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Windows 7: Two Active Partitions - No errors yet, but is this a problem?

26 Mar 2015   #1
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 
Two Active Partitions - No errors yet, but is this a problem?

My new laptop (Win7 Pro SP1 64 bit) is configured as follows:

- Drive 1 (C) is a single partition SSD Drive that contains the Operating System and other programs
(I don't see any sign of a separate 100MB System Partition, so I think all the boot files are included in this C partition)
- Drive 0 is an HDD partitioned into 3 partitions (E, F, M), intended as data partitions
I have attached a screen shot of my current Disk Management setup to illustrate.

The SSD drive is Disk 1 and the HDD is Disk 0 - and the machine came that way from the manufacturer, so I plan to leave it that way unless there is some compelling reason to try to get my SSD drive to be Drive 0.


Here's my issue:

Somehow, both the C drive and the E partition are marked Active
- my guess is that the E partition is marked Active because it contains the partition table for the HDD. (It has NEVER had an operating system installed on it, nor any other program files, but it shows 408MB used)

Do I need to mark the E partition as Inactive?


I've read several threads - some say yes I need to change this and others say no it's not a problem. Still others say it might be a problem if I have to repair/restore my machine. Since I know almost nothing about this, I would really like to get advice from people who understand this stuff.

I have also read the Mark Active/Mark Inactive tutorials elsewhere in this forum, so I have an idea of what it will take if I do need to do it
Partition - Mark as Inactive

So - recommendations anyone?




Attached Thumbnails
Two Active Partitions - No errors yet, but is this a problem?-2-active-partitions2.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
26 Mar 2015   #2
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

If you mark E inactive, Windows will not boot.

Unless you know what you`re doing, leave it alone.

Only C should be marked Active and have the System files on it.

I find it hard to believe that a new laptop came in that condition.


You see, it`s a simple matter of unplugging Disk 0, then running startup repair with the Windows 7 install DVD up to 3x, to write the system files to the C partition. But this does not always work.

If you really, really wanted it fixed correctly and are not confident, take it to a professional, if not just leave it be.

C should also be showing as Disk 0, not Disk 1. You can switch the hard drives to see if that will correct it, once again not absolutely necessary.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2015   #3
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 

AddRAM -

Based on your feedback (thank you BTW), I probably need to clarify a couple of things.

1) When the laptop first arrived, the SSD (C) already contained the operating system (as it still does).
The HDD (E) consisted of one huge partition, and it was not "active" as far as I recall. I believe things changed when I split it into 3 partitions. It never had the operating system files on it. So, blame me not the manufacturer

2) I am a little bit confused by your advice regarding unplugging Disk 0 and running startup repair:

All the operating system files are already on C, so I cannot move them there from E or from anywhere else. It would seem that there is no reason to run startup repair if that's what one is trying to accomplish.

All E currently has on it is a small hidden file area that is 400MB in size - about the size of a partition table, although I guess it's possible there could be some other file there.

3) I believe that the reason for the SSD disk not showing as Disk 0 is due to the SATA port where it is physically connected
-The HDD is connected to SATA Port 0
-The DVD drive is connected to SATA Port 3
-The SSD is connected to SATA Port 5
I have to assume the manufacturer attached those drives to those ports for a reason - maybe due to the physical architecture of the laptop case, since it is designed to hold two SSD drives and two HDD drives.

4) The laptop currently boots fine with C as Drive 1 not Drive 0, and with both partitions marked as "active."
I agree that having C as Drive 1 is odd, but it seems to be harmless as long as I handle the "active/inactive" status appropriately. (And I really do NOT want to start rearranging my hardware unless there is no choice.)

That's why I'm asking my original question: will I encounter problems if I leave both C and E as "active"?


Attached Thumbnails
Two Active Partitions - No errors yet, but is this a problem?-system-arch.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

26 Mar 2015   #4
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

I did blame you

Yes, the operating system files are on C, but not the boot system files, they are on E, as you can clearly see.

Go ahead, unplug Disk 0, does windows still boot ?

Right there in your bios pic it shows the ssd on port 5, it should be on port 0.

The OS drive (if only 1 OS is installed) is supposed to be on sata port 0


Answer = no you will not have any problems if you leave it the way it is, that is your choice.

"I am a little bit confused by your advice regarding unplugging Disk 0 and running startup repair:"

If you are confused on this, you should read up on what startup repair is and does

It`s all in the tutorials.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2015   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The E partition should be inactive. And don't get confused by what disk management shows regarding disk 0 and disk 1. That is not necessarily how the ports are allocated. DM has it's own way of naming drives. But it does not really matter to which port the drives are allocated. It is the boot sequence that counts.

Look into Computer whether C has this itty bitty system flag - see picture


Attached Images
Two Active Partitions - No errors yet, but is this a problem?-2015-03-26_2129.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2015   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Brian, you seem to be seeing something that I don't see. How do you figure that the bootmgr is on E ? Is it my poor eyes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2015   #7
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

The system files are on E, not C Wolfgang, look at his shot of DM again.

They belong on C.

Example:
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2015   #8
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 

Wolfgang, my C drive icon shows the itty bitty system flag.


However, I think I see what Brian is seeing - the E Partition says "Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition)" while the C Drive says "Healthy (Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)"

I missed that the first time around - sorry!


Attached Thumbnails
Two Active Partitions - No errors yet, but is this a problem?-boot-drive.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2015   #9
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

That is a windows flag, It just confirms that windows is on that drive, not what we consider the system flag.

That shot has nothing to do with what we are discussing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2015   #10
paul1149

Linux Lite 2.8 x64 (full-featured, fast, rock-solid)
 
 

Sounds like a simple error of some kind when you repartitioned the 1TB HDD. It should be harmless. You could make it inactive or disconnect the drive and see if the machine still boots. The way I see it, the boot files are on the SSD, so there shouldn't be any problem.

What might be interesting is to check the boot device order in BIOS. Possibly the machine is looking for boot files in E, not finding them, and then defaulting to the actual Windows install on C. Not a big deal - you might be losing .5s in boot time. But if you ever go multiboot it will matter which drive has priority.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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