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So, this was kind of interesting. I have Windows installed on a 500 Gb hard drive, and there's been an additional 80 Gb drive sitting inside my tower for a couple of years, collecting dust (I don't even have it assigned a drive letter in Windows).

I just bought a new SSD, which I want to eventually use as my new system drive (preliminary research has led me to guess I may want to use CloneZilla to just clone my C:\ drive onto it; does that sound right?*), and earlier today I tried installing it where that old 80 Gb dinosaur had been. Then, to my surprise, when I turned my computer on I was greeted by an error message from GRUB.

I guess ages ago I must have installed some Linux distro (honestly, I don't even remember) and gone the dual-boot route, causing GRUB to be installed on the 80 Gb so that my PC has actually been booting from that drive ever since. Then I suppose I stopped using Linux on this machine and configured GRUB to just boot Windows directly. And then I just forgot all about it.

Given that I have no interest in dual-booting (for this particular PC, I'm just sticking with Windows) OR in keeping that 80 Gb drive around, what are my options? Ideally I want to be able to just have my computer boot from the drive where Windows is installed. Is there a simple "switch boot drive" option somewhere?

*This is obviously another question entirely; feel free not to answer it.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You'll have to restore your Windows MBR. The easiest way is to boot from the Windows CD/DVD.

  • Remove the 80 Gb harddrive
  • Boot from Windows CD/DVD and choose the "Repair" option
  • Choose the command prompt
  • Run the two commands
    • bootrec /fixmbr
    • bootrec /fixboot

If you're running XP, you need to run the recovery console from the Windows XP CD. At the command prompt, type: fixmbr

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Do you happen to know if there's any way to access these commands without the original CD/DVD? I have no clue where mine is. –  Dan Tao May 22 '11 at 1:56
    
Get this live cd: www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd –  Chris Ting May 22 '11 at 2:03
    
Use the utility MbrFix 1.3. The commands can be found at www.sysint.no/nedlasting/mbrfix.htm. The command you want is: MbrFix /drive <num> fixmbr –  Chris Ting May 22 '11 at 2:08
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