What Restrictions will I have on HW with a UEFI Bios?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Adric, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. Adric

    Adric Registered Member

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    I'm planing on getting a new laptop and up to now, my experience has mostly been with non uefi bios systems. I currently have a multi boot system with 2 drives. The 1st drive has 2 system partitions with WinXP and Vista. The 2nd drive has 3 system partitions with Win7, Win8.1 and Win10. All systems are 32-bit. The new system will most likely have a uefi bios and am wondering what restrictions will apply trying the same setup. Will I have to use 64-bit only systems or is it still possible to use 32-bit only?

    I helped a friend to get his free W10 upgrade and his current system had W8.1 64-bit. The HW had a uefi bios. We did not want to impact the W8 system and only wanted to activate W10 for the free license and future use. I only had a 32-bit W10 at the time and when I installed it on a VHD, it would not boot. I had to download and install the 64-bit install.wim in order to get W10 up and running and activated.

    I'm a bit concerned that I won't be able to have a similar setup such as booting 32-bit XP or Vista like on my old laptop. Also, I noticed several smaller partitions on my friend's drive. Are these also required by uefi?

    As you can tell, I have a lot of noob questions about uefi and will need to do more research. I just wanted to get a feel for what is awaiting me when I take the plunge.
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Adric,

    Multi-booting with UEFI is difficult. Your new laptop will be UEFI with probably 64-bit Win10. You could convert the disk from GPT to MBR and boot Win10 in MBR mode. Multi-booting is then possible but I suggest you use a third party boot manager and not the Microsoft method of sharing booting files in a system partition. You can mix 32-bit and 64-bit OS. You can mix WinXP, Vista, Win7, Win8, Win10 and Linux.
     
  3. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Frankly, if you are buying new hardware, I see no reason to cripple and impede the hardware's capabilities with a 32-bit OS. And regardless, XP needs to go away and Vista should quickly follow.

    It is harder to implement multi-booting with UEFI on factory built computers. This not UEFI's "fault". It is a "by design" security feature to prevent bad guys from connecting a second drive to your stolen computer, then accessing your personal data. "Secure Boot" can be disabled. It is enabled by default on factory built systems as per licensing agreements with Microsoft and OEM computer makers as a major measure to help keep the computers safe. And it works. And since the vast majority of users never multi-boot, it is not a problem.

    Do you really need a portable computer? Notebooks are so proprietary to begin with that just finding drivers for legacy operating systems is often an impossible challenge. The older the legacy OS, the harder. If you build your own PC, the motherboard's UEFI BIOS will not be locked into as many pre-sets and you will not be obligated by your Windows license to use Secure Boot. Plus legacy drivers will be easier to find.
     
  4. Adric

    Adric Registered Member

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    I'm planning on a Lenovo L460 where I can use the M.2 slot for a 2nd SSD. The L460 is still being offered with Windows 7 Professional 64 preinstalled through downgrade rights in Windows 10 which should also leave me with a W10 license. I currently use BootIT NG from TerabyteUnlimited as my boot manager, but I will probably need buy the Bare Metal version to support the new partition types etc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  5. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    If W7 is still available, the drivers should be too but I would re-evaluate your actual need for a dual-boot system. If you don't really need two operating systems because a program you need is not supported by W10, I would stick with W10. W7 is, after all, nearly 7 years old. W7 was a great OS but W10 is faster and more secure - and can easily be made to look and feel like W7.
     
  6. Adric

    Adric Registered Member

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    Bill, I understand what you are saying. It's just a hobby of mine keeping all of these systems around. I never needed 64-bit before, since I never had enough RAM where using a 64-bit system would have been an advantage. If all else fails, there are still alternatives such as virtual machines.

    As far as protection goes, all of the ThinkPads I've used up to now gave me the possibility to use a HDD power-on pw which pretty much protected the drives if they had been stolen. I once forgot to remove the pw from a drive that I had removed and it was unusable until I removed the pw from the drive. Malware infected systems are still the biggest problem of having your data stolen or compromised, with or without uefi.

    Yes, legacy drivers will be a problem. My latest ThinkPad is a T500. I was able to use all of my old drivers for W10. Some in compatibility mode and some not. Even my older T60 has W7 and W10 running on it. Once I can't get something to work, I will move on. Thanks for you insights.
     
  7. Adric

    Adric Registered Member

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    The main reason I want to multi-boot is for recovery purposes. It's much easier using a running system with all the
    necessary tools than trying to recover from bare metal. Yes I like and use W10, but I have not tinkered with it
    enough to date for it to be my preferred system.
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Well, 64-bit offers significant advantages with as little as 4GB of RAM. And most new computers today start out with at least 4GB, if not 8GB.

    I hear what you are saying but I don't buy that logic with notebooks as notebooks grow legs much easier than PCs.

    I think that just depends on what you are used to. What good does it do if the computer is stolen, zapped by lightning, lost in a fire, flood or tornado? And to that end, W10 is more robust and less likely to need recovery.

    Why not consider buying a new W10 notebook then using your existing notebook as a backup computer, and a backup location to store images of your new W10 system?
     
  9. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    Thinkpads are very multiboot friendly even with UEFI Bios. All of mine boot at least 2 full OSes and a recovery WinPE system. I don't use any 3rd party products to multiboot. I use the Windows 7 boot manager. The Windows 10 version takes 30-40 seconds to reach the boot menu while the Windows 7 one takes about 1. If you have a Linux system, Grub works just as well. I only use GPT partitioning for volumes greater than 2tb.
     
  10. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    You meant 1 minute, right?
     
  11. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    1 second.
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Then you know how to use a boot manager. With BootIt Bare Metal you will be able to multi-boot a few hundred OS if you desire. WinXP up to Win10, WinPE, Linux and DOS. There is a TeraByte script that comes with BootIt Bare Metal. It lets you convert a disk from GPT to MBR in less than a second. You have the option of putting your booting files in a separate partition or the Win10 partition. Choose the latter for simplicity.

    I boot into an IFL partition to do my restores as IFL does the fastest restores in my system. My IFL restores are automated too. I suggest you create an IFL partition as part of your multi-boot.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  13. Adric

    Adric Registered Member

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    Hi Brian, I finally got my L460 and just put in an M.2 (22x42) SSD as a 2nd drive which I initialized to use the MBR partition style. My 1st SSD contains a 100MB efi system, W7x64, and a Lenovo Recovery partition. Will I lose my data using the script you mentioned to convert GPT->MBR or will everything still be there?

    When you say boot files in a separate partition, are you talking about the files normally found in c:\boot?
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  15. Adric

    Adric Registered Member

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    Four partitions. The tree I mentioned and one 128mb hidden partition as you mentioned. I just want to be able to restore the OS when the disk is changed to MBR. Not sure if that will work though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Do you want to convert your UEFI system to a MBR system and continue to boot Win7? Or do you plan to install a fresh MBR Win7? I don't think you want to do the second choice.
     
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Adric,

    I see you are using BING on your old computer. As you suspect, BIBM will be a big improvement and will allow you to convert your current UEFI system to a MBR system in one second. No images to create or restore.
    Change the BIOS Boot section from UEFI to Legacy/MBR and Enable CSM, boot the BIBM media, run the script and it's done.
     
  18. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Adric,

    Prior to converting your disk from GPT to MBR you would create an entire drive image of the SSD. If you change your mind next year and decide you would like to have a UEFI system you could restore this image or convert the current disk from MBR to GPT.
     
  19. Adric

    Adric Registered Member

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    Brian, chgdtype.tbs worked a treat. The EFI and MSR partitions are gone, but the OS and Recovery partitions are still there. Disk 0 now has a partition style of MBR. I did an image for each of the 4 partitions before I ran the script.
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Excellent. As you have images you could delete the Recovery partition as it's for a GPT recovery. Then you could resize the OS partition to fill the SSD or create a data partition.
     
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