Question Secondary drive failed but causing major windows issues

Oct 11, 2022
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Hi all,

Longtime lurker, first time poster in need of some help...

I have had a bulletproof Windows 7 desktop for a long time and it has been brilliant.

I have an SSD with Windows 7 Home Premium installed (along with Chrome, Kaspersky,etc) and then a secondary SATA Seagate drive with other programs on (Office, etc). This 1tb drive is now showing as RAW in Disk Management. I can't do much with it. CHKDSK won't touch it. Windows does eventually start up with this drive in place but stalls horribly and Explorer continually crashes. I suspect that Windows is trying to access data/programs from that drive.

Unplugging the drive results in Windows not starting and simply showing a 'Loading operating system...' message with a flashing cursor which never seems to get anywhere.

Plugging in a shiny new unformatted 2tb drive also results in the same 'Loading operating system...' message which never gets to a point of being able to boot.

I'm not quite sure what to do next! I guess I need to either revive the drive somehow (convert it from RAW back to NTFS if I can) or remove Windows' reliance on the secondary drive and replace with the fresh one.

All suggestions welcomed!
 
Oct 11, 2022
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Thanks, good suggestion. There isn't much on the SSD other than windows and browsers. I might have to do that.

I was hoping to exhaust any quick fixes but I might be getting close to that now...
 

NerdyComputerGuy

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Nov 19, 2013
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Thanks, good suggestion. There isn't much on the SSD other than windows and browsers. I might have to do that.

I was hoping to exhaust any quick fixes but I might be getting close to that now...
It seems like there is OS files on your other drive for some reason which is causing windows to not boot without it connected which is strange.

Did you have the pagefile on the other drive or something?
 
Oct 11, 2022
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Did you have the pagefile on the other drive or something?
So the SSD is 125Gb and I seem to remember that as Windows gradually ate more of the space that I did transfer the pagefile to the secondary drive as I was running out of space. It could well be that.

However I can't see how Windows is accessing the pagefile on the drive if it can't see the contents of the drive?
 

NerdyComputerGuy

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So the SSD is 125Gb and I seem to remember that as Windows gradually ate more of the space that I did transfer the pagefile to the secondary drive as I was running out of space. It could well be that.

However I can't see how Windows is accessing the pagefile on the drive if it can't see the contents of the drive?
It's trying to find the page file most likely and it can't find it so it just gives you an error since something is wrong with the other HDD.
 
I have an SSD with Windows 7 Home Premium installed (along with Chrome, Kaspersky,etc) and then a secondary SATA Seagate drive with other programs on (Office, etc). This 1tb drive is now showing as RAW in Disk Management. I can't do much with it. CHKDSK won't touch it. Windows does eventually start up with this drive in place but stalls horribly and Explorer continually crashes. I suspect that Windows is trying to access data/programs from that drive.
Can you show screenshot from Disk Management?
(upload to imgur.com and post link)

Set pagefile location back to drive C: .
 
Oct 11, 2022
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So resetting the pagefile location seems to be a wise move, however when I try to click the Change... button on Performance Options I simply get an eternally spinning disc in both normal mode and safe mode.

Switching that might remove the reliance on the secondary drive.

I'll try to get to the Disk Management screen but the PC seems to stall at every opportunity and Explorer dies and restarts.

Thanks everyone!
 
Oct 11, 2022
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Thanks for the help on this yesterday.

It feels like I have a few options here:
  1. Find some way to change the location of pagefile.sys back to the main drive to remove the dependency on the secondary drive at which point Windows should stop stalling allowing me to replace the drive (currently failing to get to the properties screen to change pagefile config)
  2. Convert the FS from Raw to NTFS which can seemingly be done without losing the contents, in which case everything returns to normal (currently struggling to get a cmd window because Explorer is crashing)
  3. Just buy a new bigger SSD and buy a Windows 10/11 licence and use this as an opportunity for a fresh install.
Anything else I should be considering?
 
Oct 11, 2022
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What properties screen?
You go to virtual memory settings through
Control Panel/System/Advanced System Settings
Thanks SNR, that is indeed the screen I'm trying to get to. When I try to click the Change... button on Performance Options I simply get an eternally spinning disc in both normal mode and safe mode.
 
Oct 11, 2022
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I just tried to convert the drive to NTFS from RAW but to no avail using:
convert d: /fs:ntfs

I gather this sometimes works but not on this occasion.

The frustration I have with this is that other than stalling Windows is running totally as normal (Chrome working, background, menus, etc) so I do just think I need to repatriate the pagefile and ditch the old drive to be back to normal. Let's see.
 
BTW - you can't boot your pc without 1TB drive connected, because it contains bootloader (100MB System Active partition).
Without bootloader present - your pc is unbootable.
It would be wise to move bootloader to drive containing windows OS partition.
 
Oct 11, 2022
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Thanks again, really appreciate this.

So I did what someone suggested above and did this: bcdboot C;\windows /s C:
which told me 'Boot files successfully created.' and the video says I then need to refresh Disk Management and make the new C: partition active. Just waiting for the glacially slow Disk management screen to refresh (30ish mins so far...)
 
I'd suspect file operations are being slow, because you have very little free space left on your SSD.
SSDs loose performance significantly, when being full.

Dis you manage removing drive letter D : from raw partition?

It might be necessary to assign letter D : to some other partition with enough space, i.e. - you could change partition E: to D : .
 
Oct 11, 2022
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Just wanted to post and say thanks for all of the replies.

After trying dozens of things and needing to get the PC back into working order again I bought a new 500Gb SSD as the primary and replaced the HDD with a new 2TB drive. I have done a fresh install of Windows 10 using my Windows 7 licence and all is working smoothly now. I'll probably have a look at the old drive to salvage any last data (the important stuff was backed up). The PC is now working better than it has done for a while. Oh the joys of a fresh clean Windows install.

Thanks again!
 

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