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Windows 7: Problem with two SATA drives

24 Aug 2013   #1

Windows 7 64 bit
Problem with two SATA drives

Hoping someone might have some suggestions for this.

So, after an upgrade I ended up with the following system:

Asus P8P67 LE motherboard with Core I3 2120 and 4MB RAM.

3 Hard drives:

1. 40GB IDE drive with Linux Mint

2. New Seagate 250GB SATA hard drive

3. Seagate 80GB SATA hard drive with Windows XP installed

The plan was to install windows 7 onto the new 250GB hard drive. After a lot of problems with trying to install from DVD, I ended up installing from USB. The first install was to the 250GB drive (2) with both other drives unplugged. After that worked, I tried plugging both drives back in, but Windows 7 wouldn't start, complaining about a hardware problem.
Eventually I tracked this down to some kind of problem with the SATA drives. I can install and boot Windows 7 from the 250GB drive, with everything else plugged in but the other SATA drive. As soon as I plug that in, Windows 7 says it has a Hardware error.
So, I then deleted all the partitions from the 80GB ATA drive (3) and reformatted it so it was completely blank. Then Windows 7 booted fine with everything plugged in. That looked like it might have been the problem. So I installed Linux Mint on the 80GB ATA drive (2). And now same problem, Windows 7 won't boot once that drive is plugged in.
If I boot Linux everything is fine - I can see both other ATA drives simultaneously. So it's obviously not a hardware problem, but something specific to Windows 7.
Has anyone got any suggestions? I've tried fiddling with plugging the drives onto different combinations of SATA ports on the motherboard, and no luck there.
I've installed all the motherboard chipset drivers in Windows 7, and the BIOS looks like it's up to date.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Aug 2013   #2

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit

With all the drive switching, not sure what you're running now ...

Is the following correct:
1) Windows 7 boots when only that drive is connected
2) Mint boots when only that drive is connected
3) If both drives (Windows 7 & Mint) are connected, Mint boots OK, but when you choose Windows 7 from the GRUB menu, it does not boot.

If these are all true, the GRUB config file that Mint uses needs to be updated, so do the following:
a) Boot into the Mint drive
b) Open a terminal and enter "sudo update-grub"
c) Confirm by watching that a Windows 7 Loader entry is built
d) Reboot -- and both selections should work now, Mint and Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Aug 2013   #3

Windows 7 64 bit

Thanks for replying. Win 7 will boot only if the other SATA drive isn't connected. The IDE drive with Mint on doesn't cause a problem - Win 7 boots fine with that connected. I'm not using GRUB to boot Win 7, but instead changing the boot device in BIOS and that works fine, so I don't think GRUB is causing this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Sep 2013   #4

Windows 7 64 bit

In case anyone should happen across this post with the same problem, I finally found a solution. The problem is nothing to do with SATA ports or drivers. Instead, it's something to do with Windows 7 having trouble, on my system at least, with a linux distribution set up with a conventional MBR partitioning scheme. That's my conclusion anyway. I'm far from being an expert, but it's got something to do with the fact that when I installed Win 7 it automatically used as GPT partitioning setup. For some reason my old Linux drive didn't cause a conflict, but this other SATA drive did.
The solution I happened on was to install Fedora and select the LVM partitioning option, and suddenly the problems vanished. Fedora just happened to be one of the distros I had to hand. Others offer LVM as well I believe, but I'm not sure how easy it is to set up - Fedora did it all automatically.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Problem with two SATA drives

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