Have two hard drives, one with Windows, other for data. Issue!

I have two hard drives in my computer (one for Windows 7, the other for extra data when using Windows 7). I bought a new hard drive, replaced my data drive with it, however Windows won't boot. It says that Windows is missing a file in order to boot correctly.

Tried running repairs from the installation CD, but no luck. I ended up having to replace the new drive with the old data drive, and then Windows booted perfectly.

Any way I can actually replace the data drive without getting this error, and still having my same Windows installation and settings on my other drive? I really don't want to reformat.

I also looked in Disk Management when I reninstalled all of my former drives. The data drive has a 100mb System Reserve. The other space is taken up by my files (movies, music, etc). Is the System Reserve the reason why Windows will not boot without the drive installed?

Thanks in advance.
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  1. I would say so. you should try a disk clone with something like Norton Ghost, I don't think Windows has anything useful like that, correct me if i'm wrong. Try a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD, it may have something that clones disks also.
  2. Hello,

    Almost certainly, when you installed Win-7 as a clean install, you had both HDD's on your system, and Win-7 placed the "System Reserved" 100 MB partition on the second hard drive. When you remove or replace the second HDD, the "System Reserved" partition that holds the Boot Manager Code and Boot Config Database is not present and it won't boot.

    Since you are using Drive 0 for Win-7, if you could save any non system data files from this boot drive temporarily to another hard drive, then use the custom install choice, with only the System Drive attached, delete the Reserved System 100 MB partition, and the Windows 7 Partition, so that the drive is all unallocated, and reinstall Windows-7 cleanly. It will place the "Reserved System 100 MB file first on the HDD, then Windows-7. Make the Windows-7 partition (dial in) at lease 40 GB. You can leave the rest unallocated, adjust the OS partition space, or make another lettered partition with the unallocated space after windows is installed and running.

    Then you can move back the previously moved data. You may have to reinstall any programs that stored app data with the OS. Finally you can delete that "Reserved System" 100 MB partition on your data drive because the Win-7 OS will be getting its' boot info from Drive 0, not the data drive.
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