[SOLVED] How to best fix Boot Manager without losing my data

devinascension

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Ok, so earlier today I removed my 2TB Seagate Barracuda out of my system (it was redundant) and moved it into another system that I wanted to bring back for various reasons. However, it just so happens that the Win10 Boot Manager was installed on that drive and used by my SSD, a Kingston A400 120GB, to boot. I wiped the Barracuda and installed it into the other system with a new install of Windows, removing my only accessible version of the Boot Manager. Now I cannot load the version of Windows that I was previously using to run all of my games and stuff and need to get it back. The drive is almost full, with 2GB left in storage. I would try to backup almost everything that I can to another drive, I have a 2TB Firecuda, but I do not have the time nor the patience to sit there and manage a 100+GB data transfer.

I need to know what I can do to fix this, if I even can, and what way would be the fastest.
Here is a list of things that I have tried and/or considered
  • Moving data over to either of the hard drives (too slow)
  • Rebuilding Boot Manager (failed, from what I know about it)
  • Wiping the SSD (I do not want to do that, if at all possible. There is too much data I need)*
  • Making a new FAT32 partition to rebuild Boot Manager onto (looked into it, haven't tried yet)
  • Simply using the Barracuda as a Win10 drive (yet again, too slow)
  • Simply buying a new SSD and starting over there (I do not want to spend the time or money on that one)
*If I have to wipe, I would need to move my photos, videos, songs, documents, appdata, and maybe a few other things.
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
https://www.partitionwizard.com/partitionmagic/bootmgr-is-missing.html


https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2622803/bootmgr-is-missing-press-ctrl-alt-del-to-restart-error-when-you-start




If you can't fix it using any of those methods, then you NEED to do a clean install of the OS, and in the future, do NOT install Windows with multiple drives attached to the system. ONLY install Windows with the target drive and the source drive attached, unless the other drives attached are optical drives.

 

devinascension

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https://www.partitionwizard.com/partitionmagic/bootmgr-is-missing.html


https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2622803/bootmgr-is-missing-press-ctrl-alt-del-to-restart-error-when-you-start




If you can't fix it using any of those methods, then you NEED to do a clean install of the OS, and in the future, do NOT install Windows with multiple drives attached to the system. ONLY install Windows with the target drive and the source drive attached, unless the other drives attached are optical drives.

Yeah, noted. But that really sucks, I hate to have to wipe that drive. I guess that was something that was needing to be done anyway, considering the drive was almost full... One last question, do you think it would be a good idea to remove the Barracuda and just install Win10 on the Firecuda? Or should I just not bother with that and do what I need to off the Barracuda until I can clean install the SSD?
 
https://www.partitionwizard.com/partitionmagic/bootmgr-is-missing.html
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2622803/bootmgr-is-missing-press-ctrl-alt-del-to-restart-error-when-you-start
If you can't fix it using any of those methods, then you NEED to do a clean install of the OS, and in the future, do NOT install Windows with multiple drives attached to the system. ONLY install Windows with the target drive and the source drive attached, unless the other drives attached are optical drives.
None of those links will fix missing bootloader partition. They can fix formatted/corrupted bootloader partition, but not missing one.

If bootloader was on another drive and this drive got cleaned/formatted and not available anymore, then only option is to recreate bootloader.
 
  • Making a new FAT32 partition to rebuild Boot Manager onto (looked into it, haven't tried yet)
This one - is the only option, that makes sense.

BTW - for legacy boot system you want NTFS formatted bootloader partition.
For UEFI system - FAT32 formatted bootloader partition.

Boot from Windows installation media, go into command prompt, execute these commands, make a photo of comand output and show here.
(upload photo to imgur.com and post link)
diskpart
list disk
select disk 0
list partition
list volume
General idea is to shrink existing partition on the drive, make enough space for bootloader partition,
format it appropriately, create bootloader files on it (use bcdboot command for this).
 

devinascension

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Jan 22, 2019
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BTW - for legacy boot system you want NTFS formatted bootloader partition.
For UEFI system - FAT32 formatted bootloader
If I remember correctly, when I bought the SSD to install Windows on, I had to enable Legacy+UEFI in my BIOS to be able to run it. So should I build a NTFS partition instead of a FAT32, or can I just make it FAT32. I guess that depends on what the drive is formatted as to begin with?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
You're right. Sorry, I posted the wrong link for the first one. Should have been this one that has the create boot manager option towards the bottom.


Even so, if the drive is nearly full and it has been a long time since you've done a clean install, it's probably a good idea to follow the advice from Skynetrising, so that you can recover any important information and files, and THEN go ahead and do a clean install once you've backed up anything important such as documents, personal files, settings, bookmarks, etc.

When you do, if you do, or for ANYTIME in the future that you DO do a clean install, be sure to disconnect all drives except the target drive you are installing Windows TO, and the source drive you are installing Windows FROM. That will avoid the problem you are now well aware of with having the boot manager on a different drive. That by itself can cause a number of problems and is definitely not a desirable configuration.
 
You're right. Sorry, I posted the wrong link for the first one. Should have been this one that has the create boot manager option towards the bottom.
Nope. Not it.
Will not fix missing bootloader partition.
 

devinascension

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Jan 22, 2019
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When you do, if you do, or for ANYTIME in the future that you DO do a clean install, be sure to disconnect all drives except the target drive you are installing Windows TO, and the source drive you are installing Windows FROM. That will avoid the problem you are now well aware of with having the boot manager on a different drive. That by itself can cause a number of problems and is definitely not a desirable configuration.
Yes, I will try to remember that one. Though I do think that Windows shouldn't do something like that to begin with, unless there was some setting that I was ahem unaware of at that given moment... shame on my past self for not thinking about that.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Right again. I don't know where my link went. That one was only for the BCD I guess. I'll have to find the thread again I suppose. I could have sworn that was the one for manually creating a new boot manager partition or master boot record.
 
Though I do think that Windows shouldn't do something like that to begin with, unless there was some setting that I was ahem unaware of at that given moment... shame on my past self for not thinking about that.
Actually that's common sense, to do exactly this way.
During windows installation procedure, the check is made, to see it there is bootloader already.
If you have bootloader on one of drives already, another will not be created.
There's no point in having multiple bootloaders. Only one is necessary.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Yes, I will try to remember that one. Though I do think that Windows shouldn't do something like that to begin with, unless there was some setting that I was ahem unaware of at that given moment... shame on my past self for not thinking about that.
It's not "Windows" fault. It is the installer's fault for not disconnecting OTHER drives first. If there is already a drive present with a viable boot loader or master boot record, then the installer believes it does not need to create a new one during the installation..
 

devinascension

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Jan 22, 2019
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Actually that's common sense, to do exactly this way.
During windows installation procedure, the check is made, to see it there is bootloader already.
If you have bootloader on one of drives already, another will not be created.
There's no point in having multiple bootloaders. Only one is necessary.
It's not "Windows" fault. It is the installer's fault for not disconnecting OTHER drives first. If there is already a drive present with a viable boot loader or master boot record, then the installer believes it does not need to create a new one during the installation..
True, true, shame on me... I guess that is what I get for using multiple drives. You win some, you lose some.

I think i will worry about it in the morning, its not that important that I get that system fixed, its not the one I do my schoolwork on. If I get it fixed I will mark this thread as solved. If not, then oh well.

Wait wait wait, SkyNetRising, you said that was common sense. I've never even heard of that, though, I dont do much of the software. I'm sure that I would have heard a warning like that somewhere... huh...
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I don't think it's "your fault", or that there's even "fault" at all. Very few people know to do this, and Microsoft doesn't make it a point to ensure users are informed on this during the installation which I think they SHOULD do. It ought to be one of the first screens you see after you start an installation. Something to the effect of "If you have secondary drives connected, then it is advisable that you shut down, disconnect them and then restart the installation".

Personally, if there isn't anything critical on that drive that you don't already have backed up elsewhere, and if you don't have critical data and files backed up, why not, I'd just go ahead and do the clean install now. If there IS data on that drive you NEED to get first, then following through with Skynetrising's assistance is a good idea. He is very knowledgeable in this area and can help most likely help you resolve this issue to the extent that you'll be able to access the system again.
 

devinascension

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Jan 22, 2019
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Personally, if there isn't anything critical on that drive that you don't already have backed up elsewhere, and if you don't have critical data and files backed up, why not, I'd just go ahead and do the clean install now. If there IS data on that drive you NEED to get first, then following through with Skynetrising's assistance is a good idea. He is very knowledgeable in this area and can help most likely help you resolve this issue to the extent that you'll be able to access the system again.
I plan on purchasing a new M.2 SSD at some point in the future, and I will make a new copy of windows on that. But I did manage to figure out a temporary fix that allows me access back into my install on the SSD I have now: https://neosmart.net/wiki/fix-uefi-boot/. I did not manage to do what I originally planned to do, but I got my stuff back and can use the system again. I thank both of you for helping me figure out what I need.
 

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