Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Win 8 no longer boots - Drive Letter Issue/boot partition?

  1. #11


    Posts : 14
    Win 8 32bit


    Click image for larger version

    Here's the disk management screen after booting into windows 7 with the hard drive in question. the partition to the right is the partition windows 8 is installed on which is never seen or allocated a drive letter in windows 7.

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  2. #12


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    You might try assigning it a drive letter, say E: and see what happens. During boot, as Theog points out, drive letters are assigned and the partition being booted to for the OS is usually changed to C:

    If you can't assign a drive letter in Disk Management, we may have to use Diskpart.

    Also, while you are doing that, open an Administrative command prompt and type (or copy and paste) the following command and attach the resulting text file. Put a space before the /.

    bcdedit /enum all > %userprofile%\Desktop\bcdtext.txt

    Edit: I just noticed the 50 GB partition does not show as NTFS. Possibly the attributes or partition ID has been altered. It almost looks like an OEM recovery partition.
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  3. #13


    Posts : 14
    Win 8 32bit


    I'm pretty sure this screen wouldve looked the same before i had a problem with booting windows 8.

    If you look at the previous screenshot where i plugged the HDD via an external USB caddy into another laptop, that 50gb partition does have a drive letter and is shown as NTFS. It is only this way in the above screenshot, because when I choose windows 7 from the boot menu, the computer restarts, boots into Windows 7, assigns the windows 7 partition (the larger partition) C:, and disables the win 8 partition completely.

    As you say the drive letters are assigned on boot. So if I assign the 50gb partition as E:, it assigns the letter, but then if i reboot the machine into windows 8 we're just back to square one.

    When I try the bcdedit line you typed, using a "Run as administrator" command prompt in windows 7, i just get a txt file on my desktop that reads:

    "The boot configuration data store could not be opened.
    The ystem cannot find the file specified"
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  4. #14


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    If I understand correctly, you have one hard drive on your laptop. Windows 8 has been installed on the 50 GB partition?

    Did the laptop have a Recovery partition prior to you installing Windows 8?

    You need to ignore what the drive letters are when the drive is not part of your system. In a dual boot scenario, the Boot (OS) partition will be assigned C: and the other partition is assigned the next available drive letter. Your setup is not behaving normally. If the 50 GB partition was at one time an OEM recovery partition, it will not get a drive letter because the Partition Type ID or its attributes are set that way.

    If you want to check the partition configuration, you can use Diskpart and check the partition details. Open the Admin command prompt and type the following with enter after each line. The Drive number is the one shown after the lis dis command and the partition number is the 50 GB partition number from the lis par command.

    Diskpart
    lis dis
    sel dis 0
    lis par
    sel par 3
    det par


    Then copy and paste the results in your next post.

    Type exit to leave diskpart.
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  5. #15


    Posts : 14
    Win 8 32bit


    Quote Originally Posted by Saltgrass View Post
    If I understand correctly, you have one hard drive on your laptop. Windows 8 has been installed on the 50 GB partition?

    Yep

    Did the laptop have a Recovery partition prior to you installing Windows 8?

    I don't think so. If I remember correctly, I had Windows 7 only on my laptop first, I then resized the partition by making it smaller by 50gb, then created a new partition in that 50gb space where I installed windows 8

    You need to ignore what the drive letters are when the drive is not part of your system. In a dual boot scenario, the Boot (OS) partition will be assigned C: and the other partition is assigned the next available drive letter. Your setup is not behaving normally. If the 50 GB partition was at one time an OEM recovery partition, it will not get a drive letter because the Partition Type ID or its attributes are set that way.

    If you say my setup is not behaving correctly because Windows 7 is not assigning the Win8 partition a drive letter, please understand that before my problem (that Win 8 boots to a blank screen only), Windows 7 never assigned the Win 8 partition a drive letter. I could never use my Win 8 partition in Win 7, and to be honest im fine with that! I just want windows 8 to boot

    If you want to check the partition configuration, you can use Diskpart and check the partition details. Open the Admin command prompt and type the following with enter after each line. The Drive number is the one shown after the lis dis command and the partition number is the 50 GB partition number from the lis par command.

    Diskpart
    lis dis
    sel dis 0
    lis par
    sel par 3
    det par


    Then copy and paste the results in your next post.

    Type exit to leave diskpart.
    Okay below is my results from the above commands. I'm not sure if this will shed any light on the problem as i do believe these partitions were behaving in the same manner in Windows 7 even before, when Windows 8 did boot correctly. But you know more than I

    C:\Windows\system32>diskpart

    Microsoft DiskPart version 6.1.7600
    Copyright (C) 1999-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
    On computer: SBLAP


    DISKPART> lis dis

    Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
    -------- ------------- ------- ------- --- ---
    Disk 0 Online 465 GB 0 B

    DISKPART> sel dis 0

    Disk 0 is now the selected disk.

    DISKPART> lis par

    Partition ### Type Size Offset
    ------------- ---------------- ------- -------
    Partition 1 Primary 100 MB 1024 KB
    Partition 2 Primary 415 GB 101 MB
    Partition 3 Primary 50 GB 415 GB

    DISKPART> sel par 3

    Partition 3 is now the selected partition.

    DISKPART> det par

    Partition 3
    Type : 07
    Hidden: No
    Active: No
    Offset in Bytes: 445863952384

    Volume ### Ltr Label Fs Type Size Status Info
    ---------- --- ----------- ----- ---------- ------- --------- --------
    * Volume 3 E NTFS Partition 50 GB Healthy

    DISKPART>
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  6. #16


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Well, I am pretty much out of ideas. I cannot explain why a drive letter is not being assigned the Windows 8 partition, unless a third party partition manager was used and put some type of flag on the partition.

    Since the BCD store does not seem to want to display, I will tell you what I would do. You have already done some of these things, but I do not know what your results were. If you want to wait to see if someone else confirms, please do so.

    I would start, while in Windows 7, by opening the admin command prompt and type bcdboot C:\Windows and let it replace the boot files with a fresh copy. Of course this doesn't completely replace the BCD store, but it might make it useable again.

    If you want to get the Windows 8 boot option back, you could use the Bootrec /scanOS and if it finds that install allow it to be added to the boot menu. I do not know if it would work without a drive letter on the partition. But since you need to be in the recovery environment anyway to run the Bootrec command, before you run it, you might assign a letter to the Windows 8 partition using diskpart (select the partition then assign letter=e: ), then run the bootrec command.

    Sorry I could not be of more help... maybe someone else will have better suggestions.
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  7. #17


    Posts : 14
    Win 8 32bit


    Forget the whole not assigning a Win 8 partition a drive letter thing - that only happens when i boot into Win 7 and like i said above i really dont mind about not accessing my win 8 partition in win 7.

    When I boot my computer i get a Windows 8 operating system select screen where i can choose win 8, win 7 or advanced/troubleshooting options. If from here I choose Command Prompt, the computer reboots into command prompt. The drive letter the command prompt assigns are :

    C:\ for system reserved partition
    D:\ for Win 8 partition
    E:\ for Win 7 partition.

    Now I find this odd as when Windows 8 used to start up, the drive letters would be:

    C:\ for Win 8 Partition
    E:\ for Win 7 partition
    (system reserved partition not assigned a drive letter, or at least not visible in My Computer).

    So I'm kind of theorizing that because the Win 8 partition drive letters in those two examples above don't match, perhaps thats why windows 8 isnt booting? Maybe its looking for Win 8 on C:\ as before, but for now some reason the Win 8 partition resides on D:\? At least that what command prompt tells me. All I know for sure is that when I attempt to boot windows 8 i just get stuck on a blank screen now.

    Sorry if this is confusing Thanks so much for your help though, if you or anyone has a clue what to do please let me know
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  8. #18


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    I have been trying to duplicate your situation and have come close, but some indications you receive I cannot duplicate.

    I do not know why your System partition does not contain a label. A normal install will identify it as "System Reserved", but yours does not.

    The BCDedit command does not seem to work. Since your system boots, I have to assume there is one. If there were two. it might cause confusion, but the message does not say that.

    I have gotten the system to boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 with no drive letter assigned to the other OS. This is done by setting the attributes for the volume to "NoDefaultDriveLetter:Yes" in diskpart. The quotes below show how this works.

    I tried the Bootrec /RebuildBCD command with the NoDefaultDriveLetter option set to yes and the system could find the Windows 8 install, but not add it to the Boot Menu. After I changed the option to No, the Windows 8 boot option was restored. Note: The option, if set to yes, will only indicate such if you have not added a drive letter yourself.

    So, if for some reason you do have the attributes set in a particular manner, try the below command in Diskpart to change it. Make sure and select the correct volume (3), run the command below, and then add a drive letter. Reboot and try the Bootrec /RebuildBCD command again. I ran it from the F8 options in Windows 7.

    attributes volume clear nodefaultdriveletter

    DISKPART> sel par 3

    Partition 3 is now the selected partition.

    DISKPART> det par

    Partition 3
    Type : 07
    Hidden: No
    Active: No
    Offset in Bytes: 266595205120

    Volume ### Ltr Label Fs Type Size Status Info
    ---------- --- ----------- ----- ---------- ------- --------- --------
    * Volume 3 C Windows 8 NTFS Partition 49 GB Healthy Boot

    DISKPART> det vol

    Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
    -------- ------------- ------- ------- --- ---
    * Disk 0 Online 298 GB 1024 KB

    Read-only : No
    Hidden : No
    No Default Drive Letter: No
    Shadow Copy : No
    Offline : No
    BitLocker Encrypted : No
    Installable : Yes

    Volume Capacity : 49 GB
    Volume Free Space : 31 GB
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails W7 Disk Graphic 1.GIF   W8 Disk Graphic 1.GIF  
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  9. #19


    Posts : 14
    Win 8 32bit


    Quote Originally Posted by Saltgrass View Post
    I have been trying to duplicate your situation and have come close, but some indications you receive I cannot duplicate.

    I do not know why your System partition does not contain a label. A normal install will identify it as "System Reserved", but yours does not.
    This only the case in windows 7 which disables the win 8 partition, which is fine by me. As you can see in a previous screenshot its labelled as System Reserved when i plug it into another laptop via a USB Caddy, and also is labelled as that. When i choose Command Prompt via the Troubleshooting section of the Windows 8 operating system select screen that appears at startup, it is also labeled as "system Reserved" when i use the dir command.

    The BCDedit command does not seem to work. Since your system boots, I have to assume there is one. If there were two. it might cause confusion, but the message does not say that.
    Actually I am now in Windows 8 troubleshooting Command Prompt and typing bcdedit gives me a list of information. One Boot Manager and Two Boot Loaders. I can post up this info for you if it helps? Baffled as to why bootrec /scanos still detects no windows installations even though its just listed two via bcdedit.


    I have gotten the system to boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 with no drive letter assigned to the other OS. This is done by setting the attributes for the volume to "NoDefaultDriveLetter:Yes" in diskpart. The quotes below show how this works.
    Diskpart is telling me that NoDefaultDriveLetter on that volume is already set to No in windows 7


    I tried the Bootrec /RebuildBCD command with the NoDefaultDriveLetter option set to yes and the system could find the Windows 8 install, but not add it to the Boot Menu. After I changed the option to No, the Windows 8 boot option was restored. Note: The option, if set to yes, will only indicate such if you have not added a drive letter yourself.

    So, if for some reason you do have the attributes set in a particular manner, try the below command in Diskpart to change it. Make sure and select the correct volume (3), run the command below, and then add a drive letter. Reboot and try the Bootrec /RebuildBCD command again. I ran it from the F8 options in Windows 7.

    attributes volume clear nodefaultdriveletter

    DISKPART> sel par 3

    Partition 3 is now the selected partition.

    DISKPART> det par

    Partition 3
    Type : 07
    Hidden: No
    Active: No
    Offset in Bytes: 266595205120

    Volume ### Ltr Label Fs Type Size Status Info
    ---------- --- ----------- ----- ---------- ------- --------- --------
    * Volume 3 C Windows 8 NTFS Partition 49 GB Healthy Boot

    DISKPART> det vol

    Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
    -------- ------------- ------- ------- --- ---
    * Disk 0 Online 298 GB 1024 KB

    Read-only : No
    Hidden : No
    No Default Drive Letter: No
    Shadow Copy : No
    Offline : No
    BitLocker Encrypted : No
    Installable : Yes

    Volume Capacity : 49 GB
    Volume Free Space : 31 GB



    I dont know, im starting to think I just need to reinstall windows 8 on this drive. But can i do that and still keep my settings and files? The Automatic Repair doesnt work and the System Restore detects 0 restore points (which is odd, shouldnt it set restore points automatically?)
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  10. #20


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    The /scanos is looking for installs not already included. If it is listed in the BCD store, it should show in the boot menu. If the option in the boot menu does not allow the Windows 8 boot, it may be set up incorrectly. We may end up removing the entry in the BCD store and letting the bootrec command find it again. I think it looks for a Windows directory on the partition. When you add a letter to the Windows 8 partition, you have checked to make sure the directory structure is still intact?

    If you could post the BCDedit /enum all output, it might be helpful.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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