I've made a new discovery, one that completely invalidates any reason for me to continue using DUET..........my system was UEFI-capable all along, I just didn't know it. It was hidden in the BIOS by the bastards at Dell. And I do mean very well hidden, to the point that you basically have to flash a modded BIOS to enable UEFI. It's well known that manufacturers of notebook PCs typically hide some options in the BIOS from their customers, especially the more advanced stuff like overclocking, etc. In my case, the options to enable UEFI were hidden. I suspect it was because Dell believed that UEFI wouldn't be advantageous to most customers, especially in a 2011 model like mine. Back then UEFI was relatively new and not yet deployed en masse by most manufucturers. So, the logical conclusion is that my hardware was UEFI-capable all along, they simply chose to hide the option to enable it, preventing everyone except the most advanced customers from discovering it (BIOS hackers). Unlocking a BIOS just involves unhiding options that were hidden by the manufacturer, in my case many options. I was astounded by the amount of new, advanced options that showed up after flashing the modded BIOS at http://forum.techinf....html#post12003 (M14xR1_A08_[unlocked]_voltmod_incl_GF116_&_SATA_fix.zip is what I used), which is another variant of the BIOSes at http://forum.techinf...8-sata-fix.html. The BIOS I used also includes a SATA speed fix, Dell's chimp tech crews also apparently saw fit to artificially throttle the SATA speeds in the later versions of the M14X R1 BIOSes. I've already tested with a few tools like CrystalDiskMark, there is a very noticable difference.
I tested booting with a few UEFI-capable discs. Arch Linux was the first, using the 'efivar -l' command properly listed the UEFI variables (making sure that I had totally bypassed booting via DUET, for accurate results). Next I'm going to test installing Windows 10 TP, to see if it will install in UEFI mode without DUET. Windows 8.1 BSODed when trying to launch the disc setup in UEFI mode on the first try, the 2nd time I managed to make it to the disk selection/formatting screen, but choosing not to proceed until I could migrate my data to an external HDD. That's an indication that native UEFI may prove to be buggy/flaky for me.
I also noticed that there is the presence of a UEFI shell v1 and v2 in Arch's boot disc menu (couldn't find a screenshot to link to), my system can launch shell v1 but not shell v2. And https://wiki.archlin...ning_UEFI_Shell says that "Shell v2 works best in UEFI 2.3+ systems and is recommended over Shell v1 in those systems. Shell v1 should work in all UEFI systems irrespective of the spec. version the firmware follows." Does this mean that I have a pre-UEFI firmware v2.3 system? Perhaps someone with UEFI experience can answer this. I'm not sure what the difference is but plan to look into it.
Lastly my BIOS not only seems to have an option that allows UEFI to either be enabled or disabled (disabled is default). But there is another option that allows the user to give preference to legacy boot or UEFI booting mode. If legacy is chosen then UEFI can still be enabled, but any OS installed in legacy mode will have first priority to boot (if any exist) and presumably will be automatically chosen first. If UEFI is chosen then the situation apparently will be the other way around. I'll have to play around to see if it works. I know that Linux can be booted in either legacy or UEFI mode, not sure about Windows. Maybe this option will enable this scenario for Windows? Or is it an all or nothing proposition (if installed in UEFI mode then it must always be used for booting, if installed in legacy mode then it must be used instead)? I ask this because the TechNet article for bcdboot (https://technet.micr...7(v=ws.10).aspx) allows to install the boot files with the variables "UEFI, BIOS, or ALL". UEFI is for UEFI booting, BIOS is for legacy booting, and the 'all' variable installs boot files for *both* booting in either UEFI or legacy mode. The options must be manually entered at a CMD/MS-DOS prompt. This implies that I may be able to choose, considering my BIOS apparently allows for booting in this way.
And, if the above really is the case, how can I best set up my system to allow all OSes to boot in either mode (maybe not Windows, I'll see as this discussion moves along). Leaving both options open would be nice, in case of issues.
I think I'll make a post on the AW owners forum to let legacy hardware owners (of the M14X R1) know that they can enable UEFI with a modded BIOS, instead of using DUET or milind's approach. Although a admin/mod may very well delete it for referencing/linking to unofficial BIOSes.
Thanks in advance!
Edited by AnonVendetta, 07 April 2015 - 09:31 AM.