When I reinstalled Windows 10 on an SSD

tkrotchko

New Member
About a year ago, I reinstalled Windows 10 (fresh install) EFI on an SSD, and I didn't do anything at that time except add the SSD to an M.2 slot (drive 3), and told the windows installer to install Windows there, make it the C: drive. I left the existing drive in as drive 0 to the BIOS and it became the D: drive to the new Windows install.

The only oddity is that Windows 10 now gave me a choice of which windows to boot. So I set the time to 3 seconds and all was well. Now, I always suspected it would always hit the old drive first but I wasn't really sure.

On friday I wanted to upgrade the original drive with something much larger, so I used Partition Assistant to create a simple GFT drive with just two partitions (the small system partition that windows seems to like) and the large "new" D: drive and copied the files over.

This morning, when I swapped the new drive in place (the old drive safely tucked away), as I suspected, it would not boot. So I swapped the original drive back in and I'm operating.

Now it seems to me that all I really need to do is put the BCD on the SSD and I'd be fine (and remove the original drive), so I discovered your nice utility EasyBCD and fired it up. It warns me that since I'm in EFI mode, that many features are disabled. I've read the warning at EasyBCD and UEFI and I understand in general what limitation it places on me.

I've told that long story to ask a few question:

1) Can I use EasyBCD to simply create a new BCD on SSD (Disk 3) to point to the windows installation on the SSD/C: Drive?
2) Are the EFI warnings from EasyBCD relevant to me?
3) Could I disconnect the original drive, fire up a windows installation from a USB and ask Windows to just repair the installation and it will create the proper boot files on the SSD?
4) I see you sell a utility EasyRE for windows professional, and if that's what it takes, I have no problem paying for it, is that what it will take?

I'm a little confused which way will make this work. I had a similar problem with a laptop a couple months ago and I just fired up the windows installer from a USB and told it to repair the installation and that worked, but I'm not sure if that's the correct way forward now.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Installing a newer Windows onto a PC with an existing older Windows version will take over the existing boot files, update them to the later level and auto-dual-boot the two OSs. That's standard MS architecture which works fine until you no longer need the old OS but cannot remove it (as you found out) because it's the only way to boot.
EasyBCD will help
on a PC where the OSs are installed in legacy BIOS/MBR mode
 

tkrotchko

New Member
Installing a newer Windows onto a PC with an existing older Windows version will take over the existing boot files, update them to the later level and auto-dual-boot the two OSs. That's standard MS architecture which works fine until you no longer need the old OS but cannot remove it (as you found out) because it's the only way to boot.
EasyBCD will help
on a PC where the OSs are installed in legacy BIOS/MBR mode
I appreciate the speedy reply. When you say "newer", do you mean a "newer" service version number of windows 10? Both versions of windows on the machine are windows 10, and yes, I can dual boot, although I suspect that if I tried to boot the old version it would fail since I've deleted so many files. Both versions were installed on the same motherboard, but the newer version (the one I use) is installed on an SSD. Both drives use UEFI, and both are GPT. I'm not sure that matters, just being more clear about the situation.

Looking at the link you provided, I tried to make my C: drive the boot drive, and apparently, the drive is not set up to do this:

2020-09-13_20-28-53.jpg

Here's the partition layout of the disk (very handy to have it in EasyBCD):
1600043546054.png

You'll note D:\ (Drive 0) is currently the boot drive, I want to make C:\ (Drive 3) the boot drive.

Here's the diskpart
1600043766825.png
1600043868049.png

This is a bit confusing now because C:\ is on a primary partition

I checked disk 0 now to be sure:

1600044149173.png

It appears that I need to set up two additional partitions on the disk a primary and a system in front of the reserved disk. I can probably do that with a disk partitioning tool since most of C:\ is empty but I would have to understand the partition types I need for the primary & system disks that sit in front of the existing partitions.

[I haven't played with this stuff in years, I didn't realize you could have multiple primary partitions on a disk]

Ideas?

--Tom
 

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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Sorry, I should have included the caveat that changing the boot drive function in EasyBCD was coded pre-UEFI and as far as I know can't be done on a UEFI PC.
From your OP I had assumed that the "old" OS was probably W7, hence your junking it at this time.
I'm not quite sure why it wasn't "greyed" like the other features not applicable to UEFI. It does things like moving the "active" flag which is an MBR feature not used in UEFI/GPT.
Have you tried booting the installation DVD and using "repair your computer" > "startup repair" with only the new SSD connected ?
That should rebuild the boot files, but you'll need to do it (including the boot) three times since MS only fixes one thing per pass and there are many things to reconstruct.
 

tkrotchko

New Member
Terry, I appreciate your being a one-person show here.

Yes, I'm considering doing exactly what you say. I was going to create an installation USB drive boot from that and run a repair. Interesting about having to reboot and repair three times. That's a golden tip.

Incidentally, it appears Windows 10 can actually be installed on a single partition, so I think the three I have are sufficient.

The other alternative is to use AOMEI's partition manager (I own a copy) which has this capability:

1600127898941.png

Which as you can see would allow it to add an MBR to drive 3 (they've numbered it drive 4 probably so they don't confuse the non-CompSci people in the audience). But I don't know if that would be sufficient in this case since everything is missing from that drive.

It seems the safest bet would be to use the install USB without drive 0 attached and run the boot/repair sequence three times. Do you agree?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
There's no MBR on a GPT drive (except for a pseudo version used as a "guard" to make sure you don't accidentally destroy the contents when loading the drive on a legacy OS), so I'd be wary about using that third party prog on a UEFI PC unless the documentation very specifically states its suitability for the purpose.
The W10 installation disc (or drive) is obviously designed for the purpose.
You can also make a repair disc which contains only the repair function of the Installation DVD if you have access to a working W10 PC.
Just type repair into the search field and you should see the option to create recovery media easily.
 

tkrotchko

New Member
There's no MBR on a GPT drive (except for a pseudo version used as a "guard" to make sure you don't accidentally destroy the contents when loading the drive on a legacy OS), so I'd be wary about using that third party prog on a UEFI PC unless the documentation very specifically states its suitability for the purpose.
The W10 installation disc (or drive) is obviously designed for the purpose.
You can also make a repair disc which contains only the repair function of the Installation DVD if you have access to a working W10 PC.
Just type repair into the search field and you should see the option to create recovery media easily.

Thanks for the advice. I already created an install USB, and I'll use the repair features on that. Probably won't get to try it until later this week, since the PC is running and I need it for work.

Thanks again.
 

tkrotchko

New Member
I solved it. But it wasn't easy.

I set up an install USB and ran a startup repair, and it came back after grinding and announced that it could not fix the repair. I rebooted several times, all the same. (The Old D: drive was disconnected)

Next step was to try a repair USB, same issues as the install USB.

Stepping back, I tried the tips in the article "How to Rebuild the BCD in Windows" www.lifewire.com, which found my windows install on Disk 3. The problem was when i tried to add the windows installation it gave me the error "The requested System Device Cannot Be Found".

This made no sense. So I booted into recovery mode with the D: drive attached, and the problem with that the drive letters were now wrong, and worse, it still gave me similar errors (although I can't remember them).

Stepping back, I looked up the error message and the search engine came to the AOMEI Partition Manager help page here:
The Requested System Device Cannot Be Found | Solved

And it claimed the problem was Windows recovery mode is: "the USB 3.0 interface currently cannot be detected by Windows repair environment. "

I found a USB 2.0 32G stick and created a recovery USB (took about an hour.... 10 times as long). I got to a command prompt and these were the instructions:

Boot from the CD or USB 2.0 interface, and then press Shift + F10 to bring out Command Prompt. Type these commands and press Enter:
  • bootrec /fixmbr - Worked
  • bootrec /fixboot - It found my c:\windows directory and asked if I wanted to create an entry in the BCD. And...Access Denied (!) - Dang!
  • bootrec /rebuildbcd - A similar error as before, I should have written this down
Restart your PC after that and you’ll find it starts fine. Alternatively, you can type bcdboot.exe C:\Windows /s C: directly on the prompt in Windows Recovery Environment to solve the issue.

So I typed bcdboot.exe c:\windows /s C: on a hope and it said "Operation Successful"

I rebooted and..... it worked! So I feel like I lucked into the answer, and I'm not sure why the bootrec commands did not work as advertised.

Anyway, that's (hopefully) the end of my saga. I appreciate your help.
 

Ex_Brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Glad you are OK now.
 
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