Win7 Pro-64 refuses to boot, with non-boot HDDs connected after deleting Linux
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Thread: Win7 Pro-64 refuses to boot, with non-boot HDDs connected after deleting Linux

  1. #1
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    Win7 Pro-64 refuses to boot, with non-boot HDDs connected after deleting Linux

    Hi all,

    This has got to be the most frustrating, maddening PC issue about which Iíve ever posted, here or anywhere else. Good luck to anyone daring to try to resolve this . . .

    I decided this should be a Windows 7 post, rather than in the Linux section, as the issue is connected with trying (desperately) to get Win7 running properly after wiping the C: drive to remove Linux.


    I am going to mostly use bulleted items, for better clarity and to reduce wordiness.


    • Last week, I wiped my C: boot drive on which Win10 was running. I had been extremely dissatisfied with Win10 and Windows in general, and wanted to have a Linux machine. So, I then installed Linux Mint, which worked just fine. (I figured I could run a few Windows apps using WINE).
    • However, over the weekend a good friend then gave me an extra PC he had, a not-so-new Dell Inspiron. I decided I could use it for my Linux machine instead, and I could reinstall Windows to my original PC.
    • I installed Linux Ubuntu on the PC my friend gave me, which works quite well.
    • Yesterday, I completely wiped the C: drive again to install Windows. Since I cannot stand Win10, I opted to reinstall Win7 Pro-64, from which I had previously upgraded to Win10 (baaaad idea). (YES, I understand support for Win7 will be completely gone in 2020).
    • I didnít want anything to happen to my zillions of files on my two non-boot HDDs, so I disconnected them for the Win7 install.
    • Win7 installed without problems, and when it was finished, Win7 worked just fine.
    • But ... I then of course wanted to access my other HDDs for various files, so I shut down the PC and reattached the drive cables.
    • When I fired up the PC again, Win7 refused to boot up, and I was then presented with what I believe was a Linux error message: ďerror : no such device : (then a string of numbers, letters and dashes) : grub rescueĒ (followed by a right arrow symbol and a flashing cursor).
    • As a side note, I had also previously installed Linux Ubuntu on the 2nd non-boot HDD; my friend believes there are remnants that are interfering with booting of Win7.
    • NOW: In a perfect world, I could use Disk Management in Windows to find and delete any Linux partition remaining on the drive; but itís a catch-22 as both non-boot drives must be disconnected for Win7 to boot . . . but they need to be connected in order to see and delete a Linux partition!
    • I created a live Linux Ubuntu flash drive to try and use Gparted to find and delete any Linux partition, but Ubuntu would not boot from the flash drive.

    This is a horrendous situation, Iím not sure if anyone else has experienced such a mess -- but if anyone can help me resolve it, it would be fantastic. I'm frazzled from stress and feel like I'm going cross-eyed, so I could well be missing one or more very obvious things . . .



    Sincerely,
    Dave G.

  2. #2
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    If Windows 7 boots without issues when the drive on which it is installed is the only hard drive attached to the computer, and since you formatted that drive before installing Windows 7, there can be no Linux remnants on that drive.

    This means that when you attach other drives, and have boot issues, the BIOS is using the boot section of one of them to try booting rather than the drive that has Windows 7 on it.

    With the other drives attached, when cold-booting, go into the BIOS setup to verify which drive is set as the boot drive. You will likely find that it is NOT the one you thought it was.

    Post the make and model of the computer or motherboard that you are using. Also, let us know what type(s) of drives you have connected (SATA, PATA, etc.) so we know where potential issues may be coming from.

  3. #3
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    Hi jdc,

    I will check BIOS again, although the boot choices are pretty straightforward.

    The boot choice selections (with Flash Drive inserted but NON-boot drives DISconnected) are:

    - P3: TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-223F ...... this is the CD/DVD optical drive
    - UEFI: Lexar USB Flash Drive 1100 ... this has the live Ubuntu install on it
    - PO: WDC WD2500HHTZ-04N21VO .... this is the WD 250GB Raptor HDD, with the fresh install of Win7
    - Disabled

    ***I just now shut down the PC, REattached the two NON-boot drives, and rebooted the PC -- there is NO change in the boot choice listings with the two NON-boot drives connected!

    My PC setup:

    Case: Corsair Obsidian 750D
    PSU: Corsair CX750M
    Mobo: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
    CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1100T, 6-core, Black Edition
    RAM: GSkill 16GB (4x4GB) 1866
    Drive 0: (Boot HDD): WD 250GB 10k rpm Raptor
    Drive 1: WD 640GB SATA 6 HDD (7200 rpm)
    Drive 2: WD 640GB SATA 6 HDD (7200 rpm)
    Video: Sapphire AMD HD6450 w/1GB vRAM *(changing this out tomorrow with an XFX Radeon
    R7 249 w/2GB vRAM)

  4. #4
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    Excellent information provided.

    Now that we know what drives and interfaces are connected,
    What happens if you try to boot with the flash drive removed?

    What happens if you try to boot with the other hard drives connected, and the flash drive removed?

  5. #5
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    A lot of computers will not boot to hdds correctly with a flash drive inserted. I have to use F12 on a couple computers, which brings up the one time choice boot options for me. Then I can bootup.

    Triple check, that you did not mix up the data cables to the hdds. Learned that the hard way.
    SMILE
    and post back. Let us know if it worked.
    [ Book mark this post to find it again]

    AntiX-16, MX-16 and Win 10

  6. #6
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    I just now did a reboot after removing the flash drive. The only difference in boot choices is that the flash drive is no longer listed as a selection. So, the list of boot choices is now just

    - P3: TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-223F ...... this is the CD/DVD optical drive
    - PO: WDC WD2500HHTZ-04N21VO .... this is the WD 250GB Raptor HDD, with the fresh install of Win7
    - Disabled

  7. #7
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    So, did it boot without issue?

  8. #8
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    Unfortunately, when I just now selected the actual boot drive and restarted, it said the system was unable to start (DUH). I let it restart with the default choice and Startup Repair fired up. It was unable to do anything, but gave the following report:

    "Startup Repair cannot repair this computer automatically."
    Problem details listed:
    - Problem signature 01: 6.1.7600.16385
    - Problem signature 02: 6.1.7600.16385
    - Problem signature 03: unknown
    - Problem signature 04: 1
    - Problem signature 05: AutoFailover
    - Problem signature 06: 1
    - Problem signature 07: BadDriver (did not specify which device)
    - OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.1

    GOOD HEAVENS!!! I just this moment (as I type this) asked for another Restart, and I now have a normal desktop -- no more problem!!! I have NO IDEA what just happened, it just sort of fixed itself!! I'm not sure how, since the auto-repair failed to do anything.

    It then displayed a small message saying (paraphrased) "If you want to save these changes, you must restart the computer" ... so I selected Restart. Restarting finished and I again have a normal desktop!

    Anyway, I'm crossing my fingers that all is well, and stays that way!

  9. #9
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    Train,

    Thank you for joining the 'fray'! ... and for your comments. I had already checked and re-checked the data cables for the other 2 HDDs ... one was 'right-angle' (for the bottom HDD), the other not right-angle, is ut was easy to remember.

  10. #10
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    It sounds like the flash drive was causing an issue of some sort. It is possible that, if you installed Windows 7 on the hard drive with the flash drive connected, some of the boot information may have been placed on the flash drive, since it was higher in the boot order.

    When I install an OS on a drive where it will be the only OS, I always make sure that the only drive I have connected is the drive on which I am installing the OS, and the drive (usually a CD/DVD drive) that contains the installation files. This helps to avoid problems with install files not going where you want them, but where some software developer thinks you want them.

  11. #11
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    jdc,

    Well actually, the problem existed long before I created the live Ubuntu flash drive and inserted it. I only did that late in the game to attempt to look at the other drives, and delete any Linux partition that might be there.

    I did the Win7 install with NO flash drive, but I did have the other 2 HDDs connected. Point taken!

    By the way, thanks for the comment about 'excellent info' .... my career has been technical writing, so I guess maybe that has a bit to do with it ...

  12. #12
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    I'm assuming this is the same machine?
    http://discussions.virtualdr.com/sho...but-use-my-key

    Next time, stick with the same thread.

  13. #13
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    OK Midknyte, I'll be more careful . . . but that thread was originally about installing Win7 -- lost DVD and wondering if I could use another disc. I forgot I had also mentioned the booting problems ... extremely stressed and distracted with PC and other life issues. I'm just human.

  14. #14
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    I'll just close the other thread then. Having multiple threads about the same computer can be confusing.

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