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System/Boot Volumes and all that stuff

Alright, so here's a long story short:

I got a new 120GB harddrive and was attempting to get everything from my old one to my new one exactly how it is, but with different partition sizes. It turned into a nightmare and I spent hours figuring everything out/formatting/partitioning/ghosting, etc. Finally I think I got it ALMOST how I want it on the new drive.

Only problem is, now in disk management, my C: drive is the "boot volume" and my D: drive (the second, smaller partition of the main drive used for backup) is the "system volume." Before, I believe my C: was both the system and boot volume. There's nothing on the D: drive except some files that I copied, along with the system_volume_information and RECYCLER folders. Not sure how they got there, but I'm sure that's because it's the "system boot volume." How can I designate my C: drive as both the system and boot volume? Is that even possible? I already manged to change my D: drive letter (previously H) using the registry. Now I just want to get all the other crap off of there.

Oh yeah, tried formatting it... it got to the end and said it couldn't format it. Perhaps if I ghost it from my other harddrive's backup partition that'll do the trick??

Okay, looking around and digging for more info, it looks like Windows is installed in an extended partition, and my backup is the primary partition? Okay, that's weird. Probably nothing I can do it about it. Bleh...
... is it possible to switch the Primary (D) and Extended (C) partition designations without screwing up my windows? Partition Magic perhaps?


OSNN Senior Addict
Maybe if you went into a bit of detail like exactly how you went about backing up/partitioning/ghosting, what Operating System you use, etc. it might give a better clue as to what happened.

When you formatted the drive did you request the boot sector to be written using the /s switch?

Much more info is needed...
Well, none of that really matters now.

Here's where I am at:
C is an extended partition that has windows on it. D is the active primary partition. How it is booting windows XP from C I'm not sure, but I think it is looking at D and then redirecting to C.

What I want to do:
I want C to be the active primary, and D to be the extended partition, and still boot up windows. I configured it this way with partition magic and it does nothing -- just gives me a flashing cursor at the top. I even tried a fixboot in this configuration, nothing. In other words, I can set it with C as active primary and D as extended partition, but then windows does not boot. The only way windows boots up is with C as the extended partition and D as the active primary.

What is causing that? I'm guessing it has something to do with the bootsector on the partitions? How can I figure out which partition is booting windows (it's loading from C, but i'm not sure where it's booting it from?)? Then how can I copy that bootsector to the other partition?

This is quite a mess.


OSNN Senior Addict
XP pretty much doesn't like to boot from anything but C. It doesn't seem that the boot sector of the c: partition is bad since it's booting just fine, it just seems that the partitioning went awry. Nonetheless have you checked the drive to make sure nothing is marked corrupt? chkdsk /p

The best I can offer (which isn't much) is reformat and make sure you use te /s switch this time and be careful partitioning.

Hopefully someone else can offer more.
El Pescador said:
Is the original HDD still sound and in good order?

El Pscador
Well, here's an update: I figured out the problem. In Windows setup, it was assigning C as D, and vice versa, but reversing that in actual Windows, therefore the weird partitions/booting situation.

My plan was to set the old drive how I wanted it to be, do a "fake" XP install, as in getting it to boot off the HD by formatting and starting setup, then ghosting my good partition to it. So first, I booted up Partition Magic and looked at the old drive: there were two primary partitions, but neither was active. Ahh, no wonder XP wouldn't boot. I set the active partition, wa-la! Everything was perfect, but still on the old drive. I simply ghosted that to the new one, and all my problems are now solved.

I now have the new drive as my system drive, just like the old drive was but with the partitions slightly different. The old drive is now my external that I'm formatting as I'm typing this.

I sure did learn a lot about ghosting, partitioning, booting, and troubleshooting windows bootup. If it doesn't kill you (and wipe your drive), it makes you stronger. ;)

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