2 SATA HDDs boot priority problem (windows xp)


Originally I had one SATA HDD - WDC 300 gb. Recently I took another SATA HDD - Maxtor 80 gb from older computer. My goal is to store my OS at Maxtor 80 gb and evrything else in WDC 300 gb.

So my plan was this:
1) Connect Maxtor to my system.
2) Format it (it already had OS on it, but I wanted to clean it up).
3) Install Windows xp SP3 on Maxtor.
4) In BIOS between 2 HDDs switch boot priority from WDC 300 gb to Maxtor 80 gb.
5) Format WDC 300 gb drive.

Step 4 is where I stopped, it is the problem is.

Currently I have the same system - Windows xp service pack 3 installed on both hard drives. Maxtor is connected to SATA 1 port, WDC is connected to SATA 4 port. In BIOS "hard disk drives" option boot priority is set to WDC 300 gb drive. With this setup both systems load just fine, upon turning my computer I can choose between 2 systems that load with no problem. Both hard drives have only one partition, "C" on WDC 300 gb and "D" on Maxtor 80 gb.

However, when in BIOS in "hard disk drives" option I switch boot priority from WDC to Maxtor none of my systems can boot. At first I was getting "Reboot and Select proper boot device or Insert boot Media in selected boot device and press a key", then I set "D" partition of Maxtor to active and instead of previos error started getting "NTLDR is missing". That's weird, I just checked I have NTLDR files on both systems.

How do I make it so I boot from my Maxtor 80 gb HDD first?
5 answers Last reply
More about sata hdds boot priority problem windows
  1. You've set up a "dual boot" system. With such a setup you cannot re-configure the hard drives in the BIOS (you don't need to), nor can you alter the "active" status on either of them - the Windows boot loader takes care of that depending on your selection in the Dual Boot startup menu.
  2. The easiest way to accomplish your install would be to remove (unplug) the WDC 300, install the Maxtor 80GB, install Windows XP on it and make sure it boots. Then add the WDC back in, boot from the Maxtor and format the WDC 300.

    Windows does strange things when you have two drives installed in the system, especially when both have Windows installed on them and are bootable.
  3. Thanks for replies! I found out that on Maxtor 80 gb there were no boot.ini and NTLDR where they should be, so I just copied them from WDC 300 gb hard drive, and finally could boot from Maxtor first. From now on Maxtor is always first in boot device priority.

    There's still one weird thing though. I formatted WDC drive and reinstalled Maxtor's operation system. Everything works fine, but when I load my system, it still asks me to choose between two OS - the one working on Maxtor, and the one that used to be on WDC which no longer exists now and can't be loaded of course.

    Should I worry about something or just edit boot.ini, removing the line for no longer existing system?
  4. When I use two drives in a system, I always install Windows with only one drive connected, to ensure that 100% of the operating system is located on the one drive. It should get rid of the multi-boot question on startup.

    You can edit boot.ini and remove the one line.
  5. Thanks, I'll make sure I connect only one drive when I reinstall system next time.
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