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Windows 7: What do Active, Primary and Logical mean when applied to Hard drives?

09 Sep 2011   #1

Windows Home Premium 64- bit(6.1,Build 7600) SP1
 
 
What do Active, Primary and Logical mean when applied to Hard drives?

What do Active, Primary and Logical mean when applied to Hard drives?-macriumdrives.jpg

This screen shot shows what Macrium Reflect imaging program sees my drives as.

It shows D: on Disk 1 as active and G: on Disk 3 as active. What does this mean?

I assumed that I was booting from C:, which is my Win 7 drive.
Am I really booting from D:?

I believe D: is going bad physically. Norton Ghost says there are too many errors on it to make an image. If it goes bad, does it mean that I won't be able to boot my pc?



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09 Sep 2011   #2
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

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09 Sep 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Caramelo View Post
Attachment 174571

This screen shot shows what Macrium Reflect imaging program sees my drives as.

It shows D: on Disk 1 as active and G: on Disk 3 as active. What does this mean?

I assumed that I was booting from C:, which is my Win 7 drive.
Am I really booting from D:?

I believe D: is going bad physically. Norton Ghost says there are too many errors on it to make an image. If it goes bad, does it mean that I won't be able to boot my pc?
One thing you need to be aware of concering Macrium is that the drive letters and the drive names do not match as a rule. If your C: drive is called Main, when restoring from Macrium it might show D: as Main. You need to disregard the letters and go strickly by the name you have assigned to your drives.
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09 Sep 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Can you give us a screenshot of Windows 7's expanded disk management window?

We need to know your disk layout i.e. which are physical hard drives and which are partitions on a hard drive.

You should no more than one active partition on each hard drive as Windows looks for it when it boots up. Generally speaking the active partition is normlly the one that holds the boot information at the start of the drive, but some people prefer to dispense with the system boot partition and use the Windows partition instead i.e. the Windows partition is the active one.

You can have three primary partitions plus one simple extended partition on each hard drive. The extended partition can be used to create further logical partitions should you need them.
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09 Sep 2011   #5

Windows Home Premium 64- bit(6.1,Build 7600) SP1
 
 

Seavixen, can you give me the steps to get to the windows expanded disk management window please?
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09 Sep 2011   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Looks like your bootmgr ended up on D - that is what "active" means. That is not really a problem as long as you do not reformat D. But if you do, you will not be able to boot any more.

This kind of funny configuration happens very often. The Windows 7 installer grabs the first partition of the first drive it can find to place the bootmgr (and if none is present, it creates the little 100MB partition). That is why we always recommend to disconnect all drives except the one where you wish to install Windows 7. Once done with the installation, you reconnect them.
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09 Sep 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Caramelo View Post
Seavixen, can you give me the steps to get to the windows expanded disk management window please?
Navigate to Start>Control Panel>System & Security>Create and format hard disk partitions.

See screenshot below:

What do Active, Primary and Logical mean when applied to Hard drives?-dm.png


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09 Sep 2011   #8

Windows Home Premium 64- bit(6.1,Build 7600) SP1
 
 

What do Active, Primary and Logical mean when applied to Hard drives?-diskmanagement.jpg
As you can see Disk 1 (Drive D) is not showing now in disk management. It has done this before and it may have failed for the last time. I can still boot up to win 7 however.

@whs, yes I got this configuration when I built the computer. Out of lack of knowledge I just threw in two drives from my previous pc and two new ones, wired them all up and booted up. I installed win 7 at a later point.

How can I make the Win 7 hd the active or boot one?


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09 Sep 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

"How can I make the Win 7 hd the active or boot one?"

Just right-click the partition and choose Mark partition as active.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2011   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

No wonder disk0 and disk1 do not show.

Correction: You have to move this guy "UP" - not "DOWN".


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What do Active, Primary and Logical mean when applied to Hard drives?-2011-09-10_0028.png  
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 What do Active, Primary and Logical mean when applied to Hard drives?




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