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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    What is the best way of handling a C or D drive failure when a dual boot dual drive system is installed? My C drive has an original Dell installed Vista and I have installed Windows 7 on the D drive. All of 'my' data is on the E drive.

    Is the boot process resilient and can it handle a failure of either drive and still manage to get to the working disk that has an operational OS? In other words, if the D drive fails will the dual boot system still manage to find Vista on the C drive. Conversely, if the C drive fails will the dual boot system be able to get to the Windows 7 on the D drive?

    If not, is there a simple fix that will get the machine up and running using just the one operation OS?

  2. #2
    Star Lounger
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    I would try booting form the original WIN 7 disk which will default to 'Repairing StartUp' or some similar words if it can't find the startup files on the drive which is first in the boot list.

    HTH

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    Are these separate physical drives? If so, changing the boot drive in the BIOS should do it (I had to resort to this when I lost my Grub menu recently). Though you might have to "repair" the Master Boot Record (MBR) to get the disk to boot.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I'd make a repair disk in both os's in the event of one of your drives failing, and yes you may have to fix mbr as well.
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  5. #5
    Lounger
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    There are some useful ideas here. I liked the suggestion about recovery disks and I think it might be a good time to look at disk imaging software again.

    I should have made it clear my configuration looks like this:

    Drive 0; C drive; Vista
    Drive 1; D drive; Windows 7
    Drive 2; E drive; 'My' data

    What does the dual boot process look like? Obviously it starts in the BIOS and I guess it goes from there to drive 0. When I get asked to choose between Vista and Windows 7 have I even left drive 0? So if I were to choose Vista on drive 0 I could do so even if drive 1 with Windows 7 had completely failed.

    On the other hand, a failure of drive 0 would, presumably, result in a BIOS error saying it can't find an OS. Would that be when I'd need to point the BIOS at drive 1 and modify the MBR on drive 1?

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
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    Most likely your boot partition is on the C: drive and that boot partition lets you choose among the OSes. The app EasyBCD (http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1) is a must-have for managing the boot configuration. If you lose the D: drive, no issues - just don't choose Win 7 in the boot menu and use EasyBCD to remove the Win7 option.

    If you loose C:, you might be able to boot directly into Win7. The BIOS will notice that C: is not longer there and boot into D:. This is not a guarantee - it all depends on the hard drive boot order specified in the BIOS (i.e., it could try to boot into E: if that is configured as the next boot drive in the BIOS, if so, change the boot order in the BIOS).

    If D:\ doesn't boot, then look up a MBR (Master Boot Record) repair tutorial and follow the directions. You will need the Win7 installation DVD to do this. If you don't have an installation DVD for Win7 (which can happen if you have a store-bought system), borrow a friend's Win7 installation DVD and make copy. The copied DVD will be sufficient to repair the MBR.

    Actually, it might be worth doing fixing the D: MBR right now. Unplug the C: drive and test it. Fix the D: drive MBR if required. Then you will be all set.

    When I installed Win7, I unplugged all of the other drives. After the install, I plugged the other drives back in and edited my Grub boot loader (I run Linux in one of my partitions and thus sue Grub to boot the OSes; Grub it fairly easy to configure.) to add the Win7 partition into the boot menu. When I lost my Grub menu (moved the drive it was on to my wife's PC), my desktop booted into Win7 automatically.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Rigden View Post
    I should have made it clear my configuration looks like this:

    Drive 0; C drive; Vista
    Drive 1; D drive; Windows 7
    Drive 2; E drive; 'My' data
    Sorry I'm a little confused. In your first post you say you have a dual boot / dual drive system.
    However the configuration you show above would indicate a 3 physical drive system.
    If you only have 2 physical drives either 0 or 1 is partitioned to provide the E: drive.
    This can be important in a failure as your data may also disappear depending on which
    drive fails.

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  8. #8
    Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Sorry I'm a little confused.
    Please accept my apologies. This is a three drive system with a Vista drive, a Windows 7 drive, and a drive for my documents.

    In my original post I was trying to simplify the problem. When my machine eventually breaks a drive failure will be one of many possible reasons. In the event of any kind of failure the first step will be to isolate where the problem lies. At the most primitive level that will be in one of the three components of BIOS, Vista, or Windows 7. Since I'm new to dual boot configurations, I wasn't sure if the post BIOS part of the boot procedure was a functionally separate fourth component or if it was a sub-component of Vista. I now understand it to be a sub component of Vista in my current installation. This would mean that a failure of Vista could prevent me from accessing Windows 7. Apart from the inconvenience this will be a troubleshooting nightmare.

    Peter's response suggests a BIOS change that will boot to the Windows 7 installation in the event that BIOS cannot boot to Vista.

    All this means that if either OS fails for whatever reason, the machine will probably go on working with the other system. Some small reconfiguration of BIOS and work with EasyBCD may be necessary. This will allow me to access windows secrets lounge and get help from all the great people here

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Rigden View Post
    Peter's response suggests a BIOS change that will boot to the Windows 7 installation in the event that BIOS cannot boot to Vista.

    All this means that if either OS fails for whatever reason, the machine will probably go on working with the other system. Some small reconfiguration of BIOS and work with EasyBCD may be necessary. This will allow me to access windows secrets lounge and get help from all the great people here
    The BIOS does NOT boot the system. The BIOS only determines the order in which certain device typees are checked for boot media. When a device in the media type is found with bootable media the device is allowed to begin the boot process.

    Joe
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  10. #10
    Lounger
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    Have a look at the screen that is used to choose the OS in a dual boot system. It's looks like a command line transaction screen and very like the screens used to change BIOS settings. Logically, and by that I mean human logic as opposed to Microsoft's, the choice of boot media should take place before control is transferred from BIOS to the selected boot media.So both the logic and the look suggest the selection of system in a dual boot system takes place in BIOS.

    I now realize as you correctly point out that my logic and my inference from the appearance of the screen were wrong.

    The real problem here is that Microsoft's implementation of dual boot means that control could land in a broken OS on one device en route to an OS on another device that is functioning perfectly. System recovery procedures need to recognize and deal with this failure configuration.

  11. #11
    2 Star Lounger
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    XP used the boot.ini on systemroot, 7 does not use that anymore
    When I was dual boot xp and 7 each time the drives came up they were C: regardless and the other changed to next drive.
    Can you paste your boot.ini?

  12. #12
    Lounger
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    A search for boot.ini finds nothing. I believe this is expected on a dual Vista/Windows 7 machine.

    Does this description of the boot manager answer your question?

  13. #13
    2 Star Lounger
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    disregard some reason I was thinking you had XP

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