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Windows 7 scrambles hard drive order.

    General discussion

  • You know that, but I'm going to post this anyway.

    I have a computer with 2 hard drives, and lots of partitions. I have XP installed.

    I installed Win7 64 bit on an empty partition on the first drive by booting from the DVD. During the install, it restarted the computer. XP booted up. I found that Win7 setup had put bootmgr and the Boot folder on the first partition of the second drive.

    In order to complete the installation, I had to tell the motherboard BIOS to boot from the second drive. The installation completed okay. But of course each time I wanted to run Win7 I would have to tell the BIOS to boot from the second drive.  Disk management showed the drives in the wrong order.  That is, the drive plugged into the SATA0 port was shown as drive 1, and vice versa.

    I cured the problem by re-formatting the partition, unplugging the second drive, and re-installing. Amazingly enough, with only 1 hard drive, Win7 managed to get it in the right order. :) I later plugged in the second drive, and Win7 maintained the correct order. 

    This is not a good solution. I wouldn't be able to install Win7 on the second drive using this trick. It seems absurd to me. The BIOS gets the order right and so does XP. Why can't Win7 get it right?

    The motherboard is an Intel DP35DP. I installed the latest BIOS revision, but it didn't change the drive scrambling thing.

    Saturday, November 28, 2009 3:35 PM

All replies

  • If you boot into a OS that is on disk1, it will always think of the drive it is on as disk0 and the other drive as disk 1 even though you have 'disk 0' hooked up as disk 1. I see this behavior in XP, win7, and ubuntu, so this is not a win7 bug.
    - JoelbX
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    Saturday, November 28, 2009 4:05 PM
  • Yes, I agree.  But that's not the problem I was describing.  In this case, I was forced to boot from drive1 because Win7 setup put the boot files (bootmgr etc.) there.  The question is, why in ____ did Win7 setup do that? 

    It is a fact that Win7, Vista, and Windows Server 2008 shuffle the drive order routinely.  For instance my other computer has two hard drives.  Win7 numbers them correctly.  But if I plug in a third hard drive, Win7 shuffles the order of the second and third drive.  It does it every time.  XP doesn't do it, and the BIOS doesn't do it, only Win7

    This is known by Microsoft:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/937251

    What I want to know is, why doesn't Microsoft fix it? 
    Sunday, November 29, 2009 1:57 PM
  • win7 will put the boot files on the 1st (windows-readable) partition on the disk that is set as 1st in boot priority in the BIOS. Since you told the BIOS to boot from the second drive during installation, that is where win7 would put the boot files.

    What I don't get from both replies here (derosnec is deleted reply) is that this disk 0 and 1 thing happens in XP too ! In my boot setup where I switch from one drive's mbr to the others drive's mbr, the disk order flips and disk 1 thinks its disk 0 when I get into boot.ini...

    Why doesn't MS fix it?
    It's been a problem in the windows OS since at least XP, and probably on back to win 1.0. If they haven't fixed it by 20 years or so, they probably won't fix it.
    - JoelbX
    JoelbX's favorite threads | Space | ----- | Email me | 'Gadget' programs
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    Sunday, November 29, 2009 2:10 PM
  • You are both missing something.  I installed Win7 by booting from the DVD.  As part of the installation, it must reboot from the hard drive.  To do that it must install the boot files first.  It installed them on the second drive.  If I wanted the installation to complete, I had to direct the BIOS to boot from the second drive, because that's where the Win7 boot stuff was.

    I know that when I tell the BIOS to boot from the second drive, the drive order is swapped.  The BIOS does that.  That's not what I'm talking about.

    In the case of the installation, I didn't boot from either hard drive.  I booted from the DVD, but the Win7 setup put the Win7 boot files on the second hard drive.

    In the case of my other computer, I always boot from the first hard drive.  But if I boot up Win7 and there are 3 drives plugged in, it swaps the second and third drive.   That's a Win 7 (and Vista) "feature".  XP doesn't do that.  Check the link in my previous post.

     
    Sunday, November 29, 2009 5:08 PM
  • What I don't get from both replies here (derosnec is deleted reply) is that this disk 0 and 1 thing happens in XP too ! In my boot setup where I switch from one drive's mbr to the others drive's mbr, the disk order flips and disk 1 thinks its disk 0 when I get into boot.ini...


    - JoelbX
    JoelbX's favorite threads | Space | ----- | Email me | 'Gadget' programs
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    This isn't the subject of my complaint, but as nobody is interested the Win7 drive scrambling, I can tell you what I know about your concern.

    Yes indeed, when the BIOS boots from the seconds drive, it flips the drive numbers.  But that only affects ntldr and bootmgr.  As you know, to run XP by booting from drive 1, you must edit the boot.ini file.  You need to swap rdisk(0) and rdisk(1).  For reasons I don't understand, I find I don't need to make any changes to the BCD.  Apparently bootmgr is smart enough to figure it out.

    I think this technique of booting from drive 1 is a very good idea.  If my first drive gets sick, I can run an O.S. installed on the second drive by doing this.

    However, booting from drive 1 seems to have no affect on XP or Win7.  Looking at Disk Management from either shows they put the drives in the same order regardless of which drive the BIOS boots from.

    Apparently XP and Win7 enumerate the drives independently from the BIOS.  But now we come to the subject of my complaint.  XP's Disk Management always shows the drives in the correct physical order.  Win7's Disk Management does not necessarily do that.  If anyone wants to see pictures, I can post the Disk Management screen shots from each O.S.  That should make it clear that Win7 can and does scrambles the drive order.
    Tuesday, December 01, 2009 2:14 PM
  • Ok then, screenshots please. (these forums don't have a file attachment feature, either you must find a file hosting service, or I can host them on my skydrive.)
    - JoelbX
    JoelbX's favorite threads | Space | ----- | Email me | 'Gadget' programs
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    Tuesday, December 01, 2009 2:54 PM
  • These forums don't have a preview either.  :)   Well let's see if this works.

    These Disk Management screen shots happen to be from my Intel DG43NB machine.  Both machines have this problem and both have Intel mobos, for whatever that's worth.

    There are 2 SATA hard drives plugged into ports Sata0 and Sata1.  You can see that Win7's order is different from XP's order.  XP's order is the correct physical order.

    I also have a SATA DVD burner plugged into Sata4.  I think if I unplugged it, or maybe plugged it into Sata3, Win7's order would be correct.  I say that because a month ago I didn't have the DVD burner plugged in, and Win7's order was correct.  Then I plugged a third hard drive into Sata2, and it scrambled drives 1 and 2.  By trial and error, I found that if I plugged the third drive into Sata3, Win7's order was correct.

    http://cid-b5c7684d65d52e94.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/.Public/Win7%5E_drive%5E_scramble?uc=2
    Tuesday, December 01, 2009 11:39 PM
  • I did some more tests.  I find that sometimes Win7's Disk Management shows the hard drives in the correct physical order, and sometimes it doesn't.  I booted Win7 6 times.  Sometimes I did a cold start, and sometimes I did a restart.  Otherwise everything was identical.  I always booted from drive 0.  4 times Disk Management showed the drives correctly and twice it showed them scrambled.  It seems entirely random.

    http://cid-b5c7684d65d52e94.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/.Public/Win7%5E_drive%5E_scramble/More%5E_win7
    Wednesday, December 02, 2009 7:40 PM
  • Yep, 2013 & Win7/Winpe 3 STILL has this issue. Why haven't MS fixed this? I work for an OEM and nearly all systems ship with SSD & HDD. I need to unplug the hdd to do the install, then plug it in once installed. I've read all the docs, enumerating blah.

    Hang on, Windows 8 & Winpe 4 can do it. Correct order every time. Same system. Boot Winpe3 and it's flipped! It was correct in the early beta versions too. Why can't we get a hotfix/update for Windows 7.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 12:37 PM