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Dell XPS 720 second boot drive

Posted on 2013-05-16
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hi Experts - I have a customer system - Dell XPS720 - 4Gb Ram 500Gb HDD. Customer requests a second drive (2TB) booting Windows7. Windows7 will not load to new drive. Tried cloning old drive and upgrading to no avail.
Any advice appreciated.
Regards, Pat
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Question by:PFSullivan
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16 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:PFSullivan
ID: 39173594
Forgot - Current boot drive is Vista.
Thanks
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39175052
Won't load - what exactly error if any? Does it not see the drive or says that the drive is not compatible?
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:marsilies
ID: 39175098
You may have to change to boot order of the drives in BIOS in order to boot the 2nd drive instead.

If you're looking to dual boot, you have to make sure the active bootloader has entries for both the Vista drive and the Windows 7 drive. You can use a BCD editor to add a boot entry to the BCD. A tool like Visual BCD Editor should do the trick:
http://www.boyans.net/
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Author Comment

by:PFSullivan
ID: 39175508
Hi folks - Thanks for the replies.

To Noxcho - If I set the new (2TB) drive as Drive 0 I get only the Dell splash screen and then a reboot. If I set the old (.5TB) drive as drive 0 I boot fine and I can see the 2TB drive. There is no error message. I attempted booting to the Windows7 CD and installing with only the 2TB drive installed, but the installer insists on booting to the hard drive to complete the setup and it will not boot.

To Marsilies - I want the Windows7 as a primary boot device so the user can upgrade to 8Gb RAM. So that is where I will need to edit the boot.ini to include the Vista. (I think ??).

I am also not sure if Windows7 will ask which drive to install to. So I was planning to install Win7 with the Vista drive disabled / removed.

What do you folks think?
Thanks again, Pat
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Accepted Solution

by:
marsilies earned 250 total points
ID: 39175577
If you want to do a clean install of Windows 7 on the new drive, you can certainly start the installation within the existing Vista install. With both drives plugged in, and booted to Vista on the 500GB, Run the Windows 7 install disc and select a "custom install," and choose the 2TB drive as the destination. This should method will also automatically configure the bootloader for dual-booting:
http://www.techspot.com/guides/143-dual-boot-windows7/page3.html
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Author Comment

by:PFSullivan
ID: 39175660
Thanks Marsilies!     I am going to try that now.

I'll report back.
Regards, Pat
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39175705
The given method above going to be a trap for both Windows if boot loader of one gets corrupt. Better find out why does Windows refuse to go to 2TB with 500GB disconnected.
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Expert Comment

by:marsilies
ID: 39175749
@noxcho The bootloader in use will be on the Vista drive, so Windows 7 won't boot if the Vista drive isn't installed, or its bootloader gets corrupted. However, you can fix it by booting from a Windows 7 install disc.

My take is that the OP cloned Vista over to the 2TB, removed the 500GB, booted to Vista and started a Windows 7 upgrade that froze on reboot. This is why when booting from the Windows 7 install disc, it says there's a Windows 7 install already occurring on the 2TB drive.
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Author Comment

by:PFSullivan
ID: 39175828
Thanks for that additional input.
Since the Windows7 demanded a reformat of the 2TB drive as NTFS, I have the perfect opportunity to clone the original Vista drive as a 'fail-safe". Doing that now and will probably complete this later this evening.
Thanks again!
Regards, Pat
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39176170
It is standard Upgrade scenario. I personally would simply remove Vista drive from there in case something goes wrong with Vista you will have the nightmare trying to repair it. Also, if you clone Vista to 2TB then run install from Vista and if it fails at restart again then all you cloning is a useless spent time.
Leave in system only 2TB then go to BIOS and turn the drive to IDE compatible mode. Try to install Windows 7 fresh. Does it work this way?
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Expert Comment

by:marsilies
ID: 39176242
@noxcho why are you recommending IDE compatible mode? That's typically only needed for XP installs since the XP install disc didn't have any SATA drivers. I've found Windows 7 to install fine without turning ID compatible mode on.
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39176385
You mean that you were able to install Windows 7 on Dell XPS 720 and run it without any problem? Then the hardware of Pat is mulfunctioning otherwise he would be able to install Win7 from the first attempt.
But really, he tried as he said with current mode which I assume is AHCI and it did not work for him. Thus I am recommending trying another mode to see where it leads him to.
A question to Pat: when it formats 2TB and runs installation, it reboots PC to continue the installation and aborts - does it copy anything to 2TB drive?
Also, which version of Windows 7 are you installing? Have you tried to install it from another DVD disk and DVD-ROM?
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Author Comment

by:PFSullivan
ID: 39176506
Hi - I appreciate you investing time discussing my issue. Thanks!
When the first installation failed it had created 3 directories on the 2TB drive:  Temp, Windows.old, and Windows.
I am using Windows 7 Pro with SP1 DVD for installation. The Dell CD "for reinstallation" was my first attempt. I have not tried the fresh DVD yet. That is my plan for the next attempt at install tomorrow morning.
Regards, Pat
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Author Comment

by:PFSullivan
ID: 39176534
Hi Again - A note on the failure of the 2TB drive to boot standalone. My recent attempt at a second cloning to another .5TB drive failed with a read error on sector2 of the original drive. This freshly cloned drive will not boot either even after a chkdsk /r.
The original drive still boots.
Do you think the Win7 install will have a problem due to this HDD anomaly if I attempt a new install?

Thanks, Pat
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Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 250 total points
ID: 39177022
Ao there is a bad sector on your original 500GB drive, right?
Perform a pure test: leave in system only 2TB drive which jas absolutely no partitions on it. Then run installation from your Win7 DVD and there create new partition or nstall it to entire 2TB. Wll it install to this single HDD in your machine?
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Author Closing Comment

by:PFSullivan
ID: 39410085
Thanks folks!  I apologize for not closing this after you resolved the issue.

Best regards, Pat
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