Windows 10: System Drive Hidden - Unable to Unhide - Can't Boot PC - Help Please?

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  1.    21 May 2017 #11

    My second choice, but far less desirable one, is to restore the previous EaseUS back up I made back on March 19th and then from the current back up and much time fiddling and downloading recreate the last two months.

    Any barriers to doing that? I'm going to see where the SSD drive shows (legacy or UEFI or both) in the bios after I format it and before I do anything further.

    My current thinking is to pick UEFI if that's possible but if the original backup I made in March was in legacy would it restore properly?

    I could always switch back to legacy if that's the case and restore the original backup a second time but that would take extra hours that I could spend starting on this if I could ever get a working restore of any kind up and running.

    So this is the latest update on my end. I'd welcome and appreciate your current suggestions based on what I've just written.

    Thank you.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    22 May 2017 #12

    Your drive shows GPT layout, which indicates it is probably UEFI not BIOS (UEFI uses GPT and BIOS can use either GPT or MBR, but most often MBR). You should be able to proceed with repairs on the tentative understanding that you want UEFI (and probably "UEFI only" boot mode, for simplicity's sake). Dalchina's suggestion to start over with a clean install with only the desired boot/system drive attached is probably the easiest path to speedy resolution, if you can stand the pain of a reinstall. If you make an image backup of the previous environment beforehand, you can always mount it to recover missing files and stuff later on, if you need anything from that environment.
    Last edited by EdTittel; 22 May 2017 at 16:05. Reason: fix typo
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    23 May 2017 #13

    Hi, a picture would make this a lot clearer, and save time - I've tried to understand what you see.

    GPT disk

    Partition 1: 128Mb - not significant.
    Partition 2: rather full Windows partition (that's why the bar is red- full)
    Partition 3: 450Mb Recovery partition.

    If this was a UEFI installation you are missing two partitions
    - the 16 Mb System partition
    - the EFI partition.

    I therefore suspect this was a legacy BIOS installation. That lines up with
    Therefore I don't know if the bios was set to legacy or UEFI though I suspect it was set to legacy because at the moment if I set it to UEFI the SSD drive isn't listed as a choice.
    - I find it a bit surprising that your new PC's BIOS was not set to use UEFI.

    You said
    I tried the boot repair in Macrium and it didn't work.
    - in what way didn't it work- can you be more precise?

    Again, here's what I suggest.

    Make sure you have a disk image of your current Windows partition.
    Configure your BIOS for UEFI and make sure AHCI is enabled (better performance with SSDs).

    Clean install the same version of Windows, making sure you delete all existing partitions, and that the Windows partition you create is large enough for your existing one.
    Check it boots.

    Replace the newly created Windows partition with that from your image.

    Run Startup Repair.

    See if it boots.

    Now what don't know here is this:
    This means taking a Windows partition from a legacy Bios partition structure and placing it in a UEFI configuration.

    I can't guarantee that will work, but don't know why it wouldn't.

    The fall back is to repeat the above, but use legacy BIOS throughout.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    23 May 2017 #14

    Well the latest and greatest update is that I backed up the installation that wouldn't boot and checked it to make sure it was ok. Using the EaseUS boot disk each of those operations was done (had to be done that way as the boot disk doesn't have a verify / validate function while actually performing the back up) separately and took about 7 hours each.

    I can only do this so fast as the rest of my life can't stop to tend to this 24/7 as much as I'd like to.

    Presently the PC is restoring the back up I made over the new partition the new install made. Crossing fingers.

    At least I have the data all backed up properly. While not looking forward to it by any means, I can at least get everything to the way it was that way.

    I did what you said and unplugged the two 8 TB drives when I fresh installed so I know for a fact 100% of Windows is on the SSD as it is literally impossible for that not to be the case.

    As well, I know for a fact this current installation is definitely UEFI.

    I'll let you know if this reinstall actually works.

    One last question while I'm waiting though.

    Assuming this ever happens again, if I regularly back up my HD and have a back up that's....for example....4 days old from the date of disaster, I can simply format the hard drive and reinstall that back up and continue where I left off no matter what, correct?

    Thanks again. I can't wait to get this PC to the way it was one way or the other and put this behind me. What an annoyance!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    23 May 2017 #15

    ** You only replace the Windows partition from your image- no others.

    N.B. you probably need to consider how to reduce the size of what's on C: a bit. (that red bar).

    I'm most familiar now with Macrium Reflect - I used to use Easeus Todo...

    The key is to maintain a backup of the set of Windows partitions, and of any other data partitions. MR makes this easy, as its 'Windows Backup' outs checkmarks on all the relevant partitions. Maybe Easeus Todo can do that too.

    MR keeps a set of backups - base image + differential images only in the free edition- you can set how many you want to keep.

    I keep a simple log of program changes on my PC, plus note when I create images. Thus if I need to restore an image, I look at my log and redo changes subsequent to that point.

    I keep personal data off my OS as far as practicable and don't use the default library folders, which I don't relocate either.

    Thus restoring my OS doesn't affect my data in general.

    7 hours is a long long time - is that over USB 0.5 ?

    A differential image of my SSD takes about 12-15 mins over USB3.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    23 May 2017 #16

    Oh, to answer you I tried the boot repair in Macrium. It said something like operation completed (can't remember) and literally only took two seconds.

    However the issue itself remained as it was. Whatever Macrium did to the HD in two seconds didn't fix anything.

    I'm not positive, but pretty sure the previous installation was legacy.

    So I'm thinking if this doesn't work in UEFI I'll try it in legacy, and if that doesn't work just do everything manually.

    Don't remember the ACHI setting but that doesn't mean it wasn't present. Would I find that setting in the Boot area? If it's disabled for whatever reason after I complete this restoration and I enable it I'm not going to risk anything am I?

    Thanks again for everything.

    It's Memorial Day weekend coming up in the US this weekend, so I have a three day weekend. I wasn't planning on spending those three days getting this PC back to "normal" but it looks like those are my plans.

    Thanks for all your help. I was so comfortable in Windows 7. I actually made Windows 10 look like it the best I could.

    One thing I did was get rid of those tiles. I couldn't stand them. What a bunch of rubbish whose idea was that?

    I thought all that assorted nonsense was too "cute" it made the OS seem more like a game. I loved DOS for that reason, haha. Plain, no nonsense, and WYSIWYG.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    23 May 2017 #17

    I'm going to use Acronis True Image (I'm leaning towards that idea, anyway) as my back up software once I put this mess behind me. And yes, as you suggested, I'm going to do the back up plus differential thing. Daily, most likely.

    Every two weeks or so the OCD in me would find the need to start over with a fresh full back up and rinse and repeat.

    The reason the drive was almost full was that I had a bunch of podcasts I was about to move to an external drive like the next day after this little problem happened. There was about 100 gb worth or so.

    I'm going to automate the back ups and set and forget essentially. That is my plan as of this second at least.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    23 May 2017 #18

    Hi all. Here's an update on this. It didn't work. I'm not surprised. I had to install Windows fresh, which I did with no issues. I also have it in UEFI mode. Now I am in the process of fixing everything as it was.

    One thing is driving me crazy and I can't figure out. On my previous Windows install on the right side of this desktop was this sidebar that had like the weather on it, a calendar, etc. It could hide all the way to the right of the desktop, like "off" of it so to speak.

    I don't remember how I made it appear on my last install or what its proper name is called. But it's not here on this new install and I can't figure out how to make it appear.

    Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Thank you!!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    24 May 2017 #19

      My ComputerSystem Spec

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