BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

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BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby Jeffrey Lee » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:31 am

Hello All,

While not a newbie to PC hardware and software, it's been 5 years since my last forray into building my own machine from the ground up. My new system has an SSD and several 2TB hard drives and I find things are not as simple as they once were. I have been reading online for many evenings now, and am still unsure as to how best to go about performing the initial configuration of my system - and there are essentially no examples describing what I want to do (and I would think that MANY other would as well, but I could be wrong). Here's the deal:

I want to be able to boot W7 off of the SSD. This will be for the real work. I know it's going to take a while to get this set up properly.

I want to also be able to boot W7 off of the HD. This W7 will be for playing, testing new software, etc. I'll likely restore the W7 image to this partition frequently as it gets trashed (slow) - not something I want to do with an SSD.

First problem - my SSD already has a cruddy W7 install on it that has problems. I'd like to Secure Erase it before I do a new, clean install of W7. The only utility Samsung provides for doing a Secure Erase of the SSD runs under Windows. Hmmm. How the heck do I perform a Secure Erase of my SSD for a clean W7 install when the only version of W7 running right now is on the SSD? Seems like a Catch-22 to me. The solution appears to be to install W7 on the HD, install the Samsung Secure Erase utility, erase the SSD, then install W7 on the SSD. Sheesh. It's be nice if Samsung provide a bootable utility disc to do the Secure Erase.

The BootIt Boot Manager appears to be the best boot manager around. All the features I want, though not simple to use (I've read through the manual and watched all the BING YouTube videos several times). But I want the flexibility it offers. So here are my questions:

? Does BootIt Bare Metal (BIBM) keep the partitions properly aligned for the SSD? Should I use it for my partitioning (I understand I should install the BM in its own 8 meg parition). Do I do this up front using BIBM, then create an EMBR, then install W7 on the SSD? Or use the HD W7 install to partition the SSD since it's careful about partition alignment on SSDs.

? Should I install BIBM on my HD or on the SSD (given that I have to install W7 on the HD before I can Secure Erase the SSD and do a clean W7 install on the SSD). Does it matter? I assume boot times would be faster off of the SSD.

I appreciate your help with this. Again, I wouldn't ask I could find the answers online (or perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place).

Thanks and regards,

Jeff
Jeffrey Lee
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:58 am

Re: BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby Jeffrey Lee » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:29 pm

OK - after a bit of rereading the manual and attempting to start the whole reinstallation process, I now see that BootIt BM supports SSDs via the "Align Partitions at 2Kib" and "Align Partitions on Cylinders. I assume it's a not a bad idea to assert these settings for ALL drives (both SSD and spinners).

What happens if you have two disks (e.g., the HD and SSD) that both have your Boot Mgr installed on them? I assume that whatever disk is booted first by the BIOS will have the Boot Mgr that comes up and gives you the boot menu. Is this true?

Also, I see numerous reference on the net to doing fresh installs of W7 with "all other drives" being removed. Why is this necessary or a good idea?

Finally, when using the Boot utility disk, I see that every hard disk in my system has "1 MiB free space" at the end. Is this something Win7 did. What is this? Do I leave it be or get rid of it before reusing this drive for a fresh W7 image?

Sorry for all the questions. I'm spending hours on Google trying to find answers to these questions and not getting many answers. Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Jeff
Jeffrey Lee
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:58 am

Re: BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby rustleg » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:54 pm

On 09/10/11 18:31, Jeffrey Lee wrote:
> Hello All,
>
> <snip>.....
> Thanks and regards,
>
> Jeff

I have just added a SSD to my system and reinstalled Windows 7 and 2 Linux systems with the aid of BIBM. Windows runs well off the SSD. I already had an installation of Windows on the Hard drive so I just copied the partition over to the SSD and booted it using BIBM. You have to define the partitions that this version of the OS is to use when you set up the boot item in BIBM. I have used its predecessor (BootitNG) for some years so it was straightforward (but I do remember that in getting to grips with this initially it was hard going to understand the steps involved). So I think you'll be fine with this. A fresh install would of course be preferable.

A few points. Why do you want to do a secure erase? You would only need to do this if you are worried that someone might grab your PC and forensically examine the contents of the disc if you have something on it to hide. In other words if you just delete the existing partitions on it using BIBM and set new ones up which will be initially blank the old contents are effectively lost. If you're worried about malware that will be gone with everything else since the file directories will have been trashed. I guess you might want to erase the MBR if you think that might be infected. I couldn't say anything about this - TB support might advise on this.

Actually BIBM will do a secure erase - no need for Windows, but as I said it seems unnecessary to me.

Also why worry about frequent reinstalls to the SSD? The SSD wear problem is much overhyped - I can't imagine you could ever wear it out by just reinstalling Windows even once a day for several years. There are articles about the realistic wear issues.

What I am not so sure about is whether to put the virtual memory file (pagefile.sys) on the SSD. I generally set up a separate partition just for a pagefile and at present I've left this on the Hard drive. Again worry about writing to this may be overblown and maybe I'm wasting an opportunity to make the system as fast as it can be.

Also with W7 I presume you'll be relocating user folders so that when you restore a system from an image you don't overwrite data. Microsoft's insistence on meshing in user data with the system on one large C drive is a nuisance.

Personally I'd install BIBM first then set up partitions for W7. I use about 30GB for W7 and move data to a larger separate partition - usually formatted FAT32 so I can also see it with my Linux systems. But if you don't need that then best to stick to NTFS. I understand if you let W7 install to a bare drive it sets up a second partition - I forget why but I'd avoid this.

When using BIBM to install W7 you can stop it seeing the partitions on your hard drives which contain other copies of Windows so it won't object to you already having a W7 system installed elsewhere. Personally I always use unlimited primary partitions (i.e. you can have more than 4 primaries on a drive) as BIBM does all the partition management you'll ever need. I never need any system to see more than 4 of them.

I don't know anything about aligning the partitions - what does this mean? Perhaps I should look into this.

Incidentally I looked into Windows 7's imaging facility and I have to say it's very poor and inflexible. I think BIBM/IFW is well worth the investment.

Hope this helps somewhat. There are many other forum lurkers here who might have more things to say.
Russell
rustleg
 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:01 am

Re: BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby rustleg » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:06 pm

Oh and I didn't answer you second questions. You only need to install BIBM in one place. It has so little to do I suspect you won't notice any difference in performance whereever you install it. I'd put it on the SSD. What I did was initially set up a 30GB partition for W7 at the front of the SSD. Then I found it had left a tiny 8MB partition at the front of this. So I installed BIBM in that which is perfectly adequate. I wouldn't fuss about 1MB of free space at the end.

Just clarification - you don't need to physically disconnect hard drives to hide them from the W7 install. You just make sure that their partitions are not selected in the setup of the SSD's W7 boot item. Windows will think these partitions are free space and won't touch them (unless you use Windows to do partition management - never do this with Windows or any other tool since they can't see what BIBM is doing and will screw up your hidden partitions.)
Russell
rustleg
 
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Re: BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby Jeffrey Lee » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:37 pm

Rustleg,

Thanks for the reply. Much appreciated. Regarding the need to Secure Erase (SE) before a clean W7 install, it may be unnecessary. In many of the posts that I read earlier, everyone seemed to indicate it was a good idea and increase SSD performance. This may have been true before the TRIM command was available on SSDs. Check out the following article:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2865/2

And this link is a great tutorial on the history and workings of SSD.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738

Perhaps I'm just worrying about it too much. If I weren't so nit-picky about trying to get things right I'd just install the OS and be done with it. But I do, indeed, plan to do as you indicate and keep the OS on the SSD and move most of the data off of the SSD and onto a dedicated HD partition to reduce SSD wear & tear and make backups simpler.

Yes - dealing with Bootit BM is daunting at first. I considered myself pretty sharp on this stuff 5 years ago, but now find myself overwhelmed with all of the options and acronyms. MBRs, EMBRs, etc. Sheesh. Once I've played with it a bit I'll be fine and it'll be second nature and will be glad to help those who need assistance. I've researched ALL of the current boot managers available that support W7 and BootIt seems the clear winner. I'm surprised there's not a LOT more activity and topics on this board. I'll play with the trial version a bit to make sure it suits my needs, but I don't see anything else that's as versatile.

I have TONs of questions, but I think I'm going to have to play with it a bit and (after lots of cussing and swearing) things will become obvious.

Again, thanks for your response.

Regards,

Jeff
Jeffrey Lee
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:58 am

Re: BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby TeraByte Support » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:50 pm

I'll cover some quick points. Just treat each drive as a normal drive and
forget about it being SSD for the purpose of installing an OS. Go to
http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/ and search "alternate" for instructions
on installing an OS to an alternate hard drive. You can enable the global
option Align 2KiB or control it per drive (If you're just dealing with the
newer OS and its tools then you can just leave it 2k aligned, otherwise
using other OSes or order ones, you may run in to trouble if not using
cylinder alignment).

"Jeffrey Lee" wrote in message news:465@public.bootitbm...

Hello All,

While not a newbie to PC hardware and software, it's been 5 years since my
last forray into building my own machine from the ground up. My new system
has an SSD and several 2TB hard drives and I find things are not as simple
as they once were. I have been reading online for many evenings now, and am
still unsure as to how best to go about performing the initial configuration
of my system - and there are essentially no examples describing what I want
to do (and I would think that MANY other would as well, but I could be
wrong). Here's the deal:

I want to be able to boot W7 off of the SSD. This will be for the real work.
I know it's going to take a while to get this set up properly.

I want to also be able to boot W7 off of the HD. This W7 will be for
playing, testing new software, etc. I'll likely restore the W7 image to this
partition frequently as it gets trashed (slow) - not something I want to do
with an SSD.

First problem - my SSD already has a cruddy W7 install on it that has
problems. I'd like to Secure Erase it before I do a new, clean install of
W7. The only utility Samsung provides for doing a Secure Erase of the SSD
runs under Windows. Hmmm. How the heck do I perform a Secure Erase of my SSD
for a clean W7 install when the only version of W7 running right now is on
the SSD? Seems like a Catch-22 to me. The solution appears to be to install
W7 on the HD, install the Samsung Secure Erase utility, erase the SSD, then
install W7 on the SSD. Sheesh. It's be nice if Samsung provide a bootable
utility disc to do the Secure Erase.

The BootIt Boot Manager appears to be the best boot manager around. All the
features I want, though not simple to use (I've read through the manual and
watched all the BING YouTube videos several times). But I want the
flexibility it offers. So here are my questions:

? Does BootIt Bare Metal (BIBM) keep the partitions properly aligned for the
SSD? Should I use it for my partitioning (I understand I should install the
BM in its own 8 meg parition). Do I do this up front using BIBM, then create
an EMBR, then install W7 on the SSD? Or use the HD W7 install to partition
the SSD since it's careful about partition alignment on SSDs.

? Should I install BIBM on my HD or on the SSD (given that I have to install
W7 on the HD before I can Secure Erase the SSD and do a clean W7 install on
the SSD). Does it matter? I assume boot times would be faster off of the
SSD.

I appreciate your help with this. Again, I wouldn't ask I could find the
answers online (or perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place).

Thanks and regards,

Jeff

TeraByte Support
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 3:37 pm

Re: BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby TeraByte Support » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:52 pm

.... also for the drives enhanced secure erase, use BIOS (direct) then the
wipe disk option, choose hardware wipe. If it doesn’t' show, either BIBM
can't control the drive (would still say BIOS drive in the box), or the
devices doesn't support enhanced secure erase, or the BIOS has froze the
drive so no security features such as secure erase can be used.

"Jeffrey Lee" wrote in message news:465@public.bootitbm...

TeraByte Support
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 3:37 pm

Re: BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby Jeffrey Lee » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:06 pm

Thanks for the quick reply (and on a weekend, too!). I'll give it a whirl.

Regards,
Jeff
Jeffrey Lee
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:58 am

Re: BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby DrTeeth » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:54 am

On Sun, 9 Oct 2011 15:06:48 PDT, just as I was about to take a herb,
rustleg disturbed my reverie and wrote:

>Just clarification - you don't need to physically disconnect hard drives to hide them from the W7 install.
> You just make sure that their partitions are not selected in the setup of the SSD's W7 boot item.
>Windows will think these partitions are free space and won't touch
>them (unless you use Windows to do partition management - never do
>this with Windows or any other tool since they can't see what BIBM is
>doing and will screw up your hidden partitions.)

I would go so far as to remove all partitions from the boot menu apart
from the one being installed to including those on other hard disks -
Linux and Windows (IIRC about the latter) CAN see hidden partitions
during the install.
--

Cheers

DrT
______________________________
We may not be able to prevent the stormy times in
our lives; but we can always choose to dance
in the puddles (Jewish proverb).
DrTeeth
 
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Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:58 am

Re: BootIt Boot Manager and SSD

Postby DrTeeth » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:55 am

On Sun, 9 Oct 2011 18:06:25 PDT, just as I was about to take a herb,
Jeffrey Lee disturbed my reverie and wrote:

>Thanks for the quick reply (and on a weekend, too!)

That dude never sleeps, LOL.
--

Cheers

DrT
______________________________
We may not be able to prevent the stormy times in
our lives; but we can always choose to dance
in the puddles (Jewish proverb).
DrTeeth
 
Posts: 970
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:58 am

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