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Thread: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure




  1. #1
    Ken429 is offline Senior Member
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    Default GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    Yesterday, the system hung for no reason and then would not reboot. The boot drive is a Sandisk Extreme Pro 240GB. The only way I could recover the system was to re-install W8.1 from scratch and then restore the "C:" partition using a backup/restore program (WinPE for EaseUS ToDo Backup 8.0) That worked in a fashion but I ended up with a screwed up GPT setup. The system runs but obviously is not correct. Windows Backup refuses to backup the SSD. Before I return the SSD and start over, is it possible to let the W8.1 do a fresh install to set up the SSD (It did that correctly on the fresh re-install) and then just recover the C: partition from a current backup? The first time I ran the EaseUs recovery program it wanted restore two partitions which was probably the 300KB Recovery Partition and the main C: partition. It is possible that the Recovery Partition got messed up some time ago and has been being backed by me faithfully waiting for the day to really XXXX things up!
    Attached Images Attached Images GPT screwed up - SSD Failure-4790k_badguy-png 

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    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    Man, can you get yourself in some goofy situations. Any chance you had an OC on that PC fail, which could corrupt one or more of the partitions?

    What do you mean by "return the SSD", do you think it is the problem, something wrong with it? I doubt the SSD is the problem. You should do a secure erase or do a diskpart "clean" command on that SSD to be sure that nothing remains on it that might potentially cause a problem with an OS installation.

    The fresh installation of Win 8.1 idea is a good one, which would create the recovery, EFI, etc, partitions again. But restoring the two partitions (recovery and Primary) from a backup, I'm not sure about at all, I've never done that on a GPT/EFI booting configuration.

    I think the recovery partition is considered special, not something you can play with like the other partitions. Sorry, really not sure if that would work, you'd at least need to be very careful selecting the partitions to use for the recovery.

  3. #3
    Ken429 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    Yeah, that's because I was bragging how good the 4790K system was running with no issues!!

    Since my initial post I when and did another fresh install of W8.1 and all three partitions are there the way they should be. As soon as I restore the current EFI partition (100KB) and the C: boot partition using WinPE from EaseUS the Recovery Partition (300KB) goes away and becomes 429MB of unallocated space. I have the saga posted on the EaseUS ToDo forum and hopefully will get a response. I'll wait a few day and then I'm going down the path your suggested and clear the SSD and try again. I'm thinking I wish I never heard of a GPT partition!

    Or maybe it's W8.1 and GPT partitions!
    Last edited by Ken429; 03-08-2015 at 05:04 AM.

  4. #4
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    It's not a GPT partitions themselves that are causing you grief, but either you or the backup utility that is not dealing with a UEFI booting configured OS drive that is the problem, sorry to say.

    You seem to have a UEFI booting Win 8.1 installation, are you using it with CSM disabled or Secure Boot enabled?

    Regardless, your problem may be related to the way the backup tool you use is displaying the partitions on your OS drive. Most tools don't do that correctly, or completely, including Windows Disk Management. There is another tool that does, called Diskpart which is run from a CMD prompt Window, in case you've never heard of it.

    Below you'll see my OS drive, a SanDisk Extreme Pro, 240GB, configured for UEFI booting (GPT formatted) as shown by Disk Management and the Windows Diskpart command. Note that I have 22GB user over provisioning space unallocated on the SSD:

    GPT screwed up - SSD Failure-diskpart-diskmanagement-uefi-os-png

    Look at Disk Management's view at the bottom of the picture, it shows three partitions, Recovery, EFI System, and the Boot, etc, Primary partition. It shows the Unallocated space on the drive, which is not really a partition used by Windows.

    Then look at the Diskpart output above it, with the black background. We see Recovery, (EFI) System, and... what's this, a Reserved partition, and then the Primary partition. That Reserved partition is not the 22GB unallocated space, since we can see above the partition listing that is reports 22GB as free space, what Disk Management calls unallocated.

    Now notice what the size of the Recovery and the Reserved partitions are when added together, 428MB.

    If we look closer at the Recovery partition is the Diskpart output, notice what the offset of the 300MB Recovery partition is. The offset being how far from the beginning of the disk's space is the start of the partition. It is 1024KB, or 1MB (or really 1MiB, for binary.) So that is really 1MB + 300MB + 128MB = 429MB.

    Sound familiar? Such as the 429MB of unallocated space you get when trying to restore the Recovery partition?

    I remembered this from your first post, "The first time I ran the EaseUs recovery program it wanted restore two partitions which was probably the 300KB Recovery Partition and the main C: partition.". Any chance EaseUS was trying to restore the usually hidden Reserved partition?

    When you installed Win 8.1, did you create all the partitions manually, or let the Windows installer do that for you, by clicking New in the Custom installation option?

  5. #5
    Ken429 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    Yes, I always use the W8 install program to delete all the partitions on the Boot Drive unless, of course, it was empty to begin with. The reason I do that is because Windows won't install otherwise - at least for me. I did a Diskpart on a functioning W8.1 GPT system and on my problem system. Looks exactly like what you suggested and expected!

    Yes, I have Secure Boot Enabled.

    I have used the Windows version of EaseUS ToDo Backup 8.0 to restore the 4690K system once or twice in the past to recover from some nasty software that got installed by "accident" along with the program I downloaded and it recovered the system correctly. This is the first time I've had a W8.1 GPT based system crash and refuse to boot. It's also the first time I've resorted to the WinPE version of the EaseUS to try and restore the system.

    Since the system is running OK without a recovery partition all I need is a procedure to get Windows to recreate the Recovery Partition so everything looks normal? I'm not sure why W8 needs a recovery partition since I don't think it has ever helped me with a problem?!

    The one thing I haven't tried is the Linux version of EaseUS Backup. It only does a restore I believe. Maybe they got that part right.
    Attached Images Attached Images GPT screwed up - SSD Failure-4690k_gpt_post_winpe-png 
    Last edited by Ken429; 03-08-2015 at 06:11 PM.

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    Ken429 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    And this is what a normal W8.1 installed looks like before WinPE does it's thing.
    Attached Images Attached Images GPT screwed up - SSD Failure-2600k_gpt-jpg 

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    Ken429 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    One more thought, I have 5 systems running W8.1 on GPT formatted SSD's. File History>System Image Backup errors on all 5 systems! I read in a post somewhere that W8.1 broke the image backup function on GPT formatted disks. Once again, I remember using this function prior to W8.1 and it worked. It was just very clumsy and I went back to a third party backup program. The EaseUS ToDo Backup forum expert kind of puts the Recovery Partition in perspective.

    http://forum.easeus.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=36163
    Last edited by Ken429; 03-08-2015 at 07:40 PM.

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    CSAsr84 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    It looks like the GPT has 3 partitions: 300MB Recovery,99-100MB EFI,XXGB User partition. However i have another 450B recovery partition at the end and I don't know what is for. I had installed Windows 8 by clicking next and not creating partitions by myself and then updated through store to 8.1.

  9. #9
    Ken429 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    One more thought, I have 5 systems running W8.1 on GPT formatted SSD's. File History>System Image Backup errors on all 5 systems! I read in a post somewhere that W8.1 broke the image backup function on GPT formatted disks. Once again, I remember using this function prior to W8.1 and it worked.
    parsec,
    Humor me, do you have a W8.1 system on an SSD formatted as GPT? If so, does the W8.1 System Image Backup work for you? I tried it on W10 preview and it works again!

    Also, I have to confess I was fooling around with 4.7GHz on the 4690K system and that is probably what caused it to crash and burn a few hours later. But... then I would have never gone down the EaseUS Todo Backup path into Recovery Partition oblivion. From this point on I turn off Write Caching on the Disk Drives until I know I got a stable system. Actually, that is the first time I've been burned that way in a long time. I guess I've been lucky.

  10. #10
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: GPT screwed up - SSD Failure

    All of my Windows OS drives are GPT formatted. I do that so I can use the EFI boot loader.

    Nope, never used Windows System Image Backup in Win 8.1, since I just don't use OS backup images often. When I do, I use Macrium Reflect, since it shows all the partitions that are created on a "GPT formatted SSD". There is more to the use of GPT formatting than GPT alone, as you can see with the other partitions.

    Formatting a drive as GPT does not create the other partitions, but if you format a drive as GPT before you install Windows, it assumes you want to use the EFI boot loader, and creates the extra partitions. For example:

    GPT screwed up - SSD Failure-gpt-efi-partitions-png

    More diskpart output, since it shows all the partitions. First notice that all the drives are GPT formatted, shown by the '*' in the Gpt column.

    Disk 0 is a Windows 8.1 installation, and you can see all the partitions it uses.

    Disk 1 is a data drive that I formatted as GPT. No Recovery or System partitions.

    Since you have Secure Boot enabled, and had a Windows 8.1 installation that uses the EFI boot loader (EFI partition on the OS drive reveals that), you have been doing what is called "UEFI Booting". That is actually using the UEFI firmware in your mother board, and not running the CSM legacy BIOS emulator. CSM is Compatibility Support Module. Using the CSM causes the UEFI firmware to ran as BIOS firmware does, which can only use 1MB of RAM memory, runs in 16bit mode, and other limitations. Apparently, it is possible to just use the CSM for VGA support, but not for the rest of the UEFI firmware features. I don't know if any mother board manufacture actually does that, IMO they don't.

    The default configuration in ALL mother boards since UEFI firmware began to be used is to run the UEFI firmware in BIOS emulated mode via the CSM. There is one big reason for that, most older video sources are not GOP compliant, which is the UEFI firmware graphics protocol. Other reasons for using the CSM include support for 32 bit OSes (not UEFI compatible), and OSes that do not support UEFI. Windows 7 supports UEFI firmware to a degree, but Vista, XP, etc, going backwards do not. Win 8 and forward fully support UEFI firmware.

    Actually, you can switch back to legacy BIOS style system start up and booting with your Win 8.1 or 10 TP installation. The MS Windows installer puts a "safety" MBR partition on the OS drive, as well as the GPT partition. Some Windows older programs like the memory test will not run with a GPT formatted file table. The Reserved partition is the GPT partition, the System partition is the MBR partition, and the Recovery partition is... what it is. Ever hear of the Win 8 Refresh feature?

    I'm sorry if this is confusing, I know it is and I don't completely understand it. You can see how much background information you need to know to understand the partition layout of a UEFI booting Windows OS installation.

    To try changing to BIOS firmware style booting, assuming you have a Win 8 installation using the EFI boot loader, go into the UEFI and disable Secure Boot, or just enable the CSM option... if you can find it that is, sometimes it is removed when Secure Boot is enabled. The PC will POST and boot fine, but notice it is slower, even when using Fast Startup.

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