T420 + mSata + UEFI ONLY = 20 SEC BOOT

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by ferganer80, Apr 23, 2011.

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  1. ferganer80

    ferganer80 Notebook Consultant

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    Today, my mSata (40Gb Intel 310) arrived. I installed the drive into the WWAN slot, chose UEFI Only in the BIOS/UEFI settings, clean installed Windows 7 Ultimate (had to reinstall it once for the reason described below). I also added another 4Gb RAM and now have a system that boots in the UEFI mode and it takes it about 20 seconds from the moment I press the power button to a usable desktop. The machine shuts down in 10 seconds. I am pretty sure these results may even be better with the speedier 80GB msata (or any other high-performance SSD). I decided to go with mSata so that I could have the mSata as the boot/app drive and a 500GB WD Caviar Black (Advanced Format) as my data storage drive.

    But let me tell you what I did step-by-step:

    1) I changed the BIOS boot option to UEFI Only.

    2) I opened the RAM/PCIe slot on the bottom of the laptop, installed the RAM and the mSata. Everything took me no more than a few minutes. A few things to note: a) there is a screw for the mSata drive in the slot (you don't have to buy any), b) there is enough space for the two WWAN leads/wires so you just keep'em there, c) as always remove the battery before installation and make sure there is no static. Furthermore, to simplify things you may want to remove your hard drive. So I removed the stock 5,400 RPM HDD.

    3) I loaded the Windows Installation DVD (it has to be 64-bit) into the DVD drive and proceeded as with a normal Windows installation. Windows detected the mSata and started installing itself on the drive. Note: if you are not using a raw drive (e.g. resinstalling Windows) you will need to delete all partitions during the Windows installation so that Windows can create a bootable GUID Parition Table (GPT).

    4) Installation took a while (probably due to the low write speeds on the 40Gb mSata. I wish I could afford the 80GB model.

    5) After windows reboots itself a few times and you go over the setup, you get the virgin Windows OS on your machine meaning that many things will not work (e.g. network, monitor settings, backlight controls, etc). You may want to go to Windows Disk Manager to check if your drive was partitioned as GPT (if it was, you will see two partitions - 100MB reserved MSR and the NTFS boot partiion).

    6) Then I uninstalled all unnecesary Windows features (Tablet PC Components, Media Features, Games, Remote Differential Compression, XPS stuff, Print and Document Services, etc.). Rebooted. I also turned off hibernation and system restore, which got me about 12 GB of SSD space back. Don't forget to turn off the scheduled defragmentation (for some reason Windows didnot do this automatically).

    7) Then I went to Intel website and downloaded the Intel 6300 WiFi driver and installed it.

    8) Set the updates to notify me. Checked for updates and installed all updates.

    9) Rebooted and got the dreadful BSOD. It turns out that a UEFI installation results in a BSOD if you install the Intel HD 3000 driver BEFORE the SP1. See the discution of the problem here: http://communities.intel.com/message/120662.

    - Important: In order to avoid resinstalling Windows again, do steps 1 through 7 and proceed as follows:

    10) Check for updates and make sure you uncheck Intel HD 3000 driver. Install other updates and reboot.

    11) After the first update, the reboot may take a while (mine got stuck and the Starting Windows stage). Then, check for updates again. See if you've got SP1 and again uncheck the Intel HD Driver. Install SP1 along with other updates. Reboot.

    12) Then I installed the Intel HD Driver, and guess what, the screen got much prettier than it was with the Lenovo driver. The color profile and sharpness was much better and this made the screen much more usable than it was out of the box (you've probably read the horror stories abot the T420's screen. Here is a thread where I comment on the issue: http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo-ibm/571621-t420-arrived-first-impressions.html ).

    13) I checked for updates again and have hidden the Lenovo HD Driver update.

    - Important: If you don't want the horrible default screen quality of the T420, please, make sure you don't install the Lenovo HD Driver. Furthermore, for some reason, because of the Intel Hd Driver, the WEI for Aero performance increased from 4.4 with the Lenovo driver to 5.2.

    14) I then went to the device manager to see which drivers are missing. Fir the missing drivers, I went to Lenovo support page, downloaded all the drivers but did not install them, just unpacked them and installed the drivers through the device manage (press "Update Driver" and choose the folder you unpacked the driver into). By doing this, I avoided installing all those ThinkVantage tools that I personally don't need.

    15) Installed all my programs (MS Office 2010, MSE, 7-Zip, Acrobat X, Firefox, and others) and now have 17 GB of space free on the mSata.

    16) Last thing I did was putting in the 7,200 RPM Caviar Black. The drive installed but was not visible under MY Computer. You will need to go to the Windows Disk Manager and initialize the disk. I initialized it as a GPT (don't aks me why).

    17) Do all the tweaking of your choosing.

    I hope this guide will help you if you decide to opt for UEFI only boot with mSata. As a result, you will get a super fast and responsive system without compromising available disk space. The UEFI ONLY setup should also work with HDDs as well (can't imagine why it wouldn't)

    Please, let me know if you have questions.
     
  2. thecrafter

    thecrafter Notebook Consultant

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    It seems Lenovo is using the UEFI terminology differently than I've heard in the past. I thought UEFI was a new version of BIOS that has mouse support, graphics, etc..
     
  3. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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  4. ferganer80

    ferganer80 Notebook Consultant

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    No, I did not as I don't know how it really works.
     
  5. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    Not to be confused with RapidDrive. Please post what times you get with the driver installed. It will only help.

    Yamato Thinking Blog Archive EE 2.0 and RapidBoot: Part 1

    "the basic philosophy behind RapidBoot is to make certain that only the applications that you need are booted and other applications are deferred until after bootup. This allows the computer to defer applications appropriately even if you add a lot of them.

    - That makes sense. So the computer is sorting them properly. What about updated versions of the things necessary when booting?

    Kaneko: Yes. In the previous version it was only possible to manage the deferred events statically, but in EE 2.0, it is possible to manage them dynamically. For instance, it is also possible to defer applications in the startup menu for which events occur during bootup. That is why the performance does not change, even if you have used a PC for a long time."
     
  6. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    Btw, what happens if you use UEFI-only with the factory image (non-clean win install)?
     
  7. thecrafter

    thecrafter Notebook Consultant

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    If what the OP is saying is universal (applies to all PCs if you first install Intel HD GPU driver before SP1, and not his laptop config specific), I'd imagine there would be a problem because at least with the x120e image, it does not come with SP1 installed. There's a chance it could be only a problem with the latest drivers from Intel. I'd venture a guess that the x220 won't come with the very latest one, which might not have this problem. And if it doesn't BSOD on you then just update to SP1 first, then update all the Lenovo drivers and whatnot
     
  8. ferganer80

    ferganer80 Notebook Consultant

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    Re: "Btw, what happens if you use UEFI-only with the factory image (non-clean win install)?"

    You will still need to have the disk partitioned as a GPT disk. I don't know if you can clone the image to just the NTFS portion of the GPT parition disk.


    Re: "If what the OP is saying is universal (applies to all PCs if you first install Intel HD GPU driver before SP1, and not his laptop config specific), I'd imagine there would be a problem because at least with the x120e image, it does not come with SP1 installed"

    Good point.


    Re: "Please post what times you get with the driver installed. It will only help."

    Sorry Vinuneuro, but I'll follow the saying "If it ain't broke don't fix it". Just don't want another piece of software on the computer. Pretty happy with how it works now,
     
  9. Laser88

    Laser88 Newbie

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    Thanks OP for the detailed instructions. My T420 is on its way (in AK now) and I am going to configure mine almost exactly like yours (mSATA/80GB, 500GB WD Black, and 8GB RAM). Your post really helps.

    Since you only have 40GB on mSATA, I would suggest checking out How to: Setup SSD boot drive with secondary Hard disc optimization - Overclock.net - Overclocking.net. It guides you to move C:\USERS from boot SSD drive to 2nd HD. I built a new desktop PC (with 64GB SSD C300) over the Christmas and the guide worked out beautifully.

    I did turned off pagefile/hibernation in my desktop but I am not sure if I would do the same on the laptop. While T420 has a long battery life, my T61p sometimes ran out of battery and went into hibernation unexpectedly. This is why I am fine with 64GB for my desktop (16GB memory) but chose 80GB for my laptop to accommodate the extra needs. I may try to place the pagefiles in different locations (mSATA, WD, or even SDHC) and see how that goes.

    As a side note, I chose mSATA not only for the SSD performance but also to make my T420 two drives to split the disk loads.

    I think I am all set and ready to configure my T420 when it arrives. My only concern is all the negative comments on the display quality which my eyes will tell me soon. :eek:

    Once again, thanks for sharing!
     
  10. PatchySan

    PatchySan Om Noms Kit Kat

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    Thanks for the heads up on the UEFI mode, I was reading this particular feature quite thoroughly yesterday and still deciding on how to implement it should my T420 arrive by next week. Yesterday I thought it was wise to download a SP1 version of Windows 7 via MSDN and judging from your post it seems to be the correct decision as I was not aware of the Intel BSOD problem until now.

    How did you measure the boot time on the system? Using a stopwatch or an utility? I tend to use Boot Timer on mine and would be interesting to compare. The image below is my T61 with Intel X25-M and i'm pretty confident I can shave this time easily with the T420 + UEFI + Intel 510 SSD combination.

    [​IMG]
     
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