sata boot order

Posted on 2006-04-29
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I don't think this issue has been adequately discussed prior to closings...

For my workstations, Intel MoBos 955 and 925, the bios settings have no apparent effect on boot order.  With 2 identical drives, (bios doesn't id drives by serial number so blind toggling is only available action), so bringing up second drive borks the boot for primary drive, toggling bios makes no difference, and the only way I can regain primary drive boot is to switch cables...adding a third drive makes the issue even muddier.

Seems to me that in the 'old days' bioses id'd drives by serial number...
Question by:nickeaston
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    Many BIOS Setup programs have a separate BIOS setting for the drive order -- and for some reason it is NOT in the boot order section!   In other words, in the "boot order" section you can choose where the hard drives are in the boot order; but not which one is first.   But there may be another section in the BIOS where you can select the order of the drives ... check around and see if this is the case.

    If that's not the case here, then the best way to resolve this is to use a 3rd party boot manager.   I like Boot-It NG from   You simply install this on your primary boot drive, and you can then easily create a boot menu that will let you boot from any partition on any drive.   The interface is a bit "geeky" -- but well worth learning.   It is also an excellent image/restore and partition management program.   ... and is very reasonably priced ($34.95).   The free demo download will let you do everything you've suggested, so it won't cost anything to try.

    Author Comment

    Thanks; I'll give it a try and report back.  Sounds like the perfect fix for inadequate bios managers...
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    If you put them both on the primary channel, the system will always boot from the one jumpered master.  That will be detected as master, and the other as slave.  I dont see the problem, you can see right in the BIOS which drive is master and which is slave, so where is the problem?  If you are setting both drives to CABLE select -- THAT is the problem.  Do NOT do this.  Set one to master and the other to slave, then there is no pssobillity of a mix up.  If they are incompatible together, put the 2nd drive on the secondary IDE cahnnel.

    Author Comment

    Note that we are talking about SATA drives--my WD drives have 4 pair of jumpers but manual says not for master/slave--my Maxtor drives have 1 pair and no indication on the case what it's for; can't find manual at the moment...
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    You don't need to bother with the jumpers -- they certainly don't effect the boot order.   Jumpers on SATA drives are usually for limiting the transfer rate to SATA-150 (if it's a SATA-II drive);  deferring spin-up (for staggering spin-up time of your drives) by powering up in standby and waiting for a BIOS command to spinup;  and whether to enable or disable spread spectrum clocking.   Nothing to do with the boot order :-)

    Author Comment

    My final comment is that unknowingly leaving an external usb drive attached while trying to configure the sata bootup results in a bad hair day...

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