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Added extra hard drives and Vista won't start

Community Veteran
Posts: 38,311
Thanks: 972
Fixes: 57
Registered: 15-06-2007

Added extra hard drives and Vista won't start

I suspect I know what is causing the problem but I have no idea how to fix it.
My main PC uses Vista 64bit from a SATA drive using AHCI.
I just tried adding two PATA hard drives to see what was on them before ditching/using them again.
Bios detects them fine and the boot priority is SATA (seen as SCSI in the bios) then the two PATA drives.
When Windows starts in either normal or safe mode it just stalls part way through (in normal mode it doesn't get to the flash screen).
I suspect that the problem may be that one of the hard drives is a windows boot disk (XP, ME or 98SE - it could be any of them).
To get round the problem I am going to resurrect my old XP machine and see it that works but I would be interested in any suggestions as to a solution.
5 REPLIES
Plusnet Alumni (retired) orbrey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 10,540
Registered: 18-07-2007

Re: Added extra hard drives and Vista won't start

I think regardless of the priority set in the BIOS Windows looks for IDE drives before SATA for the boot partition... I've had issues with that before. The only way I found round it was to remove the IDE drive, though I think getting rid of the boot partition (or possibly the bootable flag) should sort it.
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,311
Thanks: 972
Fixes: 57
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Added extra hard drives and Vista won't start

I know that installing Vista on a SATA drive only works if there isn't an IDE drive in as it insists on putting some files on the IDE drive but i wasn't aware of it happening during boot.
Must Google for dual boot IDE/SATA and see what it throws up.
At present I am deleting and reformating the two of the old drives in the XP machine (6GB and 15GB) before scrapping. Then comes the two larger drives to check.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: Added extra hard drives and Vista won't start

The problem is 2 active partitions I have had this on a few pc's and trying to set the second drive to none active can be fun as all software lets you set it active but not inactive. You often get the problem when you clone a drive and leave the old drive as slave. You could try setting the drive to slave that some times works.
It seems  to be e bios thing as on some pc's its ok but my old gigabyte would have none of it
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,311
Thanks: 972
Fixes: 57
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Added extra hard drives and Vista won't start

Have now cleared all the drives - they weren't windows boot disks after all.
One of the drives is knackered - won't boot at all - and that is the 60GB one - damn.
Looks as though I might have to buy another hard drive at some point unless I scrap the old XP machine (useful as a backup).
Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Added extra hard drives and Vista won't start

Quote from: samuria
You often get the problem when you clone a drive and leave the old drive as slave.

Yep I've also experienced this in the past too. It was a right pain as I found windows was booting from both drives at the same time. I'd find some services running on c and others running on d!
After removing the 2nd drive it simply refused to boot convinced it needed both drives.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!