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Windows 7: How to consolidate boot assets to a single drive

12 Dec 2017   #1

Windows7 Professional 32bit
How to consolidate boot assets to a single drive


I have created what I think may be a unique situation and am looking for methods to correct.
A little history of events that lead up to this and problems created;
in the screen capture, the “C” drive is a RAID10 which initially housed Windows XP
Drive “L” is an external USB backup recently added so I can safely address the situation.
When I Installed Windows7 (full, not upgrade), I wanted it to reside on my RAID10 disks, so in preparation for this, I reinstalled my XP onto a different disk because I wanted to set a dual boot when I installed Windows 7.

Please see attached screen capture for drive details.

After installing Windows 7, I get an intermediate error on boot stating Boot Error. Sometimes I need to boot up to 4 or 5 times before my system will boot up to Windows 7. The error is not predictable, sometimes I can boot system up several times without error.

Since I have zero issues prior to installing Windows 7, my first thing was to upgrade my RAID drivers for Windows 7. This did not fix the issue, Next I did a Firmware update on my Adaptec Card. This did not fix the problem.

I then removed my dual boot using EasyBCD. Still no fix. When I attempted to format the other drives Windows tells me it can’t due to system disk.

I am thinking that I must have bits and pieces or all parts needed to boot sitting on other drives which might be getting timed out during the boot with the system having to search for what is needed.

I have full back-ups of everything on my Drive “L” so worst case, if I had to reinstall Windows and everything, it can be safely done. As known, this would be very time consuming, thus I want to keep that as a last resort.

Ultimately, what I would like is my primary system, Windows 7 to reside only on my RAID10 and not dependent on any of the other disks. Then reinstall my XP onto one of the other disks with a Dual boot. I have some very useful secondary application that will only run under XP which why I want to keep an active version of XP on my system.

Attached Thumbnails
How to consolidate boot assets to a single drive-storagecapture.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2017   #2

win 8 32 bit

Welcome to the forum. What is disk k your c drive isn't set as active so it won't boot but I is active. I would set c as active see if it boots or if the boot files are on k if it doesn't do a repair. It's best to just have the one c drive until you get it working so it can't put files on the wrong disk. You could then add the XP drive to the boot options.
When duel booting you must install the oldest o/s first as it wouldn't understand later boot options. Free virtual box is the simplest way to have old systems running them as virtual pcs
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2017   #3

Windows7 Professional 32bit

Hmm, Why then does my "C" drive say "Active"? In my initial set up, I formatted my RAID (C: drive) then installed XP on the "D" drive because I didn't want XP to occupy my fastest drive (RAID 10). Then I installed my Windows 7 to my RAID 10 (C drive) My "K" drive is just an archive/storage, it does not need to be a primary or anything, just a storage drive. How it ended up as a "system" I do not know but I think this is what I need to find a method to address, how to move the "System" over to my C drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 Dec 2017   #4

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)

As I understand it, you are saying that you want XP on one physical disk, 7 on another physical disk, and your data on the remaining disks.

If that is what you want, you could do what I did -- I installed a SATA power switch:

I then installed three hard drives: one for Linux, one for Windows, and one for my data.

When I installed Linux, I powered off all drives except for the Linux drive, then did the install. I then powered on my data drive, to make it available in Linux.

When I installed Windows, I powered off all drives except for the Windows drive, then did the install. I then powered on my data drive, to make it available in Windows.

Under normal circumstances, the data drive always stays on, so that it is available both in Linux and in Windows.

To switch from one OS to the other, I power down the computer, turn on the drive for that OS (and turn off the other drive), and then power up the computer.

I wanted to have a dual boot system in which Windows and Linux would never interact with each other, and doing things this way has worked very well for me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Dec 2017   #5

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)

Another option that you could consider is XP Mode:

XP Mode is a Windows XP virtual machine that you can download for free from Microsoft, and install it in Windows 7. It includes a free copy of XP. You could install XP Mode, and then install your XP software inside of the XP virtual machine.

The advantage of an XP virtual machine over an XP dual boot is that you can run your XP software without ever leaving Windows 7. In other words, it is quick and easy to get to it. On the other hand, running a virtual machine does take some memory, so if you don't have enough memory, it will be slower to run XP in a virtual machine than it will be to reboot into XP.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Dec 2017   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

The boot critical files are on Disk 0.

Suggest you open an admin cmd prompt. Type:

bcdboot c:\windows /s c:

Then set DISK 2 as first in bios boot order.

Boot into win7.

Open admin cmd . Type:

bcdedit /create {ntldr} /d "Windows XP"
bcdedit /set {ntldr} device partition=D:
bcdedit /set {ntldr} path \ntldr
bcdedit /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Dec 2017   #7

Windows7 Professional 32bit

SIW2, Thank you, this is the direction I am looking to follow. I had not been able to set my DISK2 (RAID 10) to the first disk in my bios. I will see how this goes and let you know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2017   #8

Windows 7 HP 64

Disk 0 (K: )is set as System and Active. The MBR on the disk probably is pointing to the boot loader on disk C:
This probably happened because you didn't detach all other drives when installing Win 7.
As disk 0 (K: ) is a data disk you should unset it as active.
So, When installing Windows, ALWAYS detach all other disks, leaving on ONLY the target disk.

On my RAID 0 I have:
Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 213.348 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 218.742 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 2.224 MB/s [ 543.0 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 2.334 MB/s [ 569.8 IOPS]

On my SSD:
Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 557.074 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 471.879 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 406.524 MB/s [ 99249.0 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 363.693 MB/s [ 88792.2 IOPS]

As you can see, a SSD is much faster than a RAID 0

My suggestion is to install a small SSD (128G) for Win 7 (80G) and Win XP (48G) and use the RAID 10 for data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2017   #9

Windows7 Professional 32bit

Thanks for all the insight. My primary issue was the random disk read error on boot that often took as many as 5 reboots to get past. Although SIW2 suggestions did not work, SIW2 did point me in a direction to fix the error message. As far as reordering the HD in the bios, only ordering that seems available is the boot priority. All my boot critical files now reside on DISK2 and I was able to format DISK0, my K drive and all seems good.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to consolidate boot assets to a single drive

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