Computer won't boot unless I use boot manager

I'm usually fairly competent when it comes to computers and all - but I'm stumped at the moment. The easiest way to explain this is my computer's history.

So I got the computer with 1 hard drive, windows installed etc. After a couple of years and some re-installs of windows, I got a 60gb SSD, which I put games on. Recently, I wanted to install windows on the SSD (I kept the win 7 disc), so I did that - reformatted etc. I had my other hard drive disconnected when I did this. Eventually, I got it to boot properly, but only when I set the hard drive type to IDE and used windows boot manager as my primary (and only) boot option. If I tried to boot straight off the SSD, it would attempt to "repair" windows - and get stuck on a blinking underscore line. When I plugged in my old HD, it wouldn't boot (I had removed windows from it) from my SSD - it seemed to want to repair the old version of windows on my HD. So I reformatted the entire thing on another computer (which booted completely fine with this hard drive in it), copied the files back and got the same result. I have cleared my CMOS twice, with no result. I basically just want to use this drive as storage.

TL;DR - I can't boot my computer unless I set the boot option to "Windows Boot Manager", but if I then plug in my old hard drive (which I used to boot off of), it doesn't work.
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  1. Have you tried ACHI instead of IDE?
  2. coastie65 said:
    Have you tried ACHI instead of IDE?


    Yes, it wouldn't show up in the boot options on my BIOS, and windows boot manager displayed a message about inserting a bootable disc and press a key or reboot: it didn't work.
  3. That message generally indicates that you are trying to boot to something other than the hdd the OS is on. Recheck your boot order and make sure it is set to boot to the Hdd.
  4. coastie65 said:
    That message generally indicates that you are trying to boot to something other than the hdd the OS is on. Recheck your boot order and make sure it is set to boot to the Hdd.

    This./\
  5. coastie65 said:
    That message generally indicates that you are trying to boot to something other than the hdd the OS is on. Recheck your boot order and make sure it is set to boot to the Hdd.

    I certainly am not booting directly off of my SSD - I have to boot with windows boot manager, which I'm guessing loads windows off the SSD. If I set the boot order to boot from the SSD, it does nothing (doesn't work).
  6. I think some Information on your computer is in order. It sounds like it may be an older computer. Also, need some info on your SSD such as is it SATA II ( 3Gb/s ) or SATA III ( 6Gb/S )? 60 Gb is a bit thin and Probably best to just run the OS from it.
  7. coastie65 said:
    I think some Information on your computer is in order. It sounds like it may be an older computer. Also, need some info on your SSD such as is it SATA II ( 3Gb/s ) or SATA III ( 6Gb/S )? 60 Gb is a bit thin and Probably best to just run the OS from it.


    I have an ASUS M5A97 EVO MOBO, amd FX 6100 cpu and the SSD is a 60GB Kingston SV300S37A60G - I reformatted the SSD when I decided to put windows on it, so that's all that is on the hard drive (20Gb spare).
  8. Please use disk management(diskmgmt.msc) to see if the SSD has a system reserved partition(this tends to contain the boot loader on Win Vista/7/8)?

    If you had the hard drive installed when installing Windows and it has the system reserved partition, It may have just used that one. I have seen Windows do this in multi disk systems.
  9. nukemaster said:
    Please use disk management(diskmgmt.msc) to see if the SSD has a system reserved partition(this tends to contain the boot loader on Win Vista/7/8)?

    If you had the hard drive installed when installing Windows and it has the system reserved partition, It may have just used that one. I have seen Windows do this in multi disk systems.


    That would be a yes to the system partition. The other hard drive there is my newest one, which only contains games and never had windows on it - it works with my SSD boot of windows. The only thing that confuses me is that when I put my old HD into my other computer, it worked fine - so I could copy, reformat, paste and remove without hassle. I have a feeling that it's to do with windows boot manager, because I SHOULD be able to tell my BIOS to boot form my SSD, but if I do - blinking underscore screen.
  10. Strange that your system reserved seems to not have any data on it.

    on the 2 systems near me one has 56 megabytes free(this one has been messed with an Windows 8 had taken it over for a bit and made it 300megabytes. I have it back to 100) the other 62.

    Is that also an Active Partition?

    Something is strange for sure.

    Some bios setups have drive and EFI drive boot options, maybe try both?
  11. nukemaster said:
    Strange that your system reserved seems to not have any data on it.

    on the 2 systems near me one has 56 megabytes free(this one has been messed with an Windows 8 had taken it over for a bit and made it 300megabytes. I have it back to 100) the other 62.

    Is that also an Active Partition?

    Something is strange for sure.

    Some bios setups have drive and EFI drive boot options, maybe try both?


    If you can think of anything, it would be great. At the moment my only solution is to buy another hard drive, transfer the files across using a different computer and use that instead.
  12. nukemaster said:
    Strange that your system reserved seems to not have any data on it.

    on the 2 systems near me one has 56 megabytes free(this one has been messed with an Windows 8 had taken it over for a bit and made it 300megabytes. I have it back to 100) the other 62.

    Is that also an Active Partition?

    Something is strange for sure.

    Some bios setups have drive and EFI drive boot options, maybe try both?


    Also, I though I had solved it when I put the hard drive in RAID mode, and the SSD in IDE, but it turns out that didn't display the hard drive. If I put the hard drive in AHCI, it does the same thing (windows repair loading then nothing)
  13. You said you used a disk to reinstall the OS. What version is it, OEM or Retail?
  14. Is either the 100megabyte OR c : set to active. and which one?

    A program called easyBCD may be able to generate a new boot loader on the SSD.

    My some experiments(Spare drive and I had an image so any mess-up would not harm things) it was able to go as far as to even use the boot loader on the c : removing the need for a system reserved partition, but even moving the c : partition around the drive can mess with the Windows boot loader.

    Once you get back to me with that Info, I will see if we can see what is going on.
  15. Keep thinking about that repair thing and makes me wonder about the MBR. I moved the OS from the Hdd to the SSD when I installed it and had no issues.
  16. nukemaster said:
    Is either the 100megabyte OR c : set to active. and which one?

    A program called easyBCD may be able to generate a new boot loader on the SSD.

    My some experiments(Spare drive and I had an image so any mess-up would not harm things) it was able to go as far as to even use the boot loader on the c : removing the need for a system reserved partition, but even moving the c : partition around the drive can mess with the Windows boot loader.

    Once you get back to me with that Info, I will see if we can see what is going on.


    Is there a free program that can do the same thing? It's just that I don't even know if it will work.
  17. coastie65 said:
    You said you used a disk to reinstall the OS. What version is it, OEM or Retail?


    OEM - but it gave me the "windows is not genuine" thing (even though I did pay for it and whatnot). So I... you know... fixed it.
  18. If it gave you that, you can just call them up and get it fixed.

    EasyBCD has a free version.
    http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/OS-Enhancements/EasyBCD.shtml

    But you need to know how to use it right to make the most of it.

    Again, What partition is called ACTIVE? on your SSD?
  19. nukemaster said:


    Again, What partition is called ACTIVE? on your SSD?


    How do I find out which partition is active?
  20. From what I see in the Disk Management screenshot, it all looks fine with the SSD. There is only one active Partition ( C: ). The smaller Partition is a set aside of sorts and done with all SSDs and not used. I forgot the exact reason for it, but it isn't being accessed and won't be at this point. In short, it isn't an issue.
  21. You may be thinking of alignment, but that is an even smaller or so partition that does NOT show up(its not a partition but unallocated space to make the drives date line up with 4k sectors.).

    It would show up in gparted in linux as an offset(or some third party windows partition managers.).

    The normal 100megabyte partition should be the boot loader.

    Anyway, you can see what partition is active in diskmgmt.msc
  22. Hmmm, yours is set up a bit different than mine or so it appears:
  23. If you partitioned it before installing windows. The boot manager will be on c :(this may even be included if you have cloned it) . Most likely in a hidden folder(if you set it to show Hidden and protected operating system files, you should see a folder called boot with the BCD file and windows memory diagnostics as well as some other files).

    I have the 1megabyte offset(not showing do to the size) and then 100 for Windows bootloader and utilities. It almost looks like the ssd was manually aligned.

    The windows boot loader is just as happy on c: or any drive for that matter(I have it on a flash drive so that when I mess with it, if something goes wrong, I can boot Windows and fix it.).

    This is why I want to see what is active so that I can see what has to be done to make the SSD boot it self properly.

    The most easy solution for the OP is to add the BCD to the c : with easyBCD then open and edit it to ensure it loads Windows. After this make sure c : is active and be done with it, but all users have different preferences(this will leave them with a system just like yours. And we all KNOW that works. I have had systems setup the same in the past.).
  24. As far as I can remember, I installed it then formatted it and just cloned the OS form the Hdd and a few other things that I access on a regular basis. There are some good reasons for doing things in a certain way, but I have found that taking some of those "exotic" roads can lead to problems.
  25. Mine is the default way Windows does stuff on a new drive(unformatted). Nothing exotic about it. :) . So a fresh install looks like mine.

    Any systems I have that do not use the system reserved to boot the system are ones that had partitions in place already(From other OSes in most cases)

    Can you please confirm your boot folder in the root of c : (with hidden files and protected operating systems files showing)
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