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Trouble exchanging a broken HDD - it has the bootmgr on it

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September 2, 2013 6:55:18 PM

Good evening everyone,

I have been toying with the idea of joining tomshardware for a long time, since it has helped me greatly on many occasions already and i would like to thank everyone involved. Now that I have a legitimate problem related to hardware installation and Windows 7 i figured it was time to join.


So my problem is as follows;
I have a custom-build PC I had assembled by my uncle's computer-company. They set me up with a complete installation of a legit copy of Windows 7 Professional, installed all the drivers and did all the basics for me, so I didn't have to worry about it.
Unfortunately, it seems they provided me with an (officially distributed) but repaired version of a 1TB Seagate Barracuda SATA II HDD in addition to my Samsung 840 SSD, which is my Win 7 installation folder.
The HDD worked fine for a few months, but has now broken. A tool by the name of CrystalDisk.info indicates that the HDD no longer properly reallocates sectors and Windows 7 has repeatedly warned me that this may lead to destabilization of the system. I am currently not actively using this HDD and relying solely on my limited SSD storage as much as possible.

Consequently, I now want to get rid of my current HDD and have already bought a replacement and also backed-up all the data that was left on the HDD to an external drive. I am all set for an exchange, so to speak, except I'm not, it seems.

First Try:
When i simply unplugged the HDD from my system and tried to reboot, my BIOS gave me the error message "no boot device found. Insert proper boot device or installation device and reboot" (or something alike). I messed a bit with the boot priorities in my BIOS but could not get it to work. I then returned everything to how it was, plugged the HDD back in, succesfully rebooted, and conducted some research.

I found that my Win7 had placed the infamous 100 MB of "system-reserved" storage on the broken HDD I was trying to remove. I learned that this includes the bootmanager, which is needed to find the winload.exe file and that this setup exists, because during the installation (that I did not conduct myself) the HDD must have been connected as well and it was/ still is connected to the primary SATA-connector. It therefore has priority over the SSD from the BIOS perspective and so this 100 mb of information was placed there during setup to "point" the BIOS to the correct location.

Second Try:
I tried the most common solution, which is to unplug the broken HDD, insert the Windows installation DVD and use the repair-routines it provides. Only problem is that the window prompting me to select an installation of Win7 to repair shows an empty list. I tried to manually provide it with a driver for my SSD, in order for it to find my current installation, but it seems there is no such thing on the DVD that came along with the SSD, only other utility software. These drivers are also nowhere to be found in the filesystem, as far as i can tell.

Third try:
I then tried the stubborn method of simply ignoring the lack of drivers or a selected partition and the routines "succesfully" completed themselves, but with no apparent changes as another reboot still resulted in a lack of "proper boot device".


Alternatively I have also read in another thread( http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/2676-bcdedit-how-u...)
that you can mess around with a lot of the information regarding the bootmgr and other bootdevices using the bcdedit- tools, but I did not find a solution to my specific problem, so i held of on experimenting with that.

Now to my question:

Are there any other ways, I can get rid of the 100 MB of system-reserved space on the broken HDD (without breaking the system) or at least reallocate it to my Win7-installation on my SSD?

Is there a chance that the repair-utilities on the Win7 installation-DVD might work, when I can manage to feed it the SSD's proper drivers? Where would I find those?


Any further help and information is greatly appreciated! Many thanks in advance.


(Sorry for writing so long, I felt that I needed to provide as much information as possible for you to be able to properly help me.)
a c 86 G Storage
September 2, 2013 7:09:10 PM

I think that you are going to have to save the rest of your info and do a clean install on the SSD. Install windows then drivers on the ssd alone and then install your new HDD afterwards and you should have access to it. Do not have the hdd installed during the windows install.

That's what I would do, anyways...

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September 2, 2013 7:56:48 PM
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September 3, 2013 4:16:00 AM

Thank you both for your quick replies. Sorry I couldn't answer immediately because i went to bed shortly after writing this.

I did not want to immediately have to reinstall my Win7, so part of the motivation of posting here was trying to find a solution without having to resort to this worst-case solution.
I therefore followed the advice given in the two threads linked by dreamerz and managed to mark my current system partition as "active", unplugged the broken HDD, rebooted using the WIn7DVD, ran the repair-utilites twice.

On the first try it immediately detected that there was an error with the system boot and automatically fixed the issue and rebooted. Then the DVD started up again and my Win7 installation was visible in the list of available partitions. I ran the startup-repair utility and it detected "bootmanager is missing or corupted" and succesfully resolved the issue.

Thanks again for your help and patience. I could have probably found this solution myself, had I only looked a bit further, but when you are tired and have already extended your current knowledge, it's easy to feel defeated and helpless. That is why boards like this are so great!
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