Products > Dodgy Technology

Computers that still boot off the HD when told *NOT* to.

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IanMacdonald:
A growing problem with new computers is that if you need to reinstall the OS, the damn thing won't reliably boot from DVD or USB memory. The major problem here is that when it fails to boot off the selected media.. it then boots from the hard disk.  Why, oh why, are the damn things designed like this?  :palm:

If an unintended HD boot happens when you're trying to wipe a possibly infected HD, then that means any media connected to the computer has to be regarded as suspect. I can't count the number of workshop DVD+Rs I've thrown away or USB keys I've had to format after this happening. Plus, there's the constant risk of overlooking one which did an uncommanded HD boot, and having our systems infected as a result.

Somebody needs to get the designers of these systems sat down in front of a copy of 'Malware For Dummies' and make the read the thing from cover to cover. Then, give them a mighty kick in the pants.  >:D

I keep an old Maxdata computer for wiping HDs precisely because it will boot reliably from DVD, and not 'fall through' to booting off the HD if the DVD fails to read or is a bit slow starting. Unfortunately to cap it all you now are faced with tablets where taking the HD out is a major pain, so that route is not always available. 


IanB:
In some machines I have worked with the BIOS settings include both a boot device list and a boot priority order. If you remove devices from the list then I would expect the machine wouldn't try to boot from them. Apparently this is not a general feature.

IanMacdonald:
Sometimes this doesn't stop booting off the HD anyway.

Kaziq:
One of my old MBs had a very irritating manner of happily booting from any USB drive that was plugged in (and showing an error if it didn't contain any system), and not even trying to from the HDD that it was set to in BIOS in such case. There was no option to disable boot from USB.

Jeroen3:

--- Quote from: blueskull on May 27, 2018, 07:48:56 pm ---If the new system runs off UEFI-only, and your USB is not prepared for UEFI, then it will NOT boot from it, even if it has an MBR record and a bootable flag & sector.

--- End quote ---
You need to turn on Legacy boot, or something along those lines.
You're also out of luck with secure boot.

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