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Dual boot with two drives is not working

StymiedMike

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I have an HP p6710f desktop that came with Windows 7 on a 1TB HDD.

I temporarily disconnected the HDD & connected an SSD and installed Windows 7 on it. This boots up just fine.

Then connected both drives & booted into the BIOS and it showed both drives. I set the boot order for the HHD before the SSD.

Turned off & powered back on & pressed the ESC key to bring up the boot menu. I selected the SSD, but the PC proceeded to boot from the HDD.

After that the PC would not recognize the SSD anymore, even when it was the only drive connected. Somehow selecting it from the ESC > boot menu corrupted it.

I had to repair the SSD by running the Windows 7 install disc.

Any idea why selecting the SSD from the ESC > boot menu did not work? Did I miss some setting? It seemed pretty straight forward, but it did not work, and it corrupted the SSD.

Any suggestions on how to properly set this up would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

Digerati

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I am posting just to acknowledge that your post was seen. But unfortunately, I don't have an explanation or solution for you. The fact the SSD booted fine once is what confuses me.

It seems that HP came out 9 years ago so it is pretty old. Is the BIOS firmware current?
 

satrow

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Could you post a screenshot of Disk Management expanded to show the full Status text for both drives, please?

DiskMan_Status.jpg
 

StymiedMike

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This is a screen shot of the Disk Management after I repaired the SSD and connected both drives.

I don’t know what it looked like before I tried using the ESC > boot menu to select the SSD.

IOW after I repaired the SSD, did that return the SSD boot partition to its fresh Windows 7 install condition? Or would it have also made some changes that I would not be aware of?
 

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satrow

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The screenshot indicates you're running from the 1TB HDD (the drive Windows is running from is always C:), there are no Boot or System flags on the 500MB SSD, so it might not boot as the only drive connected, it depends on whether the pre-Boot BIOS/UEFI scan detects the Windows installation or not.

I'd boot from the W7 DVD/USB drive with only the SSD connected and run through the repairs again - your SSD flags should look the same as the HDD flags (though your 100MB SSD partition shouldn't have a drive letter or be visible from Explorer).

If your objective is to get a dual boot using the stock MS bootloader, you'll need to modify the boot.ini on the first drive once both drives boot correctly without the other being connected.

https://www.sysnative.com/forums/windows-7-windows-vista-tutorials/3894-manually-fix-boot-configuration-windows-7-vista.html#post28375

Marking the Appropriate Partition Active (Windows 7 / Vista)

Windows Recovery Options (Windows 7 / Vista)
 

StymiedMike

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The first image is with just the HDD connected.

The second image is with just the SSD connected. There's no programs on the SSD yet so wasn't sure how'd I save a screenshot. So I took a photo of the screen & tried to make it look best possible.

Other than the capacities the information looks the same.

My object is to be able to press the ESC key on startup in order to bring up the boot menu. That did work, but again when I selected the SSD the system booted the HDD instead and corrupted the SSD.

I'd rather not have the boot menu automatically come up at startup. My concern is that a family member might select the wrong drive & start using it.
 

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satrow

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So it seems like *something* about the Esc method triggers the Bootloader into 'jumping' between drives and triggering a 'hybrid' boot routine, maybe storing that route in CMOS/BIOS/MBR/partitions, possibly in a boot.ini.

Does switching between drives work correctly by using the 'permanent' method of changing the boot order in the main Bios/UEFI?
 

StymiedMike

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I have never tried the 'permanent' method. After my last experience, which should have been fool proof, I’m somewhat apprehensive about modifying boot data.

I wish there was more information available on using a PC’s boot menu. I know my PC is not the only one that has a boot menu at startup. This link lists dozens of them.
List of PC brands with their corresponding hot-keys

I took a photo of my screen showing what it looks like when I press ESC at startup. Only the HDD & optical drive are connected.

When the SSD was connected it displayed under the DVD drive. Could that have caused the problem?

IOW the order listed in BIOS was:

Drive 1 = HDD
Drive 2 = none
Drive 3 = DVD
Drive 4 = SSD
 

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satrow

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It's the main Bios boot order/settings that I'd concentrate on, once they're working correctly, then the Esc. boot menu should also work as expected.

Simple is better: with W7 you can create your System drives with only one partition, just as you can a Data/storage drive, that way the 'route' from the Bios > MBR > Active partition is cleaner, no 'hidden' or System/Windows partition to find because it's the same as the Active partition. It's probably easier to do that from scratch, after creating a single, full drive partition either with Windows Disk Management as a slave, or from the Advanced setup when booting from the W7 DVD/USB with only the target drive installed.

(My screenshot shows spare areas on all three of my SSDs, that was done after booting into Windows after the intial setup, all three drives had in turn once been the main Windows drive with full status flags as does the C: still.)
 

StymiedMike

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Does it matter which SATA port the drives are connected to? IOW should the SSD be Drive 2?

I had to repair the SSD using the Window 7 disk so that it would boot again. Could using the BCDBoot tool have accomplished the same thing, or does the Windows repair process do a lot more?

If I use the 'permanent' method, do both drives have to modified or just the default one? What would I notice as different in Disk Management?
 

Digerati

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Does it matter which SATA port the drives are connected to? IOW should the SSD be Drive 2?
It only matters in terms of the default settings in the BIOS. If you change ports, you may have to change the boot priority in the BIOS Setup Menu.
 

StymiedMike

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From the factory the HDD was connected to SATA #1 and the DVD to SATA #3. I connected the SSD to SATA #4.

BIOS priority had set the SSD before the HDD. I don't know what determined this, but I just presumed since the SSD was on port #4 that BIOS would have put it at the end of the priority list. Anyway I did change this & pressing the ESC key at startup did show the SSD after the HDD in the Boot Menu, just like I set it. But it made me wonder if there was a conflict between the bios priority order & the SATA port order.
 

satrow

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To a great extent we're at the mercy of how well written and 'logical' the BIOS/UEFI routines are with any given version, thus my preference in getting the core settings right for the components we do have control over.
 

StymiedMike

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I understand.

What does it take to get my core settings right?

Individually each drive boots up & works by itself. BIOS recognizes both drives. The boot order was HDD before SSD.

Do I have to use the BCDBoot tool to change something, or do I need to use Disk Management to change the partitions?
 

satrow

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Bios/UEFI and drive status need thorough testing to ensure no unexpected changes, esp. from triggering *something* via the Esc. boot temp. change. Changes may need to be made manually or via BCD, changes via Management should only be made later for Windows/display anomalies imo, I'm unsure whether they might trigger changes/'corrections' during the Bios/boot checks.

Which 'board and BIOS# do you have, there's one that 'fixes' "Resolves issue that occurs when booting from USB optical drives", which might be related to what you've been experiencing: Driver - HP Pavilion p6710f Desktop PC | HP(R) Customer Support
 
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