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Windows 7: Loading Operating System ... DISK BOOT FAILURE (2 HDDs)

08 Feb 2013   #1

Windows 7 64 bit
Loading Operating System ... DISK BOOT FAILURE (2 HDDs)

Hey guys, first post, got a bit of an interesting issue.

Months ago, when I first built this computer, I installed Windows7 on a 120GB SSD drive. A month or so after, I found that I needed more space, so I got a 256GB SSD (installed Windows 7 on it as well), which I've been using since and love. As I expected, when the system booted up, I got a Windows Boot Manager menu asking which of the two Windows 7s I would like to boot to. Makes sense, right? Two drives, both with Windows 7 on them, which does the user want to use? No problem, I'd pick the first, which went to the larger 256GB drive, everything was peachy.

Fast forward to today. I have a new system that I'm building and I figured I'd pop out the 120GB SSD from this machine and use it in the new system, which won't be for gaming so I don't need too much storage. When I popped out the drive, and rebooted, I now get a message that the operating system cannot be found. Something along the lines of the following:

Loading Operating System...Boot Disk Failure

I go into the BIOS, and yep, BIOS sees the 256GB SSD, but I can't boot to it. When I put the Windows 7 install disk in and go to "Repair your computer", and "System Recovery Options", it sees no Operating Systems. It's like something on that 120GB drive was keeping track of the 256GB drive. Did the 120GB drive keep a OS loader of sorts on it that's required to boot off of the 256GB drive?

When I put the 120GB drive back in, the system sees both Windows7s. When I boot off the install disk, the "Repair your computer" see both Windows7s. I can even boot to WIndows7 on the 256GB drive.

How can I remove the first disk, the 120GB disk, but keep the second disk, the 256GB disk, functioning without reinstalling?

Much thanks in advance!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2013   #2

Windows 7 64 bit

I just ran Disk Management and see that the 120GB drive has a "System Reserved" partition that the 256GB drive does not:

System Reserved
Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition)

Might this be what the 256GB drive is missing?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2013   #3

Windows 7 64 bit

Ah ha!

I shrunk my primary partition on the 256GB drive by 105MB (wanted 100MB free for this boot partition) by using Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc from Start menu). I then created a new partition of size 100MB, assigned it the drive letter F, and made it NTFS, like my 120GB drive's boot partition, also labeling the partition "System Reserved".

I then followed instructions at the following URL: How to install Windows 8 boot manager in a different partition? - Super User to use bcdboot to copy the boot files to this new F partition:

I opened cmd (as administrator) and ran the following:
> bcdboot c:\windows /s f:
boot files successfully created.

I then marked the new F partition as "Active" using Disk Management.

I shut the computer down, removed the 120GB drive, rebooted, and sighed a big sigh of relief as Windows 7 booted off of my 256GB drive.

I hope this helps someone!

Thanks for acting as a sounding board, guys
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Feb 2013   #4


Always unplug all other HD's when installing an OS.

Because your System boot files for both OS's were on the original SSD System Reserved partition, you should have marked Win7 partition Active on the larger SSD first, then unplugged all other HD's to run Startup Repair - Run up to 3 Separate Times which is the only method that will test and repair all parameters involved.

For example you now will not have System Recovery Options on the F8 Advanced Boot Options because using dated XP-era commands to move the boot files does not cover that like the automated method does.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2013   #5

Windows 7 64 bit

Hey gregrocker, thanks for the reply.

That's a good tip, about unplugging the first HDD before installing the OS on the new one. I'll make sure to do that in the future.

Even after moving the boot files the old fashion way, can I/should I run Startup Repair?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2013   #6


Run Startup Repair to check over everything. Startup Repair

Tap F8 key at reboot to Check if Repair My Computer is on F8 Advanced Boot tools menu.

If not run Startup Repair until it appears.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2013   #7

Windows 7 64 bit

I need to get going to work but I will try this tonight when I get home.

Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Loading Operating System ... DISK BOOT FAILURE (2 HDDs)

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