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Windows 7: Boot loader on separate partition?

09 May 2010   #1
sygnus21

Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 
Boot loader on separate partition?

Could use a little help here

Heres the deal, I have Windows 7 on one partition "C" drive, but my boot loader is located on another partition - "M" drive.

Now whenever I attempt to do a full backup/image Im required to backup the M drive as well. Whats the best way to move the boot loader and have everything on the C drive so that Im only imaging the C drive?

I read something about doing this by making the OS drive active? Then moving the boot loader, but Im not sure about this and dont want to hose the system by having to do a reinstall of the OS.

Also, is there a reason that the loader should/needs to be on a different partition?

Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You can of course create an MBR on C - there are plenty of tutorials here and on the web. What I suggest, that you image the little partition only once and keep that "in stock" - just in case. From then on image only C because the MBR will stay on the little partition and can be used after a restore. Just make sure you do not declare C as "active" - because the little partition is your active partition. Also do not restore the MBR when that question is being asked during the restore cycle. I know that question is being asked in e.g. Macrium and also in the Norton Ghost Copy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #3
sygnus21

Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

I guess I need to mention that my "little partition" is only 493GB! M drive is actually my games drive. So if it's possible to move the MBR to C drive without having to reinstall the OS I'd appreciate some help/guidance in doing so.

Thanks.

PS here's a sceenshot of my drives...

Name:  Hard Disks.JPG
Views: 233
Size:  112.0 KB


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #4
Saltgrass

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Do you run more than one OS? It is easy to put boot files on the C: partition and set it up as the system partition.

You probably installed Win 7 with the other drive being primary so the boot files were put there.

If you can, attach a snipping tool picture of your Disk Management window.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #5
sygnus21

Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

You mean like the one above? . But yeah, that's exactly what happened. What I'd like to do is have everything on "C" drive - without having to reinstall the OS.

Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #6
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Hi Sygnus,

D/L this on 7, sisparV5.zip ( as usual rt click it properties>unblock>apply>ok )

Extract it, rt click and Run As admin on sispar.cmd.

Enter letter C when it asks, and N to including existing boot menu items. ( or Y if you want to include the Vista boot menu entry )


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #7
Saltgrass

Windows 7 x64
 
 

It looks like it should be fairly easy since your system partition is already on the same drive.

Start by opening an administrative command prompt in Win 7. Type the following and hit enter, then wait for a response.

bcdboot C:\Windows /s C:

This will put the boot files on the C: partition. Close the window after it finishes and open Disk Management and make the C: partition active. Now you should be able to reboot with the C: partition being system.

If something doesn't work, make the M: partition active again and it will boot as it does now.

You will probably loose any dual boot setup you have with XP, but it can be recovered.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #8
sygnus21

Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

Sorry for getting back to you guys so late. Hmmm.... I have two different but good looking suggestions.

@ Saltgrass, I've actually seen your suggestion, but thought I read something about "NOT" making "C" drive active because it "already" had the OS installed, and thus by doing it would make C drive unbootable

@ SIW2, will this allow me to get rid of the MBR on M drive, thus not having to image it as part of my C drive back? And what about marking "C" drive as active?

Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #9
sygnus21

Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

At Saltgrass....

This is what I'm referring to as to marking a partition "Active"

Quote:
Warning

Do not mark a partition as active if it does not contain the loader for an operating system. Doing so will cause your computer to stop working.
Source - Mark a partition as active

Ahhhh.... wait, does that mean install the loader "first" than mark the partition active as you suggest??? I think I the lightbulb just went off

Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #10
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Just run it as above - then C will be the system partition . You will not be forced to select M for Win sys image backup.

If you select Y for adding any pre existing boot menu items, then your Vista and XP boot menu entries will still appear.

Vista will boot up fine if you select it.

If you want XP to do the same, copy the 3 files boot.ini , ntdetect.com and ntldr onto the C partition.

Not sure what is taking so long - sispar does the job in less than 5 seconds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Boot loader on separate partition?




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