Ok let me try and give some good backgound information here to help out.
I successfully installed windows 7 from 32bit xp. I didn't reformat the partition I installed windows 7 to.
Then windows would not boot without the windows 7 disc in the drive, even though it skipped boot from CD. If I removed the CD it told me ntoskrnl.exe couldn't be found. I deleted windows.old folder and the problem seemed to go away.
I have 3 Hard drives. 6000GB (disc 0 ) 300 GB (disk1) both SATA. Then I have a 80GB IDE drive disc 2 as reported by disc management. My BIOS boot order is DVD drive then Hard Drives.
Disk 0 hosts the C: boot,active,pagefile, primary partition, and a partition F: of data files. Disk 1 hosts two primary partitions of data files.
However disk 2 has a single partition listed as the primary, active system partition. Its probably left over from ages past when it was my old windows install location for xp several installs of xp ago. A long time ago xp was installed on this drive. Then I upgraded and installed XP into what is now disk 0. I did delete the partitions of the drive 2 at one point under xp and set a single new partition....
But now I did a BIOS update and again the problem has returned. Of course windows.old didn't come back. I have disk 0 (with windows 7 installed) set first in the boot load order for harddrives...but I can only get windows loaded by leaving the install disc in the CD drive.
I tried removing disk 2: the IDE drive. Again same message. This time it boots from the DVD and windows startup repair doesn't detect ANY installations of windows. I ran it anyways, it detected/fixed nothing rebooted to the same thing. When I removed the install DVD
plug back in disk 2 and windows 7 boots up with the install disk in the DVD drive.
so I tried using the automatic repair and that failed...
I don't know what to do now...windows won't let me reset partitions...and the automatic start up doesn't detect my installation without disk 2 plugged in.
I would like to remove disk 2 entirely from my system, and have windows 7 booting properly without that drive install in anyway. I hope I can avoid a system as it was a long process to get everything up and running.
I discovered a solution to my woes. I'll post what I did here for anybody else's benefit.
1. I physically disconnected the other two HDD from the computer, leaving only the drive that held my windows installation connected.
2. Booted from the windows 7 DVD, ran recovery, and the automatic start up repair. It found and fixed a problem. But failed to boot.
3. Ran automatic startup recovery again, this time it displayed my operating system in the list, fixed another problem.
4. Repeated again a number of time until I noticed it had fully rebuilt the boot information.
My guess is that the MBR was installed on the old 80GB disk 2, and not on the windows partition where it belonged. By disconnecting the drive it enable to the automated repair to detect this and rebuild the necessary configurations.
The long story short of this is.... Always deleted the targeted partition and reformat when installing windows. This was one of the few times I didn't do so and it got me.