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Secondary Hard Drive Issue

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Last response: in Systems
December 23, 2011 5:37:05 AM

I just purchased an external hdd enclosure to use an existing hdd as a backup device. The existing drive is plug into my motherboard etc, and is partitioned (secondary, not the OS drive) but I don't use it and would like to take it out. I tried just unplugging it but when I do I can't boot into windows, I get the following error:

"0xc000000f. . . the boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible"

I can fix the non-booting problem by simply plugging the secondary drive back in. . .but that doesn't really get me anywhere with the external haha

Hopefully I'm not overlooking something terribly obvious. . .but we'll see.

System specs as follows:

win 7; asus z68pro; corsair hx750; i7 2600k; hyper 212; 16gb corsair vengeance; evga gtx570; 2x WD Black 500gb (sata III); storm scout case

Many thanks for any help/ advice!


More about : secondary hard drive issue

a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 23, 2011 8:43:01 AM

Did you get both of these hard drives on the same day?

Were they both inside the computer and both connected when Windows was installed on the PC?

Do you know what your file system is?

Can you tell me how the partitions are setup on these drives?

If you go to:

Control Panel
Administrative Tools
Computer Management
Disk Management

Then every partition on every drive should be clearly listed.

Please write down all that information in a reply like this

Disk 1
Partition 1
Partition 2
Partition 3

Disk 2
Partition 1
Partition 2
Partition 3


- Edit -

Do you know what your partition table is? Whether it uses an MBR or a GPT?

It should probably say during the text that scrolls by when you are booting the computer if you have the little motherboard graphic turned off in the BIOS.

- Edit 2 - Do you have the USB thing plugged in with no drive in it? If so, can you just disconnect it again?
December 25, 2011 5:00:14 PM

The hard drives are exactly the same model. . .that said I purchased them separately so they might not be from the same batch or whatever. They were both plugged in when I installed windows but I partitioned the 2nd drive post-OS install.

Disk 0 (C: )

P.1 system

Disk 1 (G: )

P.1 System Reserved 100MB (primary partition) -- not sure why it would say that on the 2nd disk. . .

I'm assuming the OS using P.1 on the secondary disk as a "system reserved" partion is why I'm having issues. I've tried to delete the volume or reformat it, but I get the generic "windows cannot delete/format the active system partition on this disk".

I didn't do anything special with the setup so I'm assuming my partition table is just MBR, but I can double check that.

I do not have the usb external enclosure plugged in, as there is no drive in it.

I tried uninstalling the drive but that wasn't any help either.

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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2011 1:27:05 PM

The System Reserved 100 MB partition contains files necessary to boot into Windows 7. That is why the computer has trouble starting when you take that drive out.

I am not entirely sure how it ended up on that drive either.

What I do know is that, when I am installing an OS, I physically disconnect all other drives. I do know from experience that it is very easy to have Windows, say, Format a second drive during installation.

I like to have my OSs on one hard drive and Data on a second one that way the OS drive can fail and not affect my files and I don't want Windows to accidentally format my Data drive and get rid of everything on it, so I take the plugs out of it.

Anyway, I don't think you can fix this problem without reinstalling Windows due to the way that things are setup. Even if you boot to a CD that lets you do things like FDisk the drives and you kill it you will still have to reinstall windows to ever boot again.

Anyway, lets take this thing full circle and start over from the very beginning.

1) You have two drives that are essentially the same.
2) Both of them are in the computer now
3) Due to some freak accident, a partition that should be on the primary drive isn't on it, but instead on the second hard drive.
4) You would like to use this second hard drive as a backup of some sort for the first hard drive, that is why you went and got the USB hard drive holder.
5) If you take this second HD out and try to put it in the USB thing, it gets errors and can't boot up.

Those are pretty much the facts as I understand them.

Some questions I have at this point:

1) How invested are you in the current installation of Windows?

2) How wary are you have reinstalling Windows?

3) What is stopping you from just copying whatever files you want to back up onto the second drive while it is inside the computer? Why must it go into the USB thing instead?
December 26, 2011 3:47:27 PM

You have the facts straight.

1) Given that it's my workstation for school (studying architecture) I've got a dozen or so "big" programs that I would need to reinstall, which would take time after I get the UIs on all of those programs either backed up or redone. So its more of a time thing with that.

2)Not wary of any of the technical parts, just the above reason (time)

3)aaaaand that's what I think I may just do. I already bought the enclosure from NewEgg but I can just return it. I liked the idea of having all my stuff backed up AND portable just in case I wanted to bring it anywhere/ setup another guys computer.

That is good advice on the initial install though. . .I should have just unplugged the other and saved myself the hassle haha.


Best solution

a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2011 3:58:09 PM

There is no guide around that I know of that tells you to unplug all the other drives its just something you learn after seeing enough people have problems doing something else.

Anyway, there is potential to just copy the files to the second drive and then physically unhook the drive from the inside of the PC if you need it to be portable. Then you could just take it and the USB thing to whoever's house and plug it in.

However, you couldn't have your PC on during this process AND I don't know if the 100mb partition on this drive would play games with other people's computers or not.

My gut feeling is that this wouldn't cause their computers to crash and that the 100MB partition would be worthless and ignored if your buddy had their own copy already in place, but I can't guarantee that result.

The best result would be to reinstall, but just hold off on everything until such a time that you could embark a major PC project (2 or 3 days where you don't have to have the PC optimally) and then straighten everything out correctly, then you can do what you want to do after you disconnect the drive and reinstall with only one drive plugged in and such.

December 30, 2011 1:09:08 AM

Best answer selected by nickarch.