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My SATA won't boot when it's the only HD installed?

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Dec 15, 2009
central new york
It boots fine to the SATA when the IDE drive is also installed. Both drives have fully updated and working XP PRO w/sp3. When they are both installed I must choose which OS to boot, however when I remove the IDE I get boot disk failure. I then inserted the system disk and tried going to Recovery Console and run FIXMBR and FIXBOOT, but setup does not detect any HD installed on my system. I'm on the SATA drive system right now, and I had it installed all by itself until yesterdays fiasco when I had to use the IDE to rescue my files and then reformat etc.. etc..

I'd like to take the IDE out and use that OS on another system. Any ideas would be great. I will be here to answer any questions. Thanks for the help.

EDIT:HDtune says it's not bootable. Why would that be when I booted to it and I am on it now? I'm researching, but have not come up with a real solid answer.


Very kind Senior
Mar 13, 2002
Greensboro NC
The answer is that the boot loader is located on the PATA drive. The PATA drive will have several system files, including boot.ini and ntldr among others. These allow the system to boot. If you edit the boot.ini file, you will find the options for booting both OS.

The most likely method of repair will be to remove the PATA drive, then boot to the BIOS and make the SATA drive the default boot hard drive. Insert the XP disk and boot selecting repair the installation. This has a degree of danger implicitly, as you are changing the file system. Needless to say, backup anything important first.

I always prefer installing clean and not running multi boot systems for this reason. The free version of VMware works great for test loads and you do not have to worry about changes to the primary system.