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If Boot Override was working, it would boot from the USB Flash Drive, so in the Bios, go to the Boot tab/Area. With the Flash Drive in, it should be listed under UEFI Boot Manager, move it to First Boot Device, Save and Exit.
As stated, you should not have any other external drives plugged into the computer. You will need the USB keyboard, Mouse and Flash Drive plugged in though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #162 · (Edited)
Ok, this time I've actually had some success. As you can see in this screenshot, the only thing bootable is the flash drive running windows 10 build 1903. I disconnected the hard drive, optical drive and the 2 external USB hard drives that were connected to it in the back

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I tried booting with it in legacy mode and got this same message

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But, I changed to UEFI only (Sata mode is still in IDE) and both with boot override and simply powering off at the bios screen and rebooting I get this same result that I wasn't getting before, this is on my desktop

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But, with the hard drive disconnected how I am going to reinstall windows 10 with this?


If Boot Override was working, it would boot from the USB Flash Drive, so in the Bios, go to the Boot tab/Area.
What exactly is boot override and

1. how does it differ, say in the above case from selecting the item in boot override and having it try to boot from it right then and there and
2. Powering off the computer with one (in the above case) device it and turning it back on and having it boot up from it

I thought they aren't any different, but what if

1. I had two devices in the boot order, say a hard drive and a flash drive, the flash drive was set as the first device and the hard drive as second. If I turned on the computer and it couldn't boot from the flash drive it would try to hard drive next, but...
2. If I pressed the button to into the BIOS and selected the flash drive in the boot override, if it couldn't boot from the flash drive would it try to second device next, or does boot override ONLY try to boot from the device you select?

Edit: Also, this time, since I disconnected both the optical drive and the hard drive, the sata power cable went first to the optical, then the hard drive. Just now, a few hours from the above post-I reconnected ONLY the hard drive to the first connector on the chain for power (those are hard to connect to the drives, at least for me) and now the hard drive isn't showing in the bios

Either because
1. didn't connect the power cable properly, or
2. it has to be a certain connector on the power cable, OR
3. It matters which data cable I connect to the drive, not just any one will work.
 

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Disconnect both of your WD USB External Drives, and any other external drives on the computer. Boot to the Bios. Reset HDD mode back to AHCI. Uncheck Secure Boot, and CSM. Save and Exit.
If you follow the above instructions with the HDD plugged in, and you are booting from the USB flash drive, it should load the Windows installer, as seen in your last pic. Then choose your Language, then Custom Install. In Where to Install Windows, if it shows your HDD, Delete all Partitions so the drive is Unallocated Space, then press Next, Windows will do everything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #164 · (Edited)
If you follow the above instructions with the HDD plugged in, and you are booting from the USB flash drive, it should load the Windows installer, as seen in your last pic. Then choose your Language, then Custom Install. In Where to Install Windows, if it shows your HDD, Delete all Partitions so the drive is Unallocated Space, then press Next, Windows will do everything else.
But the drive was set to IDE when the flash drive successfully booted and is right now. Hope that won't change it successfully booting from the flash drive.

It's just I may not understand the SATA power cables, that THAT is the reason I can't see the hard drive as bootable in the BIOS because I have to use the next available connector in the chain, not say the second of third without using the first for something first, OR because it's not set to ACHI in the BIOS, or both

Here, it does show the hard drive under the HDD mode part of the bios, but not under the bootable devices

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Doesn't show as bootable either under IDE or ACHI. I haven't tried booting from the flash drive with the HDD attached, first I want to know why it STILL only shows the only bootable device as the flash drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #165 ·
Also, I appreciate your help, Stan and Spunk, but this is getting pretty tedious for me. It's less of a problem when it's something that doesn't actually prevent your computer from booting, that can wait, but I've been without being able to use my desktop for what is 3 weeks today.

I figure a more costly, but less time consuming alternative would be to have someone visit my house, and do all the necessary tests/scans whatever. If something doesn't work, they could try something different right then and there, rather than me having to wait a day or so for the next step, but I may not be able to contact someone until Monday, so until then I can keep trying................I'm not complaining you have been helpful, it just seems one problem leads to another. I got it to successfully boot, now it doesn't show the hard drive as bootable in this bios and I don't know why.

If I had to do this over again if I knew it was going to be this lengthy and complicated, I would have had some visit the first time. Or, at least someone with me in real time (remotely I suppose) who could tellme the next step without long delays in-between.
 

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I wouldn't worry about the HDD not showing up under boot(able) devices. Now that you've (finally) successfully booted from your Rufus-created UEFI bootable Windows 10 media and reached the Windows 10 setup welcome screen, and have re-attached the 2TB HDD which is detected in BIOS, why don't you boot from the flash drive and begin the installation? Let's worry about Windows setup detecting the HDD and NOT its absence in the boot menu. The goal is to successfully install Windows 10 on the HDD and NOT get distracted by every teeny tiny tiddly bit of observation you're making in the BIOS. Let's make some actionable progress for a change, shall we?
 

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Discussion Starter · #167 · (Edited)
I wouldn't worry about the HDD not showing up under boot(able) devices. Now that you've (finally) successfully booted from your Rufus-created UEFI bootable Windows 10 media and reached the Windows 10 setup welcome screen, and have re-attached the 2TB HDD which is detected in BIOS, why don't you boot from the flash drive and begin the installation? Let's worry about Windows setup detecting the HDD and NOT its absence in the boot menu. The goal is to successfully install Windows 10 on the HDD and NOT get distracted by every teeny tiny tiddly bit of observation you're making in the BIOS. Let's make some actionable progress for a change, shall we?
Well, I wonder how it would boot if it's in the boot list in my BIOS once the Windows 10 Pro 64 bit is installed. It tried reinstalling, it asked me for a license key, but there was an option for "I don't have license key" It told me I chose this option it would validate it later, all I have is the Windows 7 license key on the side on my computer when I first bought it.

There is one thing I'd like to do before I wipe the system clean and reinstall Windows 10, which I can make a new thread for, or maybe I could use acronis as I made a full backup before this started.

I just want to be able to boot from the hard drive in it's current state, see a few things before I wipe the hard drive clean and reinstall windows 10.
 

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Well, I wonder how it would boot if it's in the boot list in my BIOS once the Windows 10 Pro 64 bit is installed.
Let's leave that for the firmware. If it doesn't, we'll address it then.

It tried reinstalling, it asked me for a license key, but there was an option for "I don't have license key" It told me I chose this option it would validate it later, all I have is the Windows 7 license key on the side on my computer when I first bought it.
You've already been advised about this.

There is one thing I'd like to do before I wipe the system clean and reinstall Windows 10, which I'll be making a new thread for. I just want to be able to boot from the hard drive in it's current state, see a few things before I wipe the hard drive clean and reinstall windows 10.
You're taking us back 100 steps! It's already been established, done and dusted, that in its current state, the installation of Windows 10 on that disk is hosed and unserviceable. There is no booting from it successfully in its current state. If you want to go back to the futile exercise of trying to boot from the botched Windows 10 upgrade installation, be my guest, but that's where I disembark from this train of indecisiveness, backtracking and procrastination. You could barely boot from a flash drive, do you honestly want to attempt repairing the botched installation that doesn't even boot? You already have a backup image of the drive, why don't you explore that image to see whatever it is you want to check? Oh well, this is most likely my last reply to this thread and any other that branches off of it, so good luck in your next course of action.
 

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there was an option for "I don't have license key" It told me I chose this option it would validate it later, all I have is the Windows 7 license key on the side on my computer when I first bought it.
As discussed earlier in this thread, choose I don't have a license. Once Win 10 is installed, if it's not Activated, you can type in your Win 7 key.
Don't tempt fate, As discussed at length here, If you can boot to the Flash Drive In Where to Install Windows, and it shows your HDD, Delete ALL partitions and press Next. End of story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #170 ·
Ok, I went ahead and reinstalled windows. The only two things I on my desktop right now are microsoft edge and the recycle bin. It has asked me for my wireless network information before it was fully installed/as part of the installation, so I used microsoft edge to download my video driver.

My plan is install that, install acronis true image, then make a backup image of a nearly clean install with only those things. Then, add several more things and make an incremental backup, such as firefox- it's bookmarks, my email client, my password vault program, feem and a few more.

Thing is, it asked me to restart after I installed my video driver, and I wasn't sure if it will restart, given it's not in the bios boot menu, but I have a feeling reinstalling the OS isn't the same as a cold boot- the bios looking for a hard drive to boot from.
 

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Make sure you have removed your USB Boot Windows Installer, or it will start the install again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #173 ·
Make sure you have removed your USB Boot Windows Installer, or it will start the install again.
I did, well actually it would bring up the start/install windows 10 screen again, and I'd just say no.

We're getting close to being able to close this thread now, just what I want to understand is why it booted successfully when other times it didn't. In the bios I have IDE selected, I had UEFI only selected and the flash drive as the ONLY bootable device. But, it wouldn't successfully boot when I had the two external hard drives connected and the internal hard drive and optical drive connected.

I hope you won't disregard why, You can (like Stan) choose to help with that or not help, you may think it's not important now that I can reinstall windows it just seems important to me to understand why it worked this time and others times it didn't.

Obviously, the part about my hardware not being current enough to support windows build 1303 was wrong because I am now able to successfully boot and reinstall with it.
 

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You can now do some experiments and eliminate what caused the boot failure in your earlier attempts. This should give you answers. Here's how you could go about it:

1. With everything else unchanged; power off, detach the HDD, (power back on and) revert SATA mode to AHCI, save the changes and exit then boot from the flash drive that you just used to clean-install Windows. If the pnp watchdog bsod reoccurs, then you know that the sata controller of your system is not supported by the AHCI driver that is being loaded when the Windows 10 Preinstallation Environment is being loaded from the flash. If it doesn't bsod in AHCI mode when loading from the flash drive, then you know that was not the culprit and one of the extra devices that were attached was responsible.

Note that the newly installed copy of Windows 10 on the HDD will not boot because of the SATA mode change. This is because that copy of Windows is configured to load the IDE driver when it starts, and that IDE driver does not work with AHCI mode. Reverting back to IDE will get the system booting again from the HDD. Detaching the drive ensures that the system doesn't try to boot from it when it fails to boot from the flash drive and automatically falls back to the next available boot device or a saved boot entry.

2. Based on your findings in 1 above (AHCI mode is supported or not), create a Windows 10 20H2 UEFI-bootable media using Rufus and boot from it in the supported mode (IDE or AHCI). If your controller's AHCI mode is the culprit, you should be able to repeatedly reproduce the failure to boot and pnp watchdog bsod using the latest version of Windows 10 media (20H2) as well.

3. Power down, reattach the HDD and boot from the 20H2 flash drive in a supported SATA mode (by now you should be knowing for sure whether both AHCI and IDE mode are supported or not) and start the Windows 10 20H2 installation. Proceed with the setup stages until you reach the "Where to install" stage and see if the HDD is detected. If it is, you can at this point decide to clean install 20H2 or not. Since the 1903 installation on the HDD doesn't have much stuff added to it yet, it'll save you time to clean install 20H2 now instead of an in-place upgrade from 1903 to 20H2.

just what I want to understand is why it booted successfully when other times it didn't. In the bios I have IDE selected, I had UEFI only selected and the flash drive as the ONLY bootable device. But, it wouldn't successfully boot when I had the two external hard drives connected and the internal hard drive and optical drive connected.

I hope you won't disregard why, You can (like Stan) choose to help with that or not help, you may think it's not important now that I can reinstall windows it just seems important to me to understand why it worked this time and others times it didn't.
Every extra (storage) device that is present is a potential boot device and gets enumerated as such by the firmware, especially hard drives, and it's not just their physical presence that affects the boot process. Like I explained before, some firmware will save a boot entry for an OS and this entry will persist whether the physical drive that it points to exists or not. Most firmware are configured for fast booting, that is, they don't re-enumerate boot devices each time the system powers up, but instead, they skip to the last internal media that it booted from successfully. They are able to jump straight to that boot device because of a saved boot entry, but if the drive is not physically present, then booting from that saved entry obviously fails. I have come across systems that won't boot from external media UNTIL fast boot is disabled in the BIOS even after selecting the boot media using the manual override boot menu or changing the boot order. One Lenovo Thinkpad notebook gave me a lot of grief with this. It just wouldn't budge even after removing the internal drive! Newer Dell Optiplex 6000 series desktops that come with Ubuntu factory-installed have a boot entry named "Ubuntu" that persists in the boot menu and the system keeps trying to boot from it (with failure of course) even after wiping the Ubuntu drive and installing Windows 10. One of my technicians had a hard time installing Windows 10 on these because each time the system restarted for the first time during the Windows installation, it would try to boot from the non-existent Ubuntu installation instead of resuming Windows 10 setup! It wouldn't budge until that Ubuntu entry was deleted from the boot menu in BIOS.

External drives are notorious for disrupting the boot process of a system. Depending on how the system firmware is engineered, the external drive may get added to the top of the hard drive boot priority list, getting precedence over the internal HDD unless you manually edit this list. When the system tries to boot from that external drive and doesn't find suitable boot code on the drive, it may not move over to the next drive in the priority list. Instead, it may get stuck in a black screen with a blinking cursor, or tell you to insert a system disk and retry, or tell you no operating system was found and so on. The wordings of the message will vary with the system. This is made even worse when the external HDD has an active partition (a partition that has the boot flag set, used in MBR-legacy boot processes). I hope this response answers your query, but if you need more information about system firmware and the boot process, Google is your friend. It's not a coincidence that there are very few system firmware makers. It's no subject for the technically challenged. My very basic understanding of the matter barely scratches the surface of that complicated subject.
 

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I had the two external hard drives connected and the internal hard drive and optical drive connected. it wouldn't successfully boot when I had the two external hard drives connected....and optical drive connected.
External drives are notorious for disrupting the boot process of a system
If one of the External drives has a previous version of Windows or some other Boot files on that drive, the boot process will be altered.
Now that the computer boots to the HDD with the new Windows 10, Shut down and plug in the Optical drive and restart. If that works, shut down and plug in one of the External HDD's, If that works plug in the other External HDD. If the computer won't boot with one of these other devices attached, there is an issue with that device and it should not be used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #176 · (Edited)
Ok, so with the hard drive detached, it booted successfully to the flash drive both with IDE and SATA, each time. So we know it's one of the external hard drives or optical drive.

I was trying to pinpoint which external hard drive. I took one of my 4TB hard drives (labeled 4TB2) and plugged it into the same USB 3.0 port that I took it out of, then I turned off and rebooted and went into the BIOS, only the flash drive is showing as a bootable device now even with the external hard drive attached. I wonder why it doesn't show the external hard drive like it did before there, just I would like to find out which one(ones) it is but guessing it has to least show in the BIOS/the bios has to see it.
 

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That is correct. If your Bios doesn't see the HDD, either internal or external, then Windows will not see it and it may cause your computer not to boot.
It sounds like that USB HDD has a bad enclosure or possibly the HDD inside is going bad. You can remove the HDD from the enclosure and try to diagnose from there separate from the enclosure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #178 · (Edited)
It sounds like that USB HDD has a bad enclosure or possibly the HDD inside is going bad. You can remove the HDD from the enclosure and try to diagnose from there separate from the enclosure.
Perhaps, though it was showing up fine in the bios before before I disconnected all devices, and left nothing but the flash drive connected. It still works/is/it's files are viewable if I boot into windows and connect it to USB.

Remember, it's trying to find the cause of why I couldn't boot from the flash drive before. If the external hard drive isn't even showing as a bootable device in the bios, wouldn't the bios have to least see it in order for me to diagnose if there is a problem. You're saying it wouldn't have to show in this bios in order for me to reproduce the BSOD - that doesn't matter? I'd think if it wasn't showing in the bios that would mean it's invisible to/it doesn't come into play, but it looks like you're saying it can happen whether it sees it or not.
 

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Take the external and attach it to another computer. You can download Disk Genius from my signature and run Diagnostics on it.
If it doesn't work on a second computer, then removing the HDD from the enclosure, and attaching the drive internally to your desktop, or via another USB Adapter, Dock or Enclosure, which will either show the drive or not in the Bios, will confirm if the HDD is at fault or the USB connector inside the USB Enclosure is the issue.
 

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Once again, you're obsessing over the drive NOT showing up in BIOS (under boot devices?) just like you were with the 2TB drive before installing Windows. What I know from experience is that NOT ALL storage devices will show up in BIOS and this doesn't necessarily mean they are functional or defective. For example, my 3rd gen ProBook (2013 model) doesn't show the SSD (Windows boot drive) anywhere in the BIOS setup screen, but the SSD is obviously fully functional. The original HDD was showing under System Information in BIOS, but not under boot devices. Under boot devices, all I have are generic placeholders like "USB HDD", "Internal HDD", "Upgrade Bay" which refers to the optical drive. When a bootable flash drive is connected, it shows up in boot devices, but only if it has been formatted to be bootable. Likewise, a defective drive may show up in BIOS. In short, the drive showing up in BIOS or NOT, does not form a reliable basis for determining whether it is defective or not. Its physical presence is a better basis for troubleshooting.
 
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