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SSD Install - Lost ability to create Partition 0


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#1 johndough247

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 04:22 PM

System: Dell XPS 410 (Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz, 8 GB RAM)
SSD: Samsung 840 EVO

So, I've been installing and re-installing Win 7 Pro 64-bit on a new SSD for a few days now. Why you ask? because I've been trying to get the Samsung Magician program to recognise the drive as being in AHCI mode with no success. Dell's BIOS for this system only gives you the option of "RAID Autodetect/ATA" or "RAID On". So I messed around with installing using each mode and also with/without trying different AHCI drivers as suggested online.

When I would create the new partition in setup, win7 wanted to create the system partition...fine, no problem. The system reserved would be on partition 0 and the main partition for windows would be partition 1. Cool...but never got AHCI recognised in win7. So the experimenting continued...(by the way, the AHCI/RAID Bios that loads on boot says its the ICH8R)

So after all this experimenting over the weekend, at one point (Probably after about the 8th install) when I tried to create a new partition, the system reserved was assigned as PARTITION 1 and the Windows partition as PARTITION 2. No matter what I've tried, I can't get back to partition 0...and it doesn't show up anywhere no matter what I do to the drive. I've tried zero-ing the drive before install and switched the SATA modes and the first partition it creates is now always partition 1, never 0.

Why does this matter? I've noticed some lag in performance on an install only a couple hours old with a few programs installed and updated with the latest drivers, SP1 and other Windows updates. It was always snappy during the first few installs, but of course I couldn't leave well enough alone lol. I've also noticed that since the disappearance of partition 0 the computer hangs for exactly 30 seconds on boot, post-BIOS and pre-"Starting Windows"...during the first couple installs that didn't happen it was an almost instantaneous jump to the "starting windows" bit. I know Windows startup messages like to give 30 seconds to pick an option so I'm assuming Partition 0 is still there somehow and screwing up my overall boot speed and performance (lost about 40 seconds overall).

Here are a few things I've tried to fix the issue on the same machine with my old HDD running win7 SP1:

Tried Windows Quick Format and Full Format in disk management...Nothing

Tried DISKPART and it can't see partition 0...formatted the drive there...Still starts at partition 1

Tried Several things in Partition Magic 8 (in this order):

Recover Partitions: it found 4 "Boot" partitions that were about 5 MB big: recovered those, wiped them out, format afterwards...still starting on partition 1

Converted from MBR to GPT, recover partition: It found the last windows partition...didn't recover for obvious reasons.

Wipe Disk in GPT mode: nothing new

Converted back to MBR and rebuilt MBR: no luck

Did a full unrecoverable wipe (DoD 7 or something so...7 passes) and still nothing.


I am 100% sure I saw Partition 0 on the first few installs and them POOF! The ability to create partition 0 vanished...any ideas on how to get this SSD back to initial factory condition?

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#2 NickAu

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 04:38 PM

 

any ideas on how to get this SSD back to initial factory condition?

 

Yes, Use GParted Live, Download Gparted live burn it to DVD/CD/USB boot your system from DVD/CD/USB then delete the partitions and reformat in NTFS.
 

 

 

Did a full unrecoverable wipe (DoD 7 or something so...7 passes) and still nothing.

As you have been deleting partitions  and doing wipes I guess I do not need to say the next bit.

Warning using Gparted Live to delete partitions will render any data on the drive unrecoverable. 



GParted -- Live CD/USB/PXE/HD
 
 
http://youtu.be/bb54TsYI6UA


Edited by NickAu1, 08 September 2014 - 05:17 PM.


#3 jonuk76

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 08:20 PM

What is the drive health like now?  Does it pass SMART?


7sbvuf-6.png


#4 johndough247

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 09:17 PM

What is the drive health like now?  Does it pass SMART?

 

Never used SMART before...you mean this program: http://www.ariolic.com/activesmart/smart-technology.html ?

 

 

any ideas on how to get this SSD back to initial factory condition?

 

Yes, Use GParted Live, Download Gparted live burn it to DVD/CD/USB boot your system from DVD/CD/USB then delete the partitions and reformat in NTFS.
 

 

 

Did a full unrecoverable wipe (DoD 7 or something so...7 passes) and still nothing.

As you have been deleting partitions  and doing wipes I guess I do not need to say the next bit.

Warning using Gparted Live to delete partitions will render any data on the drive unrecoverable. 



GParted -- Live CD/USB/PXE/HD
 
 
http://youtu.be/bb54TsYI6UA

 

 

Downloading Gparted as well, will try everything in an hour and report back.


Edited by johndough247, 08 September 2014 - 09:18 PM.


#5 jonuk76

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 09:42 PM

Lots of programs report SMART data. For example Samsung's own Magician software.

 

You don't want it to look like this below as this is an example of one with a problem.  Clicking the "SMART" button gives a more detailed breakdown of the attributes but the main thing is that the drive health shows as good.

 

magician.png

 

You might also like to note that Samsung Magician has an SSD factory restore feature.  Go to the "Secure Erase" option and create a bootable CD or USB drive.


7sbvuf-6.png


#6 johndough247

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 09:54 PM

SMART Report came back good, didn't fail anything:

 

============================================================
This report created by Active SMART
http://www.ariolic.com/activesmart/
============================================================

S.M.A.R.T. status
Date: 2014/09/08 22:52:16

Model Name: Samsung SSD 840 EVO 120GB
Serial number:  S1D7NEAF505515F
Capacity:  120.0 GB
Firmware:  EXT0BB6Q
Drive interface: ATA
Current temperature: 31 °C (87 F)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Attribute Name                       Threshold     Value       Worst     Raw value 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5   (05) Reallocated Sectors Count               10          100         100              0
9   (09) Power-On Hours                                 0           99          99             175
12  (0C) Device Power Cycle Count               0           99          99              53
177 (B1) Unknown                                          0           99          99               7
179 (B3) Unknown                                         10          100         100              0
181 (B5) Program Fail Count Total                10          100         100              0
182 (B6) Unknown                                         10          100         100              0
183 (B7) SATA Downshift Error Count           10          100         100              0
187 (BB) Reported Uncorrectable Errors        0           100         100              0
190 (BE) Airflow Temperature                         0           69          53              31
195 (C3) Hardware ECC recovered                 0           200         200              0
199 (C7) UltraDMA CRC Error Count              0           100         100              0
235 (EB) Good Block Count AND System(Free) Block Count0           99          99              29
241 (F1) Total LBA Written                               0           99          99      2887605529
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



#7 NickAu

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 09:56 PM

 

Downloading Gparted as well, will try everything in an hour and report back.

Use jonuk76 advice first I dont use Windows so have no idea how that stuff works.



#8 johndough247

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 09:59 PM

Lots of programs report SMART data. For example Samsung's own Magician software.

 

You don't want it to look like this below as this is an example of one with a problem.  Clicking the "SMART" button gives a more detailed breakdown of the attributes but the main thing is that the drive health shows as good.

 

magician.png

 

You might also like to note that Samsung Magician has an SSD factory restore feature.  Go to the "Secure Erase" option and create a bootable CD or USB drive.

 

You know I completely forgot about that secure erase option. Was just about to run GParted, bootable USB ready to go (currently running windows off the SSD)...I'll give GParted a go (just because I'm curious as to how it works)...if not, secure erase it is.


 

 

Downloading Gparted as well, will try everything in an hour and report back.

Use jonuk76 advice first I dont use Windows so have no idea how that stuff works.

 

Hmm ok, i'll flip that around then! Secure erase first.



#9 NickAu

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 10:04 PM

 

 Secure erase first.

No need once you delete the partition and reformat it as NTFS with Gparted  I doubt it could be recovered by the avarage person. Even geeks would find it hard if not impossiable.


Edited by NickAu1, 08 September 2014 - 10:05 PM.


#10 johndough247

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 10:58 PM

Ok Secure Erase didn't work.

Tried it in "RAID On" Bios Mode...still partition 1
Tried it in "RAID AutoDetect/ATA" Bios Mode...got this message when trying to erase:

-----------------------------------------------------------------

The selected drive is in a frozen state. To continue with secure erase, please follow the directions below. Do not switch the computer off during this process.
1. Open computer casing
2. Disconnect the SATA power cables from the SSD, then reattach after a few seconds.
3. Restart the application by typing "SEGUI0.exe" and then proceed.

Press any key to continue...
-----------------------------------------------------------------

After the 10 seconds of panic, I followed the instructions and got the same message again...did it one more time to be sure, same thing. So I switched back to RAID ON and wiped it again with secure erase...insanity ensues.

Then I had a duh! moment...I pulled the SATA data cable, not the SATA power cable :-\...so I went back to secure erase in the ATA bios mode and pulled the right cable this time and it got it out of the frozen state and proceeded with the wipe. Switched back to RAID ON (since the drive ran faster in that mode compared to ATA, naturally) and tried the windows install...STILL PARTITION ONE...

So yea, secure erase didn't do it....going with GParted now...<fingers crossed>

#11 johndough247

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 11:53 PM

Back from GParted...still no luck.

I erased the current partitions 1 and 2 (System reserved and windows partition) and created 2 new ones: a 100MB partition labeled "System Reserved" formatted in NTFS and another partition for the remaining space (also in NTFS). Both partitions were primary partitions. Both show up in GParted as partition 1 and 2...they show up the same way in win7 setup: partition 1 and 2...not 0 and 1 as I'd hoped.

I also tried creating a new partition table (msdos) table and then creating partitions but same result, still no luck. Am I doing something wrong within GParted?

Also, two things:
1) That "Press any key to Boot from CD" message that precedes the windows 7 setup disk...I'm pretty sure that message USED to show up before I lost partition 0. Now, no matter what I do: If I wipe all partitions from the drive and let the PC boot from CD, it just boots from the CD without giving the message...another symptom of this lost partition 0? (it'll show up if windows setup is power cycling, but not when starting the setup process)

2) Partition 1 always starts on sector 2048 of the drive...what's inside sector 1 to 2047?

#12 johndough247

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 12:30 AM

UPDATE:

Did a reformat again in GParted:

Partition 1: Primary Partition NTFS, 100 MB, align by cylinder (new change), labeled "System Reserved"
Partition 2: Primary Partition NTFS, remainder of drive space, align by cylinder (new change)

After applying those changes, added a boot flag to the system reserved partition

So this didn't fix the partition 0 problem, but it got the "press any key to Boot from CD" to show up again...

Any more ideas guys and gals?

EDIT: Trying an install under these settings to see if it fixes the boot time issue. Will report back tomorrow night on it, in the meanwhile....any other ideas on partition 0 recovery would be welcome (by the way, am I losing it, or does everyone else see partition 0 when installing win7 on a fresh drive too?)

Edited by johndough247, 09 September 2014 - 12:34 AM.


#13 jonuk76

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 12:37 AM

Back from GParted...still no luck.

I erased the current partitions 1 and 2 (System reserved and windows partition) and created 2 new ones: a 100MB partition labeled "System Reserved" formatted in NTFS and another partition for the remaining space (also in NTFS). Both partitions were primary partitions. Both show up in GParted as partition 1 and 2...they show up the same way in win7 setup: partition 1 and 2...not 0 and 1 as I'd hoped.

I also tried creating a new partition table (msdos) table and then creating partitions but same result, still no luck. Am I doing something wrong within GParted?

Also, two things:
1) That "Press any key to Boot from CD" message that precedes the windows 7 setup disk...I'm pretty sure that message USED to show up before I lost partition 0. Now, no matter what I do: If I wipe all partitions from the drive and let the PC boot from CD, it just boots from the CD without giving the message...another symptom of this lost partition 0? (it'll show up if windows setup is power cycling, but not when starting the setup process)

2) Partition 1 always starts on sector 2048 of the drive...what's inside sector 1 to 2047?

 

 

1) Pass.  I've always seen that message when booting from a Windows OS CD and just assumed it was a very simple implementation of a "boot menu" on the CD - i.e. press any key to boot from the CD or leave it alone to boot from the first default HDD.  I can't really see why it would have anything to do with the SSD being installed or this partitioning issue.  But I can't explain why the behaviour has changed either..

 

2) I believe this is to do with partition alignment.  When you create a partition on an empty disk with Gparted I believe by default it aligns the partitions by Mebibytes (MiB) and starts at "1 MiB" which is (as I understand it) what you want with current 512e hard drives (drives which are internally use 4096 byte (4 KiB) sectors, but for compatibility reasons emulate older 512 byte sector drives).  I don't really see any reason to change the default setting.  It's pretty complicated stuff, but you can read more on the subject here - http://homepage.ntlworld.com./jonathan.deboynepollard/FGA/disc-partition-alignment.html


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#14 johndough247

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 05:42 AM

Still no luck getting to partition 0, any other ideas?

#15 jonuk76

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:25 AM

It's something that's just occurred to me but only one of my disks has got a "Partition 0" under Windows numbering scheme.  This particular disk is using an extended partition scheme, and under Windows, Partition 0 is the number given to the extended partition container.  In Linux, it would be given the number "sdx5" (just a further bit of info you probably don't need to know.)

 

Here is the output from DISKPART (which is a command line utility included with Windows) on my computer..

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.3.9600]

(c) 2013 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\Windows\system32>diskpart

Microsoft DiskPart version 6.3.9600

Copyright (C) 1999-2013 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: JON

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online          238 GB      0 B        *
  Disk 1    Online         1863 GB      0 B
  Disk 2    Online          931 GB  1024 KB
  Disk 3    Online         2794 GB      0 B        *
  Disk 4    No Media           0 B      0 B

DISKPART> select disk 0

Disk 0 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list partition

  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Recovery           300 MB  1024 KB
  Partition 2    System              99 MB   301 MB
  Partition 3    Reserved           128 MB   400 MB
  Partition 4    Primary            237 GB   528 MB

DISKPART> select disk 1

Disk 1 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list partition

  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primary           1863 GB  1024 KB

DISKPART> select disk 2

Disk 2 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list partition

  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primary            100 MB  1024 KB
  Partition 2    Primary            910 GB   101 MB
  Partition 0    Extended            20 GB   911 GB
  Partition 3    Logical             12 GB   911 GB
  Partition 4    Logical           7812 MB   923 GB

DISKPART> select disk 3

Disk 3 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list partition

  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primary           1863 GB  1024 KB
  Partition 2    Primary            931 GB  1863 GB

DISKPART>

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