Thanks milindsmart! In gratitude for the help I have received from this forum, I still have an ongoing license give-away - just PM me if you want to check out the official distribution with a licensed serial key. Please note that I welcome beta feedback with DoubleSpace, DriveSpace, Stacker, and the rest of the ZIPmagic suite as well.
The problems with the Surface...harrowing. As you know, the "latest and greatest thing" is always advertised as "it just works", but in the "real world", this claim is always proven to be false. In my case, I have experienced some really harrowing problems with my Surface's. I frankly do not know how they came about, my suspicion is that some disk imaging tools I used made some changes somewhere - who knows where - and this accounted for the problems. However, the problems have been of this nature:
1) If more than one boot entry is defined, a lengthy stall before boot.
2) If the single boot entry is defined and that is VHD boot, again a length stall before boot.
3) The same for WIMBoot.
A lengthy stall before boot has, in my case, been a 20-30 minute delay with the "Surface" logo shown on the machine - to the point that when this was initially happening, I was sure the machine had just crashed or frozen without indicator. One day randomly it finished the boot, which is when I discovered that the issue was not a lockup but a stall. If you wait long enough, the spinning boot indicator shows eventually.
Right now I am avoiding this problem by not using any third party tools to image my disks and to move my data. DoubleSpace has been, a remarkable cure in that sense. For instance, I migrated from my Surface Pro 2 to my Surface Pro 3 using DoubleSpace itself! Certainly this did not create any boot stalls and safely and reliably moved all of my data over. A never expected application of my disk doubling software, a pleasant surprise to be sure.
Unfortunately there seems to be nothing DoubleSpace can do when the problem has been pre-introduced to an operating environment through a disk imaging software or - who knows what. I figure this, because a customer using DoubleSpace reported a 2 minute boot delay. (S)he was lucky - 2 minutes is a heck lot better than 20 or 30 - but still, its a great inconvenience; especially when the device can boot instantly, even with DoubleSpace compression, under normal circumstances.
Because I did not even touch my 64 GB Surface Pro 3 with any disk imaging software, even though this system has a meager i3 processor, it still boots very fast, and there's no stall or delay before seeing the boot spinner.
Right now I do have my old Pro 2 lying around...I was able to cure its boot delay problem using Macrium Reflect (free edition) and a brand new image of a Surface Pro 2, obtained before even power-on. I find myself now in the fortunate position of having to re-create the problem there somehow, so I can finally obtain that boot trace suggested by Trip.
I cannot understate how unnerving this issue is. Case in point: I did try Trip's suggestion on the problematic Surface Pro 2, but it started blue-screening with an error in some DLL called nv***. And it took me about 5-10 boots to even get to that knowledge! Keep in mind too please, that each test cycle takes about half an hour. The machine would simply shut down after showing the blue screen for a few seconds (I am lucky I saw it at all, after 5-10 attempts). I thought the battery must be dead (it wasn't, I should have known better), there were other oddities too even - I even saw an amber light glow on the right side of my Pro 2 during some of the test cycles. Google'ing this resulted in a "return to technician" result; but the light is currently gone and after restoring the clean image, the boot problem is gone too!
So anyways, this is a really nasty issue - my only current consolation being that it is not caused by DoubleSpace, although of course if I could fix it, I want to figure out how - since it does affect DoubleSpace's use (the problem being unnoticed in a single-boot-menu setup, when VHD/WIMBoot is unused).
Oh, last but not least - part of my symptoms were an actual 30 second - 1 minute delay before even getting to the boot menu. The customer did not report that and I have not been able to reproduce that so far either...so we'll see what happens.
I have been completely unable to reproduce any of these results inside a VM environment...not knowing what actually caused them in the first place, that makes sense.
One possibly relevant bit of information is; when I run bcdedit on my Pro 3 or a VM, it returns instantly. When I run bcdedit on my Pro 2, it returns after a 5-10 second delay. This bcdedit run could be just running the program without any parameters, or running it to add a boot menu entry, or delete one, or update one, what have you. Regardless, there's always been this lengthy delay. Not only do I have no clue why, this has always been the case with the entire Pro 2 line as far as I know. I do not know if somehow all Pro 2's I got my hands on had problems, or what have you. And whether this issue and the main issue I have noticed are related at all...
Edited by simonking, 16 August 2014 - 10:53 AM.