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Win 7 won't boot without DVD in drive

    Question

  • Installed Win 7 RC 64bit as a stand alone OS on my machine.

    When booting, if the DVD is inserted, it will give me the "Press any key to boot from CD/DVD" message, if I wait until that message expires, then the OS boots fine.

    If I remove the DVD, then the system does not see either drive as bootable.

    Drives are:
    C:\  (A0) Intel 64GB X25-E SSD  (OS installed here)
    D:\  (B0) Maxtor 1TB drive
    E:\  (B1) Pioneer CD/DVD burner

    Motherboard is EVGA nForce 750i SLI

    Probably doesn't matter, but just in case:

    CPU: Q8400
    RAM: 8GB Corsair 800
    GPU: [2] GTX260
    PSU: Cooler Master 1000W


    I've tried Installing multiple times now, with both drives installed, and also with removing the magnetic drive and installing with only the SSD & DVD in the system. The problem still persists through each installation. I've also tried changing the SATA mode in the BIOS.

    Any suggestions ?
    Monday, May 18, 2009 5:18 PM

Answers

  • Hi, Megadoosh.

    When you have Windows up and running, start Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc) and look in the Status column.  Which volume has the "System" label?  Which one says "Boot"?  There will be exactly ONE of each; they may both be on the same volume.  Then look in the Graphical View below.  Which HDD is this volume on?

    Study KB 314470, Definitions for system volume and boot volume, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314470/EN-US/ .  These definitions are reversed from most users' expectations.  We BOOT from the SYSTEM volume and keep the operating SYSTEM files in the BOOT volume.  The boot process ALWAYS starts in the SYSTEM partition, which points the way to the BOOT volume, wherever it may be.

    No matter where we tell Win7 Setup to "install" Win7, it always writes the startup files (bootmgr and the hidden \Boot folder containing the BCD; for Win2K/XP, the files were NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM and Boot.ini) onto the System volume - which is the Active partition on whichever HDD is currently designated as the boot device.  If we later try to boot from a different HDD, the BIOS will look for bootmgr in the wrong place and can't find it - even though it is right where Setup put it. 

    It seems that Setup does not always enumerate the HDDs in the same order as the BIOS, so bootmgr may get written to the PATA disk and can't be found later when the BIOS tries to boot from the SATA disk - or vice versa.  I'm not techie enough to understand "enumerate" in this context, but I had similar problems a decade ago when trying to install Win2K on my SCSI HDD; Setup kept writing NTLDR, etc., to my one IDE data drive.  Outdated drivers for my SCSI Host Adapter didn't help, either, even when I used <F6> to install them from a floppy during Setup.

    Bottom line:  Find bootmgr, wherever Setup put it, and then tell the BIOS to boot from THAT HDD.

    Or, better, figure out how to get Setup to write the startup files to the Active partition of the HDD that YOU choose.

    Either way, those startup files get read just once each session, to start the boot process; then the process branches from the System volume to the \Windows folder on whichever volume you told Setup to install Win7 into.

    And don't get hung up on drive LETTERs.  Windows pays a lot more attention to Disk(#)Partition(#) than it does to the drive letters.  Put a Name (a Label) on each volume; this will get written to the HDD and will not shift each time you reboot or re-install.

    RC
    R. C. White, CPA Microsoft Windows MVP
    Tuesday, January 05, 2010 3:56 AM
    Answerer

All replies

  • I have this same problem too, but without the DVD in the system boots to Windows XP instead of giving me a choice. I hoped that upgrading from Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 RC1 would fix it, but unfortunately not. I hoped that having Ubuntu installed using Wubi was the problem, so I uninstalled it, however this was not the case. For some reason Windows 7 just does not see the Windows XP/ntldr bootloader and because of this I have to keep the DVD in any time that I want to reboot or in the case that the computer might reboot on its own.

    I have both XP and Win 7 installed on the same drive on different partitions.
    Tuesday, May 19, 2009 2:52 AM
  • Same issue as above.
    I installed Win 7 32bit from DVD on a newly created partition.
    This partition is on the same SATA drive as XP only seperate partitions.
    I have read other forums and have tried to repair my bcd and also ran commands to reinstall the bootloader for win7.
    I still get no options to dual boot XP and win7.
    My PC keeps loading XP by default unless I have the win7 DVD is the tray upon bootup.
    Monday, October 26, 2009 6:05 PM
  • Same problem, installing Win7 Ultimate promo disc from Microsoft. First install if I booted from HDD I would get the XP boot menu but XP no longer existed. So I re-installed going into Options and making sure to do a format. Still won't boot Win7 from the HDD: not it says there is no bootmgr. Glad to see this problem is not isolated to me (misery loves company).
    Intel E6750 OC'd to 2.9GHz - 4GB Corsair XMAS PC-6400 RAM - 80GB Maxtor PATA HD - Corsair 750W PSU - Cyber Snipa Stinger mouse / Saitek Eclipse keyboard - Creative X-Fi Titanium PCIe sound card - Dual EVGA 880GT's in SLI - ViewSonic E90fb monitor - LiteOn external USB DVD/CD burner - Sony internal DVD/CD burner - HP C7280 AIO - D-Link 802.11N router
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:32 AM
  • I am having similar problems. I have a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate and it installs fine onto a newly formatted hard disk in my laptop. However after installation as soon as I reboot and remove the DVD from the drive Windows will not boot; message displayed 'operating system not found'. If I put the disk back in the drive and reboot, Windows loads fine.
    I have formatted the hard disk and re-installed Windows 7 a number of times. I have run the /fix mbr and relevant boot commands and the operating system will load fine until a reboot and then not boot into windows without the disk again.
    I have installed the same copy onto another laptop and it has worked fine.
    The boot devices are set correctly.
    The hardisk has been replaced.
    I have tried all recommendations from other forums but still have problems.

    Has any body seen similar where a fix has been found?
    MCDST
    Saturday, December 26, 2009 5:23 PM
  • Having this problem as well. Will boot with media inserted after the option to boot from DVD.

    If it's removed, just a black screen with blinking cursor.

    Completely lame.

    Win 7 Pro x64 installed. This was working at about 4x the speed of Vista when I installed the dual boot but, like all Windows installs, as time goes on it just bogs down like all the rest.

    Sunday, January 03, 2010 4:45 PM
  • Another thing I just noticed is that in the Repair Environment, it sees my Windows 7 installation drive on a different drive letter than it actually is.

    99.9% sure this is the problem.

    No idea how to change that since the drive letter once Windows 7 is loaded is correct.

    In other words, I use Drive O: for Windows 7 and in the Repair Environment, it recognizes it as E:

    That that is even possible is just one big FAIL for the Windows 7 team
    Sunday, January 03, 2010 6:14 PM
  • 99 % of the time you will find it is a BIOS setting, it is a Windows issue it is hardware issue.

    you have few things to look Boot order..make primary HDD first.

    Also look at how the board sees Sata drives (pata)
    • Proposed as answer by Sid Phillips Sunday, January 03, 2010 11:11 PM
    Sunday, January 03, 2010 8:07 PM
  • Thatt doesn't really help much Bubba. You basically said it could be anything.

    I've checked all the stuff you mentioned.

    It was working fine until one reboot.

    Someone else in another thread already figure this out. The Boot Mgr cannot be located because the location got changed. It cannot be fixed. You have to do an entirely new install.
    Tuesday, January 05, 2010 2:53 AM
  • Hi, Megadoosh.

    When you have Windows up and running, start Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc) and look in the Status column.  Which volume has the "System" label?  Which one says "Boot"?  There will be exactly ONE of each; they may both be on the same volume.  Then look in the Graphical View below.  Which HDD is this volume on?

    Study KB 314470, Definitions for system volume and boot volume, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314470/EN-US/ .  These definitions are reversed from most users' expectations.  We BOOT from the SYSTEM volume and keep the operating SYSTEM files in the BOOT volume.  The boot process ALWAYS starts in the SYSTEM partition, which points the way to the BOOT volume, wherever it may be.

    No matter where we tell Win7 Setup to "install" Win7, it always writes the startup files (bootmgr and the hidden \Boot folder containing the BCD; for Win2K/XP, the files were NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM and Boot.ini) onto the System volume - which is the Active partition on whichever HDD is currently designated as the boot device.  If we later try to boot from a different HDD, the BIOS will look for bootmgr in the wrong place and can't find it - even though it is right where Setup put it. 

    It seems that Setup does not always enumerate the HDDs in the same order as the BIOS, so bootmgr may get written to the PATA disk and can't be found later when the BIOS tries to boot from the SATA disk - or vice versa.  I'm not techie enough to understand "enumerate" in this context, but I had similar problems a decade ago when trying to install Win2K on my SCSI HDD; Setup kept writing NTLDR, etc., to my one IDE data drive.  Outdated drivers for my SCSI Host Adapter didn't help, either, even when I used <F6> to install them from a floppy during Setup.

    Bottom line:  Find bootmgr, wherever Setup put it, and then tell the BIOS to boot from THAT HDD.

    Or, better, figure out how to get Setup to write the startup files to the Active partition of the HDD that YOU choose.

    Either way, those startup files get read just once each session, to start the boot process; then the process branches from the System volume to the \Windows folder on whichever volume you told Setup to install Win7 into.

    And don't get hung up on drive LETTERs.  Windows pays a lot more attention to Disk(#)Partition(#) than it does to the drive letters.  Put a Name (a Label) on each volume; this will get written to the HDD and will not shift each time you reboot or re-install.

    RC
    R. C. White, CPA Microsoft Windows MVP
    Tuesday, January 05, 2010 3:56 AM
    Answerer
  • Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Ultimately, for me it turned out to be the physical drive order on the SATA bus. After playing with RC's suggestions for a while, I tried moving the SSD around and found that if I put it into slot SATA0 (it was originally SATA1) that it would boot without the DVD in the drive.

    I'm not sure why this is, but assume that it has to do with the PATA emulation of the SATA drive in the BIOS, since in Windows the drive shows as A0 regardless of which SATA port it is physically connected to. Also the system would boot fine once the other HDD was removed, though this is hardly an option for most people.

    Trying to manually boot each partition one by one did not work either, as none of them would result in a valid boot partition being found.

    So now that it's figured out, it still leaves me wondering, well why the heck would it work fine when leaving the DVD in the drive ? That should not affect it at all. And it's not like I could leave ANY DVD in the drive, it would only boot properly if the Win 7 DVD was in the drive. I wonder if the "press any key to boot from CD" is a message from a bootloader on the CD that seeks out and finds the boot files and if you press nothing loads them up properly ?

    Anyway, for anyone still having this problem, try changing the physical order your drives are in.

     

     

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010 9:12 AM
  • Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Ultimately, for me it turned out to be the physical drive order on the SATA bus. After playing with RC's suggestions for a while, I tried moving the SSD around and found that if I put it into slot SATA0 (it was originally SATA1) that it would boot without the DVD in the drive.

    I'm not sure why this is, but assume that it has to do with the PATA emulation of the SATA drive in the BIOS, since in Windows the drive shows as A0 regardless of which SATA port it is physically connected to. Also the system would boot fine once the other HDD was removed, though this is hardly an option for most people.

    Trying to manually boot each partition one by one did not work either, as none of them would result in a valid boot partition being found.

    So now that it's figured out, it still leaves me wondering, well why the heck would it work fine when leaving the DVD in the drive ? That should not affect it at all. And it's not like I could leave ANY DVD in the drive, it would only boot properly if the Win 7 DVD was in the drive. I wonder if the "press any key to boot from CD" is a message from a bootloader on the CD that seeks out and finds the boot files and if you press nothing loads them up properly ?

    Anyway, for anyone still having this problem, try changing the physical order your drives are in.

     

     

    This worked for me, thanks for the suggestion.  I could live with needing the DVD in the drive to boot Windows 7 but it was disproportionately irritating in comparison to other more important annoyances in my life.  I can give the Samaritans a bit of peace now, I'm sure they'll be grateful to you as well.
    Wednesday, July 07, 2010 10:35 AM
  • Ok can you explain this step by step what is a SSD and how do i change it ect
    Saturday, December 17, 2011 10:25 PM
  • When I installed Win 7 I had 2 drives in the computer and I had the same problem as Steven Pletsch.  

    The solution was to reboot into BIOS and change the boot order of the drives.  It was that simple.  

    I realize that this is an old thread, but it helped me, perhaps it will help someone else.

    Sunday, March 25, 2012 10:17 AM
  • Hi, Megadoosh.

    When you have Windows up and running, start Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc) and look in the Status column.  Which volume has the "System" label?  Which one says "Boot"?  There will be exactly ONE of each; they may both be on the same volume.  Then look in the Graphical View below.  Which HDD is this volume on?

    Study KB 314470, Definitions for system volume and boot volume, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314470/EN-US/ .  These definitions are reversed from most users' expectations.  We BOOT from the SYSTEM volume and keep the operating SYSTEM files in the BOOT volume.  The boot process ALWAYS starts in the SYSTEM partition, which points the way to the BOOT volume, wherever it may be.

    No matter where we tell Win7 Setup to "install" Win7, it always writes the startup files (bootmgr and the hidden \Boot folder containing the BCD; for Win2K/XP, the files were NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM and Boot.ini) onto the System volume - which is the Active partition on whichever HDD is currently designated as the boot device.  If we later try to boot from a different HDD, the BIOS will look for bootmgr in the wrong place and can't find it - even though it is right where Setup put it. 

    It seems that Setup does not always enumerate the HDDs in the same order as the BIOS, so bootmgr may get written to the PATA disk and can't be found later when the BIOS tries to boot from the SATA disk - or vice versa.  I'm not techie enough to understand "enumerate" in this context, but I had similar problems a decade ago when trying to install Win2K on my SCSI HDD; Setup kept writing NTLDR, etc., to my one IDE data drive.  Outdated drivers for my SCSI Host Adapter didn't help, either, even when I used <F6> to install them from a floppy during Setup.

    Bottom line:  Find bootmgr, wherever Setup put it, and then tell the BIOS to boot from THAT HDD.

    Or, better, figure out how to get Setup to write the startup files to the Active partition of the HDD that YOU choose.

    Either way, those startup files get read just once each session, to start the boot process; then the process branches from the System volume to the \Windows folder on whichever volume you told Setup to install Win7 into.

    And don't get hung up on drive LETTERs.  Windows pays a lot more attention to Disk(#)Partition(#) than it does to the drive letters.  Put a Name (a Label) on each volume; this will get written to the HDD and will not shift each time you reboot or re-install.

    RC
    R. C. White, CPA Microsoft Windows MVP
    Thanks, I've been having that same issue with a newly bought copy of Win 7. A beautiful explanation, I can only hope my nephews & niece have Teachers that communicate as well.
    Saturday, July 21, 2012 1:08 AM