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Asus with eMMC shows no storage device after partition delete

Posted on 2016-10-13
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Last Modified: 2016-10-21
So I have a really bad feeling that I've bricked this laptop. It's an Asus TP200SA and has the eMMC SSD and RAM permanently affixed to the mainboard. It is not upgradeable at all except for the addition of a microSD card.

In my attempt to fix a number of issue relating to viruses and software corruptions, I backed up the client's files (not the system state), booted from a Windows 10 install USB drive and removed the partitions - all of them - so I could do a fresh install of Windows 10 without all the bloatware.

After removing the partitions, I try to install Windows on the empty space and the installer says it cannot be used due to it not being a bootable device.

So I restart the laptop and go into the BIOS and the SSD has completely disappeared from the BIOS.

I've updated the BIOS to the latest release in case there was a bug fix, but there's still no SSD listed in the SATA devices.

Help! I don't know what to do from here...
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Question by:Reece Dodds
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Expert Comment

by:Randy Downs
ID: 41843785
Sounds like you deleted the recovery partition but you could try an F9 while booting to see if it responds.

Otherwise, you need to start from scratch by booting from DVD or USB. If you don't have the media, you may need to contact the vendor.
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Expert Comment

by:marsilies
ID: 41844109
I don't think the eMMC would be listed as a SATA drive, because it's not.

It may be possible to install Linux on the tablet. See this guide from someone who did on a TP200:
http://www.transformerforums.com/forum/asus-transformer-book-t200-alternate-os-s-development/49427-tp200sa-linux-success.html

And while not for you specific model, I found this post suggesting you need to load a driver for Windows to recognize the eMMC as a bootable drive:
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/t/19679469
You'll need the driver located here:

<<downloadcenter.intel.com/download/25165/Intel-Rapid-Storage-Technology-Intel-RST-RAID-Driver>>

Put it on a flash drive, pause the install with f6 when indicated, and load the IRST/Matrix driver -- the drive will then be found.

Here's the most recent Intel RST drivers:
https://downloadcenter.intel.com/product/55005/Intel-Rapid-Storage-Technology-Intel-RST-
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Reece Dodds earned 0 total points
ID: 41845976
@Randy Downs
I did delete the recovery partition.  And every other partition the storage had.  That was my intention.  
I did this using the partition manager as part of the Windows 10 installation media (which was a USB drive I booted from).
What I didn't expect was for the drive to not be available to install Windows 10 on using the install media.

@marsilies
I think you are correct about it not appearing in the BIOS as a SATA device.
The Linux install was not an option.  And additional drivers weren't helpful either.  Sorry.

What did help though, was a forum reply I read on some of these newer devices using eMMC and UEFI.  I had to take the system out of 'Legacy' mode (Secureboot disabled, CSM enabled) and put it back into UEFI mode, use a boot override to boot from a UEFI file system.  The trick for this was to have the Windows 10 install USB created as GPT partition type and formatted FAT32 instead of the default Windows 10 preffered MBR type in NTFS format.   I had to use Rufus to do this.
Once I booted from the GPT version of my Win 10 install USB in UEFI mode, the eMMC drive magically appeared in the available storage list and I could proceed with the clean Windows 10 install.

Thanks for your suggestion guys.

Let this be a warning to anyone else who follows down my path of deleting partitions to gain storage back on smaller eMMC drives - make sure you read any manufacturer specifications, warnings and take note of BIOS settings, storage volume types and formats before you start the job.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Reece Dodds
ID: 41853474
Solution found outside of the EE network.
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