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Windows 7: Failure to boot properly


20 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 
Failure to boot properly

Some background. A few months ago I upgraded my Vista Ultimate to Win 7 32 Ultimate. I had a fair number of problems that got worse over time. Ultimately I was having problems installing or uninstalling programs. I also had issues with the 'Installer' popping up constantly.

I couldn't afford to lose the system, so I installed a second hard drive, disconnected the original hard drive and installed XP. I then upgraded the XP to Win 7 Ultimate. I added all the application programs and everything worked great. This second hard drive was connected to the #4 SATA port. The system booted up fine.

I then reconnected the original hard drive (#0 SATA port). When I booted up I got an error message 'No boot drive' and a list of the four SATA ports. When I go into the boot menu and highlight the newer drive the system boots up and runs fine - I can see and access the old drive (which was renamed F.

The problem is that I cannot get the system to initially boot to the new drive. I have to do an F12, access the boot menu and manually highlight the drive. I swapped the cables so that the new drive is connected to the #0 port and the older drive is connected to the #4 port. It didn't help. The new drive is at the top of the boot menu list, but I still initially get a boot failure.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Apr 2011   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

Please post back a screenshot of your maximized full Disk Management drive map with listings while all HD's are connected, using Snipping Tool in Start Menu.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 
Boot issue

I think this is what you're asking for.


Attached Thumbnails
Failure to boot properly-20110421-compmgmnt-snip.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Apr 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit SP1
 
 

You could try to boot up from another drive or CD and run a disk check of the suspect drive to find and repair any errors. When attempting to boot try setting the bios to disable all other boot device options except the drive you want.

Kind Regards

Chris
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 
Boot issue

Hi Chris,
I appreciate the suggestion. I'm pretty sure the newer drive is fine and I'm reasonably sure the older one is OK too. If I unplug the older hard drive, the system boots up fine from the newer drive. The problem is whenever the old drive is connected - and it doesn't seem to matter which port it is connected to (0 or 4), I get a boot error that there is not bootable device. If, even with both drive connected, I go into the boot menu and highlight the newer driver, the system boots fine (and I can see and access the older drive.)
I thought I could specify the boot order and which drive to boot from. It's like the machine keeps forgetting. The other thing that has me confused is that I thought that at boot up the PC would look at each device trying to find a bootable program. Both hard drives have the Windows 7 operating system. I would think the system boot from either drive.
This is now more an issue of learning and personal curiosity. I have everything I need off of the older drive. I was going to nuke it and just use it for storage. But I would like to understand what is going on.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit SP1
 
 

I am not too sure what the problem is. It might be a bios configuration issue. I wonder if you reset to bios defaults if that would help. The other thing is that connecting two windows 7 bootable disks could be causing the configuration problems. It may have something to do with conflicts on the master boot records of your drives. I regularly make a clone of my system but if both disks are accidentally connected during a boot I think Windows 7 will opt from the last main drive that was booted unless all other boot options are disabled.

Kind Regards

Chris
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2011   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

What I would do is unplug Disk0, boot the Windows 7 DVD Repair console or Repair CD to Startup Repair - Run up to 3 Separate Times to write the System boot files to Disk1, which can be done since it's already marked Active.

Then once it starts on it's own and is independent, plug back in the other Windows 7 HD which already has it's System flag, set the preferred OS HD as first to boot in BIOS setup, when you want to boot the other HD use the one-time BIOS Boot menu key given on first boot screen which on Dell is F12.

This keeps the HD's independent to come and go as you please, whereas allowing Windows 7 to configure a Dual boot during install or by using EasyBCD, etc. interlocks the HD's and makes it necessary to repair one to remove it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 
Failure to boot properly

First, I want to thank for taking the time to help like this - this forum is a lifesaver and a great educational tool.

I do understand what you've recommended and I 'm good with doing it. However, since my original plan was to erase (format) the older HD (Disk1) anyway and use it for storage, can I just do the 3X startup repair on Disk0? That is, can I disconnect Disk1 and run the repair on Disk0?

I did read article on running the repair 3 times. How come I don't have a 'System Reserved' partition on either HD?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2011   #9
Microsoft MVP

 

DISK0 doesn't appear to need Repair to boot since it has it's System Active flags in place, meaning it has the System boot files.

So try unplugging or deleting/formatting DISK1 in Disk Mgmt, then see if DISK0 boots correctly after confirming it is set to boot first in BIOS setup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 
Failure to boot properly

OK, I feel pretty dumb - problem solved. You're right Disk0 (the newer HD) has boot files and works fine. Like I said initially, as long as I went into the Boot Menu and picked this HD, regardless of whether it was Disk0 or Disk3, it booted fine. But, every time I tried a normal start up I would get the 'No Boot Device' error and a list of SATA ports.

I'll try to explain this, because it may help some other duffer like me. I did go into Bios Setup a number of times thinking I could identify Disk0 as the boot drive. But, I couldn't find any options to do that. Based on your suggestion I read the '3X repair article'. When I looked at the Disk Management utility I notice that Disk0 showed that it did have boot files (as you pointed out). I also noticed that a partition on Disk1 was active and did not have boot files. I made Disk0 active.

I tried a start up and got the same error- no boot device. I went into Bios and had options I had not seen (or noticed) previously. There were 4 bootable device options, the first was disabled, the second was a HD, the other two were ODs. Since I don't have an floppy drive, I changed the first item to HD.

When I looked at the Boot priority tab, I had 3 HDs listed. The first one was my USB back up drive, the second was Disk1 (the old HD), and the third was Disk0 (that has the boot files). I made Disk0 the top priority.

At start up the system booted normally. I think the problem was that since there was only one HD listed as boot option and my USB back up HD was the first priority - the system never found any boot files. I'm not sure why I didn't see the boot options in BIOS initially. Could it be because the only active partition didn't have boot files? The other possibility is I just missed it.

Anyway, things are working now. You may not have got me directly to the solution, but you really helped me find it. Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Failure to boot properly




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