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Author Topic: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear  (Read 7824 times)

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untermensch

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A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« on: 24-October-11, 08:00:46 »

I'm trying to install Ubuntu 11.10 on a A75MA-G55 board when the install is finished
there is no boot entry in the bios to boot Linux.

So re-installed and after the install finished I switched to the console and installed
efibootmgr and verified that the boot entry was installed but after rebooting the
entry had disappeared, so I then booted the built in efi shell and launched grubx64.efi
and then used efibootmgr to re-install the boot entry which again disappeared upon
reboot, In fact the only boot entry that stays is "Windows Boot Manager".

I tried updating the bios to the latest beta bios but still have the same problem.

by the way the forums bios flasher never started the flash process and I had to
boot from a DOS boot CD with USB support and flash with the command

Code: [Select]
efiflash boot.bin
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Jack

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #1 on: 24-October-11, 10:54:59 »

This does not at all sound like a UEFI/BIOS problem.  The UEFI/BIOS does not really care what is actually installed on a given media, it just initiates a routine call that will give command to the boot routine which is installed on a hard drive (or whatever media or device is selected).

How many hard drives are in your system? 

Are their multiple partitions?

On which drive/partition did you install what?

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untermensch

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #2 on: 25-October-11, 03:19:50 »

I just install Ubuntu on an ASUS F1A75-M Pro and have the Ubuntu boot entry as well as the Windows Boot Manager boot entry (see attached picture)
that pretty much narrows it down to a defect with the MSI BIOS, I don't mean to imply that the BIOS is actively seeking to remove
any boot entry that is not Windows Boot Manger, but the BIOS does contain routines to dynamically create and remove boot entries
depending if it finds removable drives that are EFI bootable, for instance if you boot the system with a EFI bootable CD in the
optical drive the BIOS will create an entry for it that is visible from the booted OS, with BCDedit /enum firmware under Windows
or efibootmgr -v under Linux so these dynamically created entries are written to NVRAM and then removed when the drive
or media is no longer present at the next boot. My working theory is that the routine(s) that validate the boot entries maybe
the cause of my disappearing boot entries.

If MSI chooses not to correct this problem then the board is useless to me as a UEFI development platform and I will need to
return it.



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untermensch

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #3 on: 25-October-11, 07:04:50 »

also here is some text from the official UEFI 2.3.1 specification supporting my theory.
 
Code: [Select]
The UEFI boot manager is a firmware policy engine that can be configured by modifying
architecturally defined global NVRAM variables.  The boot manager will attempt to load UEFI
drivers and UEFI applications (including UEFI OS boot loaders) in an order defined by the global
NVRAM variables.  The platform firmware must use the boot order specified in the global NVRAM
variables for normal boot.  The platform firmware may add extra boot options or remove invalid
boot options from the boot order list
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untermensch

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #4 on: 26-October-11, 09:24:32 »

I went ahead and disassembled the bios and it kinda looks like that the boot entries are indeed filtered.



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« Last Edit: 26-October-11, 09:34:12 by untermensch »
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untermensch

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #5 on: 26-October-11, 22:53:49 »

and finely to test if boot entry's are being filtered based on the boot entry description I installed the grub2 boot entry with
the description of "Windows Boot Manager" and now I can boot Ubuntu.

MSI... why????



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« Last Edit: 26-October-11, 23:11:17 by untermensch »
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Ex Forum User 3

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #6 on: 26-October-11, 23:56:15 »

Euh we are not MSI, but feel free to contact MSI directly and post the answers in the forum.

>>How to contact MSI.<<

As we are just as curious as you are about this.
But beware that UEFI isn't general BIOS on boards yet, as such is has a lot of quirks.

Please inform MSI about your find, I'm sure they want to fix it.
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untermensch

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #7 on: 27-October-11, 00:53:01 »

Too me this looks like a compile time option, maybe MSI is selling a similar product for the
OEM market that is Windows only and forgot to switch it off for their retail boards.

I'm not ready too accept that this is some kind of anti-Linux conspiracy yet :)
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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #8 on: 27-October-11, 01:18:19 »

Just report/ask it to them, I'm sure they will correct it.
MSI is not Anti-Linux, far from it, as I had issues in the past and reported it, it was always fixed.
It's not that they actively support Linux that they ignore it.

Explain to them what you did and ask that they FORWARD it to the BIOS department, I'm sure they look into it.

And do include this forum link, saves a lot of explaining.
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untermensch

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #9 on: 03-November-11, 03:45:58 »

Just an update I got a reply from tech support, they sent me a newer bios that had the same problem.
they forwarded the issue to HQ and now I'm trying to explain the issue to the next tech support group.

I am adding more detail to this thread to help the process along.

this issue is also present in the BIOS for the MSI A55M-P35 motherboard.

the affected module GUID is 5AE3F37E-4EAE-41AE-8240-35465B5E81EB

below is an disassembly of the function that is removing the boot entry's.

It is preforming a string compare between RCX and RDX the result is returned on
RAX, if RAX is 0 then RCX contained a string equal to "Windows Boot Manager"
and the function exits. If RAX is not 0 then RuntimeServices->SetVarable is called
with attributes and size set to 0 for that boot entry, which will cause it to be removed
from NVRAM which means that the boot entry will not be displayed in the UEFI BIOS
built in boot manager.

if MSI tech support is reading this and you don't understand what all that means then just
forward it to the BIOS department it will take less than 30 minutes to fix once the right
individual sees the problem.

Code: [Select]
sub_180000758 proc near ; CODE XREF: sub_1800007F0+33p
; sub_18000083C+45p

var_38 = qword ptr -38h
var_28 = byte ptr -28h
arg_0 = qword ptr  8

mov [rsp+arg_0], rbx
push rdi
sub rsp, 50h
mov rbx, rdx
mov rdi, rcx
cmp r8d, 1
jnz short loc_1800007D9
mov rcx, [rbx+18h]
lea rdx, aWindowsBootMan ; "Windows Boot Manager"
mov r8d, 14h
call StrCmp
test rax, rax
jz short Exit
mov eax, 0FFFFh
cmp [rbx+40h], ax
jz short loc_1800007CC
movzx r8d, word ptr [rbx+40h]
lea rdx, aBoot04x ; "Boot%04X"
lea rcx, [rsp+58h+var_28]
call sub_180002960
mov rax, cs:RunTimeServices
and [rsp+58h+var_38], 0
lea rdx, unk_180035DF8 ; GUID
lea rcx, [rsp+58h+var_28]
xor r9d, r9d ; Size = 0
xor r8d, r8d ; Attributes = 0
call qword ptr [rax+58h] ; RuntimeServices->SetVariable

loc_1800007CC: ; CODE XREF: sub_180000758+3Aj
mov rdx, rbx
mov rcx, rdi
call sub_18000E7A8
jmp short Exit
; ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

loc_1800007D9: ; CODE XREF: sub_180000758+14j
cmp r8d, 2
jnz short Exit
and dword ptr [rdx+10h], 0FFFFFFFEh

Exit: ; CODE XREF: sub_180000758+2Fj
; sub_180000758+7Fj ...
mov rbx, [rsp+58h+arg_0]
add rsp, 50h
pop rdi
retn
sub_180000758 endp
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Ex Forum User 3

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #10 on: 03-November-11, 10:58:56 »

MSI doesn't read here unless we ask them.
However I will forward this to my contact inside MSI, maybe it helps.
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untermensch

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #11 on: 03-November-11, 21:23:04 »

Thanks...

MSI's online tech support system does not preserve any text formatting so trying to post code or commands leaves me
unsure if I am effectively describing the issue. I have been including the URL for this thread in my correspondences  with
MSI tech support but I am unsure if they have bothered to read it.

I did patch the BIOS and can use the board now, but the side effect is that stale boot entry's for removable drives are not
removed and reworking the code any further would risk bricking the board, so MSI will have to do a proper fix and release it
in a BIOS update.
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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #12 on: 03-November-11, 21:51:44 »

Just depends what department reads the issue and if they decide to forward it or not.
Other option is to ask Svet to modify the BIOS for you.
Or use the normal BIOS instead.

http://eu.msi.com/product/mb/A75MA-G55.html#/?div=BIOS
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untermensch

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #13 on: 19-November-11, 05:52:45 »

I just received a Beta BIOS from MSI tech support that solved the problem with the efi boot entry's  :agrees:

Thank You MSI.
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Jack

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #14 on: 19-November-11, 10:34:39 »

Which version was that exactly?  This one?

http://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=151594.msg1138483#msg1138483

Quote
- Fix it would lost Linux system boot option when installing Linux system.
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untermensch

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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #15 on: 20-November-11, 20:14:09 »

Yes E7696AMS.144.rar was the file MSI tech support sent me.

I had a heck of a time flashing it, my DOS boot disk would not find the fat32
USB drive, I ended up flashing with the BIOS flasher built into the BIOS after a
reboot the USB drive was visible to DOS and was able to flash with the
flasher provided in the archive MSI tech support sent me. 
« Last Edit: 20-November-11, 20:19:39 by untermensch »
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Re: A75MA-G55 UEFI boot entries disappear
« Reply #16 on: 20-November-11, 21:32:02 »

You could use Virtualbox and >>Use the MSI HQ Forum USB flasher<<.
You only need to enable USB and it can be used to create a flash-stick.
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