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I wanted to do a clean install of Windows 8 using a hard drive as an installation medium to a clean separate hard drive.

Here is an initial hard drive config:

A Windows 7 (I boot from it by default) 1.5 TB drive. A 320GB installation medium drive and a 2TB destination drive.

I booted into Windows 7 and have foramted the 320GB drive using the instructions here.

The have switched in BIOS to load from a newly formated 320GB drive. An installation went fine.

I have chosen to install Windows on a 2TB drive. After installation was finished, the system has booted from a 320GB drive, but into a Windows 8 that was on 2TB drive as expected.

Now my idea was that I mark a 2TB drive as an active drive, tell BIOS to load from it and I will be getting a Windows 8 load by default. But that is not the case. The only way I can load my computer is when I have an installtion 320GB drive attached. Without it I get a BCD error. How can I transfer MBR to 2TB drive to be able to load from it without 320GB drive?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Disconnect 320gig drive, boot from a W8 install disc, load windows RE, then run this command from the command prompt

bootrec /RebuildBcd

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That is the thing - I don't have a DVD-drive, that's why I wanted to do it all with HD. I will wait a day, maybe someone will post a hint on a DVD-free solution. If not, I will mark that one as an answer. – Maxim V. Pavlov Aug 21 '12 at 15:35
You can convert the DVD to a usb drive, boot from that. – Moab Aug 21 '12 at 18:36
My 320gig drive is exactly that. And what it did was install MBR onto itself, and now I can't boot without it. – Maxim V. Pavlov Aug 21 '12 at 19:32
You need to boot from a different usb drive, then run the commands, be sure the 320 is not connected when you do this. – Moab Aug 21 '12 at 21:54

I haven't tried it myself, but the suggestion below should work. I am not saying it is elegant, just that it should work. I have copied it directly from here.

DISCLAMER: This is not a nice way to treat your hardware.

  1. Make sure you back up your computer. I've tried this procedure with Windows 7 Professional, but I'm not sure if it'll work on your version of Windows 7.

  2. Start your computer and boot into Windows 7 (has to be Windows 7! This won't work with any previous versions as far as I know, may work with Vista, but I've never tried it.)

  3. While Windows is booting, turn off your computer! That's right... hold down your power button for a few seconds and abruptly turn off your computer

  4. Turn on your computer again, and boot into Windows.

  5. Windows should give you a message telling you that it did not start up properly... it should give you two options: "Launch startup repair" or Start windows normally... Select Launch Startup Repair

  6. Now let Windows try to find problems. It most likely won't realize that what you're trying to do is restore the windows bootloader. Once it's done, it'll ask you if you want to restore your system using System Restore. You probably don't want this, so hit cancel on the Window and let windows "attempt repairs" (this doesn't do anything really... just tries to find things that are wrong with your copies of windows and nothing more).

  7. Windows should then give you a message that start up repair cannot repair the computer automatically. Simply close the window, and click "View advanced options for system recovery" on the window behind the one you just closed. It should ask you for the keyboard layout, and your admin password.

Then follow the instructions on this page (essentially use the Bootrec.exe /FixMbr command), and use the command prompt window.

The linked page, and actual solution, are the same as in @Moab's answer below. This trick should just get you to the point where you can apply it.

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