Change Boot Drive (Get rid of XP)


I've been wanting to get format a drive, but so far I'm running into trouble.

My computer originally had WinXP and a few drives before I added another drive and installed Vista on it. The layout now is WinXP is on C:, Vista as G:. C: has my MBR, while G: doesn't seem to have any boot record at all.

I installed EasyBCD and only backed up my BCD and rebooted my system. I came out with the system not able to boot at all, giving me the error of something along the line of something not found (forget). I fixed the issue but removing BCD from C:\Boot\ (was E: in Vista's recovery console) and renameing Recovery.bcd to BCD. I'm now back in Vista, but I'm back to square one.

Another thing I should point out (possible tangent), is that the Vista Recovery did not detect my Vista operating system, yet when I run bootrec.exe /scanos it finds it fine. I can't use startup repair since it can't find my OS, so I'm stuck having to do things manually.

Basically I just want to create a MBR on G: that has Vista. I don't want XP any more and if possible, I want to format it without losing the ability to boot into vista. Someone started a guide for exactly what I wanted done but it appears to not be completed yet.
Wow, talk about great timing. I started that guide just yesterday!!!

Give me an hour or two and it should be done.
Alright! Your guide did the job. :happy:

Was worried for a bit at first, since the computer refused to boot up. But after checking each drive to make sure they were plugged in, the computer booted straight into Vista. I can kiss that old geezer XP goodbye.

Thanks for your help and your guide!
You're most welcome, Zharay!

And a big thanks to you as well for being brave enough to be the first to test the guide out when it wasn't even out of the editorial press yet :grinning:
Looks like it didn't go completely smooth though.

One of my drives will not be recognized by Vista at all. It shows up in BIOS and have the option of trying to boot into it. Right before going through the steps, I booted into XP (not on the drive in question) and changed permissions on all Windows related folders and files, the drive was still listed there for use.

Of the 4 HDDs I have, this one is the only IDE one. Following your guide, the only time I could of done something to it was during the step "mbrfix.exe /drive 0 fixmbr /vista /yes". It mentioned it wouldn't hurt to try running that command for every drive from 0 to 5 and so I did so. After booting into Vista, that IDE drive will not show up.

Things I've tried:

  • Making sure it shows up in BIOS. It shows up during boot up too.
  • Making sure the cables haven't been unplugged or damaged. I disconnected all the drives at one point trying to get Vista to boot up before trying the guide and then managing to restore the original BCD from a back up EasyBCD created. I double checked by using a different cable, and even different plugs of the same cables. No go. It does continue to show up in BIOS and boot up however.
  • Making sure it has proper Master-Slave settings. Its on the same cable as my DVD-RW drive. For some reason the drives won't work unless the DVD drive is master and HD slave.
  • Running Vista Recovery Console, and seeing if I can browse the drive. This I've confirmed I can do. I can browse the drive and edit things on it.
Things I've yet to try (and am doing now):

  • chkdsk from the Recovery Console. It may of been damaged. When I initially did the steps in the drive, the drive was hovering around 1 GB free (it only has 80 GB total).
Any idea what I did wrong and how i could fix it?
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Open disk management again, right click the drive and use "change drive letters" to assign it a new letter.
Its not listed under disk management unfortunately. It doesn't show up in my device manager either.

Just got done with a chkdsk, reported no errors on the drive.
Where x is disk 0 and y is partition, use:

list disk
select disk x
list part
select part y

Another thing, you couldn't have run chkdsk without specifying a letter (unless you gave it a volume serial). Are you sure you don't see it in my computer?
ChkDsk runs by default on the drive the console is currently on. Since its IDE, this usually means its C: in the recovery console. So doing your commands in this order:
chkdsk /r
runs chkdsk with a recover bad sectors switch under that drive.

As for diskpart, no luck there either :shame:. For information sake, there is only one partition on it. I thought the steps before might of created a new partition / boot sector, but I guess I was wrong.

And yes, its not in My Computer. On device manager, it shows only 3 of my HDDs and my DVD drive. Viewing it by connection type, it shows nothing under the IDE controllers that would indicate the drive is there.
The IDE/SATA mix might be an issue. Are the jumpers on the drive set properly? List disk doesn't show it? Does your BIOS recognize the drive? You'll need to get the driver for it than I guess. It seems odd that you can access it from recovery console but not within the OS.
Yea thats my next thought. I put the drive on its own cable separate from the DVD drive and set it to master. It now shows up in bios as it should on its own IDE port, but nothing new happened in Vista.

List disk shows the disk properly, showing up as Disk 1. I did those commands you gave me above and nothing new happened. Just to clarify, I'm doing this from the recovery console. In Vista the drive isn't listed at all.

I'll try finding my chipset drivers. The motherboard is getting old so I doubt the drivers will be new. It just seems odd that it is the only drive that isn't working while my DVD drive (which was on the same cable even) and other drives work fine. Might just give me an excuse to just dump the drive for a bigger faster one so I can finally try Win7, but I want to avoid having to drop $70 on a drive when this one s working fine.
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Now this old disk is XPs, right?
Why not just remove and forget about it?...

Unless you want reuse it for something.
XP was actually on one of the SATA drives. The drive thats having problems was originally an external drive a long time ago. I took it out, put it in my system and viola, new drive (its a standard 3.5" drive too). I've since been using it for misc storage for things like movies and anime. I guess I'll just buy me a new drive. Its not doing me any good at this point and I could use more space to expand into.

In the end I got what I wanted. Got rid of XP for Vista only. I'll just transfer the files to the new drive when it arrives I guess.
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Yep good game plan. For $100 you can get a good sized drive now. Got myself a 1TB. Have yet to use it all. You're setting yourself up for problems if you continue to use the older drive anyway (wouldn't want to lose anything...)
What a timely thread. I'm in almost exactly the same boat, but because I foolishly renamed partitions in Vista, I run the risk of getting confused by what Vista thinks is C: and what the boot process thinks is C:. So if you'll indulge me a moment, maybe I can outline my setup so I'm crystal clear on the process.

Single drive. XP was on the first partition, Vista is on the second partition. I deleted all the XP stuff, so I only have bootmgr & the BOOT folder on it.
When I boot to Vista, I renamed the drives so that Vista is C:, and I have this near-empty D:. But remember, D: is the *first* partition.
If I'm understanding correctly though, when the machine boots, *it* boots to C: (first partition), which tells it Vista is on D: (second partition). Vista renames things later.
Clear enough so far? :??

So my question is, when doing the EasyBCD steps as outlined in the technote, where it refers to drive letters am I using the "hard" letters that the boot process sees, or the "soft" letters that Vista sees?

Once I'm done this, I can nuke the old partition, and use separate partition manager to enlarge the second partition to fill the space (it looks like Vista's partition manager won't enlarge downwards, but I have the 7Tools one that's never failed me).

Hi Brad, welcome to NST.
There are no "hard" disk letters. Only the volume label is physically attached to the partition. The disk letter is purely internal to the running OS, and all OSs will label drives in the order of detection at PnP time unless you've made permanent "soft" attachments in the registry of each OS using disk management. Then it will register that same letter to that partition or flashdrive or whatever, whenever it detects it (provided nothing without a permanent attachment hasn't grabbed the letter first.)
That's why it's a good idea to assign a letter to every device you're ever going to plug in when you create a new system, and why it's a good idea to give those devices letters high up the alphabet, so that a casual "visiting" flashdrive will grab one of the low letters and not one that your stuff expects to find unused when you plug it in.
If you've installed an OS as D:\, you can't rename it and still expect it to work. There will be thousands (literally) of registry entries pointing to D:\ something or other. They will all need to be altered.
For that reason disk management won't allow you to rename anything with a "boot" "page" or "system" flag, so how did you do it ? With a registry zap ?

The letters you see in EasyBCD are the letters, which the system in which you are running EasyBCD, calls the partitions. If you run EasyBCD from a different OS, the letters will be different (possibly/probably) but the partitions are still the same ones.
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I don't recall doing anything particularly unusual, but it was a while back and my memory may be a bit fuzzy. Initially I had XP on a 250Gig drive, and I shrunk that down to a bare minimum partition, made a new partition of what's left and installed Vista, electing for dual boot. When I boot Vista, the C: drive is where Vista is, and it calls the other drive D:. But the bootmgr is on D:. There was an article I read somewhere that walked me through that, but I don't recall anything particularly unusual about the process.
But that's okay, because it clarifies what I probably need to do to get this all fixed up. And I already know from experience that I can always pop in the Vista DVD and repair the boot stuff if I bugger it up, as long as I don't actually destroy any partitions until I get it working.

Ok I see. Vista installed as C:, but to the second partition. That's fine.
There's no problem with letters being in a different order to the partitions.
See my layout for proof of that (as seen from Windows 7)

Good luck with your cleanup. Post back if you need any help