GA-E45-DS3R Mobo BIOS Can't find USB Drives

Recommended Posts

This motherboard is in a machine we built just over a decade ago as an early  Hackintosh. ( It could definitely boot from a USB drive then because it had to.


I want now to install UnRAID on this same machine. But it seems it can no longer boot from a USB drive.


To simplify the issue, apparently the BIOS is no longer able to SEE any USB drives.


As the risk of being over-long here and outstaying my welcome as a newbie, I'll lay out where I've got to so far:




1. Not all the external USB ports on the CoolMaster Cosmos case are actually wired.  The ones I've been using are known-good to work with the keyboard.

2. The build currently has a CD-ROM drive and an SSD which I have not installed a bootable operating system on.

3. The SSD shows up as a boot candidate under Advanced BIOS Features/Hard Disk Boot Priority (along with "Bootable Add-in Cards") but not the CD-ROM. However, I can boot from the CD-ROM drive, as tested with an old Hiren's Boot CD.




1. With the correct BIOS settings the known-good USB ports (see 1. above) should be physically capable of supporting USB flash as drives.

2. Any possible problems beyond the motherboard (eg RAM, CD-Drive, SSD drive, Graphics card, USB format and/or bootability) are irrelevant to the question of whether the BIOS can find the USB drive.

3. A found USB drive won't necessarily show up as a boot candidate (as described in 3. above) but should show up as a potential target for Q-Flash (F8).

4. Setting USB-HDD in the Boot Device List or not won't affect Assumption 3.

5. All the BIOS parameters relevant to this issue are under Integrated Peripherals and the rest can safely be left to the Fail-Safe defaults.


So I'm currently messing with the Integrated Peripherals parameters then rebooting and checking Q-Flash. If I should be exploring wider parameters or if there's a better test than this or if any of my assumptions are wrong, do please shout out.









Link to comment

Hi, the manual suggests you should be able to select USB HDD on the advanced tab.

My Gigabyte Z68 has been retired for a while, so I don't remember if there was an option to select a specific USB device to boot from, or if it was just USB HDD and then let it boot. It may you can select USB HDD then make a selection of the drive in Hard Disk Boot Priority.


I'd stick to the back plate ports for now, disable the full screen logo, and the second and third boot devices then see what is reported at POST.


Gigabyte also used to use CTRL+F1 for some more advances settings, could be something hidden.


USB boot on older devices can be fickle, not all USB flash drives support boot and larger drives are often not properly supported especially on older hardware.

E.g. 16GB USB drives boot fine in all my systems, (back to Z68) but 32GB from Samsung, Kingston and Sandisk all fail to boot regardless of OS.

In a much later board, I can only get 32GB drives to boot in EFI, they won't boot in classic BIOS while 16GB versions of the same drives boot fine as EFI or Classic. Ideally test with  a 1-16GB USB 2.0 drive from Kingston or Sandisk.




Link to comment

Many thanks, Decto. I've taken your advice about skipping the Gigabyte splash screen---it's saved me a lot of time carrying out the repetitive investigation I'm documenting on this unpublished Tested Technology page.


I'm writing up the ongoing adventure there to avoid taking up time and space here in this forum. But I'd be very grateful for input from anyone who would care to visit the page and contribute their thoughts.


The ultimate aim (looking a little far off at the moment) is to do a series on the development of an UnRAID system, starting with a single drive, expanding that to a dual drive system (data drive + parity drive) and then subsequently to add an SSD cache. Then bung other drives in as available.


We have the drives and the SSD, generously donated by Seagate and OWC and I know this nice old Cosmos box can boot from USB. Just can't get it to connect with UnRAID!








Link to comment
On 10/6/2020 at 3:58 PM, bidmead said:

I'm writing up the ongoing adventure there to avoid taking up time and space here in this forum. But I'd be very grateful for input from anyone who would care to visit the page and contribute their thoughts.


You have an impressive collection of random flash drives.


A quick google of your board and USB boot indicates it was a bit of a challenge.


A few of the things I read were around plugging a drive in part way through the boot, e.g. just after the PCI device detection,  flashing an ealier BIOS version or even a mod to the EFI files. As you had an extremely slow boot on one drive and another drive that hangs a Grub, it's likely a board / bios issue rather than an unraid issue.


Note you can enable EFI in the unraid flash tool by selecting customise




Almost the same board:



Good luck on your quest

Link to comment

Thanks for that, Decto, and thanks for taking the trouble to read the Tested Technology private page.


The collection of random USB flash drives, of which only a handful appeared in the piece I wrote, is the swag collected from a quarter century of IT journalism and press events. (The IT career is longer than than but USB turned up late.) If I could find a way to pool them all into a vdev I'd have plenty of room to back up the Internet.


I think I've created and tested every possible variant of the UnRAID boot USB. Yes, I'm pretty certain the issue is with the motherboard, not with UnRAID, as you suggest, although being limited just to USB booting is one of the fundamental challenges UnRAID presents here.


I'm not sure that downgrading the BIOS from F4 would be my first choice. I'd rather been thinking in terms of upgrading to a later version (F9?). One reason I haven't yet done so is that I'm damned sure we got this thing booting nicely and regularly from a USB stick back when it was a Hackintosh. And on top of that, I'm very curious to know, to get to understand, why we can't do that now.


I'm currently scouring through the recognised and unrecognised USBs to try to grok their diffs. (Although the fact that the UnRAID USB that manages to get as far as GRUB isn't among those recognised in the Boot Candidate list suggests I may be barking up the wrong tree here.)


I've followed the links you've pointed to (many thanks) and will investigate further tomorrow.




Link to comment

I've written more on the private Tested Technology page to add the result of my inspection of the various USB sticks, recognised and unrecognised by the GA-E45-DS3R BIOS (F4).


Spoiler: The conclusion isn't very exciting. But I'd be delighted if forum members could pitch in with suggestions, vague encouragement and/or hoots and whistles of derision at my methodology. Every little helps.




Edited by bidmead
esprit d'escalier
Link to comment

I'm still puzzling over this. Perhaps someone with a general knowledge of bootable USB drives might be able to help out here.


The Hiren's Boot CD (USB version) that I have here is the one USB drive that boots all the way. I have not been able to create any other USB drive, using any other operating system, that does this.


The only unique feature I can identify with this Hiren's USB is that it uses the Windows operating system. All my other attempts (including UnRAID) have involved versions of Linux.


I'm attaching a screenshot of the Hiren's directory structure in the hope that someone here might be able to put their finger on why this boots and others don't. If there's any other information that would help with this, do please let me know.


Thanks in advance to whoever responds and in any case thanks to all of you reading this.






Link to comment
  • 3 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.