Question Cloning Drive and Windows Boot Manager

Jul 25, 2021
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I have an SSD and a HDD in my computer. My SSD has Windows 10, and I installed Windows 11 to my HDD.
In my BIOS I wasn't able to select a drive to boot to, the only option was Windows Boot Manager on my SSD. So I enabled displaybootmenu in bcdedit and now I can select with OS to boot into.
I am cloning my SSD (Win10) to another drive as a backup. After that I will be cloning my HDD (Win11) to my SSD, and then formatting my HDD. So only Windows 11 will be installed on my computer. I'm using Macrium Reflect.

My question is, as my BIOS is reading Windows Boot Manager from my SSD, if I clone my HDD to my SSD, will I be removing Windows Boot Manager? Will I be able to boot into the SSD?

I realize I could just install Windows 11 fresh onto the SSD but I'm just giving this a shot first. Thanks!
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Please show us a screencap of the current Disk Management window.
Also, a list of ALL the drives involved...new and old.

Cloning, done correctly, is an exact representation of everything on Dr A to Drive B.
You have multiple things going on, so lets proceed carefully and with a plan.
 
Jul 25, 2021
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Here you go. I'm in part trying to learn more about how Windows Boot Manager works, and how to boot to Windows drives. No worries if this all goes to crap.

 
Jul 25, 2021
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Yes that is correct. Windows Boot Manager is currently reading from the SSD. If I was to clone the HDD to the SSD, how would that effect Boot Manager and how would I boot into the SSD?

I realize this of course. I'm just playing around with it, there's no data on this computer which isn't backed up. I just got tired of using Windows 11 from a hard drive.
 

USAFRet

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I realize this of course. I'm just playing around with it, there's no data on this computer which isn't backed up. I just got tired of using Windows 11 from a hard drive.
Then I would suggest just doing a whole new install of Win 11, on whichever drive you desire.

Currently, the whole boot sequence lives on Drive 0, with the Win 10 install.
Cloning from the Win 11 HDD to the Disk 0 Win 10 SSD will indeed wipe out everything on that Disk 0.


Or, obtaining another SSD, and cloning the Disk 1 (Win 11) to that.
 
After that I will be cloning my HDD (Win11) to my SSD, and then formatting my HDD. So only Windows 11 will be installed on my computer. I'm using Macrium Reflect.
My question is, as my BIOS is reading Windows Boot Manager from my SSD, if I clone my HDD to my SSD, will I be removing Windows Boot Manager? Will I be able to boot into the SSD?
Windows Boot Manager (bootloader) is that small 260MB partition on 120GB drive.
If you clone contents of 1TB drive and overwrite 120GB drive completely, there's no bootloader anymore.
Your system is not bootable without the bootloader.
 
What you can do is
keep bootloader partition on 120GB drive,​
delete rest of partitions on 120GB drive,​
clone OS partition from 1TB drive to 120GB drive in partition to partition clone mode (do not overwrite bootloader partition),​
boot from 120GB drive (all the other drives have to be disconnected).​

This should work, if done properly.
 
Jul 25, 2021
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Ah okay, I suspected as much. I'll play around with it and see what happens. Thanks for the info!

Edit: So I cloned the HDD to only the main partition of the SSD, leaving the other two partitions. Unfortunately it did not work and booted into the repair utility (which also did not work). I ended up just reinstalling Windows 11.

Side note, I originally cloned the SSD to an external hard drive as a backup. Out of curiosity I added a boot option for it (on the WBM on the SSD) and it did not work, again opening up the repair utility.
 
Last edited:

dwd999

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Feb 24, 2016
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This is one of the unfortunate and poorly planned aspects of the Windows Installer. When installing, you have to remember to disconnect all other drives until installation is complete. This is the only way to achieve true drive independence which allows you to change boot drives through bios selection.
 
Jul 25, 2021
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This is one of the unfortunate and poorly planned aspects of the Windows Installer. When installing, you have to remember to disconnect all other drives until installation is complete. This is the only way to achieve true drive independence which allows you to change boot drives through bios selection.
Oh I never thought of that! I suppose that would create an independent boot manager. I'll do that in the future. A bit annoying, considering I'm using a laptop with 11 things plugged into it.
 

USAFRet

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Oh I never thought of that! I suppose that would create an independent boot manager. I'll do that in the future. A bit annoying, considering I'm using a laptop with 11 things plugged into it.
That is why any reputable Windows install tutorial strongly recommends to physically disconnect ALL other drives during the install.

"but but,,,I can choose which drive during the install!"

No...physical disconnection.
 

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