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Thread: Triple Boot Issues - multiple physical drives & uefi




  1. #1
    MrSteve is offline Junior Member
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    Default Triple Boot Issues - multiple physical drives & uefi

    Have ASRock 990FX Extreme 9 with P1.70 BIOS and am using three Toshiba 3TB drives (one drive for each OS). I am trying to setup a triple boot environment Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2 and VMWare ESXi 5.5. -- Not very successful yet...


    Right now I am just focusing on trying to get Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 to play nicely together...dual boot without issues.. Once I get that working I will need to deal with VMWare which has its own set of challenges.

    I have tried installing the OS with just one disk attached, then connect the 2nd disk to install the 2nd OS. I have tried installing Windows 8.1 first and 2012 second. When I do this I can no longer boot the Windows 8.1 disk. If I install server 2012 first followed by windows 8.1 then I can no longer access the 2012 disk.

    In either case after installing windows the BIOS Boot Option Priorities change to Windows Boot Manager (which I think is correct). Also of note that in either case the 1st disk that the OS gets installed on changes to two paritions unallocated (even though OS was previously installed). The two partitions are about 2TB and 750GB.



    Here is what I see when I use F2
    Boot\Hard Drive BBS Priorities
    Boot Option #1 -- AHCI P0: Toshiba DT01ACA300
    Boot Option #2 -- AHCI P1: Toshiba DT01ACA300

    Boot\CD/DVD ROM Drive BBS Priorities
    Boot Option #1 -- AHCI P1: HL-DT-ST BD-RE WH16NS

    Boot Option Priorities
    Boot Option #1 Windows Boot Manger
    Boot Option #2 AHCI P0: Toshiba DT01ACA300
    Boot Option #3 AHCI P1: HL-DT-ST BD-RE WH16NS
    Boot Option #4 UEFI: Built-in EFI Shell

  2. #2
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Triple Boot Issues - multiple physical drives & uefi

    Whenever you install Windows of any version, only have the target OS drive connected to the PC, or at least only connected to power.

    The Windows installation program will check if more than one drive in available in the PC, and put the Windows boot partition (their terminology) on one of the non-target OS drives. Why that is done, who knows, an anti-piracy thing possibly. That works Ok when the other HDD is empty or a data storage drive, but when the other drive has an OS installed on it, it is corrupted.

    Why the other drive becomes unallocated space seems strange at first, but is related to the use GPT partitioning for the 3TB HDDs. It looks like Windows put an MBR partition on Disk 1, that was previously formatted as GPT, literally over wrote the GPT partition. An MBR partition is only good for 2.2GB of addressing, which is what we see as the 2048 GB Unallocated, and the remaining space is not addressable by an MBR partition.

    I would bet the OS installation files are still on that drive in the unallocated space area, but simply cannot be accessed because the original GPT partition with all the LBAs is gone.

    Disk Management won't show the MBR or GPT partition, start a CMD prompt and run diskpart and see what other partition is on disk 1 now and how it is formatted. The installation disk for the OS on disk 1 might be able to repair the installation if you are lucky, but I would not count on it.

    That's a shame, never saw that before personally. All the clues fit what the result is IMO.

  3. #3
    MrSteve is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Triple Boot Issues - multiple physical drives & uefi

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Whenever you install Windows of any version, only have the target OS drive connected to the PC, or at least only connected to power.

    The Windows installation program will check if more than one drive in available in the PC, and put the Windows boot partition (their terminology) on one of the non-target OS drives. Why that is done, who knows, an anti-piracy thing possibly. That works Ok when the other HDD is empty or a data storage drive, but when the other drive has an OS installed on it, it is corrupted.

    Why the other drive becomes unallocated space seems strange at first, but is related to the use GPT partitioning for the 3TB HDDs. It looks like Windows put an MBR partition on Disk 1, that was previously formatted as GPT, literally over wrote the GPT partition. An MBR partition is only good for 2.2GB of addressing, which is what we see as the 2048 GB Unallocated, and the remaining space is not addressable by an MBR partition.

    I would bet the OS installation files are still on that drive in the unallocated space area, but simply cannot be accessed because the original GPT partition with all the LBAs is gone.

    Disk Management won't show the MBR or GPT partition, start a CMD prompt and run diskpart and see what other partition is on disk 1 now and how it is formatted. The installation disk for the OS on disk 1 might be able to repair the installation if you are lucky, but I would not count on it.

    That's a shame, never saw that before personally. All the clues fit what the result is IMO.

    Ok I will give that a shot, I don't mind re-installing the OS's again (LOL I have done it enough times to have almost memorized the two license keys...)

    So if I do it one disk at a time, once I have Win 8.1 and Server 2012 installed on the individual disks, then I can connect them both up and use F11 UEFI boot manager to select which disk to boot from?

  4. #4
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Triple Boot Issues - multiple physical drives & uefi

    I would think so, why not? I have had multiple OS installations on different drives installed individually (on the same PC of course), and then both drives installed in the PC at the same time afterwards.

    I suggest researching configuring multiple OS booting, since that is something that is not configured automatically AFAIK.

    You may find as I did, that you'll have two entries in the boot drive list of "Windows Boot Manager", with nothing differentiating the two. So which is Win 8.1 and Server 2012?

    You'll just need to learn which one is the first entry and the second. I looked into several BCD editing programs to modify the names/entries, but had bad results. Either I did not know what I was doing, or the program had problems, because I broke one Win 8.1 installation, it would no longer boot. I suggest researching changing the names in the boot list, but don't go with the first one you find. If the program does not say it supports one or both of the OSs you are using, don't use it! Or it may be able to be done in the multiple OS booting configuration.

    I assure you that the technique of installing a Microsoft product with only the target OS drive active in the PC is a necessity in order to prevent the MBR or GPT partition being put on a different drive. Why the OS installation program does this remains a mystery, and IMO is not a bug in the program. It takes effort to put those partitions on another drive, and has been happening at least since Windows 7, and has not been "fixed" in Windows 8.

    I'm sorry but I can't help but... appreciate (I don't want to say enjoy, but...) seeing what happened to that one OS installation. It looks like a perfect example of the GPT partition of LBAs being overwritten or otherwise destroyed by the OS installation program faithfully putting the MBR or GPT partition for the target OS drive, on another drive. That the second drive had an OS installation on it that was then ruined is a great example of how this scheme can cause terrible problems.

    So I will heartily thank you for unknowingly sacrificing that OS installation so that I could see yet another example of the Microsoft OS installation program(s) doing its thing, and that tangible damage to your other OS installation was the result. Posting the Disk Management display of the two drives is the proof IMO. I am sorry you've had to suffer through this situation, but you can at least know that it served a purpose... to me at least.

    Thanks for your contribution to our knowledge about this!!

  5. #5
    MrSteve is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Triple Boot Issues - multiple physical drives & uefi

    ohhh its ugly....


    So I can boot all three OS's individually off of the F11 Boot Menu


    Windows Boot Manager == Windows 2012 R2
    Microsoft Windows == Windows 8.1 Pro
    AHCI P3: Toshiba DT01ACA300 == VMWare ESXi 5.5 U2

    I changed the boot sequence under F2 Boot so that it would default to Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro.

    I worry about the two windows operating systems corrupting the VMWare boot banks but so far that hasn't happened even after using DiskManagment to show all of the disks/volumes.

    I have NeoSmart EasyBCD but I am almost afraid to screw around with it at this point. Would be nice to be able to boot out of one boot menu that had meaningful names but I am afraid I will yet again have to load three OS's and would definitely have to fart around with chain loading the linux loader for VMWare.

    Last edited by MrSteve; 01-28-2015 at 05:14 AM.

  6. #6
    MrSteve is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Triple Boot Issues - multiple physical drives & uefi

    Since I'm not really a microsoft expert is there anyway to keep disk mgmt from seeing Disk2 (the VMWare drive)?

  7. #7
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Triple Boot Issues - multiple physical drives & uefi

    Glad it's all working for you!

    But what is ugly about those names? Sure they could be better, but at least they aren't identical like mine were. In my case, that is caused by having UEFI booting installations of the same OS.

    Sorry, I'm not aware of a way to hide the VMWare drive. You could take it Offline in either OS in Disk Management, but that might cause side effects.

  8. #8
    John_PC is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Triple Boot Issues - multiple physical drives & uefi

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSteve View Post
    ohhh its ugly....

    I have NeoSmart EasyBCD but I am almost afraid to screw around with it at this point. Would be nice to be able to boot out of one boot menu that had meaningful names but I am afraid I will yet again have to load three OS's and would definitely have to fart around with chain loading the linux loader for VMWare.
    From everything I've read (seven forums,) its best not to use EasyBCD on a GPT boot drive, as it can mess things up in a nasty way. I have a triple boot system with Win7 64 on a GPT ssd by itself. I set up another install of Win7 I use for emergencies on a separate MBR spinner along with my Win XP install on the same disk. I used EasyBCD on the MBR spinner to establish a boot menu between them (emergency Win7 and Win XP) and I access that by F11 at boot screen. Otherwise, Uefi simply defaults into my GPT Win7 ssd install.
    Dual Boot: Windows 7 -64 Ultimate / Windows XP-Mce 32
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    Etc...

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