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Windows 7: How do I keep Win 7, Dump XP from dual drive, dual boot

12 Nov 2009   #11
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Press F2 , or whatever key your Bios screen tells you for "setup".

Look around to find Boot Order.

Set the 7 HD as the FIRST HD .

Then go to command promt and type the bootsect command I posted earlier.

If you exported bcd when you copied bootmgr and Boot folder to 7 - then you should be fine.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
12 Nov 2009   #12
maxit

Windows 7 and XP
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Too small to read here as posted. But I see many other drives, which can be a problem if boot is diverted to a data drive.

Make sure no other drives are marked Active (or unplug them during operation) besides 7

Unplug your XP drive

Set Win7 installer to boot first in BIOS, then Win7 HDD next.

Boot into Win7 installer>Repair console and run Startup Repair 3 times to repair multiple issues including rewriting the MBR to Win7 drive
I think you identified the problem. I also found a Microsoft support article about it, although it's discussing this problem for an older version of Windows:

Changing Active Partition Can Make Your System Unbootable

The article points out the boot-up error symptomatic of having multiple active partitions ahead of the actual partition with the OS: "NTLDR is missing". That is exactly what I experienced. Since most people use drive C: to boot from, they may never see be aware of this idiosyncratic problem, as active partitions after the first won't cause the problem. Microsoft blames an Intel's design for this oversight.

So, your advice worked, sort of. Disconnecting all other hard drives except my chosen boot drive, allowed Win 7 to boot properly. Here's the way in which I finally was able to reconnect all the drives and boot from my Win 7 drive:

(1) Once Win 7 was able to boot from the single drive remaining, I deleted the unnecessary boot menu left over from the dual boot by running the command prompt utility in the administrator mode, (right-click on command prompt program icon, select Run as administrator), and used the following command to delete the menu: BCDEdit /delete {ntldr} /f

(2) I then reconnected all the drives I previously removed. Consistent with what I'd expect if the Microsoft article and your advice was true, Windows 7 no longer booted. The active partitions ahead of drive E: were still conflicting with the boot process. However, running the automated "Repair Your Computer" option from the installer DVD didn't help after that, meaning it was probably necessary to manually inactivate the unneeded active partitions.

(3) Given that possibility, I then booted to the Win 7 installer DVD yet again, selected the "Repair Your Computer" option and made my way to their various utilities. I ran the command prompt utility again, this time using the disk partition utility to mark the unnecessary active partitions as inactive, typing:

diskpart
list disk
select disk n(where n = the drive designation: 0,1, etc)
list partition (or the command, detail partition)
select partition m(where m = the unnecessary active partition)
inactive

...repeated for all unneeded active partitions on all the various hard drives that were installed...

exit

Doing that alone, however, did not work by itself either, but it apparently was a step in the right direction.

(4) I then rebooted (yet again) to the Win 7 installer DVD, which surprisingly was completely unable to find the Win 7 installation at that point, unlike all previous boots in which it immediately saw the Win 7 boot installation but for some reason was unable to perceive a problem. However this time, when the automated repair function was run, it properly tied up the loose ends.

Now Win 7 boots perfectly from drive E, even with two other drives ahead of it.

I suspect part of the problem might be in the default expectations of the installer program: it only recognizes a boot problem when the non-OS partitions are properly marked. Somehow the active partititions fooled it into thinking everything was ok which ultimately triggered an improper "fix", or no fix at all, resulting in an inability to boot to the Win 7 partition until all other drives were removed.

Correctly marking the partitions as active or inactive forced a correct fix by the installer program.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2009   #13
iseeuu

 
 

maxit;

We are glad you found a solution! And thanks for letting us know.

As an afterthought, I have run into similar issues with multiple hard drives. The BIOS looks for boot code on the first hard drive and if it doesn't find it will look at any other drives connected. You can change the order in which the BIOS checks.

This link to your Dell manual:

Documentation

explains how to do that if you need the help. You said that 7 would boot when it was the only hard drive attached? I would guess if you set that hard drive as the first in boot order, windows 7 would have booted for you?

It also says you can press F12 and select a drive from a menu.

I found this useful when I had Linux installed. I could boot to the linux boot loader or the windows boot loader just by selecting which hard drive to boot to from the menu.

Cheers!
Robert
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Nov 2009   #14
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

That's an extraordinarily long way round.

Normally, all that is needed is to set 7 HD first in bios boot order, then either run a couple of commands - takes seconds. Or run startup repair 3 times.

Because you had already copied bootmgr, boot folder and bcd across manually, and run the fixmbr command ( it was not clear from your earlier posts if that was complete , or successful )- in your case, the only thing you still needed to do was set 7 hd first in Bios boot order.

You now still have bios examining the HD (s) before the one you want to boot from.

Still, you got there in the end.

Glad it's now working for you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2009   #15
maxit

Windows 7 and XP
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
That's an extraordinarily long way round.

Normally, all that is needed is to set 7 HD first in bios boot order, then either run a couple of commands - takes seconds. Or run startup repair 3 times.

Because you had already copied bootmgr, boot folder and bcd across manually, and run the fixmbr command ( it was not clear from your earlier posts if that was complete , or successful )- in your case, the only thing you still needed to do was set 7 hd first in Bios boot order.

You now still have bios examining the HD (s) before the one you want to boot from.

Still, you got there in the end.

Glad it's now working for you.
That is just it, running Repair 3 times did not work. Every time Repair ran, it did not properly identify the problem, each time clearing it as solved. And it always properly identified the Win 7 partition being exactly where it should be. Yet after each pass of "repair", the machine failed to boot. All in all I ran "repair" about 8 times throughout the process, and it never found a correct solution. The Microsoft article may give a hint why: Microsoft does not consider that active partition order to be a problem, just a problem with the way Intel deals with that issue in its design. If the installer program doesn't see a problem, it won't fix it.

I can't be sure of that, but it would fit what I observed.

Also, the BIOS in my machine is not as fine-tuned as you indicated, and it can not be used to solve this problem of hard drive boot order. You misread the documentation for my machine. Here is what it says:

"Changing Boot Sequence for the Current Boot
You can use this feature, for example, to restart your computer to a USB device such as a floppy drive, memory key, or CD-RW drive"

In the BIOS provided, one can not actually specify which hard drive boots first, other than perhaps to turn hard drives on or off, which is not particularly helpful in the long-term. Perhaps that is the design flaw the Microsoft article is referring to. All you can specify is the hard drive stack in general, or alternatively, a USB device, CD/DVD device, or floppy. None of that would have affected a solution for the boot issue other than as an interim deselection of the hard drives. Deselecting a drive, however, simply turns it off and does not change it's boot order in the way that we were discussing previously.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2009   #16
gregrocker

 

Another example of the importance of unplugging all other drives when installing Win7 last to correctly configure a dual boot, or attempting to recover a boot that has been derailed using Startup Repair .
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2009   #17
gregrocker

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maxit View Post

In the BIOS provided, one can not actually specify which hard drive boots first, other than perhaps to turn hard drives on or off, which is not particularly helpful in the long-term. Perhaps that is the design flaw the Microsoft article is referring to. All you can specify is the hard drive stack in general, or alternatively, a USB device, CD/DVD device, or floppy. None of that would have affected a solution for the boot issue other than as an interim deselection of the hard drives. Deselecting a drive, however, simply turns it off and does not change it's boot order in the way that we were discussing previously.
I wonder if you might just be missing it. For example, many who are attempting to boot from USB flash installer fail to hit return on HDD in BIOS Boot or Advanced BIOS to discover the flash listed as one of HDD"s, then move it above others to achieve first boot position.

Just a possibility. Maybe Dell can tell ya.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2009   #18
iseeuu

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maxit View Post
In the BIOS provided, one can not actually specify which hard drive boots first, other than perhaps to turn hard drives on or off, which is not particularly helpful in the long-term. Perhaps that is the design flaw the Microsoft article is referring to. All you can specify is the hard drive stack in general, or alternatively, a USB device, CD/DVD device, or floppy. None of that would have affected a solution for the boot issue other than as an interim deselection of the hard drives. Deselecting a drive, however, simply turns it off and does not change it's boot order in the way that we were discussing previously.
Yes, Dell is well known for stripping BIOS settings to bare minimum.

It would seem then that Dell leaves you with the only option of physically connecting your 7 hard drive to the "Primary" hard drive cable to make it the first in the boot order. Somewhat inconvenient.

However, your solution to remove the boot code from your other hard drives works. As previously mentioned, the BIOS will move from hard drive to hard drive until it finds boot code to use. With your solution it doesn't matter what order the hard drives are placed as long as no hard drive before 7 has any boot code in the MBR.

Nicely done!
Robert
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2009   #19
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Another example of the importance of unplugging all other drives when installing Win7 last to correctly configure a dual boot, or attempting to recover a boot that has been derailed using Startup Repair .
How is that going to work?

I you plug the drive back in , and it is first in boot order - you will just boot into XP , or whatever is on there - and never get into 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2009   #20
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Hi Maxit,

Thanks for posting back.

I see what you are getting at.

If your Bios is crippled by the oem and doesn't allow you to alter the HD boot order.

Then of course, mark the others inactive.


It is not that there is something wrong with startup repair. It reported no errors, because there were none.

You could boot into 7 just fine with the original configuration - there is nothing to repair.

Startup repair doesn't "know" you want to change things around.

The problem you had is down to those very limited Bios options, sadly.



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maxit View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
That's an extraordinarily long way round.

Normally, all that is needed is to set 7 HD first in bios boot order, then either run a couple of commands - takes seconds. Or run startup repair 3 times.

Because you had already copied bootmgr, boot folder and bcd across manually, and run the fixmbr command ( it was not clear from your earlier posts if that was complete , or successful )- in your case, the only thing you still needed to do was set 7 hd first in Bios boot order.

You now still have bios examining the HD (s) before the one you want to boot from.

Still, you got there in the end.

Glad it's now working for you.
That is just it, running Repair 3 times did not work. Every time Repair ran, it did not properly identify the problem, each time clearing it as solved. And it always properly identified the Win 7 partition being exactly where it should be. Yet after each pass of "repair", the machine failed to boot. All in all I ran "repair" about 8 times throughout the process, and it never found a correct solution. The Microsoft article may give a hint why: Microsoft does not consider that active partition order to be a problem, just a problem with the way Intel deals with that issue in its design. If the installer program doesn't see a problem, it won't fix it.

I can't be sure of that, but it would fit what I observed.

Also, the BIOS in my machine is not as fine-tuned as you indicated, and it can not be used to solve this problem of hard drive boot order. You misread the documentation for my machine. Here is what it says:

"Changing Boot Sequence for the Current Boot
You can use this feature, for example, to restart your computer to a USB device such as a floppy drive, memory key, or CD-RW drive"

In the BIOS provided, one can not actually specify which hard drive boots first, other than perhaps to turn hard drives on or off, which is not particularly helpful in the long-term. Perhaps that is the design flaw the Microsoft article is referring to. All you can specify is the hard drive stack in general, or alternatively, a USB device, CD/DVD device, or floppy. None of that would have affected a solution for the boot issue other than as an interim deselection of the hard drives. Deselecting a drive, however, simply turns it off and does not change it's boot order in the way that we were discussing previously.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How do I keep Win 7, Dump XP from dual drive, dual boot




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