Switching Hard Drives

I've been happily using Vista for some time on an 80 GB IDE drive. Eventually, though, I began to run out of space, and decided to buy a 320 GB SATA drive instead. I had other uses for the 80GB IDE, and I wanted to do a clean install of Vista on the SATA drive. However, for convenience, I decided I'd just dual boot for a bit with Vista on both drives until I got the new install set up and my data transferred. Last weekend, that was done. And so I decided to free up the 80 GB drive for other uses. A mistake, as it turns out.

With my feeble knowledge of booting, I decided I'd just format the IDE drive. Everythign I needed was on the SATA already, so I popped in my Vista install CD, and formatted the drive in question. Which worked, so I cancelled the install, and rebooted. Except I could not boot into anything -- it gave the infamous missing system disk error. The install CD couldn't repair it, even when I used the "repairing your boot sector" walkthtough on this site. (By the way, at the end, it says to roll up your sleeves and prepare for some torturous command-lining, but then it stops! Is there no more?!?)

Anyway, to make a long story short, I eventually resorted to installing XP on my IDE drive so I could use EasyBCD to fix my other drive. (Weird fact: The XP install didn't work the first time, and there were four or five really colorful ASCII characters in POST, where the computer froze. I mean, it was testing a drive, and the "i" in drive was capitalized and red on a yellow background. There was a flashing, accented cyan "e" somewhere, and things like that. It all worked on a reinstall, but does anyone know what could possibly cause this?)

EasyBCD itself could not fix the problem, but did enough that the install CD could finally fix it. All worked once more, giving me a dual boot Vista/XP system. I'm pretty sure I told Easy BCD to boot from my SATA drive.

Under the assumption that the problem was (perhaps) caused by formatting with the install CD, thus messing up my MBR, I used gParted to format the IDE drive a second time. Same problem. So, after installing XP, messing with EasyBCD, and repairing with the Vista install CD, I got it back to the VIsta XP dual boot.

I still want to free up the IDE drive, and I assume that the reaon this doesn't work is that the bootsector for my PC is on my IDE drive, thus every time I format it, the boot does not work. (Does that sound right?) My question is, can I use EasyBCD to move the Bootsector to the SATA drive? How? (If that information is on the site somewhere already, I apologize; I couldn't find it.)

Thanks a lot!

Mak 2.0

Staff member
Yes your MBR is on your IDE drive and this is what is causing your issues. So you need to get the Vista bootloader isntalled to the SATA drive. Only way i can think of doing this. Disconnect the IDE drive. Or Hide it. Either way you have to get the SATA drive as the drive recognized and then follow the Repair Bootloader steps.

Repairing the Windows Vista Bootloader - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

After that you should have the SATA drive all set up. Then add the IDE drive and see what happens. I think the IDE drive will again cause conflict but it shouldnt. Isnt there a setting in your BIOS that allows you to choose your boot order?
Believe me, I've tried it. After formatting, I though that perhaps the IDE drive was interfering with the boot, and removed it entirely. The steps listed on that page didn't work, and seemed to end just before the "good bits." (Step Four.)

The windows install CD gives an "element not found" error when using "fixmbr." (I think that was the one.) Is there another page to the instructions that I'm just not seeing?

Step Four: Nuclear Holocaust

Windows Vista doesn't have its share of haters for no reason: when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.
So Windows Vista can't even fix itself - god, that's what we love about EasyBCD! If you were in Windows Vista right now, you could have used EasyBCD's "Reset BCD Data" feature to have EasyBCD actively search for any and all discrepancies in your bootloader, zero out your old BCD data, and re-create it all from scratch. But you're not and it's no use lamenting what you could be doing with our super-cool app if you can't even use it in the first place now, is it?

Go ahead and select "Command Prompt" yet again from that list. Roll up your sleeves, and prepare to be tortured.
And then..?
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