I have a very harrowing issue that I haven't been able to resolve for literally months...
I first noticed the problem when I was trying to implement VHD boot. The boot menu took very long to appear (instead of a few seconds, a few minutes); and after selecting a VHD boot entry, the computer would appear to freeze for about 20 minutes to 30 minutes, before all of a sudden completing the VHD boot successfully.
My hardware is a Surface Pro 2. This runs with Windows 8.1 and UEFI boot only.
I am currently running experiments with WIMBoot, and again running into many strange issues. Sometimes the boot spinner keeps spinning indefinitely. At other times, there are different kinds of blue screen errors occurring. Things that are simple and should work appear to grind to a halt on this system, and apparently with no explanation as to their cause.
For instance, the same VHD boot that stalls the Surface Pro 2 boot menu for a few minutes, and the actual boot for half an hour; works flawlessly on a VMware Windows 8.1 instance (admittedly, that instance is BIOS based, and not UEFI - I have not yet had a chance to experiment with UEFI on VMware).
I also got a new Surface Pro 2 when my main one appeared to fail sometime ago. When I tried the same VHD boot process on this new Surface Pro 2, it too worked flawlessly - no delays at any stage. Unfortunately, something must be wrong with the disk imaging software that I use; because after cloning my main OS to the new Surface Pro 2 setup, the same problems started manifesting there as well.
I have used both Paragon Hard Disk Manager and Macrium Reflect. Even though I did a full backup of my Surface Pro 2 using Macrium Reflect before even having booted it once with its pre-installed OS; restoring this does not reproduce my results. I also notice that often, after using Paragon, my GUI boot menu is replaced with a text boot menu (one that sometimes does not recognize the Surface Type keyboard too, at that).
The problem is very erratic. For instance, I could clone my existing boot partition into a few copies for testing my full disk compression solutions. These seem to work fine. There are no boot menu delays or boot problems; only perhaps a text mode boot menu instead of the GUI boot menu. The problems only arise with more esoteric techniques, such as VHD boot and WIMBoot.
I have used Erwan's CloneDisk to re-create my MFT and Partition boot codes for NT6. I have attempted to reinstall a virgin copy of Windows, exported the BCD store, and re-imported it to the affected system in further efforts to fix the problem. Nothing seems to have had any effect.
Right now I am looking for a step-by-step way to completely re-initialize the hidden boot partitions, together with the BCD store, that are typically found on an UEFI system. Could anybody provide a method to do this? Once they are brand-new, then I could go ahead and simply update my BCD with a device partition=C: and osdevice partition=C: to hook it up to my live system.
Or if there's any other suggestions forthcoming, I'd appreciate them very much. This is a very pesky and unnerving issue which has been blocking my work for a very long time now.
Does anybody know if there's some hidden code on the Surface Pro 2, such as firmware or whatever else, that might also be interfering with the boot process?