[SOLVED] PC Can't Locate Boot Device Unless Formatted Hard Drive Is Plugged In

Mar 30, 2019
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0
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I have 3 hard drives in total: a 500gig Samsung Evo SSD, a 500gig WB M.2 and a 1500gig Hard Drive. I installed Windows 10 on the Samsung Evo and it boots fine but ONLY if the 1500gig Hard Drive is plugged in. The 1500gig Hard Drive is formatted and contains nothing on it, but nonetheless, when unplugged the computer goes straight to "Reboot and Select proper Boot device" after the mobo splash screen.

I have my Samsung Evo as the #1 boot device in the bios and when manually selecting a boot device, it still reaches the "Reboot and Select proper Boot Device" screen. I've plugged the Evo into the Sata 1 port and unplugged both of the other storages and still get the same problem. I'm a %200 sure that the OS is on the Samsung Evo.

Any ideas on what's causing this? I've been trying to figure it out for the last few days but to no avail.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
The 1500gig Hard Drive is formatted and contains nothing on it,
You sure about that? Just because you formatted the main partition, especially if this WAS previously the drive with Windows installed on it, doesn't mean there aren't OTHER partitions on that drive and it's likely the boot partition is located on that drive and the other drive will not boot without it being present. Often if there is a drive that already has a Windows boot partition on it attached during the installation, Windows will fail to create a new boot partition based on the new hardware configuration. It doesn't always happen this way, but often enough that we recommend that ALL other drives should be disconnected from the system any time you are installing Windows to avoid this exact problem.

I'll bet if you boot the system, and go into disk management, you will find there are multiple partitions on that 1500GB drive and one of them is likely the EFI or boot partition for the operating system. The fix is going to be, disconnect all the other drives except the drive you are going to install Windows on and whatever the source drive for the windows installer is, and reinstall Windows. Fully outlined in my tutorial.

 
Reactions: anonTheGuest
Mar 30, 2019
3
0
10
I'll bet if you boot the system, and go into disk management, you will find there are multiple partitions on that 1500GB drive and one of them is likely the EFI or boot partition for the operating system. The fix is going to be, disconnect all the other drives except the drive you are going to install Windows on and whatever the source drive for the windows installer is, and reinstall Windows. Fully outlined in my tutorial.
It does look like it's partitioned, however the copy of Windows on the 1500gig Drive is Windows 7, not sure if that matters. I'll go ahead and do what you suggested and see how it goes, luckily the only thing installed currently are some video games. Thanks for the quick response, I'll let you know how it goes
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Yes, it still matters, or at least, it could. I'd reinstall Windows with all the other drives disconnected, and then do not reconnect them but instead verify that windows does in fact boot and restart normally with them disconnected.

It might also be a good idea to make sure you have CSM disabled in the BIOS and that the OS type is set to Windows 10/UEFI before you do the installation so that Windows installs using the GPT partition type which is fully UEFI compatible unlike the older MBR partitions that require compatibility support module support.

The guide I linked you to gives FULL step by step instructions on the CORRECT way to install Windows 10.
 
Partitions are unnecessary. What's important is that your boot drive has a boot sector telling the computer where to find the OS. In your case, it's on your HDD. The computer boots off the HDD, and the boot sector says "go boot the OS off this partition on the the SSD". And the computer dutifully goes and boots off that partition. When you remove the HDD, the computer has no idea where to find the OS. This boot sector is created when you first partition the drive as MBR or GPT, and the boot data is written to it when you install Windows. It exists even if there are no partitions on the drive, and will survive even if you create/delete partitions and format it.

It used to be fairly simple to fix this with Windows 7 and earlier. But I've had mixed luck repairing it with Windows 8/10 (probably because of the extra partitions it creates). So as Darkbreeze stated, your best option is probably to reinstall Windows with ONLY the SSD connected. After doing that and confirming that the BIOS lets you select the SSD as the boot drive (you can't on some laptops and prebuilt systems), I'd wipe the HDD, and change it from MBR to GPT and back just to make sure you've eradicated the old boot sector.
 
Reactions: anonTheGuest

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
And not just "wipe", "delete" ALL the existing partitions on that drive using a partition management application, UNLESS you are planning to still use it to boot to Windows 7 with in which case it's probably a good idea to leave it disconnected from the system EXCEPT on those occasions where you want to boot to that older OS and then you should reconnect it, disconnect your Windows 10 drive and then put them back afterwards. I don't think the dual boot Windows 7 and 10 is even feasible as an option with both as attached drives if you are going to have a full UEFI Windows 10 installation and BIOS configuration. I believe you will HAVE to have CSM and non-UEFI configured for the Windows 7 system to boot. Maybe not, but I think so.
 

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