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


spb

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Posts
14
#1
Hello

I recently took my hard drive out of my laptop, and plugged it into an external USB drive to copy some files to another laptop.

Upon putting the hard drive back into my laptop, windows 8 would no longer boot. It would get to the Operating System select screen (I also boot Win 7 on this system) and when I select windows 8, it would go to a black screen, hard drive light would flicker for a bit and it would just stay stuck on this black screen.

When I rebooted, and from the operating system select screen accessed the Command Prompt, I noticed that the partition where Windows 8 was, was no longer on C:\. Instead, it was now residing at D:\, and C:\ was the system reserved partition, which i think is the boot partition in windows 8?

So I'm guessing - and correct me if im wrong - that when i select Windows 8 from the operating system screen, it is searching for the operating system in C:\ as it used to be, but now somehow that partition now exists as D:\, so it cant find the files and just hangs.

If this is the case, then I suppose I either need my windows 8 partition to reclaim C:\, or i need to change the boot settings somehow to load windows from its new home at d:\. Im guessing the first option is the best way to go back to exactly how things were. I dont know how to do either.

So I'm not sure what happened here, when I plugged my hard drive via an external USB caddy it seems to have changed a few things around on the drive, like assigning the system reserved partition a drive letter - it shouldnt even have a letter should it?

As a side note, Windows 7 does boot correctly from this laptop - im guessing because when you select windows 7 it restarts the machine and the OS can only see 1 partition - that where windows 7 resides. Also I have a run a chkdsk on the windows 8 partition and it came back with no problems.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 32bit

spb

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#3
i did try automatic repair but it just said, after restarting and diagnosing, "automatic repair could not repair your pc"

i will look into the startup repair thing. kind of strange how win 8 was starting fine before though ??
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 32bit

Superfly

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Cape Town

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1,098
#4
Automatic repair has never worked for me either - what did however was CHKDSK /f (after a complete bcdboot rebuild...)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    PC-DOS v1.0
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    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    IBM
    CPU
    Intel 8088, 4.77MHz
    Memory
    16K, 640K max
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    What's that?
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    dual 160KB 5.25-inch disk drives

Saltgrass

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#5
Your system configuration can be very important in resolving situations such as yours. If you could provide a Disk Management picture such as Theog shows, we could see for ourselves.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home Grown
    CPU
    i7 3770K
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77 -v Pro, Z87-Expert
    Memory
    16 G
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GTX 680 Classified (2)
    Hard Drives
    Kingston SSD 240 GB

spb

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#6
dskmngmnt.jpg

Saltgrass: If I plug in my hard drive to an external USB caddy and plug it into another laptop, i can access disk management. Above is the screen I get. My HDD in question is "Disk 2".

Superfly: I have tried CHKDSK but it returned as having no faults. Although, what partition did you use CHKDSK with? As you can see I have 3 partitions here, maybe you mean to CHKDSK the system reserved partition? Also what do you mean by a full BCDBOOT rebuild?

Theog: As I mentioned before the automatic repair does not work. The subsequent link I'm not sure applies to me as I'm running windows 8 and that guide is for windows 7.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 32bit

spb

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Posts
14
#7
Update: I have tried going into command prompt and using this guide to fix the windows bootloader:

type > bootrec /fixmbr (writes mbr but does not overwrite partition table)
type > bootrec /fixboot (writes new boot sector to system partition)
type > bootrec /scanos (scans for other OS’s that you might want to add to bcd)
(personally I find the above unneeded and only use the last step)
type > bootrec /rebuildbcd (scans for other OS’s, unlike rebuildbcd it allows you to select the OS’s you want to add to bcd)
Reboot
I have typed these whilst at c:\ (what is seen by command prompt as the system reserved partition). However the last two commands keep insisting that no windows installations can be found on any drive? This is bizarre as command prompt can clearly see all 3 partitions and in fact i can still boot into windows 7 fine.

I have tried CHKDSK /F on the system reserved partition: no problems found.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 32bit

Saltgrass

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#9
I am a little confused. You stated you could boot the system into Windows 7. Were you not able to use Disk Management with both drives installed to get a picture?

Showing the drive in another system does not really help showing us your actual configuration. If it will not boot with the other drive, use the Boot Device Menu to choose the drive you want to boot to. If you do have two hard drives on that laptop, when you took one out, it might have reset the primary drive to the other one and thus messed up your normal boot. Check your bios to make sure the correct drive is set to primary.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home Grown
    CPU
    i7 3770K
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77 -v Pro, Z87-Expert
    Memory
    16 G
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GTX 680 Classified (2)
    Hard Drives
    Kingston SSD 240 GB

spb

New Member
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14
#11
win7dskmnmg.jpg

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.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 32bit

Saltgrass

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1,121
#12
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.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home Grown
    CPU
    i7 3770K
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77 -v Pro, Z87-Expert
    Memory
    16 G
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GTX 680 Classified (2)
    Hard Drives
    Kingston SSD 240 GB

spb

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Posts
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#13
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"
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 32bit

Saltgrass

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#14
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.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home Grown
    CPU
    i7 3770K
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77 -v Pro, Z87-Expert
    Memory
    16 G
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GTX 680 Classified (2)
    Hard Drives
    Kingston SSD 240 GB

spb

New Member
Posts
14
#15
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>
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 32bit

Saltgrass

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#16
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.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home Grown
    CPU
    i7 3770K
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77 -v Pro, Z87-Expert
    Memory
    16 G
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GTX 680 Classified (2)
    Hard Drives
    Kingston SSD 240 GB

spb

New Member
Posts
14
#17
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
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 32bit

Saltgrass

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#18
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
 

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My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home Grown
    CPU
    i7 3770K
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77 -v Pro, Z87-Expert
    Memory
    16 G
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GTX 680 Classified (2)
    Hard Drives
    Kingston SSD 240 GB

spb

New Member
Posts
14
#19
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?)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 32bit

Saltgrass

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1,121
#20
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home Grown
    CPU
    i7 3770K
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77 -v Pro, Z87-Expert
    Memory
    16 G
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GTX 680 Classified (2)
    Hard Drives
    Kingston SSD 240 GB