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Windows 7: Trouble formatting hd, system partition

28 May 2011   #11

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jklein View Post
Got it!!

Here's how I did it step-by-step:
  1. Use BCDedit to move Bootmgr to C
    bcdedit /set {bootmgr} device partition=C:
  2. Change the HD# of C: to "1" in BIOS
  3. Shutdown and unplug G:
  4. Boot and check disk management to make sure C: is now "system" volume
  5. Shutdown and reattach G:
  6. Restart and voila!
Excellent! The two key steps of course are (1) get the hard drive on which your intended "active" partition is located to be HD#1 in the BIOS, and then (b) be sure the Win7 boot manager files are located in that "active" partition.

And it is only THAT ONE SINGLE PARTITION, the "active" partition on HD#1, which MUST be a "primary" partition.

ALL OTHER PARTITIONS ON THIS OR OTHER DRIVES CAN BE "LOGICAL" OR "PRIMARY", subject to the previously discussed limit of no more than FOUR "PRIMARY" PARTITIONS on a hard drive. If one of those four "primary" partitions is treated as the "extended partition", then any number of "logical" partitions can be sub-defined inside it. So then there would be a limit of THREE true "primary" partitions on that drive, one "extended partition" (which is also "primary") on that drive, and ANY NUMBER of "logical" partitions sub-defined inside of the "extended partition".

And as you've now demonstrated, the Win7 boot manager files can really be in any of three different locations:

(1) in the 100MB "system reserved" partition which is created by a fresh Win7 install on a brand new empty drive and marked as "active", with the real Win7 system partition created as a second partition (normally using the rest of that drive, unless you countermand the default during the early install steps).

(2) in some other already "active" partition currently marked as HD#1 in the BIOS, such as an existing WinXP bootable system partition on the same or different hard drive, when you install Win7 as a second Windows OS in an environment in which an existing Windows OS is discovered (by the Win7 installer examining the "active" partition on HD#1). In such a situation the Win7 installer replaces the WinXP boot manager in that "active" partition on that HD#1 with the new Win7 boot manager, and also installs the "menu" of bootable OS's you will see at boot time. The menu points to both the existing WinXP system in that very same "active" partition on HD#1, and also points to the newly installed Win7 system (which can either be in another logical/primary partition on the same physical hard drive as WinXP's "active" partition, or it can be in a logical/primary partition on some other physical hard drive).

(3) in the Win7 system partition itself (if that partition is both "active" and resides on HD#1), manually placed there by BCDEdit, or the "triple REPAIR" method, or also by the highly recommended product named EasyBCD. In other words, the 100MB "system reserved" and "active" partition on HD#1 is not really needed to facilitate booting to Win7 in a single OS environment. All that is really needed is to make sure that the Win7 boot manager files are located inside the "active" partition on HD#1 (whichever Windows OS resides in that "active" partition on HD#1), and that can be done using any of the three methods shown above... although I would always vote for using EasyBCD (i.e. its "bootloader setup" screenshot in the above gallery) as (a) it is GUI and easy to understand, and (b) you cannot make a mistake because it is GUI and easy to understand.

In other words, EasyBCD can do exactly what BCDEdit can do... but with a GUI interface that is easy to understand. Note also that EasyBCD can install the WinXP boot manager files inside of the WinXP partition, if that is what is needed for a repair of a boot problem with WinXP. In other words it can reinstall either Win7 or WinXP boot manager into that partition, along with repairing the MBR on that drive to point to that partition.

EasyBCD: it's free, it's easy to use, and its' highly recommended. Can be downloaded from this page, using the "download" button at the BOTTOM OF THE PAGE, not the "download now" SPAM/driver-scan button at the top of the page.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2011   #12


I gave you the steps which have been used hundreds of times here to successfully remove a Dual Boot and move the System boot files to Win7. All of this is automated now in Win7 Startup Repair and doesn't need dated DOS methods or lengthy dissertations.

If you'll post back another screenshot of your full Disk Mgmt drive map we can check that Win7 is correctly configured to be System Active Boot Primary NTFS and then you are good to go.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 May 2011   #13

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
I gave you the steps which have been used hundreds of times here to successfully remove a Dual Boot and move the System boot files to Win7. All of this is automated now in Win7 Startup Repair and doesn't need dated DOS methods or lengthy dissertations.

With all due respect, it is far simpler to simply go into the BIOS setup at machine boot time and change the hard disk sequence right there, than to open the computer and physically swap cables going to the two drives. That's just plain unnecessary, when the swap can be done in the BIOS itself.

The goal of this step is obviously the same, no matter how you accomplish it... namely to make the drive containing the C partition be HD#1 so that the BIOS goes there at boot time hunting for the "active" partition on that drive. But that's exactly why the BIOS setup provides that functionality, to make it possible to logically reconfigure the hard drives drives without requiring any physical rewiring, and most importantly being able to designate HD#1 which is crucial to the boot process.

Also, it's not really absolutely necessary to mark the G partition "not active" to prevent the BIOS from mistakenly trying to boot from it. The BIOS is never going to go to that drive at boot time, if the other drive is marked as HD#1 and there is an "active" partition on it.

Yes, it's poor form to have more than one "active" partition when you have multiple drives, and only THE one true boot partition should be marked "active". But there's no actual harm or risk of harm by residually leaving that old obsolete boot partition (which in my opinion, used to be his WinXP boot partition on that old drive, although he hasn't confirmed this) still marked "active".

I, like you, would probably change it to be "not active" to clean things up. But there's no actual harm or problem that will result from leaving it "active". It will simply never come into play if that drive is now HD#2.

Finally, his use of BCDEdit to install the boot manager files directly into the C (Win7 system partition) seems perfectly reasonable, as one of the several ways one can accomplish this goal. Your multiple-REPAIR approach also works. And EasyBCD also can do it really simply. There's not just one way.

I don't mind writing a "lengthy dissertation" when I feel it's necessary to explain something adequately, to someone else who is asking for assistance in solving a problem.

Why not share some detailed understanding through a few more words, so that the "student" gains real knowledge? Just providing the steps, A-Z, without explaining WHY or HOW or WHAT they are accomplishing, well I'd rather say a bit more.

But that's just me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

29 May 2011   #14


There are two reasons that OP was advised to swap the data cables between C and G, leaving G unplugged during repairs while making sure C is set first to boot in BIOS:

1) The OS HD should always if possible be in DISK0 slot to avoid this exact problem where a data drive accidentally marked Active steals the System boot files during reinstall or Repair - when the installer looks for first Active partition to place the boot files.

2) Marking G Inactive to run the Repairs on Active C doesn't always work - repairs will simply default to former incorrect System partition G. If Repairs fail on C while G is detached (as can happen) you have the old configuration as a fallback so you know Win7 will start one way or the other.

You are correct that in some cases with a laptop where unplugging the HD is too hard and disabling not offered as an option in BIOS, marking Win7 Active while marking data partition Inactive, changing boot order then running Repairs is sometimes all that's practical. Be aware that more than once Win7 has stubbornly refused to claim its boot files from the data partition and OP has had to back up and wipe the data drive. Keep in mind that if Win7 still won't repair (as also can happen) that there is now no fallback, as there is with an unplugged data drive.

Again these steps are based on trial and error with hundreds of Dual Boot removals here, more than on all other help sites on the web put together. After Win7 release, we would sometimes help remove a dozen Dual Boots a day here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Trouble formatting hd, system partition

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