Gene Gajewski

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Yep, one of the hard drives on my desktop PC started going bad. I noticed it when checking through my backup logs. A couple of entries noted a unrecoverable read error. This wasn’t a read error of the backup drive, but of the source drive I was backing up.

I used a couple of specialized tools to diagnose the failing hard drive – Seagate’s SeaTools, and a freeware tool named HDSCAN. This drive would sometimes fail the built-in S.M.A.R.T. tests in SeaTools, and HDSCAN reported lots of bad blocks and a lot of dodgy sector reads taking more than five hundred milliseconds.

Fortunately for me, I have multiple backups of my data files and data drives, so there’s no worry there. But since I’m now mucking around with drives in general, I thought I’d check the rest of them. Everything is OK. The boot drive, though, which is an SSD, is reporting 40% life left. I’ve decided to replace that SSD with a new, larger one, and relegate this one to my amateur radio PC. That PC is an old beater and is simple; it has an easy life running just my amateur radio station logging software, and nothing else.

Anyway, I discovered an extant issue with the way my PC was set up. My PC was set up to use the old “Legacy” bios. It was 2016 when I bought this computer, and for some reason it shipped (downgraded) with Windows 7, although Windows 10 was current. Since this is a Dell XPS 8900, it was shipped that way as it was popular with hard-core gamers at the time. and as Windows 10 was still “new” and green, they preferred to stay on old reliable Windows 7. I called Dell on the phone and demanded they send me a proper copy of Win 10, which they did, shipped on a thumb drive. I manually installed Win 10, but I never changed any of the the bios settings. Then I added an SSD.

I easily cloned the PC’s boot drive onto the SSD. Without thinking, I did not swap drive cables though, leaving the original hard drive as Drive 0. I simply went into the BIOS and changed the drive boot order, and away I went. No problems.

Fast forward to today. For some reason, I mucked things up. Something put the bios boot mode into UEFI mode. I tried using Win 10’s Restore mode, but Windows refused to boot stating “SYSTEM PTE MISUSE”. Ouch. It turns out that it was the TPM 2.0 protection module complaining, which is problematic in Legacy bios mode. I’m screwed. I must reinstall the OS.

Anyway, the bios is now in UEFI mode, TPM 2.0 is on. Moreover, the UEFI bios doesn’t give you options for the order it scans disks for a boot block – so I am required to make the SSD drive 0, so this time I did the smart thing and swapped cables around.

I would normally upgrade to win 11, but the i7-6700K processor is only a generation 6 Skylake. Windows 11 really wants a generation 8 or later processor. I am aware that some folks out there have managed to install windows 11 on the earlier Skylake processors, but I don’t feel it’s worth the effort here. This PC will be retired long before Window 10 support is ended.

I did discover that I need to change all my drives partitions type’s to GPT from the old MBR partition type. That done, Windows 10 installed easily enough from a thumb drive I created using Microsoft’s media creation tool. All is working again, except now I must download all of MS Office, Adobe cloud, Steinberg, Native Instruments, Vegas Pro… and so on. Only about 1+TB of data…….yikes, Gonna take days to DL all that media my ancient DSL link, especially my VST music libraries, which are humongous.

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