I used to use pc a few years ago that had windows XP installed on it (SATA hard drive). Lets call this hard drive Hard-1.

I got a Dell Optiplex 380 recently. This has also come with a SATA hard drive. Lets call this hard drive Drive-2. This has windows 7 installed on it.

I wanted to copy some data from Drive-1 (the old one, with XP installed) into Drive-2 (the new one, with windows 7). I unplugged the optical drive and plugged in Drive-1 in it's place.

Now there is a weird problem.

If both drives are connected (Drive-1 on optical drive port) then the computer will allow me to boot ONLY from Drive-1. Windows xp starts loading and then hangs up in the end.

If I unplug Drive-1 then the computer will boot from Drive-2 (the normal way). But then if I plug in Drive-2 in running computer, it will not get detected. I have tried trying to boot from Drive-2 and immediately then plug in Drive-1 before windows 7 finished booting, but this still doesn't show Drive-1 after the desktop appears.

How can I get to boot from Drive-2 AND see the contents of both drives after windows has finished loading?

Many thanks.

  • Yea that is wierd... maybe try a USB SATA convertor. Possibly something to do with the drives sector sizes in XP but on the new machine... it should work. – Piotr Kula Aug 26 '15 at 18:53
  • In regards to Drive-1 always booting before Drive-2 when both are plugged in at startup, that may be because you're plugging it in where your BIOS expects to find your optical disc drive. Normally computers are set to boot from ODDs before HDDs (for installing a new OS, for example). Try checking the boot order in your BIOS/UEFI or just swap the ports you're plugging the drives into, see if that helps. – 8bittree Aug 26 '15 at 19:45
  • I thought exactly the same thing, 8bittree and went over to change the sequence in boot menu. USB and Optical Drive were indeed having boot priority over Hard Drive. But I did change that to put Hard Drive on the top and put Optical Drive in the lowest of the list. Still the same thing ... – Youstay Igo Aug 27 '15 at 6:25
  • The CD is using SATA port 0 and your Drive-2 is using SATA port 1, hence even if the HDD is set first in the boot priority in BIOS it will still boot from the first device available, which in this case is the HDD Drive-1 on SATA port 0. You can try connecting Drive-2 to the CD SATA port 0 and it should boot into Windows 7. Or you can spare yourself the hassle and get a simple USB to SATA adapter cable set and connect your Drive-1 via USB. – Techpumpkin_WD Aug 28 '15 at 15:10
  • Argh. I think I will have to do that @ Techpumpkin – Youstay Igo Sep 4 '15 at 14:56

It is all about BIOS device order. First, BIOS classifies devices in several categories, one being harddisks (including IDE and SATA, usually), other is optical drives, others are USB devices. Then, within each category, only one device is elected to be considered for the choice of the boot device (the one you could eventually choose after pressing F12, for instance.) It seems to me that in your case, the SATA port for the optical drive has higher priority than the SATA port used for the regular hard disk drive; thus only Drive-1 is considered as a possible device to boot from. :-(

Some BIOS setups (but not all) has another setting (in addition to the normal "boot order") which allows you to change the order of the hard disk devices; if your does, it is as easy as entering the BIOS setup with both drives connected, and adjust the order.

Else, I guess you will be required to exchange the plugs between Drive-2 and the optical drive; when it works OK (this might require one or two reboots to let the OS adjusts its internal references, for instance in BCD), you could try plugging the Drive-1 instead and it should work.

Also, plugging SATA ports while the computer is running is not a good idea (unless they are hot-plug ports with the relevant support in Seven, not impossible but definitively not usual.)

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