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XP trying to boot from wrong partition

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by crazytonyi, Apr 23, 2007.

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  1. crazytonyi

    crazytonyi Thread Starter

    Dec 15, 2001
    First: Please forgive me for leaving out specs of my system. I will try to be as thorough as possible, but truly believe the problem is not a hardware issue. If necessary, I will post specs, but at this point I'd like to avoid being confused and overwhelmed by any suggestions that my hardware may be the issue. Again, I will post if someone requests it to diagnose my problem.

    The story is long and boring and involved many repair installs, boot fixes, hardware changes, and more. I will pick up from the point that I think the current problem started.

    My system has (or had) two internal hard drives. Both IDE/PATA. One was a Western Digital 80GB drive that came with my old system 5 years ago. The second is a Seagate 300GB.

    I had the 80GB set up with four primary partitions: 20GB for XP, 10GB set aside for a possible install of Ubuntu (never happened), 20GB set up for Vista (again, never happened), and 30GB as my "my documents" folder.

    The second hard drive (the 300) was originally for downloads and mulimedia only. Any ripped music or whatever went in there. A month back I used a partition program (paragon) to set up a 1GB partition so I could separate my pagefile.sys from the XP drive.

    All of that is mostly back story. Let me get on with it:

    The 80GB has always been loud and seemingly on the verge of crashing. The past year or so it's been really bad, but I wanted to wait until I got a new system to replace the drive. Mostly I just did a hail mary every time I restarted. I got the new system and put my two old drives in and eventually felt it was easier to just clean install XP on the 80GB drive. So far, mostly okay. troubles along the way, but I got through them, with only the loss of my applications (which sucks, but is spilled milk now).

    Two days ago I ordered three new Seagate SATA hard drives. Two 250GB (more room for fun stuff and plans to just get "my documents" somewhere safter) and one 80GB to replace the current one.

    I found "drivewizard" by seagate and saw that it should do what I need, namely getting my old system onto a stable drive so i don't once again have to reinstall all of my drivers and applications.

    Then last night I just lost all patience with the super noisy drive and decided that I could create a new partition on the 300GB and just use drivewizard to clone the XP drive to the new partition and throw the 80GB away until the new ones showed up. The thing was REALLY noisy.

    So, I set up the partition, no problem. I installed drivewizard. It gets as far as "where do you want to clone the drive" and it won't let me select the new partition.

    So I go looking for a different partition program.

    I found DriveImage XML (freeware) and gave it a shot. It works. i cloned the drive, turned off the computer, pulled out the 80GB and restarted.

    Then I couldn't log in. Can't remember the error now, but it wouldn't boot to the new partition. Also, the bios won't recognize that the 300GB is now the master not the slave (I changed the cables.) It shows now master and the 300GB as the slave. So I decide I'll repair install. I tried three times. Each time it would go through the whole process, then freeze halfway through the last step ("copying files"). As some point in this nonesense I changed the jumper on the drive twice (back and forth from "cable select" and "master"). Eventually the BIOS does show that the 300GB is master, and that there is no slave ("cable select" jumper finally worked). Finally, I gave up hope on a repair install and did a clean install.

    Again, sorry for so much back story. Here is where the current problem comes up:

    So the clean install works, but in the disk manager, it shows that the partiton where I keep all of my fun stuff is now the C: drive and that the new partiton that I clean installed XP is the D: drive. C: shows up as "system" and D: as "boot". I look at the fun stuff drive and see that (hidden and system files in full view) that the only thing on the C: drive system related are the boot files (boot.ini, ntldr, all that stuff) and that the D: drive has none of those files in the root directory. It has the windows folder and all that, but no boot files. So I think "well, that means I just move them over, problem soloved, I hope". I do this, restart, and get the "no ntldr file" on startup. I use the disc I have handy for the last time this happened (last week) and finally get back into XP. With the boot.ini deleted from the C: (fun stuff) drive, I go to the "Startup and Recovery" section in "my computer" but it can't find boot.ini. I copy the boot.ini back to C: drive, and then it sees it just fine.

    So I guess I have a few problems, please help me with as many as you can:

    1. How can I make XP point to the D: drive and forget all about the stupid drive that it shouldn't even be near?

    2. In all this chaos, I realized that the old drive (the 80GB) should still be just fine and have all of the applications I lost in the last clean install. When my new 80GB drive shows up, is it possible to pull out the 300GB, boot with the old 80GB drive, and copy the drive to the new 80GB drive? What did I do wrong the first time?

    3. Assuming I can get the old system drive from the old 80GB to the new 80GB, how do I get any and all boot/system/XP stuff off the 300GB so that when I put the 300 in with the new 80GB (hopefully working system) drive, so that XP won't try to boot off of the 300GB?

    I just want the current configuration (the 300GB with the system partition) to work until I get my new drive on Wednesday so that i don't have to boot off of this disc. But in the long run, I need to know how to get the system drive off of the old noisy drive and onto the new drive without there being a confusing number of duplicate boot/OSs that will make booting impossible with the new configuration.

    Thank you so much for your patience and your advice. Again, any further details needed I'm glad to offer.


    P.S. - I know it would fix a lot, but backing up and reformating the "fun stuff" drive is the last option I want to consider. There must be an easier and smarter way.
  2. bernardus


    Oct 13, 2004
    Why starting on D? You should instaal your operating system on drive C. It seems that you installed on D. But with a bootup sequence on C. That won't work. If you clone a drive you will end up with two active or Primary drives and two bootup-partitions. Your D drive or partition should be set to inactive or as logical partition. With the Windows setup you can select the other as logical. With any partitioning software you could check or uncheck the active partition. It is to be recommanded to format with windows because the NTFS file system of Windows is 3.1 and most partition-programs do not support this version fully.
  3. crazytonyi

    crazytonyi Thread Starter

    Dec 15, 2001
    I don't think the drive letter should matter. I'm pretty sure that the back up drive, which was originally H: was probably changed to C: when the clone of the original didn't work. When I did a clean install to the partition (which was named D: whether I liked it or not) there was still the boot info on the C: partition. I can't make the C: inactive, because it's considered the system drive. But I don't want to boot from that partition, no matter what it's name is. That's the problem. How do I stop XP from thinking that the C: drive is the system drive so that I can change the drive letter and partition from the partition that actually has all of the system files on it?

    Thanks again.
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