Not Dual Boot Prob -- Vista has split my system and boot parts over 2 drives -- HELP


Hi There

I will give a stmt of my problem and then the background of how i got here.

At this point i hope someone can help as i am desparate and starting to think i will have to reinstall the OS which is a nightmare of work given how much stuff is on my PC.

The problem now is that i have the original drive C: that has vista installed by HP from factory and a second physical drive M where vista has marked as having the boot info. I can tell this from the windows symbol on the drive in windows explorer and in disk mgmt by seeing M marked as system, boot etc... In disk mgmt both c and m are marked as active so that is not an issue.

I have downloaded EasyBCD and followed the instructions to "reset bcd storage" and also separately to "recreate missing/deleted boot files". When i do either of these afterwards i see that in view settings The boot drive has switched back from M to C drive. However, when i boot up it goes back to booting from M and once in easy BCD, the settings is back to boot from M.

Also, i have of course worked the BIOS to ensure the bios is set to boot from my C drive but the system appears to ignore this and boot from M.


I am running a 6 month old HP AMD quad core desktop with Vista Home Premium 64 bit.
I had a hard drive failure 3 months in and based on that i wanted a solution to backup the main OS drive. My data is on a separate raid HP media Server.
Thus recently i got another drive and Norton Ghost.
I added the new drive and installed ghost.
I did a one time copy of the C drive and its D recovery partition to the new drive M and its O partition for recovery data as well.
This seemed fine.
I then wanted to test the ability to use this "backup" if my main drive ever died.
Thus i changed the BIOS to boot off the OS copy on drive M and rebooted.
All seemed fine and the OS worked.
I shut down and changed the BIOS back to boot from the old C drive.
I booted up and it seemed ok.
Then next morning my HP Home Sever Connector software told me an update was available and i told it to update itself, the update failed.
After some investigation and trial reinstalls manually i got the message that the windows installer service was not working.
After A LOT of googling and some attempts to fix it that didn't fully work i realised that unlike xp vista can not reinstall the installer separately, and i would need to reinstall the OS.
I happen to have already installed a bought copy of Windows 7 on my laptop downstairs so figured the best of a bad situation would be to upgrade this machine to windows 7 and that would get a new OS and the installer issues would be resolved. I had planned to upgrade this machine at some point anyways.
When i tried to upgrade the OS it informed me that due to my OS being spread across 2 drives it could not do an upgrade and i would need to do a clean install.
I called MS support and they really could not help.

At this point i started to realise what had happenned and that my OS was now on 1 disk with the boot on the new copy M disk.

Im at my wits end with this and have read as much as i can find but am unsure how to fix this.

Please HELP ME as im getting desparate.

I could do a HP recovery which would wipe the computer and start again but am trying to avoid due to the massive amount of work involved.


Daniel Raithby
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


i assume that system restore will not correct a problem that is so low level like this?
Last edited:


Telephone Sanitizer (2nd Class)
Staff member
Hi Daniel, welcome to NST.
Get EasyBCD 2.0 latest build. (not 1.7)
Diagnostics / Change boot drive
Point it at C:
Make sure C: comes first in the BIOS.

MS Disk Management flags
"boot" = this is the OS you're running at the moment
"system" = this is where all the boot files used to start the OS reside
"active" = tells the MBR which partition on the HDD to search for the PBR



I used BCD 2.0 diagnostics center --- recreate boot files -- rescue my system -- c drive

i did this first before i was going to do your option of change boot drive

the reason i did that is because the computer would now refuse to boot at all from c and if i tried to force it it said winload.exe is missing from windows/system32 folder

when i did this option with BCD i got a blue screen crash

when i booted up again now i can't boot from M or C -- i get the same error saying winload.exe is missing

did i just screw myself?

I don't have the vista disk since this is an oem hp machine.

is there a way to recover this with bcd now to add that misswing file even though i can't boot at all now?


ok so my computer would not boot at all off of either drives and os

however after a lot of reseacrh and trying ur recovery / trepair disk that didn't work my last option was to try the windows 7 upgrade disk startup repair and it worked.

so now i am back up and running

interestingly the c drive is marked as system and the copied drive M is marked as boot, page file, crash dump

so i believe i shopuld probably go back to your original instructions of using bcd 2.0 under diagnostics and the option of change boot drive to change it back to C

Is that the right approach?


Telephone Sanitizer (2nd Class)
Staff member
Read my 1st reply again.
"boot" is not boot, "system" is boot, "boot" is "running".
(I know it makes no sense ! take it up with MS)
You changed the boot disk to C:, so that is now "system". You happen to be looking at the flags from M:, so that is "boot".
(If you're in Linux "boot" = "boot", or that is to say, Linux boot = MS system)
(In MS World, "system" is where the system files are (the ones you need to boot with), "boot" = the OS you "booted" using the "system" files)



no matter what i did and tried using bcd, rescue disk, win 7 disk, startupo repair or manual repair nothing worked.

thus i gave up and did a system recovery on my machine and reinstalled the os. \prob a day of work ahead but couldn't waste any more time. man i find the boot issues darn near impossible to fix. thanks for the help.