Windows 7 Forums

Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: How to return drive MBRs and FATs to their pre-Windows-7 states

14 May 2015   #1
leejosepho

 
How to return drive MBRs and FATs to their pre-Windows-7 states

I have two SATA hard drives that are confused about themselves and are causing confusion in my multi-boot system. One of them somehow convinces my BIOS it is the third drive (hd2) in my system even though it is now connected fourth (hd3), and the other variously shows up either as fourth (hd3) or fifth (hd4) even though it is actually (physically) connected as my third (hd2) drive. All of this began a few months ago following a regular Windows 7 update, and absolutely nothing I have tried so far has been successful in undoing whatever Windows 7 had done.

I can live with SATA #2 somehow convincing my BIOS it is actually SATA #1, but I need my SATA #1 to stop showing us as two different drives. Two examples:

In KillDisk, my physical SATA #1 still shows us as two different drives even after having been ZEROed, and now here is how its first two partitions are being accessed for their separate installations of XP (via boot.ini):

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(4)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Pro1"
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(3)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Pro2"

note: Both of the above installations are on the same hard drive that would actually be known as 'rdisk(2)' if I could get my actual #4 to stop somehow convincing my BIOS it is #2.

Question: Does anyone here know how to manually edit sectors so my #3 will again have only one FAT?

note: Its first FAT actually could be coming from the other SATA and I have not tried either drive in KillDisk without the other also being connected at the same time. So, maybe the challenge here is to fix the #3 drive that is somehow showing itself as #2. The two drives appear as physically connected prior to the actual start of an OS, but then #3 pushes itself in as #2 and leaves the real #2 with no option other than to be #3 or even #4 while an OS is actually running.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
20 May 2015   #2
leejosepho

 

Update: I might be getting closer, but I still need help here if anyone knows what to actually do! Somehow my pair of SATAs still shows up in KillDisk as a total of three (3) drives, and none of my drive utilities can identify/remove whatever is causing that. Then also, gParted in one of my Puppy installations cannot detect anything on one of my PATAs unless its first partition is active...and Acronis "Home Director" is somehow seeing that entire drive as a single-partition "Super Floppy". There must be a utility somewhere that can return those drives to their original states.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2015   #3
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Please forgive my ignorance. I have hard time understanding how an OS has the capability to alter BIOS settings. Any reading material about this? Also why should it matter regarding BIOS, how the disks are formatted? Is it a feature of UEFI or something?

I would remove all drives, clear CMOS and add the drives 1 by 1 to the appropriate SATA ports in order.

Deal with the OS issues after you sort BIOS.

Again sorry if I have been ignorant, and you have already tried what I suggest.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

20 May 2015   #4
leejosepho

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
Please forgive my ignorance. I have hard time understanding how an OS has the capability to alter BIOS settings.
I thank you for trying to help think this through, and please forgive my own ignorance also.

The matter of Win7 altering my BIOS settings is not something I believe it is has actually written at CMOS level. Rather, it seems to be re-arranging my drive order during startup. For example: I can do a cold start (or re-boot) and set my drive order to whatever I might want it to be, but then that will have been changed the next time around (either cold or warm). So, it seems Win7 is somehow intervening from an MBR during startup and telling my BIOS what to report.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
Any reading material about this?
I am not aware of any truly-comprehensive reading material related to all of this. There is plenty about how one boot loader or another actually works, of course, but not in relation to other boot loaders. Then, not all of them (not even all Windows loaders) see all drives in the same way or order. Overall, I have (so far) learned the very best I can possibly have in a mixed-platform, multi-boot system such as mine is to use Puppy Linux for installing Grub4Dos since that makes it possible to leave every loader in its native state while being able to select each independently (and/or even from within any other).

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
Also why should it matter regarding BIOS, how the disks are formatted? Is it a feature of UEFI or something?
Disk format does not matter, but having them partitioned prior to installing Win7 makes a *huge* difference since, yes, I believe Win7's introduction of UEFI (which I know nothing about) is the problem here. Unlike any Linux distro or any previous Windows OS, Win7 presumes to take a dominant position of complete control over an entire machine...and whoever wrote all of that is either ignorant or uncaring of the possible trouble that can cause (or is even outright malicious?).

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
I would remove all drives, clear CMOS and add the drives 1 by 1 to the appropriate SATA ports in order.

Deal with the OS issues after you sort BIOS.

Again sorry if I have been ignorant, and you have already tried what I suggest.
Oh yes, I have tried all of that and more, and your logic and approach there are perfect. However, I had recently fresh-installed Win7 without first remembering to partition the drive before ever putting the Win7 DVD in the drive and now whatever it has done to all four drives is beyond my ability to undo!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2015   #5
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Hey again, I really wonder how the experienced members will comment on this one.

I am still not convinced a BIOS being changed by whatever OS loaded. I suspect a somehow corrupted BIOS/ a faulty battery(?) or something wrong with motherboard itself.

Now, I remember some motherboards do have a software that you can run under an OS that can modify the BIOS but they were very few? Do you have such a board?

Question: When you say order, is it drive order or boot order? I.e., I cant change drive order unless I change SATA ports physically. So I assume it is boot order you are talking about? Still no idea how a single disk can report as 2 though.

Would you try something?
- Shut down power from PSU (unplug) and wait, say, 5 minutes
- Enter BIOS, set boot order
- Save changes and as it restarts shutdown, unplug, wait 5 minutes
- Restart, go into BIOS and see if order is the same as you set
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2015   #6
leejosepho

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
Hey again, I really wonder how the experienced members will comment on this one.
Me too!

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
I am still not convinced a BIOS being changed by whatever OS loaded. I suspect a somehow corrupted BIOS/ a faulty battery(?) or something wrong with motherboard itself.
No, the actual problem I am actually experiencing is Win7's inability or unwillingness to passively sit wherever I want it to be...and maybe that statement will make more sense by the end of this post.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
Now, I remember some motherboards do have a software that you can run under an OS that can modify the BIOS but they were very few? Do you have such a board?
Maybe that is my case, but that is the first I have heard of that. What I have is an older P4M800-7A:
P4M800-M7A :: Motherboard :: BIOSTAR

I actually have three of those with plans to purchase yet another since since they do well with everything from DOS all the way to Win7 and the latest Ubuntu.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
Question: When you say order, is it drive order or boot order? I.e., I cant change drive order unless I change SATA ports physically. So I assume it is boot order you are talking about? Still no idea how a single disk can report as 2 though.
Yes, I mean to be talking about boot order, but get this: Switching ports at the MoBo makes no difference here since Win7 still somehow puts its own SATA ahead of the other.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
Would you try something?
- Shut down power from PSU (unplug) and wait, say, 5 minutes
- Enter BIOS, set boot order
- Save changes and as it restarts shutdown, unplug, wait 5 minutes
- Restart, go into BIOS and see if order is the same as you set
I have done that even with the CMOS battery removed for an hour or so, and everything is fine until the offending Win7 SATA is again connected! By default, my board sets the PATAs first, then the SATAs:
PATA0: Master
PATA0: Slave
PATA1: Master
PATA1: Slave
SATA1
SATA2

I can change that boot order in BIOS, of course, but my board will restore its own defaults at the next cold start. So, I have no option for consistently booting from a SATA unless I hide the PATAs...and then XP will not boot since certain drive letters will have been missing during startup!

I actually have everything working right now, but only because I have learned how to isolate Win7 during startup and for booting. My problem, however, is that whatever it has done to my boot sectors has me hobbled quite a bit as to my options in actually doing that. I can use 'fdisk /mbr' to overwrite the Win7 boot code and disable it, but XP's 'fixboot' cannot write to the actual block or whatever is actually seen during startup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2015   #7
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Regarding BIOS populating of the drives.

Yes mine also finds the IDE devices first.
(My board is AMD) Then there is a second screen called AMD RAID Option ROM where it lists the drives as they are connected to the SATA ports in ascending order. (I can create RAID sets from this screen)
I also have a 3rd screen which finds the drives that are connected to my other SATA controller.

Anyway, you say you have 3 of these boards.

1. Would you try pulling the hard disks from one machine and putting on the other and vice versa? A bit of a work though if you have screws and whatnot. You could absolutely make sure which hardware is acting up.
2.Try the battery from one of the normal machines.
3.Use the Save and Exit F-key, F-10 that is? (it should ask for a confirmation, Yes-No) I remember some settings not saving when using another method to save

If all fails, maybe you can use the one time boot from menu, should have an F-key assigned to it? (may be BIOS dependent though) I guess F-12, not sure

I guess you searched the net for a solution too? I will paste here regardless.
--------------
I have experienced this several times with Asus boards.

1. Make sure that the SSD is connected to the lowest numbered SATA port.
2. Boot to BIOS
3. Set all settings to default and save / exit
4. Boot back into BIOS and check that it "stuck"

I had previously changed and saved the boot order 40 times or so and next boot, it would still boot off the HD ..... dunno why the default thing works but it has on 4-5 boxes here I have run into this issue.
----------------
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2015   #8
leejosepho

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
Would you try pulling the hard disks from one machine and putting on the other and vice versa? A bit of a work though if you have screws and whatnot. You could absolutely make sure which hardware is acting up.
You and I think quite alike, and yes, I have also done that! The two PATAs and one of the SATAs had been connected to other boards at different times, and now the only drive here in this latest assembly that acts and shows like a WD1600 should act in its native state is the new (previously unused) SATA recently removed from its sealed bag. What I need, possibly, is to learn how to use something like 'bootsect' or to somehow do a low-level format that does not destroy the drives. Also, and I suspect you might be able to see by now: I do not have a hardware problem. My problem is about how to somehow remove the problem Win7 somehow put on some of my hardware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2015   #9
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

When/if you decide to bow to the situation instead of fighting the BIOS, maybe (I don't know how it acts in multiboot systems) you can use EasyBCD to move the bootmgr.

Check Bootmgr - Move to C:\ with EasyBCD if it would help you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2015   #10
leejosepho

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
When/if you decide to bow to the situation instead of fighting the BIOS, maybe (I don't know how it acts in multiboot systems) you can use EasyBCD to move the bootmgr.

Check Bootmgr - Move to C:\ with EasyBCD if it would help you.
My BIOS is not the problem, and I have much experience with EasyBCD. I can use it to place the Win7 code wherever I wish, but it cannot (or will not) write the XP code over the Win7 code. From where I sit, it seems EasyBCD at least partly goes along with Win7's system-dominant demands. But then even after disconnecting the Win7 SATA/SATAs it is still unable to write the XP code over whatever Win7 (or EasyBCD) had done to the PATAs. So what we have here is a "bully OS" (as I see things) that will only play nicely up to a point and as long as it is (or at least believes it is) ultimately in charge. This is not the only instance of Win7 having done something troublesome without at least offering a caution or warning and/or documenting what has been done, and I can understand why nobody -- nobody who bows to Micro$oft anyway -- is likely to tell me how I can undo it!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 How to return drive MBRs and FATs to their pre-Windows-7 states




Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search




Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Boot Windows 7/8 from GPT on BIOS system : No hybrid MBRs or DUET!
Hi guys, Till now, Windows 7/8 x64 could boot from a GPT disk only on a UEFI system. Methods to enable this are hybrid MBRs and DUET. Both of which are hacks. We now have a simple way to boot windows (BOTH 32bit AND 64 bit) from a GPT disk on a BIOS system WITHOUT hybrid MBRs or DUET, using...
Installation & Setup
Computer states that no legitimate Windows is running
Hello all, This week we suddenly got notification that no legitimate Windows version was running (+ black background desktop). This is strange because we have purchased the computer in an electronic store and the computer has an official Windows license sticker with hologram. So, I re-activated...
Windows Updates & Activation
Popup states i'm not running genuine windows
I've tried everything I know of, and have even had two separate chat sessions with Microsoft support, giving them control of my computer to fix the problem. Both times they did pretty much the same thing of trying to reinstall it by typing in the product key again, which goes through and the window...
Windows Updates & Activation
Does windows have desktop icon save states?
My computer has taken quite a beating last night, power went out 4 times sporadically, thankfully I have a voltage regulator. The funny thing is.. before the first blackout, I had rearranged a couple of files/folders, and desktop icons, and whenever I would turn the computer back on,everything...
General Discussion
Error while shrinking partition, Windows states it has less space
I tried to shrink my Windows partition as I want to try using Ubuntu again (had some issues with some AMD/ATI drivers the last time I tried). I went into Disk Management and used the shrink volume tool. Everything was alright until, alas, the power went out. Now I'm stuck with Windows stating that...
Performance & Maintenance
Windows 7 wireless problems after I moved from the states
OK, so here is my problem. I bought a laptop when I went back to California for vacation. When I was there I had no problems with wireless connection or LAN connection. Turned my computer on and i can immediately surf. I moved back to the Philippines and it will not connect to any wireless network...
Network & Sharing


Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 13:32.

Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App