Cannot boot if I have an external drive connected.

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Spartan, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. Spartan

    Spartan Super Tweaker

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    If I have my Samsung T5 Portable SSD connected via Thunderbolt or even have it connected via USB, I wouldn't be able to boot / reboot, after the Alienware logo, the screen just turns black and the keyboard lights are all colorful.

    So I ensured that my first boot option in the BIOS / Boot menu is Windows Partition Manager and the USB Device is 2nd and I also turned off USB Emulation but that doesn't help.

    It's pretty annoying having to unplug my external drives every time I want to reboot.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    Sounds like the BIOS is ignoring your boot priority setting. If your drive is GPT and the BIOS is using UEFI it may be attempting to boot from it first even though the boot priority places it second. If the drive is too big to format as MBR, try using a USB flash drive formatted as GPT and see if you have the same problem. If so, initialize it as MBR instead of GPT and test again. If it boots normally to the OS with MBR then I think it is clear that the BIOS is ignoring your boot priority.
     
  3. Spartan

    Spartan Super Tweaker

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    That made perfect sense. I inserted a GPT formatted USB Stick and rebooted. The machine rebooted just fine. Weird.
     
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  4. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    Might be some sort of unusual formatting on the T5. If you can afford to lose the content on it, maybe running diskpart clean on it and reformatting will fix it. If not it might be the firmware on it. If you use Mini-Tool PW on it do you see any weird or proprietary partitions?
     
  5. Spartan

    Spartan Super Tweaker

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    Good idea, you just reminded me that T5 was connected to my previous MacBook Pro
     
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  6. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    No more macbook pro Spartan?
     
  7. Spartan

    Spartan Super Tweaker

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    @Mr. Fox So I formatted my T5 and even initialized it as MBR not GPT this time. Same exact thing, if anything is connected to the Thunderbolt port, I can't reboot/boot . I tweeted this to Alienware Support

    @kojack I sold it and for the Alienware Area-51m instead.
     
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  8. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    If the drive has buggy firmware on the add-in card that converts the USB to SATA (inside the enclosure) or protected partitions that diskpart did not blow away, either of those things could be causing it. I had a Western Digital USB drive a few years ago that created the same problem you are experiencing and I found a special tool to nuke the hidden partitions that diskpart was unable to erase. They were protected and it took a special utility designed specifically for the purpose of destroying that garbage. I don't know if I still have it, but I will look for it. If I do I will send you a link to it. The partition was protected and totally invisible to Windows utilities. Diskpart and formatting wouldn't touch it. It had some kind of security crap for encrypting files stored on the USB drive. That garbage was causing the system to hang while booting with the USB drive connected.

    Off topic here, but this might be something to be aware of in case AWCC mysteriously stops working for reasons that are not understood. (Sharing it just in case it does.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
  9. Spartan

    Spartan Super Tweaker

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    Alienware Support's Reply:

    @Papusan
     
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  10. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    This is probably one of the few instances where I think their reply might be on-point. If all other USB devices that you have tested do not interfere with the boot process in the same way, there almost has to be something janky with the Samsung USB drive. That being said, the problem might be facilitated by something buggy about Alienware firmware if it doesn't happen when the same drive is connected to other computers.
     
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