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windows 8.1 (ssd) won't boot after disconnecting data hdd

Last response: in Storage
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December 28, 2013 12:55:33 PM

it's a strange one. i have all my data (no software) stored on a hdd and W8.1 pro on my ssd. now if i remove the hdd, windows won't boot. anyone know why? i've tried running repair from disc, but still nothing. this just doesn't make sense to me, what has the hdd got to do with booting ssd?

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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 28, 2013 1:00:43 PM

Please check the hard drive in disk management to see if it contains the boot loader for Windows 8. If this is the case, that is your problem.

The windows boot loader does not actually have to be on the drive you are booting from(Vista/7/8 have a partition or multiple partitions hidden from the user to deal with booting and diagnostics.).

You can move the boot loader over but it may take some work.

You "may" be able to use easyBCD community edition to add a boot loader to the normal c : partition as well. I have never tried it with Windows 8 and many little things can cause that to not actually work.

A screen shot of disk management may help(Start + R and type diskmgmt.msc).
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December 28, 2013 1:01:28 PM

Did you install windows on the SSD while the other drive was connected?
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December 28, 2013 1:02:43 PM

cheers, but what am i looking for in disk management? it says that C contains Boot, Page File, Crash dump and primary partition. the hdd just says System, Active, primary partition
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December 28, 2013 1:03:17 PM

yes, i did install windows on ssd while hdd was connected. cheers for the rapid responses.

so by installing with the hdd connected, are some of the boot files installed to that disk? i've poked around for hidden files but can't see any ini files or anything like
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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 28, 2013 1:32:05 PM

So just a single partition on each drive?

No other partitions without letters assigned to them?
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December 28, 2013 1:40:41 PM

no, no other partitions that i can see. have checked with paragon partition manager too.
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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 28, 2013 1:56:48 PM

Strange. I have never seen Win8 not at least have 1 partition to hold any diagnostics and bootloader. If you preformat the ssd or hard drive it can be installed on one partition, but the hard drive should not be holding anything in that case.

Well your boot loader should be in a hidden system folder called BOOT. it is not just normal hidden but a hidden system folder so you need to make sure you can see both.

If you want to check out what you have you need to set show hidden files, folders, and drives and then remove the check mark from hide protected operating system files. you change these settings in Windows Explorer under View.
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December 28, 2013 2:14:10 PM





it seems i've got bootmgr on both drives! what should i do? i take it's more complicated than just copying the files over?
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a c 812 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 28, 2013 3:05:22 PM

Have you run startup repair without the HDD installed? you may have to run it 3 times for it to finally get it resolved.
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December 28, 2013 3:14:01 PM

i'll try, only tried once before
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December 28, 2013 3:20:05 PM

Windows is a real bitch for doing this, I had the exact same issue when I installed this ssd.
I had to purposely break the boot loader some how (so it didnt work). Disconnect all drives except the ssd I wanted to boot from, then like popatim said, run start up repair from the install media. I had to run it more like 5 times for it to be fixed.
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December 28, 2013 3:36:44 PM

yeah, i'm thinking i might just reinstall everything without the hdd connected. do you think this is why i'm having migrate (as a bootable backup) problems?
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December 28, 2013 3:48:13 PM

It is possible to fix this, but it is messy. If you dont mind backing up your data and going for a clean install (with just the boot drive connected), do that. you'll be done in half an hour.
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December 28, 2013 3:54:47 PM

not half an hour with all software and customizations etc etc. but i think i might just do it :( 
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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 28, 2013 6:34:52 PM

Strange seeing nothing at all.

It has to be booting from something.
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December 29, 2013 4:39:37 AM


this is all i see
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December 29, 2013 4:48:15 AM

The disk manager info is misleading at best. I found it to show my ssd was the boot drive, but disconnecting one of my data drivers caused the boot to fail. I guess that's where windows installed the boot sector.
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December 29, 2013 5:24:15 AM

sorted. using easybcd (free) select 'bcd backup/repair', click 'change boot drive', click 'perform action', select destination drive. done!!! hope this helps someone. ( i was using Windows 8.1 pro x64, so it should work on 7 etc etc).

i can now use use paragon migrate os to ssd successfully too! thanks to nukemaster for his original suggestion of easybcd
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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 29, 2013 6:14:51 AM

That little program has all kinds of helpful features.
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a c 812 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 29, 2013 4:48:59 PM

Seems like it has some new features from the last time I used it a few years ago. Thanks for the update!
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!