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JMR2020
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Solved!

Can’t get into BIOS, or recognise either blank or bootable SSD or bootable USB disk

HP Recommended
Pavilion p6-2417a
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

Hi there,

 

My HP Pavilion p6-2417a (H61 Joshua uATX motherboard) died around 2016 and it has been sitting collecting dust for a few years.  Recently, I upgraded a lot of the hardware — it works fine — but can’t seem to get into the BIOS so that I can set up a fresh install of Windows on a new SSD.  I’m wondering if the issue is with my motherboard, or if I need to upgrade the BIOS.  I can confidently rule out that the issue is NOT with the GPU, PSU, RAM or the SSD (see below for explanation).  I don’t think there are issues with the CPU. 

 

I’ve provided some context below.

 

SPECS:

- Model: HP Pavilion p6-2417a

- OS:  Windows 10 64-bit (Version 1903 - I will update to version 1909 eventually - it’s downloading).

- Motherboard: Joshua-H61-uATX

- CPU:  Intel Core i5-3300 Processor @ 3.00 GHz (LGA 1155 socket)

- Memory: 2x 8Gb DDR3 RAM (16 Gb total)

- PSU: Thermaltake 750 W 

- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 2060 Super (Windforce OC 8G)

- Storage:  HDD - Seagate, 1TB.  Works fine.

The SSD I am trying to install is a 1TB Crucial MX500.

 

BACKGROUND:  

I was able to start up the PC and load Windows 10 like it was 2016 all over again, after removing the CR2032 battery from the motherboard, waiting ten minutes, and replacing the CR2032 (CMOS reset). I’ve since started upgrading it.

 

I’ve now upgraded the RAM (2 x 8Gb DDR3 DIMM sticks) and the graphics card (GeFORCE RTX 2060 Super) and the power supply unit (Thermaltake 750W).  Everything works fine.  I have to reset the CMOS every time I install something new, but once it’s there it’s all good.  I’ve even installed a case with additional fans.  I’m basically replacing all the components (slowly, when I can afford to).  The only components that still remain are the Intel Core i5 CPU that came with the device, and the Joshua H61 uATX motherboard. 

 

PROBLEM:  

The issue arises when I try to install an SSD or plug in any bootable device.  I have tried different SSD slots on the motherboard and get the same issues each time (see below).

 

BLANK SSD (New, purchased today, 1TB Crucial MX500):

Essentially, if I install a completely blank SSD, I can get the PC to recognise that it’s there.  I can go into Device Manager and see that it’s there.  I can also install the SSD into my laptop (a second device), and it’s fine.  No issues.  However, I can’t get into  I can’t get into BIOS by hitting ESC, F1, F2, F8, F10, F11, F12 or DEL (I’ve tried each), and therefore can’t boot from a bootable USB with the Windows 10 Install stuff on it. 

 

 

BOOTABLE SSD:

If I plug in anything that is bootable (e.g. my SSD from my laptop which has Windows 10 installed on it) or the Windows 10 Install USB, I just get a black screen. The PC turns on, the lights and fans in the case turn on, the GPU fans spin - but the screen is black. I can’t get into the BIOS screen.  No amount of hitting ESC, F1, F2, F8, F10, F11, F12 or DEL works, so I can’t change the boot order or set it to boot from my flash drive.  And yet if I take that SAME SSD and plug it into my laptop, I can use that SAME Windows 10 Install USB and install a fresh copy of Windows 10.  In fact, I did just install Windows 10 on it, just to prove that it works (and because it’s an upgrade for my laptop and therefore not a waste of a new SSD).

 

If I leave it without any hard drives plugged in, I get that BIOS screen that asks me to boot but then it says there are no bootable drives, as expected.

 

However, if I remove the USB and the SSD, it works fine.

 

I can confirm there are no issues with the PSU, GPU or RAM.  When I don’t have the SSD, everything works fine.  I’ve installed all the drivers and the latest version of Windows 10.  I have been happily playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey with no issues and (less happily) catching up on maths lectures online.  I am running Excel fine and rediscovering old photos from 2015 without issue.

 

I can confirm there’s no issue with the SSDs - and I’ve tried two SSDs - or the Windows 10 Installer USB.

 

These are the SSDs I have tried:

- The first SSD was a blank SSD, a Crucial MX500 1TB.

The PC registered that it was there, but I couldn’t boot from the Windows 10 Install USB to do anything with it.  

I’ve now swapped this SSD into my laptop, and my laptop has very happily installed Windows 10 on it using that same Windows 10 Install USB.  No issues.  (I’ve used the same Windows 10 Install USB on other devices and it’s fine.)  

 

- The second SSD is the one that was originally in my laptop (Samsung EVO 250Gb), which runs Windows 10.

I know it works because it worked fine on my laptop, I installed it on my PC (didn’t work), then reinstalled it on my laptop (it worked).

 

I am fairly confident that the PSU, CPU, GPU and RAM are fine — once I remove the bootable disk and the SSD and reset the CMOS, I can get in.  I’m logged in right now (although I’m posting this from my iPad) and can see the system Device Specifications.  

 

This leaves the Motherboard in question.

 

Is there something wrong with my motherboard?  Do I need to update the BIOS?  Is it not capable of booting from a USB disk or an SSD?  Does it not handle having more than one bootable device installed?  Do I need to clear the HDD, have both the HDD and blank SSD installed, then boot from the USB?  (I haven’t tried this, don’t want to clear the HDD with Windows 10 on it until I know for sure something will work.)

 

I do plan on replacing the motherboard and CPU eventually, but not for a 6-12 months as they’ll cost a fair bit.  So I would like to figure out why I can’t just install a new SSD for faster running time in the interim.

 

Grateful for your advice,

JMR2020.

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JMR2020
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Update: solved it. 
once I realised booting into BIOS works if I unplug the SSD, I went and disabled secure boot. Because my SSD was under 2TB, I’d formatted it as under MBR and not using UEFI. Which meant secure boot was blocking it. 

that was literally all that was stopping it. 

I still can’t boot from the USB flash disk but I formatted the SSD using my Laptop and it works fine so... eh! 

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JMR2020
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Update (for clarity): I take it back, I can get to the BIOS by hitting ESC if I only have the HDD plugged in. 

But obviously can't then ask to boot from the SSD or the USB if they're not connected, and I obviously can't plug them in while the device is on.  And once I plug it in and boot it up, I get the same blank screen as before, even after resetting the CMOS and trying again.  I just can't get to the BIOS if they're plugged in.  And I don't know what to do from here.

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JMR2020
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Update: solved it. 
once I realised booting into BIOS works if I unplug the SSD, I went and disabled secure boot. Because my SSD was under 2TB, I’d formatted it as under MBR and not using UEFI. Which meant secure boot was blocking it. 

that was literally all that was stopping it. 

I still can’t boot from the USB flash disk but I formatted the SSD using my Laptop and it works fine so... eh! 

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