Impossible to remove old "SYSTEM" disk

R

ragmaniac

I feel a bit foolish asking for help about this. I thought I knew
enough on my own, but obviously that's not so. Here's the scoop:

For the last two years I have been trying to remove my original Dell
system 9200 boot disk. It has only 65MB of storage, and I have long
ago added other internal disks, including a newer larger boot disk.
Last week I added a new additional 2TB internal disk and I wanted (for
the umpteenth time) get rid of that pesky old 65MB item — again. I am
running out of SATA connections on the MB.

The system will not boot at all if I remove the irksome 65MB disk,
even if I disable it in the system bios. "NO BOOTABLE DISK" is the
message I get, although I have a very healthy C:\ drive that boots up
nicely into VISTA as long as I keep that little 65MB devil active in
the system.

I am familiar with disk management in VISTA, where I have successfully
changed various drive letter assignments, but even there I cannot find
a way to get rid of the 65MB thing. All my internal SATA cables are
the usual red color, except the one going to the 65MB which is blue.
Using another (red) cable instead, and using a different SATA MB
connector to fool the system did not help, either. Nor was I able to
boot into C:\ by connecting it to the MB connector (presumably SATA 0)
used by the 65MB pest.

What is it I fail to understand?
H E L P — please!

HGM--ragmaniac
 

My Computer

R

R. C. White

Hi, ragmaniac.

What most users - even Windows veterans - don't realize is that Windows is
always installed in TWO parts. The big part - several GB for Vista and
Win7 - goes into the \Windows folder on the partition that you tell it to
install Windows on. (In computer jargon, this becomes the "boot volume" -
See KB314470, Definitions for system volume and boot volume,
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314470/EN-US/ for details.)

But, no matter where you tell it to install Windows, the small part always
goes into the System Partition. In your case, this is what is on your 65 MB
HDD. This is kind of like the guard at the gate who lets you get inside and
then points to where you need to go to conduct your business. When you
remove that HDD, you remove the System Partition - so now there is no one to
let you in and point to the boot volume.

For a permanent solution, you need to create a new System Partition on your
new large HDD. (You need to station a guard at your new entry gate to
direct the startup process to the boot volume.) No need to recreate the big
boot volume; just create a new System Partition on the new disk.

To do this, physically remove your 65 MB HDD. Then boot from your Vista DVD
and choose to "repair" the startup files on your new HDD. This will write
the Vista-style boot sector onto your HDD, then add the startup file
(bootmgr - with no extension) and the hidden "\Boot" folder to the Active
partition on your new disk. Inside the \Boot folder will be several files
constituting the BCD (Boot Configuration Data) that tells the system where
to find Vista's boot volume.

A 65 MB HDD must be several years old! But that's plenty big enough for the
startup files, which total less than 5 MB.

RC
--
R. C. White, CPA
San Marcos, TX
[email protected]
Microsoft Windows MVP
Windows Live Mail 2009 (14.0.8089.0726) in Win7 Ultimate x64)

"ragmaniac" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]

> I feel a bit foolish asking for help about this. I thought I knew
> enough on my own, but obviously that's not so. Here's the scoop:
>
> For the last two years I have been trying to remove my original Dell
> system 9200 boot disk. It has only 65MB of storage, and I have long
> ago added other internal disks, including a newer larger boot disk.
> Last week I added a new additional 2TB internal disk and I wanted (for
> the umpteenth time) get rid of that pesky old 65MB item — again. I am
> running out of SATA connections on the MB.
>
> The system will not boot at all if I remove the irksome 65MB disk,
> even if I disable it in the system bios. "NO BOOTABLE DISK" is the
> message I get, although I have a very healthy C:\ drive that boots up
> nicely into VISTA as long as I keep that little 65MB devil active in
> the system.
>
> I am familiar with disk management in VISTA, where I have successfully
> changed various drive letter assignments, but even there I cannot find
> a way to get rid of the 65MB thing. All my internal SATA cables are
> the usual red color, except the one going to the 65MB which is blue.
> Using another (red) cable instead, and using a different SATA MB
> connector to fool the system did not help, either. Nor was I able to
> boot into C:\ by connecting it to the MB connector (presumably SATA 0)
> used by the 65MB pest.
>
> What is it I fail to understand?
> H E L P — please!
>
> HGM--ragmaniac
 

My Computer

S

Shenan Stanley

ragmaniac wrote:

> I feel a bit foolish asking for help about this. I thought I knew
> enough on my own, but obviously that's not so. Here's the scoop:
>
> For the last two years I have been trying to remove my original Dell
> system 9200 boot disk. It has only 65MB of storage, and I have long
> ago added other internal disks, including a newer larger boot disk.
> Last week I added a new additional 2TB internal disk and I wanted
> (for the umpteenth time) get rid of that pesky old 65MB item —
> again. I am running out of SATA connections on the MB.
>
> The system will not boot at all if I remove the irksome 65MB disk,
> even if I disable it in the system bios. "NO BOOTABLE DISK" is the
> message I get, although I have a very healthy C:\ drive that boots
> up nicely into VISTA as long as I keep that little 65MB devil
> active in the system.
>
> I am familiar with disk management in VISTA, where I have
> successfully changed various drive letter assignments, but even
> there I cannot find a way to get rid of the 65MB thing. All my
> internal SATA cables are the usual red color, except the one going
> to the 65MB which is blue. Using another (red) cable instead, and
> using a different SATA MB connector to fool the system did not
> help, either. Nor was I able to boot into C:\ by connecting it to
> the MB connector (presumably SATA 0) used by the 65MB pest.
>
> What is it I fail to understand?
> H E L P — please!
Next time - image/clone it to the new disk, remove old disk leaving only the
new, done.

--
Shenan Stanley
MS-MVP
--
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
 

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