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Windows 7: Unable to Boot without a Bootable Disc in the Drive

09 Oct 2010   #11
mogplus8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Reprise of this problem

I know this post is very old, but I have the same problem.
To cut a long story short, I installed linux (kubuntu 10.4) into a separate partition on my sata drive. Had many issues with grub which would not boot linux or windows. Much later I deleted the linux partition and added the space to my windows drive (using Partition Wizard). My system still refuses to boot, and displays a grub error that the partition does not exist. Tried every option of bootrec but still get the grub error if the Windows dvd is not in the drive. I can boot if the disk is in the drive. Tried reinstalling Win7 on another partition hoping that would cure the bcd problem, but I still get the grub message. Eventually tried Easybcd, but that failed too and I still get the grub messge.
I'm no guru but I can't understand why having the win dvd in the drive affects the boot sequence. If you don't boot from the dvd, what does the bios boot from? Surely it's the hard disk? so how can it be different to booting without the win dvd in the drive???
But regardless of that, if anybody has any suggestions as to how to fix this problem I will be deeply grateful.
My current setup is: one ide 50gb drive with win xp allocated to E: drive. One 250Gb sata drive with two partitions. The first 150Gb (drive C: ) has my original Win 7 installation. The last 100Gb has another install of Win 7 and is allocated to F: drive. Mobo is a Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H, 4 gig ram, amd am2 3600+ processor.
Dunno if it's relevant but I can't boot linux from a (live) cd. I tried the cd in my wife's computer and it fired up no problem, but when I try the same cd in mine it comes up with an initram error telling me there is no valid init file (or some such, I don't remember the exact error message). Eventually installed linux from a usb stick. Never had a problem with my win7 disk though.

Thanks,
Ian


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Oct 2010   #12
mogplus8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
[solved] Reprise of the old problem

Well, it seems I've fixed it. What I did was unplug my old 50Gb drive, ran bootrec with /fixmbr and /fixboot (for about the 50th time), and now I can boot successfully without my windows disk in the drive. Much fiddling with bcdedit (what a pain in the fundamental orifice! Is this the best microsoft can do?...) I finally managed to get the bootloader working the way I want it to. Haven't tried plugging the drive back in again, it had XP on it but I don't think it will boot any more, at least it didn't last time I tried it a while back, and bootrec didn't find it. So I suspect it's dead. Maybe the whole drive is no longer serviceable. don't know don't care really, I'll probably pull it out and chuck it one day.

Anyway, maybe this will help someone else with the same problem.

Cheers,
Ian
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2010   #13
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello mogplus8, welcome to Seven Forums!



If you'd have started a new thread, someone would have helped you sooner but few people watch old threads.



The solution is out-lined in this tutorial at the link below for future reference.

The boot repair process is now automated for the Windows 7 installer to repair on its own.


Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Oct 2010   #14
mogplus8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Thanks!

Hi Bare Foot Kid,

Thanks for the response and the link. I seriously hope I never need it again!

As I mentioned in my edited post, the problem has now gone away and my PC boots with no problem. Not only that, I can now burn a movie to dvd and boot linux from a cd! So all my problems have been solved by unplugging that drive. Not sure if I'm game to plug it back in again in case it fouls everything up again.

Anyway, plan B was to use Virtualbox to run Linux, but now that I can burn a dvd with Windows, not sure if I'll bother. Linux is fun to play with but causes even more frustration than Windows. I've played with Linux a lot over the years, and even had it as my primary OS for a while. But Win7 is good enough to make me wonder if it's really worth the effort. Maybe next time I have an hour or two to kill...

Cheers,
Ian
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2010   #15
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello again Ian.



You can have the best of both worlds.

Have a look at Option Three of this tutorial at the link below for an out-line on a way to do a wipe "secure erase" to the other Hard Disk Drive (HDD) so that all the old data and OS code is removed; it over-writes every sector with zeroes so be sure to retrieve any data you don't want over-written first, also be sure you do the correct HDD, you don't want to do the wrong one.

Partition Wizard : Use the Bootable CD



Then have a look at this info below to see how to boot OS/HDD independently of each-other.
information   Information

The easiest way to do away with boot issues between separate Operating Systems (OS) is to use the BIOS one time boot menu to select which OS to boot at system startup, each motherboard has an individual hot-key to tap during system start-up to access this menu.

If you have 2 separate Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and have one OS installed to one HDD and you want to install another OS to the second HDD, disconnect the HDD with the first OS installed on it and leave only the HDD you want to install the second OS to connected.
Just be sure not to change where the original HDD SATA cable was connected, it has to be re-connected to the exact same port to avoid boot issues.

Install the second OS to the connected HDD and when complete and the system is booting good, power down and reconnect the first HDD with the first OS on it.

This way the OSs will boot independently of each other and there will be no boot conflicts between the 2 separate OSs to have to sort later.

Then set the BIOS to boot the HDD / OS you want as default and if you want to start the other (new) OS you use the BIOS one-time boot menu to select that HDD / OS to start when the PC is started.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2010   #16
mogplus8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Another thought...

Thanks for the tip.

Have you ever had a thought that just floats around in the back of your brain, waiting for you to pay it some attention? I've had this thought wandering around the back of my brain, something I noticed in one of the links you gave me, and it wasn't until earlier today that it clicked. It was in the link about making a partition active. I scanned through it, and one statement finally made its presence felt. It was this: "However, the active partition on the first hard disk that your computer's BIOS detects is the one that will start the computer." The thing that finally found its way to my frontal lobes was the word "detects". Not the first disk in the boot order, but the first one the bios detects. Is that correct? If so what's the point of specifying a boot order in the bios?

If it is correct, then in my case that was my 50Gb ide hard drive, not my sata drive. So it seems to me that must have been the one all along that had the active partition and where the PC was trying to boot from, not the first partition of my sata drive where I was trying to do all the fixing, even though I had specified the sata drive as the first hard disk to boot from. So maybe when I disconnected the ide drive, the bios then detected my sata drive first, and waddya know, everything worked. I noticed another oddity, and it's been mentioned in a few other posts, that in the disk manager the two partitions on my sata drive were allocated E and F. My burner was drive D. No drive C. Didn't really take any notice of it at the time, if I had I might have twigged earlier. After I disconnected the ide drive and opened disk manager, the first partition on my sata drive had become the C drive.

Dunno if my conclusions are valid, but thought I'd pass it on in case it helps anyone else with similar problems.

Cheers,
Ian
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2010   #17
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello Ian.



I wish we could have seen a snip of disk management while the other HDD was connected; it does happen that more than 1 partition "becomes active" for reasons we don't understand yet, it has happened to me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Unable to Boot without a Bootable Disc in the Drive




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