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Which hard drive loads Windows

paulo
Grafter
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎02-01-2008

Which hard drive loads Windows

I am having problems booting Windows. My PC has 2 hard drives and Windows is loaded on both of them as far as I can tell.
How can I find out which HD window is trying to boot from?
Any help would be much appreciated.
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11 REPLIES
Njal
Grafter
Posts: 290
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

Start
Settings
Control Panel
Administrative Tools
Computer Management
Disk Management
The PCs booting from the disk that says "System"
You could also pull the power cable from one disk at a time and see what happens. (May require jumper adjustment on the disks).
Regards,
Neil
paulo
Grafter
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎02-01-2008

Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

Thanks Neil that was useful.
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Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

It is possible however for windows to boot from 2 drives at the same time. Years ago I made a backup of my windows partition on another drive. Few days later I noticed some services were running from the d: drive and not the c: drive. Eventually the entire thing became unstable and both versions (the live and backup) became corrupt. It was very frustrating but a valuable experience.
If you have windows backed up on another drive set it to hidden!
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paulo
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Posts: 157
Registered: ‎02-01-2008

Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

Thanks Okrzynska, I must ponder over that but surely only one version operates at a time depending which HD is told to boot by the BIOS setting.
Mine seems to had XP on both HDs!!  Sorry to be a bit vague about it but this is a used PC I bought recently and have not yet sussed out exactly what is what.
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Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

Quote from: paulo
but surely only one version operates at a time depending which HD is told to boot by the BIOS setting.

Thats what common sense would tell you I agree. I'm not sure if it was a partition magic fault or Windows fault (I'd restored the copy of the XP partition back to the Xp partition just days before it went crazy).
Anyway it went crazy and booted from 2 drives. It's the weirdest thing I've ever experienced from Windows. Seeing parts of it run from c: and othe things running from d: was certainly a really weird sight!
The bios didn't make much difference. Windows had detected the presence of itself on the other drive and for some crazy reason decided it liked that partition more than its own and decided to boot stuff from it. I never did fix it because days later it was still morphing into super XP thinking it could be the ultimate in unstable OS's booting from both drives. Needless to say I killed it with "format c:" Wink
The weird thing is the copy was marked as hidden too...  Cheesy
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dusty_bin
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Posts: 143
Registered: ‎12-06-2007

Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

I agree with the comment about hiding partitions contains copies of the windows installation.
One point about booting, though, is that the boot.ini file (which I think must reside in the boot drive/partition) tells the system where to find the system, doesn't it?  So windows can reside on a different drive/partition from the boot drive/partition.
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Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

Quote from: okrzynska
I'm not sure if it was a partition magic fault or Windows fault

What you describe is very strange. I've built many systems with multiple XP installs on different partitions and/or drives and had no problems.
I've used BIOS settings and boot.ini in all sorts of combinations to control which copy runs and never had a problem.
The only issue I've hit is where you don't have access rights from one copy to some files on the other - all to do with ownership but fixable in rather messy ways.
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Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

There is one documented problem with XP (I don't know about Vista).
If XP is installed on a SATA drive and there is also an IDE drive in the computer during the install process, windows in it's wisdom puts some of the files on the IDE drive even though you have told it not to.
paulo
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Posts: 157
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Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

Quote from: Oldjim

If XP is installed on a SATA drive and there is also an IDE drive in the computer during the install process, windows in it's wisdom puts some of the files on the IDE drive even though you have told it not to.

You may have hit the nail on the head!!  My PC has one SATA drive and one IDE drive.
Hope this next point is not too naff!!  (I'm fairly new to PC internal secrets) but is there any real advantage in having a SATA drive or would I be better off with two IDE drives.
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Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

First - SATA drives are much faster
Second - most new motherboards have only one IDE connector giving 2 IDE drives in total including any optical drives.
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Re: Which hard drive loads Windows

Quote from: HPsauce
Quote from: okrzynska
I'm not sure if it was a partition magic fault or Windows fault

What you describe is very strange. I've built many systems with multiple XP installs on different partitions and/or drives and had no problems.
I've used BIOS settings and boot.ini in all sorts of combinations to control which copy runs and never had a problem.
The only issue I've hit is where you don't have access rights from one copy to some files on the other - all to do with ownership but fixable in rather messy ways.

Hi
Yes I know it was very strange. I've never had it again (and I've also had more than 4 OS's on one machine sometimes). It was totally freaky and never seen again since. Must be said though, I've since switched to using virtual OS's in emulation. They're far easier to use and move about from one machine to another etc. While I do appreciate the good old multi-boot setups I'd say their days are over now that emulation is mainstream. VMs are so much easier to work with.
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