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Windows 7: Changing Win7 System/Boot Partition without Reinstall


19 Jan 2010   #1

Windows 7 Professional (x64)
 
 
Changing Win7 System/Boot Partition without Reinstall

Hello Windows Seven Forums,
I come here hoping you can help me both understand and determine how to fix this little issue. I've recently done a complete reformat of all three of the drives in my desktop and installed Windows 7 on (what I thought) was the largest of the three. Whether it was because I wasn't paying attention, or because the disk formatter is somewhat confusing, I seem to have somehow split the boot information and the windows install onto two separate drives.

First I would like to understand what the Disk Manager is showing me. I see four entries in the Disk Management tool. The first three (labeled Disk 0, 1, and 2) seem to be physical hard drives (each corresponding to one of the hard drives I have, each with a single partition). Below that is a single entry marked CD-ROM 0. Okay, simple enough so far.

I see the following:

Disk 0: C: - 698.63 GB NTFS - Healthy (Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)
Disk 1: F: - 232.88 GB NTFS - Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition)
Disk 2: D: - 232.88 GB NTFS - Healthy (Primary Partition)
CD-ROM 0: DVD (E:) - No Media

The three disk entries are what I am interested in. From what I have discovered online, and please correct me if I'm wrong, each of these "tags" indicates something about what that drive is used for.

Boot - This drive contains Windows 7 (NOT the boot information, which would make sense)
Page File - This drive contains the paging file
Active - ???
Crash Dump - ??? (Crash Dumps get stored on this drive when the computer crashes?)
Primary Partition - ??? (First partition on the disk?)
System - This drive contains the boot information (NOT the operating system information, which would make sense)

Why the D: drive comes after the F: drive I have no idea. What I would like to do (I think) is move the System tag from F: to C: (plainly, put both Windows 7 and the Boot information on C:, and ideally on the same partition). The D: drive is currently formatted but has nothing on it, so I'm fine with reformatting (or deleting the partition) on that, and the F: drive only has the boot information on it. I would very much like to avoid having to reformat my Windows 7 install if it can be helped. I would also prefer it if this could be done without installing anything. I'm trying to keep this system as clutter free as possible and avoiding installing and uninstalling various programs is helping with that immensely.

I read that this may be possible using the bcdboot tool which comes with Windows 7, but I wasn't entirely sure how to go about it and thought I would ask here before I go wreaking havoc across my system. After that, and this is more of a minor cosmetic detail, I would like to put the drives in Alphabetical order with the CD drive being D: (i.e. Disk 0 = C:, Disk 1 = E:, Disk 2 = F:, CD-ROM 0 = D:).

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
~ Shaun Hamman

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

19 Jan 2010   #2

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE
 
 

I'm not certain that I have followed everything that you said, but drive 0 should contain everything that it says that it does. These functions do not need separate drives or volumes. Which OS that it contains is not clear from what you said. It may be a bit late to say so, but I always strongly recommend installing each OS on separate drives...while all other drives are disconnected. This results in each OS being able to be booted from the F8 BBS Popup Menu and being entirely independent of any other OS that you may have installed.

As far as a direct answer to your question, I will have to defer to someone else who better understands how to deal with the boot functions of the OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2010   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Hi Shaun,

Good post , nice and clear with all the needed info.

You're on the right track.

D/l this .zip, rt click it Properties>Unblock> Apply>OK .

bootsect.zip

Extract the .zip and copy bootsect.exe into your C:\windows\System32 folder.

Open an elevated command ( type cmd in start search box - when the black box pops up - rt click it and run as admin.)

Type the following , and press enter after each line:

bcdboot c:\windows /s c:

bootsect /nt60 c: /mbr

diskpart

sel vol c

act

sel vol f

inact

exi

close cmd prompt. Restart. You're good.

You might want to go into Bios and set Disk 0 as first HD in Bios boot order - not essential.

You need to keep the C letter for the 7 partition ( which you want to do anyway).

The others you can change as you like. In Disk Management, Rt click the one you want to change and select "Change drive letters and paths".


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


20 Jan 2010   #4

Windows 7 Professional (x64)
 
 

Hi SIW2,

Thanks for the instructions. I will be sure to follow them as soon as I get home and will post my (hopefully successful) results.

~ Shaun
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2010   #5

Windows 7 x64
 
 

To answer some of your questions, you installed Win 7 with Disk 1 being your primary drive, so that is where the boot files were placed. The OS was then installed where you told it to.

The way to make sure a drive is primary is to only have one drive or set it as first in the Drive priority in the Bios, which will then list it in the Boot device priority, or at least that is the way it works on my system.

The fact it says disk 0 or disk 1, etc., depends only on the SATA connectors and is not an indication of primary drive. The fact one partition says "System", may indicate which drive is primary (different partition managers may use different terminology). I have recently discovered that a System partition can be on a secondary drive, as long as there is no active partition prior to it.

Another option for changing your system is to set the Win 7 partition active, which you already have it appears. Then run the startup repair option from the install DVD 2 or 3 times.

Note: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Win 7 has a neat little utility called the Snipping tool. Using it to make a picture of your Disk Management window and attaching it using the paperclip can be very helpful, although your description was very clear...But if you need additional information, you might use it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2010   #6

Windows 7 Professional (x64)
 
 

Thanks for the help everyone. SIW2's instructions worked like a charm. Should I have any other questions I'm definitely coming by here first. Friendly, informative, and fast! That's something the rest of the internet could use in spades.

I'll certainly check out the Snipping Tool if it seems a picture would explain things better as well.

Thanks again,
~ Shaun
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2010   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Shaun ,

You're welcome. Glad to be of help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2010   #8

XP Pro 32 / 7 Pro 32
 
 

Hi, I would like to keep this thread going as I have a similar problem. I have a multiboot setup, with XP on my C: drive and Windows 7 on G:. Problem is, C: is considered the "system" disk, so I can't remove the hard drive and just have Windows 7, which is what I want to do.

Drakmyth's setup seems very similar to mine; here's a screenshot of my setup:
Changing Win7 System/Boot Partition without Reinstall-diskmng.jpg

C: = XP
E: = Partition on the C drive
D: = various data, no OS
G: = Windows 7

Can I use the same bootsect.exe solution that SIW2 recommended for Drakmyth? I would greatly appreciate any help before I do something stupid and accidentally nuke my computer.

Thanks very much in advance,
Andy


My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2011   #9

win-7 ultimate
 
 

i need help with this,
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\Users\Server>diskpart

Microsoft DiskPart version 6.1.7601
Copyright (C) 1999-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: SERVER-PC

DISKPART> list vol

Volume ### Ltr Label Fs Type Size Status Info
---------- --- ----------- ----- ---------- ------- --------- --------
Volume 0 E DVD-ROM 0 B No Media
Volume 1 Root 300 GB NTFS Partition 394 GB Healthy System
Volume 2 C *WORKSTATIO NTFS Partition 71 GB Healthy Boot
Volume 3 F Removable 0 B No Media
Volume 4 D Removable 0 B No Media
Volume 5 H Removable 0 B No Media
Volume 6 G Removable 0 B No Media

i cant see the vol1 or root when i go to the computer /hard drives/c,d,e etc
can anybody tell me how can i change this.
sorry im not to good in comps.

rickjaard
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2011   #10

Win 8 RP, Win 7, XP
 
 

Hi,

It would be better if you can post what is seen in disk management.
Use: Start - Run - diskmgmt.msc
"Snipping Tool" can take the screenshot and than attach or paste it.

You can do most of disk management on the GUI level instead of going to command line and diskpart.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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