So 3 months ago I built a PC, but had the opportunity to borrow an SSD from my place of employment. I originally installed windows 7 trial mode on that SSD, and then after a few weeks upgraded to windows 8, but installed it on a second hard drive. I then wiped the SSD (at least I thought i did the whole drive), and used it as a data drive in windows 8.

Today I took the SSD out of my system to take back to work, and immediately formatted the whole thing to put ubuntu server on it for work. Now I'm back home and the windows 8 drive can't boot anymore. Apparently when windows 8 was installed, it just replaced windows 7's boot loader with its own, but on the ssd.

So For the past 2.5 months I've been booting to the ssd, which has then been forwarding to the hard drive's OS sector. Now that the SSD is gone (and completely wiped), the chain is broken and I don't have a boot sector. How do I create one without re-installing windows entirely?

I have a windows 8 installation USB key that I can get into recovery mode with. Here's some stuff from diskpart that i've transposed from photos:


  Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
  ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
  Volume 0                      NTFS   Partition    465 GB  Healthy
  Volume 1     C   ESD-USB      FAT32  Removable     14 GB  Healthy


  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
* Disk 0    Online          465 GB      0 B        *
  Disk 1    Online           14 GB      0 B


  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
* Partition 1    Reserved           128 MB  1024 KB
  Partition 2    Primary            465 GB   128 MB


The selected disk is not a fixed MBR disk.
The ACTIVE command can only be used on fixed MBR disks.

It looks like there's space for a boot sector there, but I can't assign that reserved partition a drive letter, which is as far as I could get with https://superuser.com/a/504360

I can't set that partition as active either, cus the drive table isn't mbt.



Try this:

Boot windows 8 CD, select language, and on the screen where says "Install now", select "Repair my computer" at the bottom left corner. Open "Troubleshoot", and "Advanced options". In advanced options menu select "Command prompt", and there type:




One of those should work.

  • Sir, I command you for this answer. This solved my problem when I couldn't boot into Windows 10 after cloning it from HDD to SSD. Thank you! – SU3 Dec 25 '15 at 4:18
  • 4
    3 years later, I actually had to google for this answer. I genuinely wish I could upvote myself. – Luke Dec 3 '16 at 10:57

You do not need to have a separate boot partition. While Linux has always had the concept of a separate /boot/ partition, on Windows it was only with Windows 7 that Microsoft started creating a separate 100 MiB partition at the start of your physical disk to hold the boot files.

The only benefit to a separate boot partition (apart from your actual Windows partition, that is) is that if you have multiple Windows installations on multiple partitions and you need to format/delete one or more of them, your boot will continue to work.

So your options are to either

  1. Use a bootable partition editor to first move the start of your current Windows partition back around 100 MiB
  2. Create a new 100 MiB FAT32 or NTFS partition in that space.
  3. Make that partition active (set the "bootable" flag in the MBR)
  4. Set up the 100 MiB partition to contain the needed boot info to load up Windows from your other partition, either manually or automatically from the Windows CD.

Or bypass all this kerfuffle about creating a separate boot partition and just do this:

  1. Mark your Windows partition active/bootable (if it isn't already) using a bootable partition editor.
  2. Install the correct boot settings to your Windows partition, again either manually or automatically from the Windows CD.

If you do not have a Windows setup CD, or if Startup Repair on the Windows setup CD failed to get your PC booting, you can still recreate the proper Windows boot settings on that partition with an automated boot recovery utility such as Easy Recovery Essentials. If you're using EasyRE to rebuild the boot partition, you can skip all partition-related steps as it'll automatically take care of setting the bootable flag on the correct partition for you.

You can use a free tool like GParted burned to a bootable CD for the needed partition changes, or use diskpart from the command line on the Windows setup CD, though I really don't recommend doing that.

In all cases you will need to ensure that your BIOS has the correct physical drive selected as the first boot device.

Disclosure: I worked on the development of EasyRE. (On the bright side, it means I can help you if you have any questions with it!)

  • This was the only one that would work for me in a VM:Or bypass all this kerfuffle about creating a separate boot partition and just do this: Mark your Windows partition active/bootable (if it isn't already) using a bootable partition editor. Install the correct boot settings to your Windows partition, again either manually or automatically from the Windows CD. If you do not have a Windows setup – Hoff Aug 28 '15 at 5:49

You could try running the repair thing in the Windows install disc. I'm not sure if Windows 8 has one of those, but previous versions of Windows did. (This might be obvious, but don't use a non-Windows 8 disc for repairing Windows 8)

  • 2
    "Automatic Repair couldn't repair your PC" – wizpig64 Feb 8 '13 at 1:46
  • I don't have any idea what to do at that point. In my opinion, it's time to nuke it from orbit and start over. But, you may find a better answer than that (because that is a terrible answer) so don't do that right away. – danielcg Feb 8 '13 at 1:51

Sounds like what is needed is to recreate the boot area on the new drive. I'm sure if you did a little research (via google) you could find the magic command, if it is not on the repair CD.

You should not have to reinstall windows, just its boot information.

  • Yeah that's what I'm asking. I googled plenty, posted here after two hours of dead ends. Still looking though. – wizpig64 Feb 8 '13 at 3:14
  • or look through the microsoft site. What I think is that if you run the Win 8 repair disk through its paces it has the ability to fix your situation. – mdpc Feb 8 '13 at 3:18

If you have 2 hard drives in a PC for some reason when installing Windows 10 the bootloader (the EFI System partition stuff) will get thrown on to the SSD (even if you have another OS on there...) I was stuck on the Windows 10 screen with the "We couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one" message and running the ACTIVE command from DISKPART gave me "The selected disk is not a fixed MBR disk." (I had GPT).

So I pulled out the SSD, hit refresh and then next and the installer got through.

P.S. I was using the instructions to partition the disk from https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/commercialize/manufacture/desktop/configure-uefigpt-based-hard-drive-partitions (look at that script at the bottom)

  • Welcome to the site. Glad to see you get right in there to help answer questions. Couple things you should be aware of; 1) this is a very old question, 2) the question is asking about Windows 8, while your answer is about Windows 10. If your answer is not OS specific, state it in your answer. – CharlieRB Apr 24 '17 at 19:38
  • Yes, sorry, it is just that Windows 10 and 8.1 are very similar with respect to EFI/bootloader stuff so I figured I should post it. Simple solution for a strange problem. – Bruce Wayne Apr 24 '17 at 19:48
  • No need to apologize. Just offering advice on how to improve your answer. That is fine that they are very similar, just state that in your answer so people don't think you didn't read the original question. – CharlieRB Apr 24 '17 at 19:51

You need to have at least one efi partition - I made it 100 MB, same as windows 7. Here is some reference and sample script. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825686.aspx

  • 2
    UEFI and system partitions are not mandatory for Windows 8. Windows 8 works well in Legacy Mode, too. Also, this is very close to a "link only" answer. Perhaps you should summarize the relevant content of the linked article. – jww Apr 22 '15 at 20:28

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