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

#1
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.

Background

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.

Thanks

Daniel Raithby
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Addendum:

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

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
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.

btw
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
 
#3
Update

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?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
#5
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?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
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)
 
#7
thanks

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.