UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

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ChrisGreaves
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UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by ChrisGreaves »

(I am not sure if this is the correct forum. I am not yet at the level of "being in Windows",)
The new Acer Travelmate P2 is newer than my other two computers (Toshiba Tecra and Dell Inspiron), both of which use the old BIOS, and will boot at least from something other than the laptop's HDD.

I recognize that I have to use UEFI, although at this time I'd settle for Legacy Boot if only to make sure that I can create a system image and recovery medium and then restore the C-drive from either a USB HD or a DVD/CD.

Here's the question:
Is it possible that the Acer Travelmate might really NOT support booting from anything other than the hard drive?
If the answer to that question is "No; Every laptop produced since 2018(?) supports USB device booting", then my second question will be:-
What do I have to do to make the BIOS/UEFI provide the options to boot from USB devices?
20200714_171446_HDRa.jpg
I have a sneaking suspicion that that "Toshiba" crept in from a system restore from my Toshiba Tecra System Restore CD-R disk a week or so ago. If that is so, then it must be that a week ago the UEFI DID recognise my portable USB DVD drive.

Below is an email I sent off to the contact address at Acer.
I no longer understand the complexities of systems, but I have attached a ZIPped 512KB TXT file for those who can study entrails of beasts like this one.


I recently purchased a "TravelMate P2510-G2-M" and am experiencing problems setting up the firmware.
(Let’s make sure that booting from USB DVD or USB key is an option before we start creating bootable recovery media.)
I have no USB device plugged in at this time, although I have a "Transcend" USB DVD burner and a 64GB USB memory key standing by to use as bootable media.

(1) The firmware shows ONLY "Windows Boot Manager", no other devices are shown, although I know that the laptop/Win10/2004 recognizes and uses these two USB devices.
(2) The firmware shows "Toshiba" as the boot manager.

“Recovery, Restart now, Troubleshoot, Advanced options, UEFI Firmware settings, Restart”.
I have no USB device plugged in ast this time, although I have a "Transcend" USB DVD burner and a 64GB USB memory key standing by to use as bootable media.
Bootmode is [UEFI]. Secure boot is changeable and is [Disabled]. (I figure on letting down my defences until I can make this work).
“1. Windows Boot Manager (TOSHIBA MQ01ABF050)” is the only option. Why do I see Toshiba here?
Should I do a factory reset at this point?
From https://www.acer.com/ac/en/ID/content/s ... t/7556?b=1 I download the four “documents” for BIOS/Firmware and the User Manual.

At this stage I am not sure what to do. I would like to create a system recovery and system image on a USB device, but there seems no point in doing that unless i will be able to boot from at least one of them.
I am finding it hard to believe that a fairly modern device does not support booting from a USB device, DVD/CD of memory key.
Please advise.



Thanks, Chris
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by Argus »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
14 Jul 2020, 20:53
I have a sneaking suspicion that that "Toshiba" crept in from a system restore from my Toshiba Tecra System Restore CD-R disk a week or so ago. If that is so, then it must be that a week ago the UEFI DID recognise my portable USB DVD drive.
TOSHIBA MQ01ABF050 is a small (2.5") internal HDD; i.e. that's your 500 GB HDD. Under the Boot menu you see the current boot priority, and it tells you which disk it will use. (You will probably recognise the HDD if you compare the info on the Boot menu with the model info on the first "tab", Information.)

I'd be careful restoring anything to the new laptop, before having a decent backup, image, recovery disks or similar created, and having learned the "ins and outs" of the firmware etc. But as I said, that seems to be a "just FYI, it's this HDD, I'm booting from".
ChrisGreaves wrote:
14 Jul 2020, 20:53
Here's the question:
Is it possible that the Acer Travelmate might really NOT support booting from anything other than the hard drive?
If the answer to that question is "No; Every laptop produced since 2018(?) supports USB device booting", then my second question will be:-
What do I have to do to make the BIOS/UEFI provide the options to boot from USB devices?
Laptops (or for that matter, anything else than desktops), in my experience, usually have fewer options in BIOS/UEFI.

If you look at the second "tab", Main, what do you see next to F12 Boot Menu? Is it disabled? If you change it to Enabled, and then once again go to the Boot menu "tab", you probably should see some other options if you have a "memory key" connected during the test (or perhaps an ext. USB DVD).

Creating a system recovery or system image on a USB device is another step, haven't looked at the manual yet, and it's a bit late here; maybe we can look at that later if you can confirm the above, or some other lounger can chime in.
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

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BTW, as you probably have seen in the manual (Recovery) it seems Acer's backup (factory default backup & restoring) is from within the OS ...: "From Start, select Acer then Acer Recovery Management", and I assume you can see connected USB devices in Windows.
(That's one of the downsides, IMO, with laptops; they use all kinds of tricks, hidden partitions and whatnot, for recovery etc, though it is of course possible to create your own solution.)
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Part 1/2
Hello again Argus. I apologise for the delay in responding. I was held up at this end for a couple of days, and wanted this (Friday) morning to get all the trivial stuff(!) out of the way so i could set to work in an orderly fashion.
Argus wrote:
14 Jul 2020, 22:41

TOSHIBA MQ01ABF050 is a small (2.5") internal HDD; i.e. that's your 500 GB HDD. Under the Boot menu you see the current boot priority, and it tells you which disk it will use. (You will probably recognise the HDD if you compare the info on the Boot menu with the model info on the first "tab", Information.)
Bingo!
Bonavista_Untitled.png
I took a look in my 512Kb "SystemSummary.txt" file, and there is Toshiba. Then I checked in the UEFI screens as you suggested and there it is again.
That resolved my fear that a misguided attempt to restore using a Toshiba laptop system restore bootable CD might have corrupted the system.
I'd be careful restoring anything to the new laptop, before having a decent backup, image, recovery disks or similar created, and having learned the "ins and outs" of the firmware etc. But as I said, that seems to be a "just FYI, it's this HDD, I'm booting from".
My fears exactly. I really rather wish that out-of-the-box computers has a dopey-user option that would allow a single click and a CD or USB HDD (or 64GB memory key or ...) and dump the bootable C: drive before doing anything else. Lord knows we spend enough time shrieking "backup before any changes!" to people. And here I am, still struggling to resolve a "BIOS" issue before i can get started.
Laptops (or for that matter, anything else than desktops), in my experience, usually have fewer options in BIOS/UEFI.
Hmmm. That suggests that I may not be able to create an offline bootable medium.
Unless, of course, I have to have ab Acer/Win10 compatible bootable image on my USB HDD or 64GB memory key for the Bios/UEFI to wake up to the fact that such hardware devices exist (after they have been "authenticated" by the presence of a bootable image).
Untitled.png
I rebooted and in File Explorer showed that the Acer/Win10 can see both the USB HDD (upper arrow) and the memory key (lower arrow), so at the Acer/Win10 level I have USB ports and devices. And the USB HDD has a "WindowsImagebackup".
(More in the next post in a few minutes)
Cheers
Chris
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Last edited by ChrisGreaves on 17 Jul 2020, 14:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Part 2/2
If you look at the second "tab", Main, what do you see next to F12 Boot Menu? Is it disabled? If you change it to Enabled, and then once again go to the Boot menu "tab", you probably should see some other options if you have a "memory key" connected during the test (or perhaps an ext. USB DVD).
Bonavista_20200717_110623.JPG
Argus, I see that the <F12> key is enabled, although I have yet to see that "F12" prompt at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen during reboot (of any kind); even when I have the memory key and USB HDD plugged in. That further suggests that the BIOS isn't seeing bootable media or content via USB ports.
Creating a system recovery or system image on a USB device is another step, haven't looked at the manual yet, and it's a bit late here; maybe we can look at that later if you can confirm the above, or some other lounger can chime in.
Next step indeed!
I will think about this for an hour or two.
I will try to create a "rescue" disk on the Acer/Win10 system, on to the memory key and on to the USB HDD, then run through all these UEFI/BIOS settings again.
It seems to me that if a world-famous package such as Macrium Reflect/Acronis TrueImage or similar says that is has created a boot image, then it is reasonable for me to expect the Acer/Win10 to see, and make use of such a rescue medium.
Back in a few hours.
And again, thanks for your ideas.
Cheers
Chris
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by Argus »

What do you see:
-If booting into UEFI, with an USB stick connected, and the F12 Boot menu option enabled, when you go to the Boot menu (I assume the F12 option, on the Main menu was enabled when you checked, or that you enabled it and saved changes on Exit).
-In your Windows Start menu under Acer (pp 21 in the manual)?
ChrisGreaves wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 13:57
Argus wrote:
14 Jul 2020, 22:41
Laptops (or for that matter, anything else than desktops), in my experience, usually have fewer options in BIOS/UEFI.
Hmmm. That suggests that I may not be able to create an offline bootable medium.
Unless, of course, I have to have ab Acer/Win10 compatible bootable image on my USB HDD or 64GB memory key for the Bios/UEFI to wake up to the fact that such hardware devices exist (after they have been "authenticated" by the presence of a bootable image).
Nah, just some general comment; they are rather small, not as many options; I don’t know if, for example, there are options under Advanced (or Boot) etc. to change USB initialization.
ChrisGreaves wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 13:57
Argus wrote:
14 Jul 2020, 22:41
I'd be careful restoring anything to the new laptop, before having a decent backup, image, recovery disks or similar created, and having learned the "ins and outs" of the firmware etc. But as I said, that seems to be a "just FYI, it's this HDD, I'm booting from".
My fears exactly. I really rather wish that out-of-the-box computers has a dopey-user option that would allow a single click and a CD or USB HDD (or 64GB memory key or ...) and dump the bootable C: drive before doing anything else. Lord knows we spend enough time shrieking "backup before any changes!" to people. And here I am, still struggling to resolve a "BIOS" issue before i can get started.
As you probably have noticed, there is a D2D option (enabled) on the Main menu; that's Disk-to-disk recovery. This is, as I understand it, an option to restore it to factory default (it will erase things, so a backup of data is needed). It's mentioned on page 63 and then back to page 23. But that's from within Windows ... There seems to be an option to access this Acer eRecovery (restoring to default), if D2D is enabled, via Alt-F10. See this video from Acer Support.

(Also, you might want to take a look at this page, with some comments on what to do when Alt-F10 doesn't work, just as background knowledge (it's a bit old): https://pcdreams.com.sg/the-acer-d2d-erecovery-101-3/)
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by Argus »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 14:06
Argus, at some point wrote:Creating a system recovery or system image on a USB device is another step, haven't looked at the manual yet, and it's a bit late here; maybe we can look at that later if you can confirm the above, or some other lounger can chime in.
Next step indeed!
I will think about this for an hour or two.
I will try to create a "rescue" disk on the Acer/Win10 system, on to the memory key and on to the USB HDD, then run through all these UEFI/BIOS settings again.
It seems to me that if a world-famous package such as Macrium Reflect/Acronis TrueImage or similar says that is has created a boot image, then it is reasonable for me to expect the Acer/Win10 to see, and make use of such a rescue medium.
Yep, before experimenting/testing with any of your preferred backup/image solutions I think you should try Acer's solution (it might work as "backup" to other solutions).

How do I use Acer's Backup Manager to image my drive?
https://us.answers.acer.com/app/answers ... e-my-drive

It also tells you how it is supposed to work ("To use your backup image and bootable disc follow these steps").
(There are also other articles about Acer's file backup.)

Then there's this:
https://www.youtube.com/c/AcerSupport/s ... ery=backup
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Argus wrote:
19 Jul 2020, 08:25
How do I use Acer's Backup Manager to image my drive?
https://us.answers.acer.com/app/answers ... e-my-drive
Argus, thank you for these links. I spent a large part of yesterday slowly working my way through the first link's tips.

(1) I believe that I have created a boot repair on the 64GB memory key, but then the Acer refuses to boot from it. I will leave the key as it is and try (a) booting the Acer again this morning and (b) trying to boot from it on the Toshiba and Dell laptops, just for the fun of it and then (c) rebuilding it as a boot device on the Acer and trying to boot from it again.

(2) I believe that I made a full C-drive image (recovery partition, C-drive partition and a third) on the USB 1TB HDD but was unable to load it; the load failed partway through which forced me into a factory reset. Not a major loss (except for time spent). That 1TB has an image from 12th July, and I will try to reload that as an experiment, to see if the Win10 system can recover images from a USB HDD

(3) There is still something funny with the UEFI/BIOS in that shortcuts like the <F12> boot prompt still do not appear. I can live without these for now.

(4) The prime mover for this thread was that the boot process could not see the USB devices; now it does see some of them.

(5) I need to order spindles of new disks, CD-R and DVD-R before I spend more time on this. It is not fair to Win10 to offer it DVD-RW disks that have been used for transcribing movies through a VCR/DVD player.

(6) I have attached a summary of today (so far) and yesterday's findings as HowDoIUseAcersBackupManagerToImageMyDrive.doc. This document contains a link to a zipped version with images and full (unedited) text.

Today is a day for reflection and probing the use of the memory key and USB HDD as they stand..

Cheers, and thanks again for the links and the encouragement.
Chris
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by Argus »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
20 Jul 2020, 08:26
(1) I believe that I have created a boot repair on the 64GB memory key, but then the Acer refuses to boot from it. I will leave the key as it is and try (a) booting the Acer again this morning and (b) trying to boot from it on the Toshiba and Dell laptops, just for the fun of it and then (c) rebuilding it as a boot device on the Acer and trying to boot from it again.

(2) I believe that I made a full C-drive image (recovery partition, C-drive partition and a third) on the USB 1TB HDD but was unable to load it; the load failed partway through which forced me into a factory reset. Not a major loss (except for time spent). That 1TB has an image from 12th July, and I will try to reload that as an experiment, to see if the Win10 system can recover images from a USB HDD

(3) There is still something funny with the UEFI/BIOS in that shortcuts like the <F12> boot prompt still do not appear. I can live without these for now.
What do you mean with "boot repair" (1)? And how was it created? I assume it was via some alternative in Acer Backup Manager, metioned in the link. And similar with your disk image (2)?

Have you tried what I mentioned above?
"What do you see:
-If booting into UEFI, with an USB stick connected, and the F12 Boot menu option enabled, when you go to the Boot menu (I assume the F12 option, on the Main menu was enabled when you checked, or that you enabled it and saved changes on Exit)."

Or rather, since it's a laptop with limited settings for this & that and F12 is a one-time boot change, simply press F12 during start-up (since we have confirmed it is enabled on UEFI Main menu); though see comment below ...

And Alt-F10, mentioned at the end of the same post; the recovery environment outside Windows. Just to see what's there, not to create or restore anything.

Also, I agree that the missing <F12> boot "prompt" (hint?) is a bit of an enigma; but ... since it's a one-time boot change, it could be that it will appear when there is something connected that it can boot from ... Which leads me to my next observation; I think you'll need to use GPT (GUID Partition Table) on USB sticks, since it's running in UEFI, to be able to boot from them (I don't know/think Win10 supports hybrid GPT+MBR/GPT); reading other disks shouldn't be a problem.

So, if you, say, want to create a Windows install "disk" (using MSFTs ISO) or any other disk/CD/USB and to be able to boot from it, using UEFI you'll need to use GPT. I assume if using Acer's software one shouldn't need to think about that.

It seems you have tried to load (to just explore?) the image, was that from within Windows or via Alt-F10?
ChrisGreaves wrote:
20 Jul 2020, 08:26
(5) I need to order spindles of new disks, CD-R and DVD-R before I spend more time on this. It is not fair to Win10 to offer it DVD-RW disks that have been used for transcribing movies through a VCR/DVD player.
:grin:

One could also look at it this way: Acer's PQService Partition (hidden recovery partition) is pretty safe as "recovery medium"; so a start could be to use any third party backup software for image, and later data.
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Argus wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 15:52
What do you see: -If booting into UEFI, with an USB stick connected, and the F12 Boot menu option enabled, ...
Hi Argus. I am late in responding, but this post (of yours) is still at work. I will today check the video links.
I continue to amass my findings in a Diary.DOCument, and will summarize that later.

I seem to be regressing.

I briefly saw the F12 menu yesterday, but NOT as a displayed hint at the lower RHS of the screen, just a one-liner option to boot 9from where i now forget).
I have been pondering Legacy mode, although (1) I can't get into it and (2) I have seen warnings against using it, usually in the context of multi-boot systems.
I have been pondering loading my official Win7 CD onto this Acer and forgetting about Win10. I bought the laptop because my old Toshiba laptop Ctrl-keys were broken, and over a month ago I figured I could get a more-up-to-date laptop with bigger HDD quickly, rather than send the laptop in for repair and wait two to four weeks for a replacement keyboard to be shipped in and replaced. That is, i now have the hardware i wanted; why am i being diverted to software I don't need? (diverted by me, I should add, not by any pressure here!).

It bugs the heck out of me that this UEFI stuff seems to lock me out of what i want to do. learning about GPT threw another hurdle in my path.

I have created a USB HDD system image, but can't create a boot recovery on the 64GB USB key. The system demands a CD-R
I have ordered a spindle of CD-R and while waiting for that to be delivered, I plan on joining the Acer forum and posting my specific configuration there and posing a question along the lines of "Is it true that this model will recognise no boot option other than to boot from its hard drive?". I have no doubt that this conversation will take several days of back and forth and experimentation. Sigh!

I am dog-sitting today, away from the Acer, so Acer-work is put on hold for 24 hours.

I thank you again for all your suggestions and guidance to date. I am determined to master this beast!
Cheers
Chris
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by ChrisGreaves »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
14 Jul 2020, 20:53
Is it possible that the Acer Travelmate might really NOT support booting from anything other than the hard drive?
If the answer to that question is "No; Every laptop produced since 2018(?) supports USB device booting", then my second question will be:-
What do I have to do to make the BIOS/UEFI provide the options to boot from USB devices?
... and eleven days later ...

(1) The Acer Travelmate DOES support booting from a USB 64GB Datatraveler memory key
(2) In order to make it boot, it has to be an available option in the UEFI Boot menu, and in order for it to appear as an option in the UEFI Boot menu, the memory key (a) has to be plugged in and (b) (I will have to confirm this from my diary.doc) it has to have a bootable image on it.

I am still stunned.
I cannot understand why the UEFI boot sequence, while obviously saved, cannot be displayed in full during the <F2> UEFI menu system.

I wrote "obviously saved" because once I had managed to display two items (HDD and USB key) in the menu and promote<F6> the memory key to the top, I rebooted, removed the memory key, <F2> boot showed it NOT an option, reboot with Memory key in place, and it was back again as an option.

To my mind this is yet another mistake in technology; a deviation from a previously accepted normal sequence, but with no apparent benefit and, in my case, much delay in trying to work out WHY my laptop had no option but to boot from the hard drive.

This morning's successful procedure was:-
(1) Create a text file on drive C
(2) Make a system image on the 1TB USB HDD
(3) Delete the text file from C:
(4) Boot from 64GB memory key and restore the image from the 1TB USB HDD
If the text file is reclaimed them we are confident that I have the ability to make a backup and restore from that drive.

A draft diary is available at www.ChrisGreaves.com/Downloads/20200725_0754.zip

Thanks to Argus :thewave: who through various channels has goaded motivated me to pursue this to the bitter end (grin)
Cheers
Chris
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by Argus »

Great to see progress, Chris.
Yep, as mentioned, F12 is a one time boot change; you would need something boot-able connected I think; as for the boot priority option in the UEFI Boot menu, I'm not sure if it will "stick", but you should definitely see it there if connected when going into UEFI (F2).
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Re: UEFI Firmware settings - no USB devices!

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Argus wrote:
25 Jul 2020, 23:16
... as for the boot priority option in the UEFI Boot menu, I'm not sure if it will "stick", but you should definitely see it there if connected when going into UEFI (F2).
It does not stick, at least, not on this Acer, and I have seen several references to this in various forums.
It used to stick in BIOS, so to me this is another complexity that serves to cost me time when the computers should be serving me better.
Far be it from me to complain ... :evilgrin:

I took today (Sunday) off, and except for a late-afternoon burst of wading through emails devoted the day to book-reading and music-listening.
Tomorrow I shall re-partition the hard drive (again) and check my ability to make backup images. Then work starts on tweaking Win10.
Thanks again for all your encouragement.
Chris
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