SSD Booting Challenge


I recently purchased a new Gateway FX6860-UR20P RT and a 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, which I want to set up as the boot disk to improve overall system performance.

After reading numerous forum threads on the topic of setting up an SSD as a boot disk I did the following:
(i) Install the SDD and format
(ii) Create a Gateway system recovery disk to allow for reinstall of the operating system
(iii) Unplug the original HDD
(iv) Use the recovery disk to install the OS on the SSD

At this point everything is working great - the system boots using the new SSD no problem. So I shut everything down and reconnect the original HDD, then reboot and ensure that the BIOS shows the SSD as the boot drive.

After all of this though, when I restart the system I get a "reboot and select proper boot device" message. Nothing I've been able to find online has been able to fix this issue. Here are a couple of other points:
(a) When I used the system recovery disk I had to choose the "Restore operating system to Factory defaults" option rather than the "Completely Restore Compture to factor defaults", which I would have preferred and indicated that "All data in the hidden partition and on the system partition will be restored". This option was inactive and not available when I tried to use it. The only reason I can think of is that I only had a single partition rather than the 3 that the original HDD had (20GB Recovery Partition; 100MB System Reserved; 1377 GB remainder).

(b) If I insert a Windows 7 repair disk it gives me the option to press a key to boot into CD or DVD but if I don't, it then automatically boots using the SSD.

(c) If I hit F12 during reboot it shows the 2 drives (SSD and original HDD) as well as the DVD drive. Until recently if I selected the SSD it would boot in fine. After running the Win7 System Repair Disk though, now it takes me to a boot manager that gives me the choice of the 2 drives. If I select the original HDD after F12 it boots right up without going through the boot manager.

Overall it seems like the original HDD is maintaining some sort of wierd priority even though the BIOS says otherwise. I'm not sure if the lack of a System Reserved partition on the SSD has anythiing to do with it.

Any help to solve this issue would be much appreciated. Thanks!!
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  1. Yup - you got it. After futzing around for long enough though, I decided to take the simpler approach of reformatting the original HDD (also because I didn't want to leave 1.5TB tied up as a nice to have second boot drive :).

    Unfortunately this didn't turn out quite as simply as I'd hoped but I eventually got it working - details are below.

    After trying all sorts of stuff I finally decide to reformat the original HDD to eliminate any confusion on the part of the boot manager. This was not quite as easy as it sounds since there were 2 hidden partitions but to cust a long story short I ended up using the diskpart "clean" function which seemed to work well. Then formatted using diskpart ntfs quick.

    Set up 3 partitions for various uses as shown in the attached screenshot. All looks good. So then I restart. What happens? Same message ("reboot and select proper boot device"). WTF? Again, if I use F12 and select the SSD, it boots fine. Used Win7 System repair Disk - no issues found. Can't find ANYTHING that indicates this should be happening.

    I checked the BIOS again - boot order and HDD priority all seem as they should, with SSD as the boot HDD shown and listed as the first priority HDD.

    Out of desperation I *CHANGED* the HDD priority so the original, now reformatted HDD is the 1st priority HDD (i.e. SSD is second). Restart. Works like a charm - boots straight up. WTF???

    Anyhoo - its working now. Thanks for your advice. I hope this helps someone else down the road.
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