Forum Thread

Windows 8 won't boot without USB Installer

ChpByr 803 92 December 3, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Ok, I installed Windows 8 a couple days ago. Today I noticed the USB installer has been sitting in the port the whole time and i took it out. Upon restart, Windows 8 would no longer load.

Trying to boot into Windows Boot Manager results in 1-2 restarts followed by an Auto-Repair attempt that never ends.....

Trying to boot the HD directly results in the system asking me to install bootable media...

Sticking the USB Installer back into the port and attempting to auto repair again from the usb drive also fails....

Manually booting the 'UEFI: USB INSTALLER' option in my boot menu finds me loading back into windows 8 just fine.

Does someone know what I'm missing here?

Edit: Update: Fixed. Stopped wasting my time trying to fix it and clean installed Windows 8.

16 Comments

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#2
sounds lilke it put the hidden system partition on the usb installer.
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#3
Quote from ReverseHandedJO View Post :
sounds lilke it put the hidden system partition on the usb installer.
That's kind of what I was thinking as well, but I have no clue why it would have done that...

Disk management currently shows the usb installer is a single fat32 partition. My primary hard drive shows a recovery partition, a efi system partition, and a boot partition. If it had put the hidden system partition on the usb installer, would it be visible in disk management?
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#4
Quote from ChpByr View Post :
That's kind of what I was thinking as well, but I have no clue why it would have done that...

Disk management currently shows the usb installer is a single fat32 partition. My primary hard drive shows a recovery partition, a efi system partition, and a boot partition. If it had put the hidden system partition on the usb installer, would it be visible in disk management?
i dont think so.

rockysosua is in here with us so lets see what he has to say.
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Last edited by ReverseHandedJO December 3, 2012 at 04:31 AM
#5
Quote from ChpByr View Post :
That's kind of what I was thinking as well, but I have no clue why it would have done that...

Disk management currently shows the usb installer is a single fat32 partition. My primary hard drive shows a recovery partition, a efi system partition, and a boot partition. If it had put the hidden system partition on the usb installer, would it be visible in disk management?
It's difficult to say if it would be visible or not, and there is no other logical conclusion to be made, than that the hidden boot partition (no longer called MBR, apparently) is on the USB drive.
Anyhow, more importantly, is how to fix it.
Boot up with your installation DVD and go to repair start up. (remove the USB drive first)
The automatic repair will work most of the time.(all this info is based on Win 7 and Vista), unlike the other automatic repairs that never do, as you found out. Who knows why MSC puts that option there, when it doesn't work.
To go on. If the automatic repair won't fix it, then I presume it can be fixed with commands as one can do with 7, but I don't know how exactly, now that the new machines are set up differently with the GPT system.

To revise.( I can't say for sure that this works in 8)
Remove USB drive, bootup from install disc, select repairs instead of Install, then go for the start up repair and let it do it's thing.
If that doesn't work, then you could hope that it can be done with commands (like fixmbr, rebuildmbr, etc).
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#6
Thanks for the input guys. I've already tried the repair on the installer and it failed, so I guess when I get home after work I'll look into rebuilding the bootloader from the command prompt.

I had come to the same conclusion as you guys, but I was hoping I was missing something since I don't see why Windows would have chosen the USB drive for the boot partition and still have created one on the primary HD. Will update with steps if I manage a fix.
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#7
I spent more than a day finding out how different the Win 8 set up is, to previous Windows operating systems.
I'm sure there are good valid reasons for changing how it all works, but in the meantime, we'll all have a lot of learning to do, before having tried and proven solutions for any and all problems.
I've been caught with the same problem, by way of leaving other hard drives attached while installing a new OS and landing up with the MBR being written to the wrong drive.
I can't say that I ever heard of it happening to a thumb drive, formatted in FAT, no less, but it sure seems to be the case.
It's difficult to imagine why MSC would develop such amazing sophisticated operating systems, yet miss a detail like that. I mean, what are the odds that a user would want the MBR (for the lack of a better word) on his FAT formatted thumb drive? It's rather absurd.
That being said, there is no other explanation in this particular scenario.

When you install Win 7, you can delete whatever partition that you want to install on, then make a new partition from the same unallocated space, and automatically, Windows makes a 200 meg hidden partition for the MBR, so even if it started writing it to the wrong drive, you'll get a new MBR written to the correct drive. (I'm not sure if I explained that well enough)
Unless the OP's problem can be fixed by the automatic repair from the DVD, or by commands in the Command Prompt section, then the only way to fix it will be to reinstall, with no USB drive attached, naturally. Roll Eyes (Sarcastic)
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#8
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
Unless the OP's problem can be fixed by the automatic repair from the DVD, or by commands in the Command Prompt section, then the only way to fix it will be to reinstall, with no USB drive attached, naturally. Roll Eyes (Sarcastic)
And so it came to pass Stick Out Tongue

Automatic repair was no-go. Recreating the bootloader from command prompt was no-go. Reinstalling windows from within Windows was a no-go (i should have figured it wouldn't redo the boot files). Ran out of things to try so I had to wipe the drive completely and clean install windows 8.

Edit Edit: Nm, don't think it was a driver issue, currently unable to boot fresh install, hmmm....
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Last edited by ChpByr December 4, 2012 at 09:12 PM

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Quote from ChpByr View Post :
And so it came to pass Stick Out Tongue

Automatic repair was no-go. Recreating the bootloader from command prompt was no-go. Reinstalling windows from within Windows was a no-go (i should have figured it wouldn't redo the boot files). Ran out of things to try so I had to wipe the drive completely and clean install windows 8.

Edit Edit: Nm, don't think it was a driver issue, currently unable to boot fresh install, hmmm....
how old is this computer? is it a laptop or a desktop? home built or model?

the table on the HDD might be messed up and might need to Fdisk it.

also, like rockysosua said, are there any other HDDs connected? just like he, i have learned to unplug other HDDs to prevent strange things from happening.
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Last edited by ReverseHandedJO December 4, 2012 at 10:53 PM
#10
Quote from ChpByr View Post :
And so it came to pass Stick Out Tongue

Automatic repair was no-go. Recreating the bootloader from command prompt was no-go. Reinstalling windows from within Windows was a no-go (i should have figured it wouldn't redo the boot files). Ran out of things to try so I had to wipe the drive completely and clean install windows 8.

Edit Edit: Nm, don't think it was a driver issue, currently unable to boot fresh install, hmmm....
You did a clean install (no USB devices connected) and the new OS won't boot?
Is that correct?
Did it reboot a couple of times during the installation?
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Quote from RockySosua View Post :
You did a clean install (no USB devices connected) and the new OS won't boot?
Is that correct?
Did it reboot a couple of times during the installation?
Sorry for slow responce; been busy and lack of sleep has kept me from posting. BUT GUESS WHAT BROUGHT ME BACK!? LMAO

After I added in that edit, I reinstalled again cleanly, and system worked fine; I installed some software, installed a 2nd hard drive, rebooted several times through the day without a problem, even found a few minutes to test-play Diablo III. Everything working fine....

Until 3 hours ago, computer froze while copying files from 1 partition to the other. I'm right back where I started. First time experiencing a hard-locked system, no clue why it happened, but I'm back to not being able to boot into win 8. Now here's the interesting part; I removed the 2nd hard drive just now and I can boot into Windows 8 just fine.

Here's why I find it interesting (given that you guys have pointed out extra hard drive issues): This 2nd hard drive was initially installed when I ran into the problem the first time, (once I pulled the USB installer out, I could no longer load into Windows). The hard drive however was not installed the 2nd time around I couldn't boot into windows but maybe we can write this off as a bad install???

2nd Hard Drive was again present when system froze on me earlier, and once unplugged I can now load back into Windows 8. Assuming I ignore the potential bad install, the common component to my problem is the 2nd hard drive. However, I spent almost a day using the system, reboots and lots of copying on/off the 2nd drive included, without problem. It wasn't until 3 hours ago that the system froze (first time experiencing this on Win 8) and loader died on me.

Quote from ReverseHandedJO View Post :
the table on the HDD might be messed up and might need to Fdisk it.
Could that explain my issue completely? Is it possible to use the hard drive a decent amount before bad table does bad things?

Edit: Just replaced originally mentioned 2nd Hard Drive with a different one (granted a blank recently formatted one) and Windows 8 loads just fine with 2 hard drives in place. Was my seemingly innocent storage hd actually my gremlin the whole time? lol. Sigh.

Any way to (easily) verify the HDD table is messed up before Fdisking it?
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Last edited by ChpByr December 6, 2012 at 06:27 AM
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#12
it is possible there is something wrong with the second hdd.

do you know how to look at the S.M.A.R.T. of a hdd?

CrystalDiskInfo [crystalmark.info]

install the above and run. at the top if either drive letter has a yellow mark then that means there are potential problems for that hdd.

then on the list of SMART items look for 'reallocated sectors.' ideally this should be 0.
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#13
Quote from ReverseHandedJO View Post :
do you know how to look at the S.M.A.R.T. of a hdd?
Thank you for the link, will try to test the drive sometime later today.
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#14
Quote from ChpByr View Post :
Sorry for slow responce; been busy and lack of sleep has kept me from posting. BUT GUESS WHAT BROUGHT ME BACK!? LMAO

After I added in that edit, I reinstalled again cleanly, and system worked fine; I installed some software, installed a 2nd hard drive, rebooted several times through the day without a problem, even found a few minutes to test-play Diablo III. Everything working fine....

Until 3 hours ago, computer froze while copying files from 1 partition to the other. I'm right back where I started. First time experiencing a hard-locked system, no clue why it happened, but I'm back to not being able to boot into win 8. Now here's the interesting part; I removed the 2nd hard drive just now and I can boot into Windows 8 just fine.

Here's why I find it interesting (given that you guys have pointed out extra hard drive issues): This 2nd hard drive was initially installed when I ran into the problem the first time, (once I pulled the USB installer out, I could no longer load into Windows). The hard drive however was not installed the 2nd time around I couldn't boot into windows but maybe we can write this off as a bad install???

2nd Hard Drive was again present when system froze on me earlier, and once unplugged I can now load back into Windows 8. Assuming I ignore the potential bad install, the common component to my problem is the 2nd hard drive. However, I spent almost a day using the system, reboots and lots of copying on/off the 2nd drive included, without problem. It wasn't until 3 hours ago that the system froze (first time experiencing this on Win 8) and loader died on me.


Could that explain my issue completely? Is it possible to use the hard drive a decent amount before bad table does bad things?

Edit: Just replaced originally mentioned 2nd Hard Drive with a different one (granted a blank recently formatted one) and Windows 8 loads just fine with 2 hard drives in place. Was my seemingly innocent storage hd actually my gremlin the whole time? lol. Sigh.

Any way to (easily) verify the HDD table is messed up before Fdisking it?
I've repaired corrupt drives with Check Disk and installed a new OS on them, only to have it go wonky after X amount of hours of usage.
I'd say that your 2nd drive did just that.
It's no good, but still a bit functional but will soon die altogether.
You can test and even repair it, but it'll only last a short period of time, then BANG, it'll be gone again.
The good news is that you have the problem licked now.
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#15
Have you checked the BIOS boot order????

Make sure Hard Disk is first and USB/CD/DVD/Network are after.
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