Just got my new m17 laptop and am configuring it.
As the subject implies, when I have an eSata device plugged in, during the boot phase where the alien head shows with a progress bar -- the progress seems to halt at around 10% ... the caps/numlock keys still seem to work and will light up -- but pressing f2 to enter bios or f12 to enter boot options has no effect.
The screen before this shows the device, as expected... I did manage to get into bios once, but it showed 'esata not connected'... If I unplug the device before booting, it seems to work -- the progress bar completes in a few seconds... Once I boot into windows, I'm able to plug in the device and it seems to work fine.
The device as reported by device manager is "ATA Patriot Pyro SE SCSI Desk Device".
It should be noted that I sprung for the "64GB mSATA caching SSD" on the hard drive options... not sure if there is some sort of conflict here.
Hm, turns on the caching SSD wasn't actually configured for caching and was just a drive in windows ... I had to remove the volume in disk management, open up "Intel Rapid Storage Technology", go to "Acceleration" & choose a drive to accelerate as per this kb article.
Anyway, still having this issue, but I found a workaround :
If the eSata drive is connected and I press 'ctrl-I' during boot and escape without making any changes -- then the progress bar is able to complete and I'm able to boot into windows.... If I just let it try and boot without pressing ctrl-I the progress stops at around 10% and I get the behavior described in my original post.
Check BIOS and make sure eSata drive is not on list of drives as bootable. Even though it's not setup to be bootable, this might keep it from being checked for.
The only way I can get into BIOS with the device connected is when I go into the ctrl-I screen -- if I do it quickly, the device is not listed & I can exit without changes and get into the BIOS -- If doing this, the e-SATA is listed as [Not Detected]. If however it is listed on the ctrl-I screen, exiting without changes will bring up the progress bar hang, and I can't get into BIOS. When I do make it into the BIOS, under the boot section I see "Legacy Boot" and "EUFI Boot" -- Legacy provides the following order :
- Hard Drive
- CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive
- Second Hard Drive
"Boot List Option" is specified as "Legacy" ... there doesn't seem to be a way to change the order or remove items from the list.
The ctrl-I screen shows a RAID volume as not being bootable. The physical devices do not show any 'bootable' indicator.
It's a bit of a chicken-egg scenario -- I'm unable to verify if the eSata drive is on the list of drives as bootable because when it's detected I can't get into the BIOS.
As provided by the factory, SSD caching wasn't enabled & and the two HDs were separate. I've since sorted this out so the two drives are set up as a RAID cluster, and SSD is set up as caching device for the two of them. Now when I go into the ctrl-I screen, the RAID is listed as the only bootable drive.... but this is aside.
The issue persists... this will crop up not only on fresh boots, but when resuming from a hibernation as well -- this, to me, implies it's not trying to boot from the esata drive. It seems I have a few options :
-- first, when booting or resuming from hibernation, ensure that an eSata device is not connected -- I can do this by simply unplugging the separate USB connection that powers the device.
-- or, like I posted above, enter the CTRL-I screen and exit quickly without saving changes -- this ensures that, during the progress bar phase, the drive is not detected and it seems to start up properly.
I have seen this issue posted elsewhere on the web and there doesn't seem to be a known resolution.
Also, I can verify the USB is not causing the issue... The esata device I'm using requires USB for power -- so as a test, I tried plugging in the USB to an alternate computer with the eSata on the alienware -- I was still able to see the esata drive as a device if I got into windows -- but again, the progress bar stops @ around 10% if the device is detected by intel RST... I've also updated the RST drivers to 220.127.116.116 but did not see any changes. Intel RST option ROM ( or the ctrl-I screen as I've been affectionately calling it) is 18.104.22.1682 .... it seems to me the BIOS is choking on the esata drive if it gets detected -- the only way I'm able to get by and into windows is if it can't detect it.