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 Post subject: The dreaded Windows Boot Manager
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:13 pm
Posts: 9
The Windows 10 Boot Manager is my problem. Let me explain a unique situation. Hang in there with me.

I teach a college class in PC configuration and repair. The desktop PCs that we use are about as generic a machine that there is. The MB is a Gigabyte GA-Z270-HD3.

These PCs are used for both the PC class and all the rest of the classes in our program. The internal NVMe M.2 SSD with Win10 is used for all the "regular classes".

For the PC repair class, each lab group is given a HDD that is plugged into a mobile dock. Students in the PC class use this HDD for all their lab work and leave the internal drive alone.

Students start with a "clean" HDD and install Windows 7 OS as one of the labs.

Why do they install and use Win7, a deprecated OS, you ask? It's not by choice but rather by circumstances.

Win7 does not contain a driver for the internal NVMe SSD, so students in the PC class can do their Win7 labs without effecting the NVMe SSD.

That said, I would prefer for them to install and use Win10.

The PROBLEM is that a Win10 installation sees both drives in the system and will not simply target the installation to the removable HDD. The Win10 Boot Manager now comes into play and each drive is not treated equally. Also, even with the mobile dock drive removed, the Boot Manager persists; it still thinks that there are two bootable Win10 installs.

It's just not practical for my PC students to open the case and temporarily remove the NVMe SSD every time they do a lab experiment. The M.2 connector is not designed for that sort of usage.

Ideally, there should be some way to disable the internal M.2 NVMe SSD in the UEFI firmware setup so that it is invisible to the system, but I haven't found a way to do that.

OK, so how do I use Win10 WITHOUT physically disconnecting the internal drive?

Thank you for indulging my long question!


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 Post subject: Re: The dreaded Windows Boot Manager
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 8:54 pm
Posts: 1822
Interested in Scott's response to this. A little confused though. Couldn't you just have them install Windows 10 on the external drives? If it's not connected than it won't try to boot from it. If it's connected than they should be able to choose which os to boot from. Yeah I'm still pretty confused as to what is going on with your question. Hope that Scott can help out though!


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 Post subject: Re: The dreaded Windows Boot Manager
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:13 pm
Posts: 9
When Win10 is installed on the removable drive, Win10 recognizes that there is an existing Win10 already present on the internal M.2 NVMe SSD, so in order to manage this dual boot situation, the Windows Boot Manager comes into play, similar to the GRUB bootloader in Linux when you install Windows and Linux side-to-side.

The references to each WIn10 install that appear in the Windows Boot Manager are identical, so knowing which one to chose becomes a coin-toss.

Pick the wrong one and it's restart time; did you remember your choice?

More problematic, when the removable drive is removed from the mobile dock, the Windows Boot Manager persists in displaying both Win10 installs (even though one is absent).

Pick the wrong one and you reach a dead end, with the message "No bootable media found...".


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 Post subject: Re: The dreaded Windows Boot Manager
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 8:54 pm
Posts: 1822
What happens if you delete the partitions on the Nvme drive, and then plug in the removable drive and try booting?. You should be able to change the boot order in cmos setup. Or use a different controller?. I know on some boards with different controllers or controller manufacturers some and meant specifically for removable drives and some are meant for internal drives. So if you install Win 10 on one that is meant for internal drives the system will see it as an internal and not external removable device.

Another thing, have you tried enabling legacy boot in the cmos?. Or "Legacy + UEFI"?. I'm just "spit-balling" here. Waiting on Scott to set me straight. He's the head of all nerds....

Hopefully I learn something here too.


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