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Windows 7: Questions about the MBR

20 Jul 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro X64
Questions about the MBR

Alright, so long story short my home built desktop has 3 hard drives.

One of which is a far newer Western Digital Caviar Black 750gb drive.

The next oldest drive is approximately 4 years old 250GB seagate hard drive that was I originally got as a replacement drive for an older computer.

The third, and oldest drive at nearly 6 years old, was the drive that was the one replaced by the drive mentioned above. I was able to repair the drive and has worked quite well for quite a while. It is 250GB Western Digital drive, some OEM model put in an old HP circa 2005.

Since my desktop was the product of a long series of drawn out upgrades (unemployed high school students tend to have small computer budgets ) and at least 3 seperate installations of OS's (one vista, one windows 7 RC and one full windows 7 pro 64-bit) the later two were done on the Caviar Black.

However, the Master Boot Record, it appears, is on the oldest of the drives.

It also appears that the disk is failing (or at least that is my guess).

This is because occasionally when I start my computer it will tell me I have No OS installed. The instances in which this happened has increased over the past week or so.

Other times it will boot properly to the screen where I can choose which OS I would like to boo, even though Win 7 pro 64-bit is the only one still actually installed.

My question is how can I move the MBR from that older failing drive to my primary drive, the Caviar Black?

Also what are other tests and diagnostics I should/could run to see if the drive is failing and get a better idea of how soon I need to get a new drive.

Thank you!

P.S. System specs below are up to date

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2011   #2

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

The MBR issue would probably be resolved via a "System Repair Disk" Repair function or a Bootrec /fixmbr but
A disk management screenshot would help.

Disk diagnostics:
Try the WD Lifeguard diagnostics
and the Windows chkdsk (can be carried out via command prompt or Windows "Computer" screen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2011   #3

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit


Please carry out following:


Run disk management:
WIN is the key with the wavy flag.

Maximize the output of Disk Management:
ALT-Spacebar key combo (this pops up a menu) |
X key (selects Maximize) |
Drag the field separators (such as between Status and Capacity) to show entire field. This is very important, otherwise, needed info is not visible.

Make a snapshot:
Click the New button.
Drag the cursor around the area you want to snip.
File | Save as | select save location and name | Save button

Post the snapshot:
Click on the paperclip icon in that row of icons at the top of the message box.
Click on a BROWSE button. There are 5 of them.
Navigate to the folder containing the snapshot.
Click on the snapshot.
Click on the OPEN button.
Click on the UPLOAD button adjacent to the 5th BROWSE button.
Close the MANAGE ATTACHMENTS window.
Position the cursor at the spot in the message where you want the
snapshot to appear.
Click on the PaperClip again.
Click on the file which you want to insert
Attach code will be inserted into your message.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

21 Jul 2011   #4


Write the Win7 System boot Files to the Win7 partition which is accomplished by marking it Active then running Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times
Partition - Mark as Active

Before running the Repairs I would unplug all other HD's, swap the DISK0 cable to Win7, make sure it is then set to boot first in BIOS setup.

A possible hitch is if the Win7 partition is Logical, which cannot be marked Active to write the System boot files upon. In that case you'll need to use free Partition Wizard bootable CD to rightclick Modify>Convert to Primary, OK, then rightclick Modify>Set to Active, OK. Next click on Win7 HD to highlight it, from Disk tab select Rebuild MBR which might preclude the need to run 3 Startup Repairs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2011   #5

Windows 7 Pro X64

First off, my apologies for not replying with the screen shots requested.

I ran a bunch of diagnostics on the drive and it showed it to be in good health and I forgot about this thread.

Unfrotunately, the suspect hard drive is now no longer recognized by the BIOS.

I followed the steps that gregrocker suggested to fix the MBR and it worked like a charm.

So that biggest issue is resolved.

I have another question is it possible for an amateur such as myself to recover data off a hard drive not recognized by the BIOS?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2011   #6

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

The question is whether it is recognized by Windows? Even if it is not accessible, does it appear in the Device Manager?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2011   #7

Windows 7 Enterprise x64 SP1

Recovering data from a drive can be (sometimes) described as a "gamble". If you really want to improve your chances of "winning", I'd say go to someone who does this for a living. Just to be on the safe side.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2011   #8


If the HD isn't seen in BIOS or from Windows, then it likely won't respond to data recovery software. You can make one last attempt to see if it is seen by the maker's HD diagnostics/repair CD to run extended scan, or see if data is seen from Win7 DVD or Repair CD: Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console

Recuva - Features is good Data Recovery freeware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2011   #9

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

Going to a professional is very expensive. If the data is critical, then that may be best, but there are other avenues quite a bit less expensive. The best that I know about is O&O Disk Recovery, but even it is not cheap ($99.95). You may find a freeware program that will do the job, but I don't know of any to recommend.

EDIT: MHDD can be very useful to diagnose the condition of the drive. Since you can make a CD containing it, you can boot to it, instead of Windows, and if it can see the files on the drive, then you have a good chance to recover them...but not with MHDD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2011   #10

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Sauronis View Post
I have another question is it possible for an amateur such as myself to recover data off a hard drive not recognized by the BIOS?
The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is the ground floor. If your BIOS or some other computer's BIOS can't read/recognize the HDD then you surely need to plug it into some specialized recovery equipment.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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