A Clean Install of Windows 10 TH2 - Video Tutorial

Unified Extensive Firmware Interface (UEFI)


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Contents

Introduction

Unified Extensive Firmware Interface (UEFI) is the next generation of Basic Input Output (BIOS) and was released in 2011 becoming mainstream for all computers manufacturer in 2012 and later.

What is Basic Input Output System (BIOS)?

Basic Input Output System (BIOS) is the very basic Operating System embedded into your systems i.e. firmware. The BIOS setup allows you to change some of your hardware settings and to boot from installation media with a proper Operating System e.g. Windows 10.

What is Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)?

Associated with BIOS is the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) which is essentially a modern more advanced version of BIOS that has increased functionality and additional security. Because of the strong connection and familiarity of end users to the word BIOS this is usually denoted UEFI BIOS and not just simply called UEFI. For convenience many call a UEFI BIOS just BIOS and call an older BIOS a Legacy BIOS.

Definitions and nomenclature will differ slightly from guide to guide… For clarity these guides use the definitions UEFI BIOS and Legacy BIOS to distinguish a BIOS with and without UEFI technologies respectively. BIOS is used in this guide to collectively group both the UEFI BIOS and Legacy BIOS.

How do I tell if my Computer has UEFI Support?

This is best done by looking at system information.

Press [Windows] and [ r ] to bring up the run command:

msinfo32

In the run box type in

msinfo32

Then press ok.

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There are two BIOS versions the SMBIOS version and the BIOS version.

SMBIOS Version

The SMBIOS version is model/manufacturer independent and gives an indication of the overall age of the hardware. The SMBIOS version revision will never be updated with a BIOS update. Take a note of the System management BIOS (SMBIOS) revision:

  • If it is 2.7 or greater you should have a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot.
  • If it is 2.6 you might have an Early UEFI System (UEFI without Secure Boot) or only a Legacy BIOS. You will need to check your BIOS Setup.
  • If it is 2.5 you will have a Legacy BIOS.
  • If it is 2.4 you will have a Legacy BIOS and the processor should be checked for 64 Bit compatibility.
  • If it has an SMBIOS of 2.3 or less its below minimum system requirements for Windows 10.

The SMBIOS version has also been loosely related to the version of Windows the hardware is most likely to ship with:

  • 2.7 = Early Windows 8 Hardware
  • 2.6 = Late Windows 7 Hardware
  • 2.5 = Early Windows 7 Hardware
  • 2.4 = Early Windows Vista Hardware/Late Windows XP Hardware
  • 2.3 = Early Windows XP Hardware

Boot Mode and Secure Boot State

For systems with Windows 8 or Later installed you will have BIOS Mode and Secure Boot State shown. These technologies should be enabled where supported by the hardware. If they aren’t Enabled you should Enable them as instructed below for maximum security and performance.

This information doesn’t show if you are currently running Windows 7. For a Windows 7 install in all cases Secure Boot will be disabled (as its unsupported by Windows 7) and the UEFI Boot may also be disabled. This will be discussed in more detail later.

BIOS Version

The BIOS version is the manufacturer model specific BIOS version and will be the version that is updated.

OS Name and Version

Take a note of the OS Name. This will tell you what Edition of Windows 10 and version.

  • 14393 is RS1 (1607)
  • 10586 is TH2 (1511)
  • 10240 is TH1 (1507)

If running Windows 10 you should ensure you have Windows 10 RS1.

If you are still running Windows 7 or Windows 8.x or an earlier version of Windows 10. You should refer to my guide Download a Windows 10 OEM and Retail .iso.

If on the other hand you are on this guide looking to Exhibit OEM Downgrade Rights the OS has to be either Windows 10 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro.

Downloading the Latest UEFI BIOS Version

You have the System Manufacturer, System Model and BIOS Version/Date. You should compare this with the version offered by your Computer Manufacturer e.g. Dell, HP and Lenovo.

This guide is Dell based so I will use a Dell system as an example. For Dell systems I prefer the use of Downloads.Dell.com opposed to Product Support Page. The Product Support is supposed to list drivers and downloads specific for your Service Tag making life easier.

Most UEFI BIOS update are cumulative hence if you are upgrading from A01 → A05 you can do so directly and skip A02, A03 and A04. In some cases however the latest UEFI BIOS requires an older version to be present first and in such cases you should attempt to take the smallest number of steps to get to the latest version.

The attempted update from A03 to A18 in an OptiPlex 790 for example states that “You must upgrade to A05 before flashing to this BIOS”.

A05Error

If I go to support.Dell.com I won’t get all the versions, notably the important version A05 is missing:

A05 OptiPlex 790

On Downloads.Dell.com I get all the versions:

A05 OptiPlex 790b

I will use my OptiPlex 7010 as an example. Get the latest update from Downloads.Dells.com is pretty simplistic:

Download UEFI BIOS3

Updating the UEFI BIOS

Because the UEFI BIOS is a firmware update*, it needs to be applied with slightly more care than a standard driver install.

* A Firmware update is applied to the hardware directly. A Driver Update is applied on top of a Windows Operating System. This means Firmware updates will remain intact once an Operating System is reinstalled and Driver Updates will need to be reapplied.

Ensure All Programs are closed before Updating the UEFI BIOS.

If using a Laptop ensure the AC adaptor is plugged in and that you have at least 50 % battery power.

DO NOT POWER DOWN YOUR SYSTEM IN THE MIDDLE OF A UEFI BIOS UPDATE. It will result in system death.

The UEFI BIOS Update should be run with administrator privileges. Right click your UEFI BIOS update and select “Run as Administrator”.

Update

RunasAdmin

Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

UAC

Accept any other prompts and leave the system in peace to Restart and Update. Here is my OptiPlex 7010 updating as an example:

UEFI BIOS Update2

After the update has proceeded you may want to check msinfo32 again to see that the BIOS version has been updated.

The rest of this guide focuses exclusively on system with a UEFI BIOS.

Enabling UEFI and Secure Boot

A UEFI Boot allows for the Globally Unique Identifier Table Partition Scheme (GPT) to be used opposed to the Legacy Master Boot Record (MBR). This partition scheme allows 128 partitions opposed to 4, support for >2 TB drives and is more robust as there are multiple boot records opposed to a single boot record.

Secure Boot as the name suggests only allows verified code to Boot. This code must have a Microsoft verified signature. This prevent preboot malware from booting before Windows 10 and its inbuilt Windows Defender security hence totally crippling the Operating System. This was pretty prevalent in the Windows XP/Vista/7 era.

SecureBoot

Secure Boot requires:

  • A UEFI Boot
  • Legacy ROMs to be Disabled
  • Boot Code with a Microsoft Digital Signature

A UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot should have been made the standard setting on all hardware since 2012. However Microsoft supported these technologies with only Windows 8 and later. Due to the immense annoyance of the Metro Interface; Windows 8 was shunned by the masses and the lifecycle of the much loved Windows 7 effectively extended. Because Microsoft did not release a proper Windows 7 SP2 .iso these technologies were not fully supported in Windows 7 and unfortunately disabled on a huge number of machines.

  • Windows 7 requires Secure Boot to be Disabled, Legacy ROMs to be Enabled and in any case does not have an Updated Microsoft Signature to pass Secure Boot.
  • 64 Bit Operating Systems including Windows 7 can have a UEFI Boot. 32 Bit Operating Systems cannot have a UEFI Boot and hence require a Legacy Boot. A Legacy Boot requires Legacy Roms.

Because most IT professionals hated Windows 8 with a passion and Linux enthusiasts seen it as a way of forcing through Windows market dominance by blocking the ability to install any non-Microsoft Operating System, Secure Boot often gets a bad write up… The Microsoft verified signature can also be found in Windows 8 and later as well as the latest versions of Macrium Reflect, Acronis, Parted Magic, Ubuntu, Fedora and Mint.

Note: The Change of these Settings may result in your Previous Windows Installation from Booting.

Change of these settings requires a Windows 10 Clean Installation.

This guide does not instruct in a conversion of a Windows 10 Legacy install with Secure Boot Disabled to a Windows 10 UEFI Install with Secure Boot Enabled after the likes of a Windows 7 to Windows 10 Upgrade. This is not possible.

To enter the UEFI BIOS setup power down your system. Remove any peripheral USB storage devices, scanners, printers etc. except of course the keyboard and mouse. I advise inserting the Windows 10 Bootable USB also as we will quickly check if it shows in the UEFI Boot Menu.

Then power up your Dell and press [F2] at the Dell splash screen.

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Other OEMs may use [Esc] or another function key.

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In the following section note that I display the settings for a Windows 10 64 Bit installation. Amend these settings as appropriate for Windows 7 64 Bit:

  • For Windows 10 64 Bit a UEFI Boot should be Enabled with Secure Boot Enabled. This means that a Legacy Boot should be Disabled and Legacy ROMs should be Disabled.
  • For Windows 7 64 Bit a UEFI Boot should be Enabled with Secure Boot Disabled. This means that a Legacy Boot should be Disabled. Windows 7 64 Bit requires Legacy ROMs to be Enabled.
  • This guide does not support 32 Bit Installations which should be virtualised on modern hardware. See Installation of Windows as a Virtual Machine.

There are two types of Dell UEFI BIOS the Dell Business UEFI BIOS found on Business systems such as the Latitude, OptiPlex and Precision Range and the Dell Home UEFI BIOS found on Home systems such as the Inspiron and XPS range.

Here is an example of a Dell Business UEFI BIOS Setup:

Dell Business UEFI BIOS

To change the Boot settings see Dell Business UEFI System UEFI and SecureBoot Enable.

Here is an Example of a Dell Home UEFI BIOS Setup:

1

To change the Boot settings see Dell Home UEFI System UEFI and SecureBoot Enable.

Dell Business UEFI BIOS Setup – UEFI with Secure Boot

You should look for two tabs, Advanced Boot Options and Secure Boot. These tabs aren’t present on an early UEFI BIOS compare the UEFI BIOS version A05 and UEFI BIOS version A21 for the Dell UEFI BIOS setup of the OptiPlex 7010:

Dell UEFI BIOS A05 Dell Business UEFI BIOS

If your system has a SMBIOS version of 2.6 such as the Latitude Exx10, Exx20, OptiPlex x90 models then you don’t have Secure Boot.

The first step is to see if Secure Boot is Enabled and if it isn’t Enabled to Enable it. The second step is to check the UEFI Boot.

Expand the Secure Boot Tab:

SecureBoot2

Select Secure Boot Enable. If it is Disabled then you should check the Advanced Boot Options to see if Enable Legacy ROMs is Enabled or Disabled. Secure Boot cannot be Enabled unless Legacy ROMs are Disabled:

SecureBoot3

Check if Enable Legacy ROMs is checked:

SecureBoot4

If it is you need to uncheck this option to Disable Legacy ROMS:

SecureBoot5

Now you can go back to Secure Boot Enable:

SecureBoot6

Then you can change it from Disabled to Enabled:

SecureBoot7

You may then select Apply to Apply the settings:

SecureBoot1

Now for the Boot Sequence. It should be set to UEFI with Legacy greyed out as SecureBoot is selected. If your system has UEFI but lacks SecureBoot (SMBIOS version 2.6) then ensure UEFI is checked opposed to Legacy:

UEFI

You may now look at the Boot Sequence.

The first thing to note is there is no Optical Drive CD/DVD listed as it is legacy hardware and not supported as a Boot Option under Secure Boot. CD/DVDs should hence never be used for Windows 10 installation media.

If you have a Windows 10 64 Bit installation Media as a Bootable USB attached to the system before you Entered the UEFI BIOS setup it should display in the Boot List.

If you currently have a Windows 10 64 Bit Installation (or Windows 8.x) installed on the HDD it should display as Windows Boot Manager.

If you want to Delete a Boot Option in this list uncheck all the items listed under Boot Sequence, leaving only the option you want to delete checked and select Delete (otherwise it may not delete the item you wished to remove). The ↑ and ↓ arrows as expected can be used to change the Boot Sequence.

If your Bootable USB shows you may simply select Apply and then select Exit.

If the Bootable USB you’ve made hasn’t shown on the Boot Sequence as shown:

UEFI1

Its recommended to select “Load Defaults”:

UEFI2

You’ll get a warning about the current settings being lost. Select OK:

UEFI3

As this system had Windows 7 as a default OS it’ll try and Disable SecureBoot select No here:

UEFI4

Then select Exit:

UEFI5

Then hold down [F12] to enter the UEFI BIOS setup Boot Menu and check that your Bootable USB is listed.

Boot Menu One Time

As you can see my SanDisk which was missing in the Boot Sequence now shows:

Boot Menu One Time USB2

If your Bootable USB Flash Drive still fails to show and you are 100 % sure its made correctly (GPT partition scheme and FAT32 formatted) you may have to add the Boot Entry Manually. See Adding Boot Entries Manually. The chances of requiring to carry out this step is extremely rare.

Dell Home UEFI BIOS Setup – UEFI with Secure Boot

The Dell Home UEFI BIOS gives system information on the main tab:

1

Press the [→] key until you get to Boot and press [Enter]. If the settings look like this UEFI and Secure Boot are enabled:
2

If the settings look like this. Then first the Boot List options must be changed. Highlight it and press [Enter]:

3

Highlight UEFI and press [Enter]:

4

Select Yes at the warning:

5

Now that the Boot List Option is UEFI the Load Legacy Option can be selected.

6

Highlight Load Legacy Option Rom and press [Enter]:

7

Change from Enabled to Disabled:

8

Select Yes at the warning:

9

Now the Legacy ROMs is Disabled the Secure Boot option can be selected:

10

Highlight Secure Boot and press [Enter]:

11

Change Disabled to Enabled and press [Enter]:

12

Select Yes at the warning:

13

It should now be highlighted:

14

You can now highlight UEFI Boot and press [Enter]:

15

This will show you, your Bootable Drives and Bootable USB if you had it attached to the system before Entering the UEFI BIOS setup:

16

If they show you can press [F10] to Save and Exit. Then press Yes at the warning:

17

If your Bootable USB fails to show. Press [F9] to load the UEFI BIOS defaults. Select Yes to load the optimal defaults. Reject any warnings if you are asked to disable Secure Boot:

20

Press [F10] to save and exit. Select yes at the warning:

19

Power down and see if your Bootable USB displays next time.

If your Bootable USB Flash Drive still fails to show and you are 100 % sure its made correctly (GPT partition scheme and FAT32 formatted) you may have to add the Boot Entry Manually. See Adding Boot Entries Manually. The chances of requiring to carry out this step is extremely rare.

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) Operation

In most cases this setting should not be changed unless you plan to change your system drives.

Computers have two different types of memory Random Access Memory (RAM) and Storage Memory for instance on a Hard Drive (HDD). RAM is thinking memory that is fast, the more RAM the more processes a processor can readily access. Think of the processor as thinking speed, RAM as how much the computer can think at once and storage memory as how much that the computer can remember. Storage memory especially a HDD is significantly slower than RAM.

Thus:

  • RAM > Solid State Drive >> Hard Drive

Lets briefly mention the different SATA operations and why they are used.

Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI)

  • >256 GB Solid State Drive (recommended) or Hard Drive Boot Drive

This is the main SATA operation I recommend for Windows 10 installation when a Single Solid State or Hard Drive is used as a boot drive. If you don’t have a Solid State Drive its highly recommended to swap out your mechanical drive and upgrade to one (discussed later).

The Solid State may be 2.5″, mSATA or m.2 depending on the age and configuration of your system. With regards to system performance a Solid State Drive is significantly faster than a Hard Drive and Hence Highly Recommended.

ssd

The Drive bay may be 2.5″ (9.5 mm height), 2.5 " (7 mm height) or 3.5″ format and since most SSDs and new HDDs are sold only in 7 mm format adapters like the following may be required depending on your system configuration.

ssdadapters

The legacy setting Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) should never be used for modern hardware.

Intel Smart Response Technology (ISRT)

  • 32-64 GB Solid State Drive Cache Drive (mSATA)
  • 500-1000 GB Hard Drive Boot Drive (SATA)

This is a SATA operation setup for the initial launch of Solid State Drives. During the initial release of Solid State Drives SSDs were of low storage capacity and/or very expensive per GB. As the Solid State Drive was significantly faster than the Hard Drive but not large enough to support a Windows installation on a proper productivity system such as a Laptop or Desktop the combination of drives were used together. In this configuration the HDD is the main Windows Boot Drive but boot processes and background processes are caches onto the SSD in order to quickly transfer processes to RAM when powering up. In short the SSD acts an intermediate buffer between the slow HDD and fast RAM. This configuration significantly boosted the overall system performance especially the boot time due to the increase speed of the cache SSD. From experience on the Dell Forums this configuration however did seem to have more problems with boot issues than conventional configurations.

sataop1

This UEFI BIOS based caching with multiple drives was designed for the SSD and HDD combinations available in 2012. Now 250 GB SSDs are very affordable and 1-2 TB HSSDs are also on sale. A Hybrid Solid State Drive is essentially the SSD cache drive and HDD combined into one drive. The caching is carried out by the firmware of the SSD opposed to the firmware of the UEFI BIOS. This means that for any large capcity SSD or HSSD the AHCI SATA Operation should be used.

Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID)

Most end users won’t utilise RAID as its usually for servers however for completeness I will mention that there are two types of basic RAID configuration mirrored and striped. These are more popular in Desktop models which have multiple Drive bays.

In a mirrored configuration as the name indicates the two Drives are of identical size and the data in each drive is identical making the drives mirror images of one another. Windows only sees what logical drive as the data is mirrored the storage capacity doesn’t change when compared to a single drive. Thus Data Drive A = Data Drive B and Windows sees these two Drives as the single Logical Drive 1. Any changes to the data on Drive A is mirrored on the Drive B. This means if Drive A fails then all the data is still present on Drive B and vice versa. This configuration significantly reduces the chance of data loss via Hardware Failure as both drives need to fail for data to be lost.

mirror

In a striped configuration two Drives are combined to form a single logical drive and as the name suggests data is striped across each drive. In the schematics the Windows 10 logo is used to illustrate the data. In other words Drive A + Drive B = Logical Drive 1. This configuration was more popular when the performance limitation of a system was due to the Hard Drive speed. Essentially because the data was being read from more than 1 Drive/SATA port simultaneously this gives the system performance a boost equivalent to the the number of drives and SATA ports used. Likewise the storage capacity of the Striped RAID drive is the sum of the two individual RAID drives. The drawback is that the chances of hardware failure likewise scale with the number of drives used. i.e. for two drives the chances of a single drive failing is twice as likely. Usually if a single drive fails then a stripped configuration is brought down. The data remaining on the functional drive will not make sense as only half the stripes are present. The illustration using the stripes of the Windows logo is a good example; the logo makes no sense unless Stripe Data from both Drive A and Drive B is present. As mentioned for most modern hardware the speed of a SSD is much more then the HDD and usually the limitations lie with the rest of the system.

striped

When more than 2 hard drive bays are available for example in servers there is a greater number of configurations available based on the above two principles.

Again there are slightly different instructions for a Dell Business System and a Dell Home System.

Dell Business UEFI BIOS SATA Operation

The SATA operation can be accessed by expanding System Configuration:

SATA (2)

Then selecting SATA Operation.

Since the OptiPlex 7010 SFF I’m using only seats 1 drive its SATA Operation options aren’t so interesting:

UEFISATA

Select the SATA operation you wish to select and then select Apply and Exit.

Dell Home UEFI BIOS SATA Operation:

The SATA operation can be accessed by pressing the [→] key to the advanced tab. Since the Inspiron 7347 I’m using only seats 1 drive its SATA Operation option is’t so interesting:

18

Press [↓] until you get to SATA Operation and press [Enter]:

19

Change to your desired setting. In my case I only have AHCI as an option:

20

The Inspiron 15R Special Edition 7520 has some more options:

7520SE Intel Rapid Response Technology

Press [F10] to save and exit and select Yes at the warning:

21

Adding Boot Entries Manually

As mentioned earlier if you cannot get your Bootable USB Flash Drive to show in the UEFI Boot Menu and you are sure its made 100 % correctly (setup using the GPT partition scheme and FAT32 formatted) you may have to add the Boot Entry manually. This guide also instructs in adding a SSD/HDD if the UEFI Boot Menu doesn’t update to show the SSD/HDD after Windows 10 Installation.

The chances of a UEFI Boot Device not being automatically added to the UEFI Boot Menu are very low… The rest of this guide only supports Bootable USBs and Windows Installations setup for UEFI Boot and will not work if they are setup for a Legacy Boot.

Again there are different instructions for a Dell Business UEFI BIOS Variant and a Dell Home BIOS Variant.

Dell Business UEFI BIOS Manual Boot Entry

As you can see that neither a Bootable USB or Windwos Boot Manger are shown here. To rectify this select Add Boot Option:

1

This screen lists the File System List starting with FS0 and in my case ending with FS1. I can see mention of USB meaning its my Bootable USB and SATA meaning its my HSSD attached to the SATA port. Select browse:

2

In the next screen select the File System (FS):

4

I want to add my Bootable USB so I will add FS0. I must now select the Boot file from the USB. Select the EFI Folder – A common mistake here is to select the Boot Folder directly!!! The Boot Folder is for a Legacy Boot not an UEFI Boot:

7

Then select the Boot subfolder:

8

In this Boot subfolder select the BOOTX64.EFI file to the right. When this file is selected it will tell you the path to the bottom left. Select OK:

10

The file name will now be shown at the bottom:

12

Name the Boot Device in this case I’ll be bland and call it win10USB. When you have named the Boot Device press OK:

13

It will now show in the Boot Sequence:

15

I can add the HSSD if I want also by selecting Add Boot Option:

16

Selecting the browse button:

17

This time selecting FS1 and again selecting the EFI folder:

21

Then the Boot subfolder:

22

Then I will select the BOOTX64.EFI file to the right again and press OK:

25

I can now see the file name is correct:

26

I can again give this a very basic name such as Win10HDD then press OK:

27

It now also shows in the Boot Sequence:

29

I can now select Apply:

30

Then Exit:

31

I can then press [F12] to enter the Onetime Boot Menu:

Boot Menu One Time

You can now see the Devices I’ve added are shown (the default names for these devices also showed up as separate options in my case although they are the same thing):

32

Dell Home UEFI BIOS Manual Boot Entry

Press the [↓] arrow until you get to Add Boot Option and Press [Enter]:

1

Give the Boot option in my case I’ll give the Windows 10 Bootable USB the name Win10USB:

3

The new Entry “Win10USB” will now show under Add a Boot Option but its details will be blank. Press [Enter] to change the details:

4

There are two File Systems listed the first one mentions SATA so its the SSD attached to the SATA port. The second one mentions USB which is the Windows 10 Bootable USB:

5

I will press the [↓] arrow and highlight the USB entry and press [Enter]:

5a

In this dialogue box we need to navigate to the EFI Boot file. Input:

\EFI\Boot\BootX64.EFI

Then press [Enter]:

7

It’ll look like nothing happened but press [Esc] to return to the parent Boot Menu:

8

Again it’ll look like nothing happened:

9

Highlight “Win10USB” under View Boot Option Properties:

10

The details are now populated:

11

Press [Esc] to get back to the parent boot menu:

12

Press the [↓] to highlight the add boot option:

13

This time I’m going to add the SSD and I’ll call it Win10SSD then, Ill press [Enter]:

15

I’ll highlight “Win10SSD” and press [Enter]:

16

This time I’ll select the top option which mentions SATA so I know its the SSD:

17

In this dialogue box we need to navigate to the EFI Boot file. Input:

\EFI\Boot\BootX64.EFI

Then press [Enter]:

18

Press [Enter] to the parent boot menu:

19

Press [↓] until I get to Win10SSD under View Boot Option Properties:

20

The settings are correct:

21

Press [Enter] to return to the parent Boot menu:

22

Now press [↑] until I get to UEFI Boot and press [Enter]:

23

I can now see my SSD and USB added. In my case the original entries are still here as I didn’t need to manually add the boot options:

24

Press [F10] to save and exit. Select yes at the warning:

25

Press [F12] to open the onetime Boot Menu:

26

Your Boot Menu should display:

27

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