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Windows 7 boot issue with second HDD

Last response: in Windows 7
April 19, 2012 7:55:22 AM

Hi guys, I hope someone can help me with this problem. I have a PC running Windows 7 with two hard drives installed -

Drive C: 2TB, Windows, program files etc.
Drive D: 1TB, used for data and backup

On start up, Windows wants to run CHKDSK on D: Each time this fails when repairing the index. No big deal - faulty HDD, backup data and repair or replace.

This is where I'm having a problem.

With D: connected, the system boots fine and runs without problem once I skip CHKDSK. As soon as I disconnect D: ( by unplugging the SATA cable ) Windows fails to boot, giving a message about an Ethernet Controller and 'PXE-MOF:exiting PXE ROM' before asking for the system disc.

BIOS looks OK to me. Boot devices are set to HDD and CD-ROM, with C: given priority over D: The only thing I'm not sure about is the channels - C: is Chl. 1 slave. D: is Chl. 2 master. Chl. 2 slave is CD-ROM.

One other point that might be valid - Windows was originally installed on C: After problems appeared on the drive, Windows was installed on D: and C: was formatted.

Hope someone can offer some insight. This is driving me nuts! Thanks!

More about : windows boot issue hdd

a b $ Windows 7
April 19, 2012 9:42:00 AM

Is "D" connected to sata port 0, as it looks like the boot record is stored on that but W7 i installed on the other drive, hence you disconnect D, W7 no longer works.
April 19, 2012 10:16:38 AM

Thanks! This prompted me to inspect the drives with the Disk Management tools. Turns out there is a 100MB system partition on D: - presumably this is necessary to load the OS.

So now my problem is how to create a new system partition on C: Is this possible with Windows 7 already installed?
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April 19, 2012 11:03:25 AM

You should try booting off the Win7 CD and running diagnostics with only C disk installed. It should find the OS residing on the drive and repair or create the MBR accordingly. If it is not possible via the install cd, you will be able to repair it from a command prompt.
Check that out it should be helpful.
April 23, 2012 8:54:49 AM

Thanks for the help guys. Just thought I'd update this thread with the solution in case anyone with a similar problem ends up here through a search:

To confirm, the issue was that the Windows 7 boot record ( the system partition ) remained on drive D: from a previous install. As this did not exist on drive C: with the new Windows install, the OS would not boot with drive D: disconnected.

I was unable to make a repair to the Windows installation on drive C: as the operating system was not recognised by the Windows repair tools and bootrec.exe was unable to rebuild the BCD.

The solution was simply to reinstall Windows ( with drive D: disconnected ). This meant having to restore data from a backup and reinstall applications but was less time consuming than I expected.