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Windows 7: Problem booting into Windows 7 (need to have XP drive connected)

03 Jul 2010   #1

Windows 7
Problem booting into Windows 7 (need to have XP drive connected)

It's my first post, and I'm afraid it's a long one with a cry for help!

I've spent a good few hours reading through various posts on the forum and trying different things, but have been unable to find a resolution. Here's a summary of the problem and what I've tried so far.

I've had a dual boot setup for a while with XP on Disk 1 and Vista on Disk 0. I didn't ever really use Vista, so I installed Windows 7 on the Vista partition (I did a fresh install rather than upgrade - it archived the Vista files in a windows.old directory) and kept a dual boot set up for a while with XP and Windows 7. I've now moved all of my applications / files across and now want to retire the XP hard drive and just run Windows 7.

The problem is that Windows 7 will not boot unless the XP HDD (Disk 1) is connected. From what I understand, the Windows 7 bootloader is installed on the XP (Disk 1) parition - hence the dependency on that drive being available. I can see in Disk Management that the XP (Disk 1) is the system partition and that there is also a 9MB MBR partition on this drive. There is no MBR partition on the Windows 7 (Disk 0).

If I unplug the XP drive and boot off the Windows 7 (Disk 0) HDD I get the Windows Boot Manager screen and an option to select Windows 7 Ultimate, I select this but then get a message 'File: \Windows\System32\winload.exe', 'Status: 0xc0000428', 'Info: Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file'.

If I boot of the Windows 7 DVD and select 'Repair your computer' it searches for Windows installations and finds 'Windows 7 Ultimate', but when I click next I get a message 'This version of System Recovery Options is not compatible with the version of Windows you are trying to repair. Try using a recovery disc that is compatible with this version of Windows' - even though it's the original DVD I installed from in the first place.

I've gone to the menu and selected 'Startup Repair', but after a short while get a message 'Startup Repair cannot repair this computer automatically. Included in the additional information I can a line 'Problem Signature07: No os installed'. If I reconnect and boot from the XP drive (Disk 1) I get the dual boot 'Windows Boot Manager' menu, select Windows 7 and it loads up OK.

Following some advice on the forum I've tried launching the cmd prompt from the Systems Recovery Options menu and have tried the bootrec /scanos (total identified windows installations: 0), bootrec /fixmbr, bootrec fixboot sequence, but even though it says 'the operation has completed successfully' it makes no difference. I've also tried exporting/deleting the BCD and then running the bootrec /rebuildbcd command, but again it makes no difference.

I'm actually a bit confused about what it is I need to do......I think what I need to do is create a MBR on the HDD where Windows 7 is installed (Disk 0). Does this have to be in a dedicated partition as with the XP installation?

Again, from following advice on the forum it seems as if the Windows 7 DVD should be able to create this for me, but this doesn't work (as per notes above). I'm a bit unclear as to what the BCD does, and what MBR does!

As you can see, I've had a good go at this and have tried to avoid posting as there are numerous similar threads, but I've kind of hit a brick wall on this.

I'd really appreciate it if any of you experts out there could help me out and explain what's needed to make Windows 7 boot from it's own drive, and then any suggestions on how I can get there!

Sorry for the length of the post, but wanted to cover everything I've already tried.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP


Mark Win7 active in XP Disk Mgmt, Power down, Unplug the XP HD, set WIn7 HD as first HD to boot in BIOS setup, boot the Win7 DVD Repair console or Repair CD, click through to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots to write the MBR to Win7.

System Repair Disc - Create

If these steps fail using new Repair CD, then plug XP back in, boot Win7 to post back a screenshot of your full Disk Management drive map using Snipping Tool in Start Menu.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2010   #3

Windows 7

gregrocker - thanks so much for posting - you've fixed my issue!

It's interesting as I'd already done exactly as you described with the Windows 7 DVD / Repair Console and it didn't work - it complained that the version on the DVD was not compatible with the os on the HD. I did exactly the same thing but with the Repair CD and it worked!

It ran through a startup repair once, rebooted, and then failed the next time (said 'cannot repair this computer automatically, and said 'Missing os loader' in the details box) but then let me boot straight into Windows 7 with the XP drive still disconnected. Now that I've reconnected the XP HD I can format it because the System partition is now on the Windows 7 Disc! Perfect! Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Jul 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP


You're welcome. Glad it finally worked for you. Hang onto that Repair CD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Problem booting into Windows 7 (need to have XP drive connected)

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