One of my computer repair jobs I was working on this last week ended up being quite a headache. One of our client’s upgraded their all in one computer to a Dell desktop. My job was to transfer all of the information from the old computer to the new one. This included programs, files, and settings that needed to be transferred to the new computer. I have a program that I usually use that will take all of this info from the old hard drive and copy all of it to the new computer usually without a hiccup. I waited 2 hours for this program to finish transferring all of his old info to his new computer. After it was finished a restart was required. I restarted the computer and was greeted with the infamous Blue Screen of Death with an error that said “Inaccessible boot device”. To say the least, I was not happy to see this error come up. I tried a BCD restore which usually can repair the Boot Configuration Data and allow a computer to boot after a fatal error like this. Unfortunately, it did not work. After this step, I tried a system restore to before the data transfer took place to get the computer to be functional again. The system restore worked after another hour of time, but the computer was running slow and groggy. I decided to take this computer back to my location since it was turning out to be more of a headache than it was worth.
Shortly after I made it back home, I realized that this new computer-supported UEFI internal booting only. This means that you can only boot from older hard drives from an external source. This is primarily why the data transfer that I was doing earlier was failing. It was trying to use older technology on a new computer that only supported the new style of booting known as UEFI which means Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. This is the first desktop I have seen in my career that only supports booting with UEFI with an internal hard drive. I went through the BIOS to find out what other options were available. This computer allowed Legacy BIOS booting with an external hard drive so I cloned the customers hard drive to the new computer hard drive and put it in my external hard drive caddy. This device allows you to read a hard drive via a USB device. I plugged it into the new computer and was successfully able to boot to the new hard drive via the old style Legacy booting method. This is neat and all, but it was not functional because who wants their hard drive on the outside of the computer instead of the inside? That would be similar to buying a new car with the engine being attached to a trailer behind the vehicle instead of all inside of the car! This was the next milestone that I had to overcome to even finish this job for the client.
I did some research on how to convert a computer from booting via Legacy BIOS to UEFI that this new computer supported. The old style partition that Legacy BIOS use is called MBR which stands for Master Boot Record, while the new partition type is called GPT which stands for GUID Partition Table. Ultimately, in order to get an old computer to boot via UEFI, you have to change the partition type from MBR to GPT. I tried several paid tools that I found online such as EASEUS Partition Manager and AOMEI Backupper that claimed to resolve my partition issue. Both tools completed successfully, but unfortunately, upon putting the hard drive inside of the computer and trying to boot UEFI it did not have any success with an error that said, “Boot device failed. Please try again.”. I went back to scouring the internet to find any other tool that could accomplish this job for me when I found this tool that is included in newer versions of Windows 10: MBR2GPT.EXE. I tried running this tool while booting to the hard drive with my external hard drive enclosure in legacy mode. Again I ran into another error that said, “Cannot map MBR partition type 222”. I will be honest, I was growing frustrated at this point, but if I’ve learned anything from this industry it is to keep your cool and remain patient. If you don’t you won’t be able to make any more progress and end up chasing your tail. I did some more research on this error and found this website on a dell forum that said this is a Dell specific error because of how Dell configures new hard drives. They recommended that I run a new command that gave a specific mapping for the tool to work for my situation. I ran the command and it completed successfully. I turned off the computer, place the hard drive inside of the computer, screwed it in, turned the desktop on, changed the BIOS back to default settings so that it would boot via UEFI, & finally, the computer booted flawlessly.
Most of the older generation these days that use technology absolutely hate updates. They try to hold onto what is familiar to them instead of upgrading to newer and better. Ever heard the saying, “If it is not broke don’t fix it.” well the technological world doesn’t seem to follow that advice very well. Technology is always moving at the speed of light with people aiming for new goals. Sometimes technology manufacturers have to make leaps to force users to upgrade so that they can stay safe and secure. For example, Microsoft’s Windows XP is no longer receiving updates and the operating system can be hacking very easily. Dell pretty much did this same thing on this new desktop in baby steps. They are now phasing out Legacy internal hard drive booting so that most people will upgrade to the new and improved UEFI technology. In the next several years UEFI will be the only type of booting computers will support because it si faster and more secure. It is sometimes difficult to update and even may require a few new skills, but it is the only way to survive in a digital age like today.
The only other way I could have completed this job would have been to manually transfer this client’s data to the new computer. Then I would have had to manually reconfigure programs such as Intuit Quickbooks, Microsoft Outlook, and his stock investment programs. I would have also had to set back up his web browsers, shortcuts, and even printers so that he could get back to using his computer. I enjoyed the pain that his challenge brought on because at the end of the day I learned something new and had a happy client. Learning little tips and tricks like this will only improve my future as a company so that I will be more prepared when this issue pops back up next time. This client’s computer should function well for him for the next several years until the next big operating system or major system upgrade is released.