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I used Windows XP for years, before I was able to get my hands on Windows 7 RC, which I bought a new HDD for, and setup to dual-boot. About a month ago, Windows XP started acting funny, and I thought the disk might be dying, so I started using Windows 7 all the time.

Today I started the computer, and it can't find the disk which Windows XP was installed on anymore. I guess it's dead. So, I removed the hard drive that had Windows on it, and now my computer won't start - I get an error message that says insert bootable disk (or something similar).

How do I remove the primary (dead) hard drive that has Windows XP installed on it and boot straight to Windows 7?

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The title should be less generic, e.g. "How to Fix Win7 boot process". – foraidt Aug 27 '09 at 13:17
Agreed, mxp. i was going to edit it, but i don't have enough kudos yet. – Ian Boyd Aug 27 '09 at 13:37
Done-but it all started from a failed hard disk :) – MasterCorban Aug 28 '09 at 17:51

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

You should be able to fix it by booting from the Win 7 DVD using these instructions

and doing the startup repair.

Edit: As we discovered later I should have said to unplug the damaged xp drive first.

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+1 for giving a simpler solution than mine – fretje Aug 19 '09 at 15:06
1 starts the search for the dvd :) – MasterCorban Aug 19 '09 at 15:07
so what would you do if that didnt work? – MasterCorban Aug 21 '09 at 12:46
Did you check the bios to make sure your hard drive is the first boot device? – Col Aug 21 '09 at 15:23
Just a thought, did you run the startup repair with or without the xp hard drive in. You'd need to run it without it. – Col Aug 22 '09 at 7:23

Edit: It's maybe better to try Col's suggestion first. As that one is simpler. If it doesn't work you can resort to this one though.

I suppose your XP disk was the primary and active one, from which your computer booted, so it's normal that your PC doesn't boot anymore after taking that one out. You will have to make your Windows 7 disk Active and bootable by changing its master boot record.

I've found a nice tutorial how this can be done here.

It basically comes down to booting your PC with the Windows 7 install DVD into Command Prompt mode and issuing a

bootsect /nt60 SYS
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I had the same problem. My BIOS had the option to boot to a specific hard drive. Check your BIOS settings to make sure it is booting to the correct hard drive.

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Sounds like a Master Boot Record issue.

Check this article: MBR - Restore Windows 7 Master Boot Record

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It's possible that your Win7 harddrive is set to slave, and the WinXP harddrive was set to master. You can change this, but to do it you need to open the case, and switch the little plastic jumpers on the back of the harddrive, next to where the power plugs into it.

Photos here:

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Of course, this is only applicable if you're using IDE hard drives. SATA hard drives don't have primary/slave jumpers. – Justin Bennett Aug 19 '09 at 15:12

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