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Windows 7: Problem with SSD in system with other HDD

21 Jul 2016   #1
Buzzer

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (desktop), Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit (laptop)
 
 
Problem with SSD in system with other HDD

Well, Iím afraid Iíve made a mess of my desktop system (Dell XPS 9100 with Win 7 Pro 64-bit). Replacing the HDD in my laptop with an SSD went so smoothly I bought another SSD for the desktop. I made a complete backup of the HDD with Win 7 backup and restore, and also made an image file of the drive. The backup is on the NAS on my network. I installed the SSD physically in the computer but did not use the Samsung cloning software that came with it. According to the BIOS the HDD (1.5 TB) is on SATA2 and the SSD (500 GB) is connected to SATA3. The optical drives are on SATA0 and SATA1.

I used Partition Wizard to Migrate the OS to the SSD. This worked, after I used my Win 7 repair disk to put Boot Manager on the SSD, but it didnít seem to be as seamless as I had hoped. Basically I ended up with two copies of the OS, one on each device when I only wanted a copy on the SSD. Also, using the repair disk put the SSD in Recovery mode, which didnít mean much to me at the time but now Iím thinking wasnít such a good thing. I began to wonder if maybe I wouldíve gotten a better result if I had used Samsungís cloning software, so I did so. I cloned the HDD to the SSD. Pretty much the same result as Partition Wizard: a little clunky but everything seemed to be working. I think it was at this point that even though I had adjusted the boot priorities to make the SSD the first disk to boot, the Boot Manager asked me every time if I wanted to boot to the Recovered version of Windows 7. I didnít particularly like this.

I thought that perhaps the fact that there was an OS on each disk was not a good thing. I didnít want an OS on the HDD, so I used Partition Wizard to wipe the disk. Bad move. This made the system unbootable. No winload.exe program it said. After several tries and a lot of web searching I finally got the backup image of the HDD restored to the disk. Now that OS is in recovery mode too and when Boot Mgr comes up it asks me to choose between two devices, both Win 7 recovered. I could figure out which was the SDD by the time it took to boot and thought I could work with the system that way, but other problems started cropping up. One thing I noticed is that neither OS has a system 32 directory, only something named system.sav. Also, if I boot from the HDD most of the programs Iíve tried work. But presently when I boot from the SDD almost nothing works. Lots of strange error messages. Itís like the SSD canít find the software installed on the HDD. For example IE and Chrome donít work, etc.

Apologies for this long-winded commentary. I definitely need some advice regarding what I should do now though. Should I use the OEM system disk from Dell to try a clean install on the SSD with the HDD disconnected? Then hook up the HDD and wipe it with Partition Wizard again? I think I have instructions for how to put the data (user directories) on the HDD and make them still findable by the OS. Any tips about re-installing programs, e.g. MS-Office? I have a list of installed programs from CCCleaner that I will use to see how many I can find disks or license numbers for. Are there any programs that are known to be hard to re-install? Any tips for re-installing the programs? Iím a little gun shy about this clean install issue, since I havenít done that before. Anyway, thanks in advance and I appreciate any help or advice you might have.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Jul 2016   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Sounds like you have major problems.

I'd certainly do a clean install if at all possible. I assume this "OEM system disk from Dell" that you refer to is in fact a legit Windows installation disc.

You'd need to backup your data, bookmarks, and email if they are still surviving.

For a clean install, yes, have ONLY one drive connected until you are up and running well on that one drive--then reconnect other drives and do what you want with them. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

You don't need to use Partition Wizard to wipe the HDD, but it's OK to use it if you are familiar with it.

Likewise, you can wipe the SSD before you start if you want, but you should just be able to delete any and all partitions during the clean install and let Windows create the necessary new partitions automatically as part of the installation process.

Worry about your user directories after the SSD is up and running with the operating system. Do you intend to put ONLY Windows and installed applications on the SSD, with data going on a spinning drive? It's 500 GB, so maybe you are planning to put data on it also?

Yes, make a good list of all programs you will need to install and find the Product Keys for any of those that have keys. You'll need the keys to activate them.

Your first concern after a clean install will be to ensure that you have a working Internet connection. If you have that, you can then easily enough update Windows and go to any other necessary web sites.

The Dell disk presumably has the necessary drivers for your hardware.

Does this Dell desktop have a "Certificate Of Authenticity" on it somewhere, bearing a 25 character Product Key?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jul 2016   #3
Buzzer

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (desktop), Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit (laptop)
 
 

Thank you for the quick reply, Ignatzatsonic. The Dell disc came with the computer and is a re-installation DVD for the OS. There is also a second DVD disc labelled Drivers and Utilities. The envelope for the OS disc says that the COA is on the side or bottom of the computer. I'll look for it and write it down. My data are in the user directory and that is backed up to the cloud using Crashplan, so I think that stuff is safe. I also have the backup of the HDD on my NAS, where the image file also resides. I've backed up my bookmarks to a flash drive. I can't finish this reply now, but I'll try to get back on this evening and also look at how to back up the email. Thank you again for all the advice. I'll post more later.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Jul 2016   #4
Buzzer

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (desktop), Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit (laptop)
 
 

I've continued looking over Ignatzatsonic's original reply, making myself a checklist of things to do. I use a web-based email system (Hotmail/Outlook) so it seems that a backup isn't needed there since all my folders are actually on the msn server. I think I will wipe the SSD before I begin, and remove the data cable from the HDD. If I start the computer with no HDD connected and the SSD wiped, will it boot from the Dell OS DVD in the optical drive with no problems? My plan is to have all the user directories (data) on the HDD instead of on the SSD, and as you suggested I'll do that after I've had the system up and running for a few days. My desktop is wired to the router and using the Local Area Connection, so I hope I won't have any major trouble re-establishing the network and internet connection. The final preparation, and most time-consuming I will bet, is getting all the information together to re-install the programs. I thank Ignatzatsonic again for the very useful help and advice, and will mark this as a solved issue. However, I will update again when all is said and done, or sooner if I somehow manage to botch this up again, perish the thought..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jul 2016   #5
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

see comments in bold

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Buzzer View Post
If I start the computer with no HDD connected and the SSD wiped, will it boot from the Dell OS DVD in the optical drive with no problems?

It should assuming the Dell installation disc is in good working order, the optical drive is in good working order, and you select the optical drive as the boot device. That is usually done through an F key or possibly the delete key. You may as well find out right now what key that is by experimentation or Google. Maybe F2, F8, whatever, I don't recall for Dell machines.




My plan is to have all the user directories (data) on the HDD instead of on the SSD, and as you suggested I'll do that after I've had the system up and running for a few days.

There are tutorials on this site on how to do that. Or you could be a hopeless Luddite like me and not use the "user" directory structure at all. I just save all files directly to my D drive, choosing the right directory: D:\mp3, D:\pictures, D:\video, whatever. Either way will work. I just never had any use for the user directory thing or "libraries" either.


My desktop is wired to the router and using the Local Area Connection, so I hope I won't have any major trouble re-establishing the network and internet connection.

You'll need the Ethernet aka "NIC" driver to get that connection. It certainly should be on your Dell drivers disc. It may be supplied directly by your installation disc as well.

As preparation, you might go to the Dell web site and enter your service tag number and look up all the support material for your machine. Then download all drivers and put them on a USB flash drive. You may not need them, but no harm done as a second source for drivers and you'd know they would be the current drivers.

I'm new to routers myself, but when I rebuilt a few months ago, I didn't have to reconfigure my router. I just unplugged it before I started and reconnected it later.


The final preparation, and most time-consuming I will bet, is getting all the information together to re-install the programs.

Yeah, it's a pain. The first thing you'll want to do is get your anti-virus going and then go to Windows Update and get whatever you think you need there. Take a look at Device Manager and look for those yellow exclamation points. If you have basic functionality, you should be able to get rid of most or all of them. I usually have one or two when I rebuild.

I tend to install Office and email first and then install other programs as I actually need them, rather than go on a marathon of installing each and every program I might possibly need. Usually after a rebuild, there are several programs from the old build that never get reinstalled.

You might consider making an image of your new installation within the first few days, so that you can return to it if ever needed. I make one about once a month and keep the most recent two or three. Macrium Reflect Free Edition is probably the most commonly used imaging application used around here.

If you have any ideas about multiple partitions on your data drive, now is the time to decide on that. I just use a single partition and separate stuff by a folder structure.

Good luck. You'll most likely encounter something you had not anticipated---entirely normal in my experience.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Problem with SSD in system with other HDD




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