XP and Win7 installed on separate HDDs. Regardless of HDD boot order in BIOS, XP

Don't know whether this post ended up in the right category... Nevertheless:

Until recently I had a system with two HDDs, XP installed on one of them and the second one for data storage. Everything working fine...

I then bought a third HDD, unplugged the SATA connector from the XP disk, installed Win7 on the new disk and were perfectly happy with the way it worked.

However, the mystery starts when I hook up all three drives, having the OS drives on SATA 1 and 2, respectively. It turns out that regardless of how I set the (HDD) boot order in BIOS, it's always XP that boots.

I've heard many theories about what might be the problem (all from people that were unfamiliar with the problem at hand) - ranging from the MB's inability to actually use the BIOS settings, to the MBR on the Win7 accidentally and implicitly pointing to the XP drive, via SATA port configuration issues (e.g. it would matter in what SATA ports I plug things in...).

What are your ideas in this matter? Has anyone experienced similar things?
9 answers Last reply
More about win7 installed separate hdds boot order bios
  1. Was the data storage disk disconnected when you installed Windows 7? Was it installed when you installed XP? What happens if it's disconnected?
  2. I second that. When I installed the win7 RC, I had all my hard drives in. For whatever reason it saw fit to put the MBR for booting win7 on my external eSATA hard drive. Obviously it didn't boot that way, and it took me awhile to figure out what happened. Since I've just installed win7 when it's the only hard drive in there and it's worked as expected since.
  3. Nothing changes when I disconnect the aux. drive.

    I just got another hypothesis here. My MB is an Asus P5Q-E and I have Asus' own Express Gate installed on the XP drive that fires every time I turn on the power. I downloaded the Win 7 version to install on the Win 7 drive but found out that the exe file was corrupt (now starting another download from another mirror site). Maybe it might not be too farfetched to suspect that the MB insists on booting from whatever drive has Express Gate installed? Anyway, I'll install it on the other drive whence I manage to download an ok file. Or I could just uninstall it from the XP drive (since I never use it anyway)... We'll see how it evolves.
  4. Your explanation makes sense, but if you don't use ExpressGate, then it should boot from the correct hard disk. Do you have the same issue if you select the boot device through the boot menu (I believe that you need to press F8 during POST)? ExpressGate on the P5Q Deluxe doesn't cause that issue because it's not on a hard disk
  5. Try Acronis OS Selector. Its a utility that comes with Disk Director. It will prompt you with a menu to select which OS to start at boot time.
  6. anonymous1 said:
    I would reinstall win7 when all drives are connected and use the bootloader provided to choose between xp and 7. trying to use bios to select the os is a pain and too much for your board.

    It depends on how often the alternate OS is used. I use it rarely, therefore having to press F8 at POST to boot from the second hard disk is not an issue. What do you mean by " trying to use bios to select the os is a pain and too much for your board"? You select the boot unit, but you can't select which OS you want in the BIOS. F8 (Enter Boot selection pop-up) on an Asus motherboard is just like F12 (Boot Menu) on a Gigabyte motherboard. The main benefit is that you never have to rely on another disk to boot a specific OS (XP, Windows 7, Linux, etc.).
  7. Yeah. I would do this on my laptop that has two hard drives and I dual boot linux and win7. Problem is that it's too buried so I just boot off the linux drive which finds the windows one and gives me both options. In fact it was my original intention to do it that way, but you're only given a choice of device type, and only one can be picked, so to do that you have to go into the bios and choose the other.
  8. I haven't tried that on my laptop, but on Asus and Gigabyte motherboards, you press the boot selection function key and the menu pops up at the end of POST. You only need to know which device you want to boot from.
  9. Problem solved. I just deactivated ExpressGate in the BIOS settings. The simplest and most obvious thing, although I still think it is quite annoying that the ExpressGate obviously overrides the boot device choice I make. :-)

    Thanks guys for all your ideas and your willingness to help me out.
Ask a new question

Read More

Homebuilt Hard Drives Windows XP Systems