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Windows 7: Win7 Install on 2nd drive now need to format 1st

26 Dec 2009   #1

Win 7 and Vista (both 64bit)
Win7 Install on 2nd drive now need to format 1st

So I was not sure about Win7 and I have a PC with 2 physically separate internal hard drives. So I retained my vista OS on my C:/ drive (named OS) and did a clean install of windows 7 (using an upgrade disc student edition) on my D:/ drive (DATA).

After setting up, using and liking windows 7, I want to eliminate my vista system, which is boated now, completely. However, apparently with an intel chipset, I can't simply format the OS drive using the disc management utility, even though when I boot windows 7, it is renamed the D:/ drive because the bootloader is on the OS drive. I have tried changing the DATA drive to an active, bootable drive in disc manager. Unfortunately, I can't seem to make it the primary partition.

Originally found this forum on google with a hit on help: cannot reformat c drive
useful information, but I am not completely sure what it means.

After spending about a week customizing my Win7 install, I am not too happy about the possibility having to reinstall on the OS drive and go from there. What method should I use to format my OS drive, and still be able to boot the DATA drive. I would then like to use my OS drive for storing music, and pictures, etc.

I have an external HD to work with. I suppose I could image the DATA drive with the Win7 install, format the OS drive, and then restore the image to the C drive, but that still leaves the problem of how to format the OS drive in the first place. Also, I've never done a recovery from image before, and am not big on the prospect.

Thanks for your help,

A Windows Fanboy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2009   #2
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

Hello win7zunewinmo Welcome to the Se7en Forums!

Since the boot files and mbr entries are located on the Vista C drive one option would be to unplug that and boot from the upgrade disk in order to use the repair tools. Once you get the language selection screen upon that loading up and see the Install Now button look below that for the "repair your computer" link there.

This will proceed to scan your drive to locate any 7 installations to be listed before proceedint to the next where the automatic "startup repair" option is seen on the top of the list. By using the tool there hopefully that will write a new ser of boot information as well as create new entires in the mbr on the D drive making it bootable on it's own.

The other option without the C drive plugged in is to actually run an inplace upgrade repair of the present installation when you start up the Windows installer still without the C drive plugged in. This will again require activation once completed but would preserve the present installation as well as make that drive bootable.

Once the C drive Vista is on is reformatted you won't be able to boot into 7 until the D drive is made bootable on it's own. Without the Vista drive plugged for an upgrade repair you may still end up having 7 see itself as D however.

With the number of dual boot and even multiboots across different drives here I have yet to see 7 named D however! With two 64bit installs and another 32bit install on 3 separate drives each sees itself as C while booted in that installation. Even on the old thread you found there the idea of a repair install was suggested.

For reformatting the drive Vista is on you will need a 3rd party drive partitioning program where you can boot live from a cd to get the problem of 7 presently seeing it's own boot loader there. There are a few different partitioning programs you can download free or try out a shareware version. The free Linux program used here to cover a variety of partitioning tasks even on usb flash drives is GParted available at Browse GParted Files on

The general information on that is seen with instructions for use at GPARTED DOCUMENTATION - GENERALITIES

You can even use a flash if you lack a cd or dvd burner if you can boot from flash drives to boot live with an iso image you write to flash drive. For writing an iso image like GParted to a flash drive you can download the trial version of UltraISO which works quite well. You only need a small 512mb or 1gb flash drive for this. ISO CD DVD image creator, editor and ISZ DMG DAA UIF to ISO converter - UltraISO can extract/create/edit/convert CD and DVD image files directly, make bootable CDs and convert ISZ DMG DAA UIF to ISO.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #3
Microsoft MVP


Please post a screenshot of your full Disk Management map, using Snipping Tool in Start Menu, attaching file using paper clip in reply box.

We have done 100+ of these dual boot extractions here since release date with a 95% success rate. Separate HD's are easiest.

The procedure is normally as simple as marking Win7 active, unplugging Vista, switching it's cable to Win7 or setting Win7 to boot first in BIOS, then booting the Win7 DVD to run Startup Repair 3 separate times to rewrite the MBR to Win7.

However sometimes drives become oddly configured so we need to see the screenshot first to advise you with certainty of the steps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

27 Dec 2009   #4
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

Another thing that will play an immediate factor is having an ide drive mixed with a sata. If the Vista drive is an ide model while the 7 drive is sata you'll definitely want to keep that unplugged until the 7 boot situation is set. You will want that anyways to aviod the 7 repair picking up on the old boot info as well.

With two satas simply swap the data cables in particular like gregrocker pointed to there to see that in the first port either by unplugging at the drive end(easier to get at) or replug at the board to see it set as default. With 5 satas in at present I'll actually have one of the side covers off while installing to one drive if that follows another for a stand alone install or repair(not very often with repair) until things are set.

Once the startup repair is done a few times and you see 7 load you should be able to plug the Vista drive back in and see that reformatted in the DM since the boot loader there is no longer active. A live cd however will insure that however since neither Windows is running to involve drive. It goes faster then you think!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #5

Win 7 and Vista (both 64bit)

Attachment 43958[IMG]file:///C:/Users/KUNALA%7E1/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot.png[/IMG]The disc management screenie is attached
Its a laptop, out of warranty, and I am a bit hesitant to open it up. Both drives are SATA. And when win7 is booted it of course calls the DATA drive C:/ but the intel architecture still wants to boot from the primary OS drive.

Is there any reason copying a disc image from DATA to OS would fail? They are the exact same drive and exact same size, possibly followed by a startup repair.

Attached Thumbnails
Win7 Install on 2nd drive now need to format 1st-win7installdrives.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64


Either go into bios and make Disk2 first in HD boot order, or mark D inactive.

To mark D inactive, use a 3rd party partition manager , e.g. Paragon Partition Manager 2010 Free , or Partition Wizard:

Select Full scale Launcher, Rt click the D partition and select Mark Inactive, click Apply.

Win7 Install on 2nd drive now need to format 1st-pm2010free-inact-2009-12-27_164248.jpg

Then boot the 7 dvd and run startup repair 3 times.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #7

Win 7 and Vista (both 64bit)

Hold on Disk 1 is the OS disk that has vista installed
Disk 2 is the DATA disk with the Win7 install
Disk 1 is the first in the boot order, which is exactly the problem. I would like to keep my clean install of windows 7 on the DATA disc intact.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

You're right, it should be Disk 2 that is the boot drive. If it is first in Bios HD boot order ( or the first with an Active partition - that will do it)

Then run startup repair 3x to write the boot critical fles to it.

Where is your Disk 0 btw?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #9
Microsoft MVP


Recap: Set Win7 HD to boot first in BIOS.

Boot into Win7 DVD Repair console, click through to Recovery tools list and first choose Command Line to type:

SELECT DISK # (for Vista HD)
SELECT PARTITION # (for Vista partition)
DELETE PARTITION OVERRIDE (if you want to delete it now)

Now return to Recovery Tools List and Run Startup Repair 3 times to rewrite the MBR to Win7.

Normally the Recovery Partition is disabled when Win7 is installed. You can test it now by tapping the key given on the first bootup screen for Recovery. If it won't run then suggest you delete it in Disk Management and reformat the entire Vista HD after partitioning as you wish.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #10
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

As I was saying before simply swap the data cables around to see the 7 drive plugged into the first sata port and boot from a live cd like GParted to literally nuke the Vista drive with a good format with a right click and choosing the ntfs option for the file system. You can also right click on the 7 primary and relabel it there or on the drive's icon in Windows Explorer if not the Disk Management tool.

Once you wipe Vista off you then reboot and when the GParted cd is ejected you place the 7 disk in and reboot into that to perform the startup repair. With the bios then seeing the 7 drive as the first along with the boot sector and mbr information written by the startup repair you should be booting into 7 in no time.

That keeps everything simple and goes fast.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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