Removing unused Hard Drive = Boot failure

Hi everyone! Today I attempted to physically remove one of the hard drives from a computer at work, which isn't formatted, nor does it appear in "My Computer". I have Windows 7 installed on the other hard drive. The problem is, when I remove the unused hard drive, I encounter a boot error when I start up the PC: 0xc000000e (The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible.)

The error screen prompts me to pop in my Windows 7 install disk and enter repair mode but I'm reluctant to do that without knowing what the result will be. I want to make sure that none of the documents on the current hard drive are affected!

If anyone has any advice on how to remove the unused hard drive and allowing the other hard drive to boot Windows normally I would really appreciate it!

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  1. I suspect you are victim of one of Win 7's features to make your life easier. At the time Win 7 is first installed, the Install operation looks through the machine for a second HDD. If it finds one, it places on it a semi-hidden set of backup copies of important system files. If ever in future your machine fails to boot because one of these files on the main OS drive is faulty, Win 7 will go to the saved backups on the second HDD and restore good copies to the main OS, then boot. Supposed to save you the panic of finding and fixing the problem.

    BUT, once this is in place, EVERY time Win 7 boots it checks for the backup files. If it can't find that second HDD, it fails to boot! I'm pretty sure what you need to do is follow the instructions carefully. The solution to your problem, as I understand it, is to use the original Install DVD to Repair your Win 7 installation WITHOUT the second HDD in place. This will place backup copies of those key files on your only HDD that already has the OS on it, and then all will be well. (This is similar to having installed Win 7 in the first place with only one HDD in the machine.) While having the backup copies on the same HDD as the OS may not be quite as safe as having them on a different HDD, it works.

    Just take it slowly and read all the screen prompts to find the correct process. You will do something like a Repair Install or a OS Repair ... something like that. You will NOT do a plain full Install. So the process will not do anything nasty to existing files.
  2. Hey Paperdoc, thanks for your response! I had a feeling that's what was happening. I'll give it a try (after backing everything up!), I just wanted to be certain before I attempted it and lost all my work docs!
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