Screwy GPT Issue

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by Sterling, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Sterling
    OP

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

    Member
    4,023
    646
    Jan 22, 2009
    United States
    Texas
    Okay, for those of you that know me, great. For those that don't, I work for a small computer repair shop. Today I encountered a really weird issue that has caused a brand new computer to be unbootable. I'm assuming the GPT partition was damaged somehow, but I don't know if that's it or not.

    Okay, so I pulled the drive to restore a backup from another computer (from the customer's old machine). Before I pulled it, it booted completely fine. I could access every nook and cranny of the machine. After placing the drive in a known good drive dock and attempting to pull it up in Windows Explorer. The drive not come up (Windows recognized it as a new device).

    So I ejected the drive and placed it back into the machine, and put the backup on another drive. To my surprise, the computer did not boot. It sat at a black screen with a list of the SATA devices it recognized (the dvd drive, and the HDD).

    I have reconfigured the BIOS, and made sure everything is good on the low level hardware, and still nothing. I believe it got borked when I placed it into the drive dock and tried to access it. Does anyone have any insight on what may have happened?
     
  2. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Member
    4,363
    542
    Jan 14, 2009
    United States
    Did you initialize the drive?
     
  3. Sterling
    OP

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

    Member
    4,023
    646
    Jan 22, 2009
    United States
    Texas
    I wouldn't think I'd need to initialize it since it came out of a factory new machine, and I planned to place it back into the machine as soon as I'd integrated the back up. I've done several other Windows 8 backups the same way, and had no troubles.
     
  4. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Member
    4,363
    542
    Jan 14, 2009
    United States
    I mean when you plug the drive into Windows did it ask you to initialize the drive?
     
  5. raulpica

    raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

    Supervisor
    11,036
    7,349
    Oct 23, 2007
    Italy
    PowerLevel: 9001
    GPT? Wat. I'm sure you mean MBR?

    I still haven't seen ANY computer shipping with GPT.
     
  6. Sterling
    OP

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

    Member
    4,023
    646
    Jan 22, 2009
    United States
    Texas
    If the computer has a UEFI, any Windows 8 installations come on GPT. At least, I'm almost a hundred percent positive that this is the case. Would you be able to tell the difference otherwise? Most OSes support GPT data natively, and have since late 2010. PnP usually pulls said drives up with ease.

    Nope. It recognized the drive as new hardware, but PnP failed to pull the drive up, or even tell me it needed a format. Drives that are empty, unusable or corrupt will usually tell me they need a format. I guess that's pretty much the same as initialization.
     
  7. raulpica

    raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

    Supervisor
    11,036
    7,349
    Oct 23, 2007
    Italy
    PowerLevel: 9001
    Huh, I dunno, I've builded a lot of UEFI configs, but every single of 'em was installed with Win7 on it. Hm, I remember working on a Win8 laptop lately, and there was no GPT on it either. Oh well.

    MBR can only allocate up to 4 partitions, GPT a shitload more, also MBR has (iirc) 4TB limit, which GPT doesn't have.

    Anyway, if the drive ISN'T detected, GPT/MBR doesn't mean anything, the drive is borked. Period.
     
  8. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Member
    4,363
    542
    Jan 14, 2009
    United States
    Right click on Computer and click on Manage. Post a screenshot under Disk Management.
     
  9. Sterling
    OP

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

    Member
    4,023
    646
    Jan 22, 2009
    United States
    Texas

    I'll have to do that tomorrow. Already closed up shop and hit home.

    In which case I'd like to know how it happened. It was booting completely fine until I popped it into the dock. CDiskInfo isn't throwing any red flags, and I extremely careful with customer data and hardware. It is detected, because Windows knows it's there, but it doesn't pop up. There's absolutely no chance of damage to the hardware. None. I can say this with 110% certainty.

    If what you say is true, and it isn't GPT, it doesn't change that something borked on the partitioning. Just to note, the reason I assume its a GPT partition is because the last time I ran a Windows 8 repair, Windows was installed on a GPT partition.

    EDIT: http://i.imgur.com/dquNmlo.jpg

    Here's my computer for reference. i7 Asus, stock off the Best Buy shelves.
     
  10. gifi4

    gifi4 How am I a 'New Member'?

    Member
    2,352
    143
    Apr 21, 2010
    Melbourne
    I could've sworn it was a 2.2TB limit. Perhaps that's only the boot drive...
     
  11. raulpica

    raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

    Supervisor
    11,036
    7,349
    Oct 23, 2007
    Italy
    PowerLevel: 9001
    Yep, it's definitely a GPT partition. Oh well, it seems we're a bit behind here.

    Then IT IS detected, that much wasn't clear (at least for me) :P There's still hope then.

    Anyway, need-a-pic of the HD in Disk Management, a Partition manager and whatever. Also do a SMART test on it and see what it reports.

    Whoops, Indeed, here's where I pulled that "4" figure out:
    I did remember some 4 with big numbers somewhere :P
     
  12. Sterling
    OP

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

    Member
    4,023
    646
    Jan 22, 2009
    United States
    Texas
    Alright, so I got back in and attempted to open up disk management. Looks like the Bench distro of Windows 7 is borked, which may have had a hand in the decimation. After switching computers, I was able to view the disk in DM. Windows sees it as unallocated space and want to initialize it. Fuck. So, I download a Windows Install disc to see if any of the repair tools can unbork it. No dice. Not even using some solutions presented by Microsoft engineers help.

    Finally, I decide it will be easiest to just reinstall Windows. One problem... the machine has no visible product key. Fuck me. Dell tattoos its Windows 8 product keys into their BIOS/UEFI. The biggest issue here is that this machine is barely three days off the shelf. Now I'm left with no way to recover the machine since everything borked for no fucking reason.

    EDIT: I also don't have the time to wait for them to ship the recovery media. Just my fucking luck.
     
  13. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Member
    4,363
    542
    Jan 14, 2009
    United States
    How about calling Dell and ask for the key?
     
  14. raulpica

    raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

    Supervisor
    11,036
    7,349
    Oct 23, 2007
    Italy
    PowerLevel: 9001
    You DON'T need the key. Just install Win8, it'll activate automagically. At least it worked like that for Win7 installs which had the Key etched into UEFI.
     
  15. Sterling
    OP

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

    Member
    4,023
    646
    Jan 22, 2009
    United States
    Texas
    Thought about that, but getting even getting recovery media through Dell is murder inducing. I have my doubts that the "techs" would even know what a product key is, let alone get permission to distribute it over the phone. Thankfully the customer bought it at Staples, and they have a decent return policy, so it should be a breeze to swap machines and transfer their protection warranty.



    I wish it were like that, but Windows installer asks for a key, and it doesn't see Dell's tattoo. Besides, it's OEM, and retail disks don't seem to see it anyway.
     
  16. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Member
    4,363
    542
    Jan 14, 2009
    United States
    My thinking is that when you plugged in that HDD Windows initialized the drive, even though it is supposed to ask before doing so. Initializing pretty much wipe out the content of the drive.
     
  17. Sterling
    OP

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

    Member
    4,023
    646
    Jan 22, 2009
    United States
    Texas
    Makes sense. Here's a little more information. The other tech was able to transfer the backup fine. When I went to check the HDD for the data, it was gone. It borked right after that when I attempted a second transfer. Another thing is that GPT is already read by windows. We have data disks (where we keep backups) with GPT, and Windows has never had an issue. Why would this drive be initialized with no need?
     
  18. raulpica

    raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

    Supervisor
    11,036
    7,349
    Oct 23, 2007
    Italy
    PowerLevel: 9001
    Use a crappy key from teh internetz and see if it activates after the install?
     
  19. Sterling
    OP

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

    Member
    4,023
    646
    Jan 22, 2009
    United States
    Texas
    I would, but the boss would have my hide if I did a bogus install on the off chance that would be it. I've used Dell Recovery disks before, and seven times out of ten the key is there. I've already had enough issues to risk my job in order to fix something that could easily be swapped out, and 30% is quite a bit of a chance of it not being a good thing. Anyway, she swapped out the computer, so now that I've learned my lesson, I'm going to start creating recovery media for each system with Windows 8. I hope to God that I can use DVDs and I'm not restricted to flash media.
     
    raulpica likes this.
  20. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Member
    4,363
    542
    Jan 14, 2009
    United States
    These days making recovering disc out of DVD needs several discs. If you can burn BD-R you should do that instead.