Interesting bug with my Gigabyte – GA-AB350-GAMING 3 ATX AM4 Motherboard

I have been dealing with an interesting bug with my Gigabyte – GA-AB350-GAMING 3 ATX AM4 Motherboard. Each time I upgrade the bios the system forgets my bios settings and I have to reenter them. The Raid setting are maintained, fortunately, so I just have to re-select raid for SATA mode  and it boots again. I’m glad I don’t have a more complicated setup.

Moral of the story: I learned my lesson about making sure to export my bios settings into a profile from now on.

Installing Windows on three hard drives

I now have a greater appreciation of how much of a computer’s cost goes into Microsoft Windows. Buying that program pushed me over the $1000 mark on my build. I need Windows on this box though so that I can download and backup One Drive. I will attempt a Linux boot drive later.

Prepared with my new Windows 10 key I sat down with my laptop to download the iso. Interestingly, my laptop would not boot up. I think now that it was in the middle of a major update. Trying to turn it on caused it to lock up hard. Oh well, I have everything backed up I’ll just restore it to factory. I’ve been needing to do a factory restore ever since I was a TA and loaded quite a few random test programs. But now here i was  with two computers and no operating system and no way to download drivers and the iso.

Have no fear, this was not the worst predicament I had been in. Fortunately I had a Kali distro on a thumb drive. It booted right up and I was able to get my downloads but then I could not save them because as soon as I rebooted Kali I would loose everything because I was not set up for permanent storage on my Kali distro. The other problem was that I could not successfully format a boot disk with the iso using linux. I know there are ways to do it but my google skills failed me that night and I was never able to get it to work. Someday I will learn what I did wrong.

I finally conceded failure and used my husband’s laptop to make the iso bootable. (I try not to touch my husband’s laptop. As a tinkerer I’m bound to mess it up in a way he doesn’t like. He doesn’t want bells and whistles, just a computer that works).

I installed windows finally and then tried to set up my raided d drive. Fail fail fail. Nothing I tried worked. I finally realized that I had to set up the RAID before I installed windows. Even though I was not installing windows on a raid disk it still was going to delete my c drive.

I have very little memory of all the steps that I took in the bios menu to get raid set up. It was complicated and mostly done in the late late hours. But I successfully got the two larger drives raided. Then when I installed Windows I was able to choose the non raided SSD to install on. That worked great. What surprised me was that I didn’t have to install the AMD program for hard drives over 2 terabytes. When they were raided the computer saw the drive automatically.

It is now set up exactly how I want it. This is a successful build!

Built my computer!!

Remember my pcpartpicker build post? Here’s what I ultimately ended up purchasing: complete build. I collected parts for a long time. Finally, I had a long weekend at home in mid September so I used that as a good opportunity to start the build. I’m glad I gave myself a whole weekend because it took me longer than I expected to finish. The first evening I stripped the old case. I did my best to wipe the dust out of the fans and even removed the screen covers and washed those under water. I had to let it all dry overnight so that was the end of that day. The next morning I started putting the new components into the box. Of course it started with the CPU onto the motherboard, then installing the power supply and connecting it to the motherboard. The hardest parts were finding where all the fans connected to the board and fitting the cpu. The cpu screws would push the backing plate off the motherboard.

The next morning I applied power and tried to get POST. Couldn’t even get power! After scratching my head I realized that the power supply is upside down. Down turns it on. I’m usually a visual learner so I’m surprised that the symbols didn’t clue me in but they did not that morning. Once I got power and  post started it would show one pass light. The CPU was showing as failed! Out the motherboard came while I scratched my head some more. Finally after searching online I discovered that this mother board has a separate power cable just for the CPU. It was labeled ATX_12V. How was I supposed to know that was the CPU power? Getting the CPU on the second time was just as tough as the first but I think I’m a pro now.

The next failed Post was VGA. Thank goodness for Facebook friends because after a cry for help on there I was informed that not all CPUs support on-board graphics and that I needed a video card. Fortunately I have one. I just hadn’t installed it yet because I wanted to keep my variables manageable. In that went and voila! POST and BIOS!!!. That again was a full day of effort and my weekend was over.

I spent the next few evenings exploring BIOS options and playing with the led light options on the motherboard and CPU. All this fun and I hadn’t even installed an OS. I will need to write about that next!


Which bootable media creator to use in which case

Boot-able media manipulation has taken me a while to wrap my brain around. Here are the tools I find that work best for each task, outlined for your (and my) aid.

To put ISO on a CD/DVD use: ImgBurn
To put IMG On a CD/DVD use: ImgBurn

To put ISO on a Flash/USB/MicroSD: Rufus or Win32 Disk Imager
To put IMG on a Flash/USB/MicroSD: Win32 Disk Imager or Rufus

To take IMG off of CD/DVD Media use: ImgBurn

Here are the tools:

Win32 Disk Imager: This is a free, easy to use, program. It is designed to make img application a one button process. It also applies iso images but it is not my preferred program for those (see Rufus below).

Rufus: Open source program that lets me have more control over device settings. The most helpful choice is the partition scheme. I often want to force UEFI booting so I choose one of the options that is for UEFI only. It also comes ready loaded to create FreeDOS media. The final nice feature is what I will call “smart Unix media creation”. It has caught a few errors on my Unix distro media and fixed the errors on the fly.

ImgBurn: Free program to turn a DVD or CD into an img or iso, and visa-versa. Be sure to do a File-Hash check on the downloaded executable before running.

I hope this helps you.

Why I save and backup installation media

Five years ago, I purchased a USB DVD burner/player. It came with a basic program for playing videos, which was fortunate, because that was right about when Microsoft discontinued the free Windows Media Player.  Just in case I lost the install disk I copied the DVD executable file (.exe) to a safe place so I could reinstall the DVD program whenever I changed computers. Unexpectedly, it was also much more convenient to install from the executable than searching for the disk each time.

Now, I also save executables from open source programs in case I need to reinstall them. In addition, I sometimes save the full media image as an .iso.  I collect them by type and store the images on external hard drives.

I will never know when the cyber apocalypse will come, but at least I am ready with all my programs.