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My experience with a slow booting SSD and other shenanigans

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
For starters, I was uncertain as to where to post this since I this is not a question / issue that needs to be solved. Rather the opposite.
It all began when my heavily encumbered windows 7 installation finally failed to boot. The bootmanager went missing, probably took a hike to visit its origins, and was unable to be recovered through Startup Repair, as well as the bootrec /FixMbr nor bootrec /FixBoot. So my Win7 was rendered un-bootable.
After some troubleshooting, I finally resorted to do a clean install.
All was good. Up and running, stable as a rock finishing one windows update after the other. Until the Blue Screens of Disastrous Death started rolling in!
In peace and quiet I was downloading my Steam + Origin games (a lengthy procedure...) when the first BSoDD came up. I didn't think much of it, looked at the .dmp file and found that iastor.sys was the culprit. I updated my chipset and rapid storage technology drivers and thought nothing else of it.
Along came another BSoDD. And another. Etc.
I was amiss to why this was happening to me. A clean install on hardware that had been running flawlessly for the better of 2 years. One HDD even 5 years. A few bugchecks wasn't enough to keep me from getting a backup of my steam library though. So I stubbornly backed up few games at a time, only to restart the system after completion.
In hindsight, this was a tremendous waste of time, and yet I kept going on.

When, finally, the library had been backed up. I started looking into why I was getting so many blue screens. It didn't help much that after the first one, Win7 - the old hag - stopped writing minidumps to me. Onwards to the great internet, where google is ever vigilant in helping those who knows the secret of great googling. It turns out that I wasn't so great at effective googling however. It took several days to narrow my first issue down: The crashes.

As it turns out my Crucial M4 120GB SSD was in dire need of a firmware update. I was running rev.0009, and in regards to firmware and BIOS updates, I'm kind of a "If it ain't broken - don't fix it!" type of guy. Unless you're lacking functionality, in which case go for it.
Back to the firmware update:
Crucial has made a nifty update utility where it detects your OS, your SSD and its current firmware, and administers the update for you! "Awesome!" I thought to myself "does it get any easier?!"
It doesn't. Except for when the nifty utility isn't working with your setup.
It kept on giving me the error "Failed to initialize boot sequence" no matter in which configuration I executed it in. Safe mode = no thnx. Only the SSD = no thnx. Load from c: = no thnx. Now I'm a calm guy, but I was 10 seconds from tearing my case apart.
I'm glad I didn't, safe to say. Crucial also provided the option to create a bootable .iso. Yay! So I threw my only available USB pen through Pendrive and created my Stick of Truth. Flashed the firmware to 070H, and lo and behold! No more crashes. I'm a happy guy now.

However, the OS was in a miserable state with all the BSoDD's it'd been through. The bootmgr had gone missing after every single one of the crashes. Although this time around I could fix it by firing up the Windows 7 installation disk and entering CMD, in order to use bootrec.
My windows activation had been rendered Not Genuine by Microsoft, to which I still didn't figure out the how and why. All in all, I had no intention on using this installation for anything, anymore. Towards the next adventure!

With the new firmware on my SSD, I felt invincible. A can of coffee by my side, and all the time in the world to set up a fresh OS. At this point I have to tip my proverbial hat to Mr. Sean Webster for his Win7 install & optimization guide, which I have been using profoundly, lately.
With only the SSD plugged in while setting myself up, I didn't even realize I'd pressed restart after update 8573 of 91919. I remembered how wonderful speeds they come with. Over time, my boot time had gone up to a point where I'd go make breakfast and come back to a desktop. No more, I say!

Anyways, I get my OS setup the way I like it and my 1TB games'n'software drive is golden. One final shutdown in order to plugin my 3TB backup drive, and I'm done for today. I was feeling optimistic and lighthearted when I pressed the power button. I was still feeling optimistic when the GUI splash screen was on-screen even for a little while longer than before. My optimism started fading when the Starting Windows splash screen was still on my monitor after 30 seconds.
After 57 seconds, I had finally arrived to the desktop. With a bad taste in my mouth and several panicky questions arising in the back of my head. I went balistic, absolutely, I may have even overreacted.
The first thing I did was to roll-back to my baseline, with all the windows updates and AV software installed. Still was it taking forever to boot. A complete reinstall - again. Same result! I was going out of my mind. Another rollback to baseline.
Finally I got to my senses and started googling my issues, and narrowing down my culprit. Which of course was my backup drive.
Apparently, Windows was reading some old and ancient boot files on the drive, and couldn't quite decide on whether to boot from a mechanical 3TB behemoth, or a swift 120GB SSD gazelle. Stupid windows.
As it turns out, the best advice out there was to backup my backup, and do a clean command through diskpart. But only the clean command. No partitioning or formatting in there, we should leave that to Microsoft's very own DiskManagement. Why that is to be preferred, I do not know. But I wasn't feeling adventurous enough to walk my own path and wave off the recommendations.

As I started off with, I'm not sure if this is an appropriate place to post this, or if it's too much off-topic'ish. To which I disagree, since hard drives have been the primary subject.
To those who read it all, thank you and goodnight.
ASRock E3G3
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ASRock E3G3
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post #2 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agoriaz View Post

Apparently, Windows was reading some old and ancient boot files on the drive, and couldn't quite decide on whether to boot from a mechanical 3TB behemoth, or a swift 120GB SSD gazelle.
I don't understand this. If the SSD is configured as the boot drive, I don't see any reason why Windows would even bother looking elsewhere for boot content. Once you're at the Windows 7 splash screen, it shouldn't be looking anywhere but the SSD.
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LancelotX79
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
I don't understand it either and I haven't bothered inestigating it further since it's working now.
I installed the drive a year ago and it has seen two different win7 installs. Each time the drive has been unplugged during the installation part.
The only way I can think of how it happened is, when I was having the blue screens, where I was forced to recreate the bootmanager. This is suspicion only though, and it still doesn't make sense in my head.
ASRock E3G3
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Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
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ASRock E3G3
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Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung S222 CoolerMaster 212 EVO Windows 10 64bit Crossover 27q 
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