the ASRock utility included with the board. IMO it is not the most elegantly functioning feature, but it does work to a degree. It tends to keep the two drives off after a cold start, so needs configuration in that case.
    Yes, you are reading it correctly. And this is the first time i've ever run in to it as well. One thing i neglected to mention in the original post is that i was trying to boot a Live CD when this occurred and i have two dvd drives attached as well. I wasn't getting any post error message, just a cycling of POST - Logo - POST - logo endlessly. As just posted to previous poster, i'm now thinking it wasn't the cabling but my boot options setting needing changed after disabling two of the other boot drives. Still, once i detached the sata cable from the mobo it did boot the Live CD. So...... ?

    Thanks for the heads up on the HDD Saver feature Max, I'll have to see if my BIOS has that. Or perhaps needs an update. I've not looked into any BIOS revisions because everything has worked as expected out-of-the-box, and my philosophy with regard to firmware is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". :)

    I think the first thing i'm going to do after getting this thing back to running all three boot drives is check the UEFI feature that graphically shows you what all is connected.
    Check it with a sata cable on the mobo but not on the drive. If it still shows a device attached to that port then the would settle the issue. If not then i'll try your technique of just removing the power cable. If that still doesn't settle things, i'll leave cable in mobo, unattached from drive, and manually re-set boot options. And if THAT doesn't settle things i'll just pull my hair out and grab a bottle Wild Turkey. :)

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    LarryB is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Suggestion for future BIOS releases

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Spain View Post
    As someone who used to dual boot in this way, I agree that the first feature, where the system pauses on the boot device selection screen at startup, would be convenient.

    I do not understand your second suggestion, however.

    My recommendation would be to support/use coreboot for future boards
    Max, i almost forgot, what is coreboot? I'm going to bing it but i'd still be interested in why you personally recommend it. (if you got the time natch). Thanks Max.

  7. #7
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Suggestion for future BIOS releases

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryB View Post
    Yes, you are reading it correctly. And this is the first time i've ever run in to it as well. One thing i neglected to mention in the original post is that i was trying to boot a Live CD when this occurred and i have two dvd drives attached as well. I wasn't getting any post error message, just a cycling of POST - Logo - POST - logo endlessly. As just posted to previous poster, i'm now thinking it wasn't the cabling but my boot options setting needing changed after disabling two of the other boot drives. Still, once i detached the sata cable from the mobo it did boot the Live CD. So...... ?

    Thanks for the heads up on the HDD Saver feature Max, I'll have to see if my BIOS has that. Or perhaps needs an update. I've not looked into any BIOS revisions because everything has worked as expected out-of-the-box, and my philosophy with regard to firmware is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". :)

    I think the first thing i'm going to do after getting this thing back to running all three boot drives is check the UEFI feature that graphically shows you what all is connected.
    Check it with a sata cable on the mobo but not on the drive. If it still shows a device attached to that port then the would settle the issue. If not then i'll try your technique of just removing the power cable. If that still doesn't settle things, i'll leave cable in mobo, unattached from drive, and manually re-set boot options. And if THAT doesn't settle things i'll just pull my hair out and grab a bottle Wild Turkey. :)
    My pleasure about the HDD Saver feature, and no problem but it was me, parsec, that mentioned HDD Saver...

    Unfortunately, that feature is not simply a UEFI option, it requires a special SATA power cable provided by ASRock, that plugs into the board with a proprietary connector. This feature is also fairly new, and no ASRock Z77 boards have it. You mentioned looking at an ASRock Z97 board for a future build, which is why I mentioned it. Again it is not the same as your idea about being able to disable individual SATA ports, but might be helpful.

    I like the idea of an option to disable individual SATA ports, but I have a feeling that may be more difficult to accomplish than it appears. There might be complications with the chipset itself, or how POST would deal with this, so who knows if it is even possible.

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