Need Help with dying drive & dual HDD Windows 10 installation

  1. Posts : 2
    Windows 10

    Need Help with dying drive & dual HDD Windows 10 installation

    Greetings, ok, I'm kind of at a crossroads here and want to make sure I make the right step forward. Here's my situation:

    I have a pc I built myself (specs in my profile) with Windows 10 installed on a normal 500GB HD. A year ago I did a clean install of Windows 10 onto a new 500GB SSD I bought. I also have a 3TB internal drive for media, etc.
    Currently, when the pc boots, it goes to a screen that recognizes 2 Windows installations and offers an option to load either. It automatically chooses the SSD Windows to boot after 3 seconds.

    Last night, I started having trouble with the 3TB internal drive (very slow, years old, time for an upgrade). I eventually restarted my computer and it went into a "Scanning and fixing drive E" screen for about an hour. I let it run and eventually came back to my Windows desktop but the E: drive was corrupted (would not open from My Computer- generic "read error" after a minute).

    I decided to remove it and so I shut down, grounded, and unplugged the SATA cable from both the E: drive and my old 500GB HD with the old Windows installation. When I tried to reboot, BIOS returned a boot error. In BIOS config, it still pointed to USB drive first, then my SSD for boot priority. Would not work even plugging back in the 500GB. It was only when I plugged both drives in did the boot process into Windows proceed (still with the dual installation notice). Luckily, my E: drive mounted again and seems ok.

    But the whole process has me worried: I want to replace my E: drive soon and also remove my old 500GB (D:) drive, but I'm afraid to format the D: drive because it seems Windows wont boot correctly when D: drive is not mounted, even though the clean Windows install on my SSD C: drive should be fine- its all I've been using for months.

    Is there a clean 'unmount' process that I can try that's also reversable? Or maybe I just need to unplug the SATA AND power cables to hdds? Thank you for any insight you can shed.

      My Computer

  2. Posts : 4,828
    Windows 11 Pro 64 Bit 22H2

    When Windows installs, it creates a Hidden System Partition without a drive letter. This partition holds all of the Boot information.
    If you leave your old Windows HDD attached with the System Partition, and add an SSD or another drive and do a clean install to that new drive, Windows will use the old Windows Hidden System Partition for the Boot file and install Windows on the SSD. If you unplug the old Windows drive and just try to boot off of the SSD it will not boot because it does not have access to the Hidden System Partition.
    I would start over with the SSD. Unplug all other HDD's including USB. Boot off of your Install Media and choose to do a Custom Install. Where it comes to install Windows, Drive Options, choose to Delete all partitions on the SSD. Go next. Windows will automatically create partitions, including the Hidden Partition, and format them during the Windows install. Once Windows is finished installing, attach your other HDD's. Boot into Setup (Bios) go to the Boot Tab, Move the SSD to First Boot Device. Save and Exit.
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 2
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thank you, it's basically everything I've feared. I'd just gotten the new one how I wanted it. Darn! Thanks again.
      My Computer


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