Preparing for major upgrade - advice requested


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AHansen
AHansen
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Hello – I am preparing for an upgrade per the pic:

Components for the upgraded PC have been acquired but not assembled.

The intent is to “transplant” storage into an otherwise complete build. The primary potential impediment is the need to enter the world of UEFI. I have two mobos (long story, short answer = one was a gift): a MSI 270-A Pro (preferred) and a Gigabyte GA-Z270-HD3. The BIOS in both – of course – are UEFI, but by default the BIOS mode is set to Legacy + UEFI (MSI) and UEFI CSM (Compatibility Support Module – Gigabyte) which enable the BIOS to automatically detect whether it will be booting into MBR or UEFI.

Plan A: Load drivers for the new hardware into the existing OS prior to transplant. I believe (hope) that default BIOS mode should then –theoretically – enable booting using my current OS drive. (If someone knows differently please tell me now.)

Plan B: Use Macrium Re-Deploy capability. I’ve created (& tested) the Macrium WinPE bootable USB flash drive. If I’m understanding the Reflect manual correctly, in a disaster which totally destroyed a PC the recovery migration would be a 2 step process:
  1. Load backup image onto a virgin drive
  2. Use Re-Deploy to let Macrium lead the way down the path to successful boot with the all new hardware
In an upgrade migration in which storage is transplanted only the 2nd step is needed; is my understanding correct?

My bootable recovery USB (16G) is based my current hardware. Can I create a new folder on the bootable USB for the new hardware drivers without putting the WinPE functionality at risk?

In the knowledge base article “Preparing a USB stick for Windows PE” the guidance provided for choosing between legacy NTFS and UEFI FAT32 formatting is “If your system has GPT disks and uses the newer UEFI booting standard then please type the line below instead:”. Three questions arise from that:
  1. Can legacy BIOS boot into a FAT32 environment (if my old memory serves, FAT32 preceded NTFS)?
  2. Does this mean has a GPT disk or does it actually mean boots from a GPT disk?
  3. Given the BIOS mode described above, should the recovery USB be formatted NTFS or FAT32?

Thank-you in advance for help, time and expertise ...
Art H.

jphughan
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You might not be able to load certain drivers for your new hardware beforehand, since some installers won't install if they don't actually detect the hardware present, but you also shouldn't need to do that.  ReDeploy should take care of getting your restored image to the point that Windows will boot, then you can install whatever drivers are needed for the rest of your new hardware.  However, if you want to continue booting in Legacy BIOS mode, you'll support for that specifically enabled on your new system in its BIOS interface, which it sounds like it already is.  Alternatively, you can restore your Legacy BIOS-based Windows installation in a specific way that will allow it to boot in UEFI mode, which is documented here -- you'll need to run ReDeploy after all of that as well since you're migrating to new hardware.  UEFI has a few distinct advantages over Legacy BIOS anyway especially if you're running Windows 8 or newer, so it's sometimes worth doing.  However, since you're on Windows 7, the case is much less compelling, and in fact setting up Windows 7 for UEFI has some drawbacks, such as making your environment impossible to viBoot.  I would say that you should NOT bother with UEFI conversion in your case unless a) you need your OS partition to reside on a disk that's larger than 2TB, or b) you intend to set up a dual boot system involving another OS that functions better in UEFI mode.  And actually when booting Windows 7 in UEFI mode, you still need to keep Legacy BIOS support enabled in your motherboard since even in UEFI mode it has some legacy dependencies.

As for Rescue Media, Legacy BIOS can boot either FAT32 or NTFS.  UEFI is only guaranteed to be able to boot FAT32.  NTFS support on UEFI systems is optional, but is not widely implemented, which is why FAT32 is the file system of choice for UEFI systems despite it predating NTFS.  Just enable the multi-boot checkbox at the last step of the Create Rescue Media wizard and it will set your flash drive up properly.

Your Rescue Media should be set up as MBR for simplicity, which is how the Rescue Media wizard will set it up automatically.  Internal disks that actually contain an OS typically get set up as GPT when being set up for a UEFI system, but UEFI systems will boot from USB devices that use MBR just fine.  They'll also work with USB devices set up as GPT, and you can manually build a Rescue Media device that way if you wanted to, but using GPT would remove the multi-boot support that allows a single Rescue Media device to be used with both Legacy BIOS and UEFI systems, which is why the Rescue Media wizard doesn't support USB devices set up as GPT.  Again, just enable the multi-boot checkbox at the last step of the wizard and it will set your flash drive up properly. Smile

Edited 30 July 2018 1:36 PM by jphughan
AHansen
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jphughan - 30 July 2018 1:19 PM
You might not be able to load certain drivers for your new hardware beforehand, since some installers won't install if they don't actually detect the hardware present, but you also shouldn't need to do that.  ReDeploy should take care of getting your restored image to the point that Windows will boot, then you can install whatever drivers are needed for the rest of your new hardware.  However, if you want to continue booting in Legacy BIOS mode, you'll support for that specifically enabled on your new system in its BIOS interface, which it sounds like it already is.  Alternatively, you can restore your Legacy BIOS-based Windows installation in a specific way that will allow it to boot in UEFI mode, which is documented here -- you'll need to run ReDeploy after all of that as well since you're migrating to new hardware.  UEFI has a few distinct advantages over Legacy BIOS anyway especially if you're running Windows 8 or newer, so it's sometimes worth doing.  However, since you're on Windows 7, the case is much less compelling, and in fact setting up Windows 7 for UEFI has some drawbacks, such as making your environment impossible to viBoot.  I would say that you should NOT bother with UEFI conversion in your case unless a) you need your OS partition to reside on a disk that's larger than 2TB, or b) you intend to set up a dual boot system involving another OS that functions better in UEFI mode.  And actually when booting Windows 7 in UEFI mode, you still need to keep Legacy BIOS support enabled in your motherboard since even in UEFI mode it has some legacy dependencies.

As for Rescue Media, Legacy BIOS can boot either FAT32 or NTFS.  UEFI is only guaranteed to be able to boot FAT32.  NTFS support on UEFI systems is optional, but is not widely implemented, which is why FAT32 is the file system of choice for UEFI systems despite it predating NTFS.  Just enable the multi-boot checkbox at the last step of the Create Rescue Media wizard and it will set your flash drive up properly.

Your Rescue Media should be set up as MBR for simplicity, which is how the Rescue Media wizard will set it up automatically.  Internal disks that actually contain an OS typically get set up as GPT when being set up for a UEFI system, but UEFI systems will boot from USB devices that use MBR just fine.  They'll also work with USB devices set up as GPT, and you can manually build a Rescue Media device that way if you wanted to, but using GPT would remove the multi-boot support that allows a single Rescue Media device to be used with both Legacy BIOS and UEFI systems, which is why the Rescue Media wizard doesn't support USB devices set up as GPT.  Again, just enable the multi-boot checkbox at the last step of the wizard and it will set your flash drive up properly. Smile

Thank-you very much for the prompt, complete and valuable response. 

I had indeed forgotten that many driver installation apps need to connect with the hardware before proceeding.  So it looks like Plan B, which may be fewer headaches in the long run anyway.

Appreciate the tip on enabling the multi-boot checkbox for the recovery media; that was not on my radar.Blush

Cheers for now.

jphughan
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Glad I was able to help!  I'll add one more item I forgot to mention.  If you're going to keep your new motherboard in a hybrid configuration such that it will have both UEFI and Legacy BIOS boot support enabled, and you ALSO have Rescue Media that was created with multi-boot support, then whenever you access the one-time boot menu in order to boot from your Rescue Media, you'll see two entries for your USB device, one each under the Legacy and UEFI category.  Normally it won't matter which you choose, EXCEPT that the "Fix Boot Problems" function built into Rescue Media attempts different repairs depending on how the Rescue Media itself was booted.  As a result, if the OS you're trying to repair is configured to boot in Legacy BIOS mode, you'll want to make sure you boot your Rescue Media in Legacy BIOS mode, and the same idea goes for UEFI systems.  If you're ever unsure about how the Rescue Media was booted, check the title bar along the very top of the interface after the Rescue environment fully loads.  If it was booted in UEFI mode, you'll see [UEFI] at the end of the title bar after the WinPE and Reflect versions.  If it was booted in Legacy BIOS, you won't see that.  Good luck!

AHansen
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jphughan - 31 July 2018 4:05 PM
Glad I was able to help!  I'll add one more item I forgot to mention.  If you're going to keep your new motherboard in a hybrid configuration such that it will have both UEFI and Legacy BIOS boot support enabled, and you ALSO have Rescue Media that was created with multi-boot support, then whenever you access the one-time boot menu in order to boot from your Rescue Media, you'll see two entries for your USB device, one each under the Legacy and UEFI category.  Normally it won't matter which you choose, EXCEPT that the "Fix Boot Problems" function built into Rescue Media attempts different repairs depending on how the Rescue Media itself was booted.  As a result, if the OS you're trying to repair is configured to boot in Legacy BIOS mode, you'll want to make sure you boot your Rescue Media in Legacy BIOS mode, and the same idea goes for UEFI systems.  If you're ever unsure about how the Rescue Media was booted, check the title bar along the very top of the interface after the Rescue environment fully loads.  If it was booted in UEFI mode, you'll see [UEFI] at the end of the title bar after the WinPE and Reflect versions.  If it was booted in Legacy BIOS, you won't see that.  Good luck!

CLARIFICATION:
Yup, I noticed that when in BIOS to test the newly created Rescue Media. As a matter of fact the way my mobo BIOS is set up(maybe all are) UEFI takes precedence over Legacy (a 10+ yr old mobo) and when the multi-boot Rescue Media is connected will not boot from a Legacy device. Which could actually have some advantages.
Now the clarification:
My understanding of the answer’s instructions was that I needed to re-create the Rescue media using FS=NTFS in diskkpart as before but this time enabling “multi-boot”. Which I did. Which resulted in: "The USB contains the maximum number of partitions allowed - Please try a different USB disk or remove partitions".
In a previous post regarding this error (apologies, I’m not sure of the etiquette for referencing another post) it was mentioned that multi-boot and NTFS don’t work together. So I re-created the Rescue media, but this time using FS=FAT32 in diskkpart. Which resulted in the following error message in the Wizard:



What did work was to re-enter diskpart as before but this time I exited the USB prep process after the Clean step. Back in the Rescue media creation wizard – after re-selecting the appropriate storage medium because the Wizard had lost the correct storage (due, I suspect, to the diskpart activity) – and clicking Finish the Wiizard formatted the USB stick (FAT32) and copied the WinPE onto the stick. Tested successfully.
Aren’t computers fun?

jphughan
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If you have the multi-boot option in the Create Rescue Media wizard enabled, Reflect will only write Rescue Media files to a FAT32 partition, because UEFI systems can't be assumed to be able to boot from an NTFS partition.  It will NOT offer to format the partition because Macrium deliberately designed the Rescue Media wizard to be non-destructive (except for overwriting older Rescue Media files) so users could store other data on their Rescue Media stick if desired without fear of it getting wiped out during a Rescue Media build.  The error about number of partitions occurs because Windows until recently has only allowed one partition on USB flash drives, so Reflect was basically saying, "You've asked for a multi-boot flash drive, which requires a FAT32 partition, but you've got an NTFS partition here.  For safety reasons I'm not willing to delete that, but I can't create an additional FAT32 partition either because this is a flash drive where only one partition is allowed."  For what it's worth, a new Rescue Media wizard that's been in beta testing for a while is slated to be released with Reflect 7.2, and it will have some significant enhancements here, including support for multi-partition flash drives (when used on versions of Windows that support this) and support for formatting flash drives (after a warning) in order to set them up in a way that will satisfy the user's preference selections rather than just displaying an error if the flash drive isn't currently set up appropriately.

I'm not sure what caused that geometry error, but I'm glad you've got working Rescue Media at this point. Smile

And incidentally, if you don't intend to actually boot your Rescue Media in UEFI mode even on your new PC because you'll be using a Legacy BIOS-based OS installation on it, then you can avoid the issue I mentioned in my earlier by deliberately using an NTFS partition and unchecking the multi-boot option, in which case the Rescue Media wizard to write to an NTFS partition.  With that setup, unless your motherboard happens to be one of the few that supports booting from NTFS in UEFI mode, your Rescue Media will ONLY be bootable in Legacy BIOS mode, which will avoid having to worry about accidentally booting Rescue Media in UEFI mode when trying to repair a Legacy BIOS OS installation.

Edited 20 August 2018 7:57 PM by jphughan
AHansen
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jphughan - 31 July 2018 5:48 PM
If you have multi-boot enabled, Reflect will only write Rescue Media files to a FAT32 partition, because UEFI systems can't be assumed to be able to boot from an NTFS partition.  It will NOT offer to format the partition because Macrium deliberately designed the Rescue Media wizard to be non-destructive (except for overwriting older Rescue Media files) so users could store other data on their Rescue Media stick if desired without fear of it getting wiped out during a Rescue Media build.  The error about number of partitions occurs because Windows until recently has only allowed one partition on USB flash drives, so Reflect was basically saying, "You've asked for a multi-boot flash drive, which requires a FAT32 partition, but you've got an NTFS partition here.  For safety reasons I'm not willing to delete that, but I can't create an additional FAT32 partition either because this is a flash drive where only one partition is allowed."  For what it's worth, a new Rescue Media wizard that's been in beta testing for a while is slated to be released with Reflect 7.2, and it will have some significant enhancements here, including support for multi-partition flash drives (when used on versions of Windows that support this) and support for formatting flash drives (after a warning) in order to set them up in a way that will satisfy the user's preference selections rather than just displaying an error if the flash drive isn't currently set up appropriately.

I'm not sure what caused that geometry error, but I'm glad you've got working Rescue Media at this point. Smile

And incidentally, if you don't intend to actually boot your Rescue Media in UEFI mode even on your new PC because you'll be using a Legacy BIOS-based OS installation on it, then you can avoid the issue I mentioned in my earlier by deliberately using an NTFS partition and unchecking the multi-boot option, in which case the Rescue Media wizard to write to an NTFS partition.  With that setup, unless your motherboard happens to be one of the few that supports booting from NTFS in UEFI mode, your Rescue Media will ONLY be bootable in Legacy BIOS mode, which will avoid having to worry about accidentally booting Rescue Media in UEFI mode when trying to repair a Legacy BIOS OS installation.

hummm ... that upgrade to the RM Wizard might provide sufficient justification to finally upgrade from Reflect 6 to 7Smile  & thank-you for the additional info.

GO

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