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L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

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L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#1 Post by framp » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:59 pm

I have a spare ssd and thought it's a good idea to plug in the ssd as the primary disk on my L420 and to move the current disk running multiple Linux OS and Windows into an ultrabay as the second disk.

I installed a new OS (Linux Mint 17.1) on the ssd and the boot manager detected all the existing Linux and Windows OS on the second disk. But when I select the OS in the boot manager nothing happens - the system just hangs.

I tried to select the second disk as a boot device using PF12 to select the second device as the boot device - no success. The second disk is not displayed in the selection list.

I connected the second disk via USB - no ultrabay - to the L420 - and I can boot from the partitions on the disk and the disk can also be selected via PF12 to boot from.

If I switch the disks I can boot from every bootable partition of the disk - but there is no way to select the ssd now on the ultrabay. If I boot an OS from the disk I can access the ssd partitions.

Is there any known L420 BIOS limitation or restriction causing this issue? I tried different settings in BIOS regarding SATA (ACPI or compatible) but no success.

For me it seems that the BIOS for some reasons refuses to detect the second disk connect to the L420 via ultrabay but is able to detect it when it's connected via an USB drive.

Would be glad if somebody has an idea what may be the root cause for the issue.

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:51 am

Welcome to the forum.
You have two the same boot-partitions on two drives, which confuses any boot manager.
You'd need to remove the first/boot partition from the Ultrabay-HD, after which you should now be able to boot from the main-SSD.
You may also need to play with Grub or similar, to recognize the other ultrabay partitions.
Then reinstall that 'old' boot-partition on the ultrabay-HD, it will get a new partition letter/name/number/whatever.
I'm not familiar with Linux, so the above are best guesses.
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#3 Post by hhhd1 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:05 am

I have seen Lenovo not allow boot from a 2nd HDD caddy in some of its budget lines, even though a DVD drive would boot fine if using the same SATA connection.

for example,
the B590, ivy bridge, comes in 2 variants:
1. comes with i3,i5,i7
2. comes with celeron,pentium

the later have the following limitations:
no mSATA port
1 usb3 instead of 2
the hdd caddy is limited to SATA2 speeds, and can not boot via bios
the motherboard does not accept upgrading to i3 or above, only can side grade to pentium/celeron.


EDIT:
A bios mod could allow booting from the 2nd hdd caddy
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#4 Post by bit_twiddler » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:07 pm

I would try removing the primary drive from the system, put a blank drive in the ultrabay,
and set the BIOS to boot from the secondary (ultrabay) drive. Then, do a fresh install
of Linux onto the drive in the ultrabay. That way, there is no way that you can clobber
whatever is on the first drive.

I use this system to switch between different operating systems, rather than relying on
grub, or the Windows equivalent to figure things out. It also make backup easier -
I just image the whole drive as a backup.
Daily Drivers: W520 i7-2760QM | W520 i7-2860QM | T420 FHD IPS i7-2640m | W701
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#5 Post by hhhd1 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:40 pm

bit_twiddler wrote:I would try removing the primary drive from the system, put a blank drive in the ultrabay,
and set the BIOS to boot from the secondary (ultrabay) drive. Then,
If i understand the OP correctly, .. this is not possible.
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#6 Post by bit_twiddler » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:50 pm

Lenovo would have to have gone out of their way to do this, considering that the OP can boot
from a DVD in the ultrabay.

They could have done this, but it is also possible that the BIOS doesn't "see" the drive with PF12
unless you go into the BIOS and set the boot order to include it. A drive in the ultrabay may not
be equivalent to a DVD reader, as far as the BIOS is concerned when setting the boot order.
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#7 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:54 am

In BIOS Startup/Boot, you need to include/set ATA HDD1 in Boot priority order.
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#8 Post by framp » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:58 pm

Thank you very much for your replies.

Regarding multiple boot managers (RealBlackStuff) of the two disks: That works perfect on a different Thinkpad I have. That way I can boot multiple OS from primary or caddy partitions. But I will try it out with a spare disk
Regarding the BIOS isn't able to boot form the caddy (hhhd1) - that's frankly what I also think. I have model 78544LG. I haven't had any success to prove my assumption on the Lenovo webpage :-(
Regarding installing a Linux on the caddy first (bit_twiddler) - I will give it a try - hope the BIOS displays the caddy drive when there is no primary disk
RealBlackStuff wrote:In BIOS Startup/Boot, you need to include/set ATA HDD1 in Boot priority order.
That's the point - I can see following disks in the BISO setup
USB FDD
ATA HDD5
ATA HDD4
ATA HDD2
ATA HDD0 - which is either the ssd or the disk when it's the primary drive
PCI LAN
USB HDD
ATAPI CD0
USB CDROM

- but no ATA HDD1 :cry:

Boot from an USB HDD works perfectly. It's just the caddy disk which isn't detected at boot time.

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#9 Post by framp » Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:50 pm

Just an update:

Re 3) - no success - I installed an OS on a spare disk, put it into the caddy, removed the system disk - but BIOS didn't detect the caddy disk and no boot was possible
Re 1) - no success - I used the disk I created for (3) as system disk and put another clean disk in the caddy - no way to select the caddy disk in BIOS

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#10 Post by framp » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:02 pm

hhhd1 wrote:...A bios mod could allow booting from the 2nd hdd caddy
I updated to the latest available BIOS version. The caddy disk is not visible :evil:

@hhhd1 Where do I get a BIOS mod from?

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#11 Post by hhhd1 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:29 pm

framp wrote:@hhhd1 Where do I get a BIOS mod from?
in here you can request volunteers to mod your bios:

https://www.bios-mods.com/forum/

it is however risky ofc, modifying the wrong bios, could brick the motherboard,
although if done by someone who knows what he is doing, the risk can become minimal.

before going that route, try to see if your laptop can boot from msata or not, and if that is enough for you or not.
also try installing a boot manager on the 1st hdd or the msata hdd.

i solved my issue by having a 'hiren boot cd' burned to flash usb, and using it, i can set the bios to boot from usb, then, i can select the caddy hdd as the boot drive.
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#12 Post by bit_twiddler » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:20 am

You could have a bad caddy.
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#13 Post by framp » Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:34 pm

bit_twiddler wrote:You could have a bad caddy.
I was able to borrow a geniune IBM caddy. Same result: The disk in the caddy is not selectable in the BIOS boot menu :?

I also tried hiren boot cd - but this tool also didn't display the second disk.

Looks like the L420 BIOS doesn't allow to boot from the caddy disk :( :( :(

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#14 Post by bit_twiddler » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:14 pm

You might look through the BIOS options to see if there is a security section
where someone has disabled to ability to boot from HDD1.

Did you buy the machine as new, or was it previously used by some organization
which might have messed around with the security settings?
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#15 Post by framp » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:48 pm

I bought the system from Lenovo and should be the only one who modified the BIOS :-)

I checked the security settings
- All passwords (power on, hard disk) are disabled
- The security chip is disabled

No change

But I detected I can enable diagnostics in boot mode - unfortunately the diagnostic is shown for approx 500 ms .. but I detect that the second disk is listed there. So BIOS detects the disk - but doesn't offer to boot from it.

The L420 has a fingerprint reader which is not used. As far as I remember the fingerprint reader can be configured with some windows tools. I frankly don't remember whether at some point in time I configured the reader in Windows.
Is it possible that the reader config I inadvertently did at some point in time disabled the boot from the caddy disk for security reasons?

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#16 Post by hhhd1 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:52 pm

framp wrote:I also tried hiren boot cd - but this tool also didn't display the second disk.
Hiren boot cd use totally different number system than the bios, so HDD0 may be the USB HDD, and HDD1, maybe Bios's no.0 ..etc,
so make sure to try to boot MBR of all harddisks.
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#17 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:30 pm

You show perhaps too many HDs, remove ATA HDD5 and ATA HDD4, that might make 'room' for the HDD1.
After removal, HDD1 might show up again.

OR:
go into BIOS, press F9 to load defaults, then F10 to save, then reboot.
Also check that UEFI/Legacy are both ENabled and start with Legacy first.

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#18 Post by bit_twiddler » Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:39 pm

You might contact these people, they sell a caddy for the L420.

http://hddcaddy.eu/about-us-hdd-caddy/

What I find interesting is that the caddy that they sell for the L420 is
apparently not the same item that they sell for the T420(and T520, W520, etc.)

Also, configuring your fingerprint reader in Windows probably does not affect your
BIOS settings. Something is probably wrong with your BIOS settings.

I'm not familiar with the L420, but on my T420 there is a "security" section which
allows you to lock out certain devices. There might be an option to prevent
booting from HDD1 in there somewhere.

Sorry, my T420 is in pieces right now because I'm in the middle of upgrading it,
so I can't take a look at how the BIOS is set up.
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#19 Post by bit_twiddler » Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:41 pm

Also check that UEFI/Legacy are both ENabled and start with Legacy first.
You definitely want to try booting in Legacy mode if you are trying to boot Linux.
Only some Linux distributions will boot in UEFI mode.
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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#20 Post by framp » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:27 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:You show perhaps too many HDs, remove ATA HDD5 and ATA HDD4, that might make 'room' for the HDD1.
After removal, HDD1 might show up again.
I tried this - but no success :cry:
go into BIOS, press F9 to load defaults, then F10 to save, then reboot.
Tried this already. No success :cry:
Also check that UEFI/Legacy are both ENabled and start with Legacy first.
There is no way to enable or disable uefi in BIOS

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#21 Post by framp » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:32 pm

bit_twiddler wrote:You might contact these people, they sell a caddy for the L420.

http://hddcaddy.eu/about-us-hdd-caddy/
Do you think theses caddies will work? Please keep in mind that I borrowed a genuine IBM caddy - and it didn't work either.
I'm not familiar with the L420, but on my T420 there is a "security" section which
allows you to lock out certain devices. There might be an option to prevent
booting from HDD1 in there somewhere.
The security section allows to set pwds and to enable/disable the security chip. No way to disable any disks. There is a sata setting which can be acpi or compatible - but both settings don't enable the caddy disk.

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#22 Post by framp » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:40 pm

bit_twiddler wrote:
Also check that UEFI/Legacy are both ENabled and start with Legacy first.
You definitely want to try booting in Legacy mode if you are trying to boot Linux.
Only some Linux distributions will boot in UEFI mode.
There is no way in BIOS to change any UEFI setting.

I appreciate your help on this uggly issue - but I'm kind of frustrated now that the BIOS disables booting from caddy - but booting from an external USB disk works fine. This seems to be root cause as far as I understand.

You mentioned it may be some BIOS setting which disables disk1 - but when using the BIOS diagnosic mode disk1 is detected - but later on when using PF12 to select a boot device hd1 doesn't show up.

I just got another idea I will try ... I will disable all CDROM stuff which is available in BIOS, Maybe the CDROM BIOS code overlays or disables hd1.

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#23 Post by bit_twiddler » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:24 pm

If you can't get it to work, you can always try a Windows boot configuration editor,
e.g.: http://www.boyans.net/. I've never been able to get it to chain boot
a second drive, but have used it successfully to boot a linux partition on the same drive.

Using this is a lot safer than using grub2 to select between Windows and Linux because
Windows has a tendency to clobber the MBR (master boot record) when it does an
update.

If you go this route, you would install your Linux system on the same drive as your
Windows drive, but make sure that you install grub2 on the Linux boot partition
(or your root partition if you mount /boot under /). There is usually a place where
you can select where to install grub2 if you partition manually, and you want to
put it on a partition, i.e.," /dev/sda2:" or "/dev/sda3", but not "/dev/sda." Otherwise, grub2 will clobber
your MBR.
Daily Drivers: W520 i7-2760QM | W520 i7-2860QM | T420 FHD IPS i7-2640m | W701
Others: W510 | 701C (on its shrine)
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Currently Experimenting With: T420s

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#24 Post by thinkpadcollection » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:38 pm

Another way is plop software that remote boots unbootable media/storage.

Best way and most easiest, bonus way is change mainboard to support i3-i5-i7 motherboard support and in turn allows what you are doing and allows upgrading to decent CPUs not the pentium CPUs.

For example this motherboard on ebay:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/for-LENOVO-Think ... 3aacf37328
You should able to reuse CPU or upgrade to say i5-2450m if price is pretty good.

Cheers, thinkpadcollection

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Re: L420 - no boot possible from second disk connected via ultrabay but works when connected via USB

#25 Post by framp » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:25 pm

bit_twiddler wrote:... and you want to
put it on a partition, i.e.," /dev/sda2:" or "/dev/sda3", but not "/dev/sda." Otherwise, grub2 will clobber
your MBR.
Hm ... I usually install the mbr on the disk and not the partition. I frankly use Linux as my primary OS and only use Windows when my kids have issues with their systems running Windows and ask me to help them :roll:

That's why I want to keep my current Windows installation and thought I just plug in the existing disk with Windows and Linux I used until now in the caddy, install an new Linux on the ssd which I plug in as the primary disk and can boot Windows with grub2 if I need it ... but this doesn't work until now.

That's what I did right now:
1) ssd -> hdd0
2) old disk -> hdd1 in caddy

Install new Linux on hdd0 and enjoy the fast speed of a ssd. The installation detected the existing bootable OS on hdd1 and created entries in the boot menu. Unfortunately they don't work.

There is one thing which puzzles me ... I noticed whenever I access the hdd1 now, I can hear the disk to start spinning up ... so maybe it's just a power saving issue ... just guessing. So it may be possible to use boot loader chaining to get the hdd1 OS to boot. But right now I spent a lot of time in testing various BIOS settings and OS on the disks as hdd0 and/or hdd1. I will begin my vacation next week - and thus stop my testing activities for now.

Thank you very much for your interest and help on the ugly issue. I don't know whether I will resume to work on this when I'm back from vacation or just convert the existing Windows OS into a VM and start it within Linux. Not sure whether the conversion will be easy - have to check and try.

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