I installed a PATA CD-ROM drive and DVD-ROM drive tonight into my machine with two SATA HDDs and now Windows 7 Ultimate is freezing at the starting windows screen, or prompting for system restore, which fails. I don't really have a huge problem with re-installing windows, and I already backed up my important files to my second hard drive with Hirens, but if the Tom's community has any suggestions not involving a reload while I wait for a Win 7 Ultimate ISO to download it would be greatly appreciated.
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You MAY have run into a default feature of some mobos. On some, IF you have any IDE device installed, it will default to trying to boot from that. It seems some even will do this AFTER you have had it set to boot from a SATA device.
First, in case you have trouble with this (and you may not at all), check the way the jumpers are set on those two IDE devices. In each case, consult the diagram on the particular device - do not use settings from one to set up jumpers on the other. I assume both are on ONE IDE port and data ribbon. You can just set the jumpers on the back of BOTH to "CS" (Cable Select), and then the one on the END of the cable will be the port Master. The other way is to specifically set ONE of these to be the Master (on some, there may be a different setting for Master with Slave Present) and the other to Slave. Ideally, the one you set to be Master ought to be connected to the END of the ribbon cable, and the Slave to the middle connector.
Now it's time to take control of the boot sequence. You must enter the BIOS Setup screens to do this, If you are not familiar, on most machines you hold down the "Del" key while turning it on, until the opening menu of Setup appears. But watch your screen for a prompt about which key to hold down to "Enter Setup", because sometimes it is not "Del".
Once in Setup, you'll see it has several menus, usually with a series of tabs across the top of the opening screen. On the right and at the bottom will be some instructions on how to navigate around and choose items and change them. Look for the place where you can set the Boot Priority Sequence. It will allow you to choose any device it recognizes in BIOS. Most people would set theirs to try to boot first from an optical drive, then a hard drive, and then no other choices. But you can set up more than that. For example, my sequence is: one of my optical drives (I have 2), then my floppy drive (yes, I have one), then one of my HDD's. In your case, I'd suggest the DVD drive (I assume it also can read CD's), then your SATA drive that already has the OS installed, and NO other choice. Once you've set it as you wish, use the proper keys to Save and Exit from here, and the settings will be saved and the machine will reboot.
When set this way, the BIOS will try the first device. If it finds a bootable disk there it will boot; if there is no disk there, or if there is no OS to boot from, it will skip down automatically to the next device in the list. If it gets to the last device and still has found no OS, then it gives you an error message about this. BUT it should not just freeze up anywhere with no display. (That's why I suggested reviewing the jumper settings.) Hopefully when the SATA device is explicitly set up in the Boot Sequence it will go there and boot successfully.
If this still does not work, post here the exact manufacturer and Model No. of your mobo so we can help find a manual and review it.
Thanks for your reply, i've got the jumpers set right now, but I think I may have already damaged my windows installation, its booting to the hard drive fine but the full OS won't load, it just loads startup repair or freezes on the starting windows screen.
Edit: my Mobo is an MSI NF750-G55 Model NO. MS-7578
Agree with scout_03. You should boot from your Win 7 Install disk as if you were going to Install, BUT do NOT do a "normal" Install. Look for the option to do a Repair Install on your existing installation.