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Why Won't My SSD Boot Without an HDD?

Hi. I'm having an issue with what must have something to do with my solid state drive. To explain, I have a system I built with a 128GB SSD and a 500GB HDD. However, the 500GB HDD was not being used as storage only. Each drive has its own copy of WIndows 7, with a separate license for each copy. i was using my PC as two separate PCs, by choosing which Windows 7 to log into when powering on.

Now, I have put together a PC physically separate from my main build -- different tower, motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc. All it needs is an HDD. I formatted and removed the 500GB HDD from the original build and was going to use it, temporarily, as a drive for the second.

But here my issue arrises, with the HDD removed from the original build, the 128GB Samsung 830 -- an internal drive and not a flash or USB -- will not boot. It has a valid copy of Windows 7 installed and when I go to boot options in BIOS, I have the choice to select the SSD as my #1 boot device. It has always been #1, or default, in BIOS but I saved and exited anyway. Just goes back to the black screen saying select a boot device.

When I put the 500GB HDD back in the original build, even though now it is formatted, erased, blank -- no OS at all -- it will boot to my desktop and the Windows 7 OS installed on it. I never enabled or configured any RAID type relationship between the drives. What the heck is going on here?

Can someone help me with this? For now, I want to use only the 128GB Samsung 830 with Windows 7 already on it, to boot the same machine it has been, except for without the 500GB hard drive inside.

Thanks.
18 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. When you said you erased/formatted the 500GB HDD, did you delete all the partitions as Windows creates a separate boot partition whereby the boot files are stored. Once this partition is deleted, then Windows will fail to load i.e. |boot partition 300MB|OS partition|
  2. Almost certainly this is because both drives were installed when you installed the OS on the SSD.

    Recent varieties of Windows creates a small System Reserved partition. This holds, among other things, boot info.
    Generally on a second drive. Take that drive out, and no boot.
  3. USAFRet said:
    Almost certainly this is because both drives were installed when you installed the OS on the SSD.

    Recent varieties of Windows creates a small System Reserved partition. This holds, among other things, boot info.
    Generally on a second drive. Take that drive out, and no boot.


    Hi thanks for replying.

    Yes, originally the 500GB HDD was in the machine with Windows 7 on it. Then I installed the SDD and put another copy of Windows 7 on that, with its own separate product key.

    I understand about the OS creating a partition with boot info. But the original HDD has been completely erased during a format. Wouldn't the boot info be gone from it? And wouldn't the separate copy of Windows 7 installed on the SDD have put a partition with boot info on that drive as well? That has to be what its using to boot now, since as I said above, the HDD has been formatted.

    How can the blank HDD influence boot, and how can I have my machine boot from the SDD only?

    Thanks
  4. "Formatting" the HDD won't necessarily remove the SYstem Reserved partition. It would probably just format whatever partition you aimed it at. The old "C".

    If you look in Disk Management, I'll bet that on the HDD there is a small System Reserved partition, and on the SSD there is not.

    If there are two drive connected during the install, Windows (stupidly) puts the System Reserved boot info on the other drive.
  5. USAFRet said:
    "Formatting" the HDD won't necessarily remove the SYstem Reserved partition. It would probably just format whatever partition you aimed it at. The old "C".

    If you look in Disk Management, I'll bet that on the HDD there is a small System Reserved partition, and on the SSD there is not.

    If there are two drive connected during the install, Windows (stupidly) puts the System Reserved boot info on the other drive.


    Yes. C:\ drive in Disk Management is showing that it still contains a 100MB System Reserved and it is the primary partition. The SDD does not have a System Reserve segment. However, it does indicate the following: Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

    Although it lists "Boot & Primary Partition" on the SDD, the 100MB partition was never created on it. And, therefor must be what is needed to boot the PC.

    I agree that is rather obtuse for the OS to allocate a boot partition to a different storage device other than the one that a person is trying to install it on. I do not recall ever seeing a prompt that gave me a choice.

    Well, should I simply format the SDD and reinstall Windows on it? Seems like the only thing I can think of.
  6. Best answer
    apjack said:
    USAFRet said:
    "Formatting" the HDD won't necessarily remove the SYstem Reserved partition. It would probably just format whatever partition you aimed it at. The old "C".

    If you look in Disk Management, I'll bet that on the HDD there is a small System Reserved partition, and on the SSD there is not.

    If there are two drive connected during the install, Windows (stupidly) puts the System Reserved boot info on the other drive.


    Yes. C:\ drive in Disk Management is showing that it still contains a 100MB System Reserved and it is the primary partition. The SDD does not have a System Reserve segment. However, it does indicate the following: Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

    Although it lists "Boot & Primary Partition" on the SDD, the 100MB partition was never created on it. And, therefor must be what is needed to boot the PC.

    I agree that is rather obtuse for the OS to allocate a boot partition to a different storage device other than the one that a person is trying to install it on. I do not recall ever seeing a prompt that gave me a choice.

    Well, should I simply format the SDD and reinstall Windows on it? Seems like the only thing I can think of.



    If this is a new installation with not much on it yet, then yes....I'd just reinstall.
    With only the SSD connected.

    And there is no prompt for where that System Reserved partition goes. It just does it.
  7. Hi. I formatted the SDD and installed Windows on it, and it was the only drive connected to the board. I did the same with the HDD. The SDD now has the partition and boots up. Thanks for the info guys. Great to know for future tasks.
  8. I have the exact same problem. I'm glad for you that you weren't far enough along in your use of the ssd os that you could just reinstall and fix the boot issue.

    However, that's not "problem solved" at all, it was obvious that a re-install would fix the issue if the ssd was the only drive in at the time of install, however for the rest of us who don't want to start over from scratch, could someone please address how to remedy the problem of not having a boot partition on the ssd running the os? i need to re-purpose my old 500gig hhd but cant remove it because i cant boot without it. can someone please tell me how to make the ssd bootable without starting over from scratch?

    thank you.
  9. Jeremiah Day said:
    I have the exact same problem. I'm glad for you that you weren't far enough along in your use of the ssd os that you could just reinstall and fix the boot issue.

    However, that's not "problem solved" at all, it was obvious that a re-install would fix the issue if the ssd was the only drive in at the time of install, however for the rest of us who don't want to start over from scratch, could someone please address how to remedy the problem of not having a boot partition on the ssd running the os? i need to re-purpose my old 500gig hhd but cant remove it because i cant boot without it. can someone please tell me how to make the ssd bootable without starting over from scratch?

    thank you.


    Disconnect all other drives.
    Put the OS install disk in.
    Boot up, and try the Repair.
    It might fix it.
  10. Disconnect all other drives.
    Put the OS install disk in.
    Boot up, and try the Repair.
    It might fix it.


    Thank you, however, i deleted the windows install file after install, and i dont even have a cd player/writer on any of my machines anymore. i have been skowering the forums trying to find a way to make a bootable flash drive from my 8 gig stick, but there are 10k different methods suggested and none of them seem to have been successful. most require that i buy some kind of boot utility, others just dont seem to work. i did the one below which seemed to go fine in creating the bootable partition, but i copied the win install files to it and set it as the boot drive in bios, but it just said no os in this boot drive. this seems like it should pretty straight forward, but i cant seem to find a clear answer. please help,
  11. Obtain the Windows 7 install from here:
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-recovery

    Create a bootable USB stick with this:
    Windows USB/DVD Download Tool


    It might work.
  12. fantastic!! i tried that after making a bootable flash, i repaired the startup process and it created the necessary boot partition on my ssd drive. thank you very much.

    now, to flash my MB Bios! ;)
  13. Hi, I know this thread is a few months old but I have a similar issue. What I want to do is to put my windows on my ssd and other stuff on my HDD and then install the SSD and HDD onto my new motherboard and CPU. (I do not have disk to install) I used a usb with the windows iso and used the windows program to make it a bootable windows installation drive thing. When I tried to boot on the usb it did not work... So I opened the setup.exe in the usb from my HDD and went on installing windows to my SSD through my HDD. It restarted a few times. Now that I have windows working on my SSD. I unplugged the HDD when the computer was off and tried to boot from the SSD. It came up with an error message saying:
    error: unknown filesystem.
    Entering rescue mode...
    grub rescue>
    When I plugged the HDD back in, it gave me the option of booting to either version of windows.
    Does anyone have a solution?????
  14. Wow, how stupid is it that Windows does that? I just did a fresh install of Win10 onto a new SSD, and removed my old 500GB "storage" disc, replaced with a new 3TB disc, and my system won't boot. Off to create a repair disc, however that's just crazy. At no point was I offered the option...
  15. Hi I have the same issue. Got windows 10 installed onto SSD while HHD (also with win10) was installed and it wouldnt boot up without the HHD installed. been through this forum and many others to figure out how to fix. I have tried what this forum suggests, to install a fresh copy of win10 onto the SSD with no other drives connected. My problem is I go to do that and boot off the USB stick, it gets to the Windows 10 icon and then my computer reboots, and an endless loop begins.

    has anyone else found a solution?

    cheers
  16. see below
  17. USAFRet said:
    apjack said:
    USAFRet said:
    "Formatting" the HDD won't necessarily remove the SYstem Reserved partition. It would probably just format whatever partition you aimed it at. The old "C".

    If you look in Disk Management, I'll bet that on the HDD there is a small System Reserved partition, and on the SSD there is not.

    If there are two drive connected during the install, Windows (stupidly) puts the System Reserved boot info on the other drive.


    Yes. C:\ drive in Disk Management is showing that it still contains a 100MB System Reserved and it is the primary partition. The SDD does not have a System Reserve segment. However, it does indicate the following: Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

    Although it lists "Boot & Primary Partition" on the SDD, the 100MB partition was never created on it. And, therefor must be what is needed to boot the PC.

    I agree that is rather obtuse for the OS to allocate a boot partition to a different storage device other than the one that a person is trying to install it on. I do not recall ever seeing a prompt that gave me a choice.

    Well, should I simply format the SDD and reinstall Windows on it? Seems like the only thing I can think of.



    If this is a new installation with not much on it yet, then yes....I'd just reinstall.
    With only the SSD connected.

    And there is no prompt for where that System Reserved partition goes. It just does it.



    Hi I have the same issue. Got windows 10 installed onto SSD while HHD (also with win10) was installed and it wouldnt boot up without the HHD installed. been through this forum and many others to figure out how to fix. I have tried what this forum suggests, to install a fresh copy of win10 onto the SSD with no other drives connected. My problem is I go to do that and boot off the USB stick, it gets to the Windows 10 icon and then my computer reboots, and an endless loop begins.

    has anyone else found a solution?

    cheers
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