What have I done here?

My son and I built a Windows 7 Pro gaming computer for him recently. It's been up and running for two months now. It has a Samsung SSD as the system drive, and a WD Caviar Black 1TB drive for storage.

Recently, I needed some temporary space to store a drive image of a drive from another computer. I asked my son how much space was available on the WD drive, and there was more than enough for the image. He removed the WD drive and gave it to me. I connected it to another windows 7 Pro computer, made an image with Acronis True Image, and stored it in a folder that I gave a custom name on the WD drive.

When I was finished, it turned out I didn't need the image any more, but left it on the drive. My son had not attempted to start his computer since removing the WD drive. He reconnected exactly as it was previously, and started the computer.

After the BIOS screen, it reports (white text on a black screen) "A necessary device is missing..." and we can only restart. And I have since found that the drive was not only used for storage. There are Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders on the drive from the installation of things like Win Zip, Libre Office, etc.

I went into the BIOS and the Samsung SSD and the WD drive are visible. The Samsung is first up in the boot order.

We booted from the same Windows 7 Pro DVD that was used to originally install Windows, and attempted to go into "Repair my computer". It reports that the version of the Repair Console on the DVD is not compatible with the installed version of Windows and suggests to get a compatible DVD to run Repair Console.

Next, we attempted to do a Repair Install of Windows 7 by selecting Install Now and the Upgrade Option, but of course found out that the Upgrade option can only be run from within Windows (this according to the setup program).

So now I am wondering what to try next to save my son's installation of Windows. Any suggestions appreciated. I think I have listed everything here that we have tried. Thanks for any help.
westoneAsked:
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MereteCommented:
Hi
Lets use a process of elimination
boot from this drive>
 It has a Samsung SSD as the system drive,

I went into the BIOS and the Samsung SSD and the WD drive are visible. The Samsung is first up in the boot order.<<
ok good, so far
remove the WD for the time being and see if you can boot off the default SSD.
Check your bios boot order is set to the Samsung SSD

Since the problem started here>
My son had not attempted to start his computer since removing the WD drive.
He reconnected exactly as it was previously, and started the computer.<<<
When a secondary drive has a problem windows won't boot.
Remove the secondary drive .
Then we will proceed from there, let me know if you have boot using only the SSD which was your original system drive.
From now on use only the SSD until we have windows booting and functioning again.
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A few questions if you could answer
 can you access safemode with only the SSD connected?
Tap F8 continuously when you see the bios screen?
Choose windows for now
This is to determine if windows is damaged?
If it can't access windows in safemode choose safemode CMD prompt
bootrec.exe /FixMbr
How to Fix Windows 7 When It Fails to Boot

-----------------------------------------------------

When you ran the recovery was the bios boot order changed to DVD setup disc?
Did you remove the WD and any other connected devices at his time?
Did you have service Pack one installed through the updates or included on the setup disc?
Use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment to troubleshoot and repair startup issues in Windows
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927392
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
It sounds like you had not actually installed Windows 7 correctly on the SSD.

You likely need to do a reinstall of Windows 7 from scratch -- formatting the SSD and installing '7.   Do this WITHOUT the WD drive connected ... i.e. with the SSD as the only drive in the system.    You won't have any issues doing this, as long as you format the SSD first and install from scratch.    The reason you likely can't do a repair is that the Windows 7 DVD most likely does not have Service Pack 1 applied; but your installed version does.

After it's installed; all updates done; and configured as you like, THEN turn the system off; connect the WD drive; restart the system; and then you can use the WD drive as you like.

If you want it to be the data drive; then create folders for your son's data -- and change the store folder for Documents, Music, Pictures, etc. to point to that drive.

I would also IMAGE the SSD and store a copy of the image in a folder on the WD drive as a backup of the configuration.
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bbaoIT ConsultantCommented:
There are Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders on the drive from the installation of things like Win Zip, Libre Office, etc.

if you are sure your and your son did install Windows on the gaming computer with all default settings (or in other words, you did not customise the installation in any way), and you see those folders on the 2nd HD, that basically means you have installed the system on the 2nd 1T HD instead of the SSD.

in such a scenario, the Windows may still use the SSD to store paging files by default. Therefore the two drives may be both used.

as the data on the 2nd HD have been messed up, probably the best way now is to reinstall Windows on the system, and better first remove the 2nd HD to make sure Windows is installed on the SSD.
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westoneAuthor Commented:
Bbao: No, I tried to be clear, the Samsung is the system drive. The reason there are Program folders on the secondary drive is that Win Zip and a few other program were later installed deliberately to the secondary drive. On such a case program folders are created there. This does not mean Windows was installed to the WD drive. I just thought that may be why the error "Required device missing
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westoneAuthor Commented:
Gary Case: Why so? It has been running flawlessly for two months, many startup shutdown cycles and many hours internet and gaming with no errors until removal of secondary drive.

To All: Cannot access F8 start up menu, errorsoccur
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westoneAuthor Commented:
Sorry, the mobile version of this site it's screwed. Cannot access F8 menu, errors occur beforee that point.
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MereteCommented:
westone are you commenting to me?
What errors please?
missing device??
Check that the SATA mode  is set to AHCI  not raid
I am wondering is there was a short possibly when the WD was put back?
Please ensure the SSD is the first device in the bios boot
Do you know how to get into safe mode?
Tap F8 on your keyboard when you boot your computer?
Please let me know what else you try.
I can only help you based on your feedback.
Since you used another computer to put an image on the WD HDD?
Do you have another computer there still?
Laptop or desktop?
I was thinking maybe you could take out it,
 add the SSD to this computer as a secondary drive to test if it ok.
Not shorted out or something?
If it works
Then you could at least backup all your files and emails off it

Did you try booting without the WD drive?
You managed to access the bios okay
The link I posted with the procedure on how to fix the MBR using the windows 7 DVD
is that possible?
Do you see those options in  setup the what do you want to do?

What do you mean by>Sorry, the mobile version of this site it's screwed

Merete
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westoneAuthor Commented:
What do you mean by>Sorry, the mobile version of this site it's screwed


I was posting from my phone, and the interface would not let me scroll down to finish my post. I have also discovered it not possible to apply a grade when accepting an answer through the mobile interface, but that's another issue.

I will try booting without the secondary drive attached and see what happens. That is something we haven't tried. I will be back with the results.
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MereteCommented:
ok thanks lol.
after you disconnect all HDD's leaving the SSD connected remember to set your BIOS to AHCI mode

and then if that fails try safemode
 and then finally you may have to consider the repair install 7 but please let me know if you have sp1 installed through windows updates first
and only once it's running then reconnect your HDD later.
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westoneAuthor Commented:
With the secondary drive removed, on boot the BIOS reports "Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media..."

The SSD is set as the first boot device, and this leads me to wonder if something is going on with it. BIOS recognizes it, but it won't boot. I also wonder if something took place in the interim that my 16 year old son is not telling me. It's his computer. He removed the secondary drive and re-installed it, and came to me after having issues after re-installing it. Perhaps he made some efforts before asking for my help and is not being forthcoming about it.

I may remove the SSD, hook it to another computer and take a peak at it to see that it at least looks normal and is accessible as a secondary drive.
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MereteCommented:
Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media..."
Check that the SATA mode  is set to AHCI  not raid
Most likely you need to go back into the BIOS and set the HDD priority so your OS drive is listed as number one and then set your boot order. After this select save and exit
Check all the cables.
Otherwise that's the best avenue at this point.
My gut feeling says the same.
Perhaps he made some efforts before asking for my help and is not being forthcoming about it.
He may have started an install and terminated it causing the MBR to be damaged
he should have removed the WD drive and any connected devices before attempting to fix things with a windows setup disc

 If you could get in to the recovery Console.
At the command prompt, type "Fixboot", then type "Fixmbr", then "Bootcfg /rebuild" all without the quotes.

Merete
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
What happens if you replace the conventional drive & you set that as the first boot device?

Is your DVD the one you used to install originally is it SP1?
Has the system been upgraded to SP1 since then?
Does the DVD support installation of multiple versions of Windows 7?
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MereteCommented:
westone, it may also be a good idea to check the date and time is correct in the bios as well that could cause boot problems.
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westoneAuthor Commented:
Date and time is correct in BIOS

DVD is the one used to install Windows originally, as stated in OP

SATA mode is, and has been, AHCI

Boot order has the OS drive, the SSD, as the first boot device, as stated in OP

All devices, System drive, DVD drive and WD drive are properly recognized by BIOS, indicating each device is properly connected.

"If you could get in to the recovery Console.
At the command prompt, type "Fixboot", then type "Fixmbr", then "Bootcfg /rebuild" all without the quotes. "

I am going to attempt to make a repair disk, get into Recovery Console and try this. It is my day off here, so it may be tomorrow before I get back with the results. Thanks for the suggestions.
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MereteCommented:
Thanks westone
all clear on my questions then thus far.
I'm in Australia and it's 1am here but that's ok I'm off to work for a while.
Will check back tomorrow as well.
Good luck
If needed, these have pictures you can use
Access System Recovery Options in Windows 7 without a System Repair Disc [How To]
http://webtrickz.com/access-system-recovery-options-in-windows-7-without-a-system-repair-disc-how-to/
Create a system repair disc
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows7/create-a-system-repair-disc
How to Use a System Repair Disc to Restore Windows 7
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-use-a-system-repair-disc-to-restore-windows.html
What a way to spend your day off.
Regards Merete
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
What happens if you set the boot device to the 1TB drive?

If, by chance, Windows 7 put its small "system reserved" partition on that drive, then THAT needs to be the boot device, even though the bulk of the OS is on the SSD.

If that's not the issue, I'd reinstall from scratch -- doing as I noted above (removing the 2nd drive until it's installed and running).
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bbaoIT ConsultantCommented:
probably the best way now is to reinstall Windows on the system, and better first remove the 2nd HD to make sure Windows is installed on the SSD.

I'd reinstall from scratch -- doing as I noted above (removing the 2nd drive until it's installed and running).

as garycase and i recommended, that's probably the best way to fix the issue, at all.
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westoneAuthor Commented:
Okay, I was finally able to attach the SSD (system drive) to another Windows computer as a secondary drive. It is recognized and assigned a drive letter, but I cannot browse it to see what files and folders are on it. Windows reports "The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable."

CHKDSK reports "Corrupt master file table. Windows will attempt to recover master file table from disk. Windows cannot recover master file table. CHKDSK aborted."

No wonder none of the Windows Repair Discs I tried were compatible. Windows apparently cannot be detected on the SSD.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Your SSD has apparently been corrupted => the question now is it simply a corrupted MFT or a hardware issue with the drive.    Can you delete all current volumes from the drive (in Device Manager) and then create a new partition?

Note: As I'm sure you know, doing that will result in the loss of all data from the drive.   If you have anything valuable on the drive and need to either attempt recovery or send it off for professional recovery, do NOT try the above.
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bbaoIT ConsultantCommented:
first try using DISKPART to zero your SSD, install a fresh OS, and see if all can be fixed.

http://techruminations.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/using-diskpart-on-your-windows-cd-to.html
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MereteCommented:
Hello westone,
 well done, yes you cant beat Getdataback I use it too.

 I don't read in to it too much what your current windows reports since the drive is in secondary position your current windows cannot report if the windows on the SSD is ok or not,
 listen to the...CHKDSK reports "Corrupt master file table"  that also does not mean your files are damaged only windows.
I believe we know what caused this
running a repair reinstall that failed or was disrupted remember?
Did you get around to asking what he has done since inserting the WD back in?

Everyone since WJPR_ITPosted  has opened a new question on this and resolved it may as well close this one

Win7 System Partition Corrupt on SSD
Asked by: WJPR_IT
Solved by: WJPR_IT
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/Q_27957023.html
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westoneAuthor Commented:
Merete, I have not used GetDataBack. I am confused by your last post.
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MereteCommented:
oops my mistake  westone I read your comment wrong in your other question the link is above
let me just bring a copy of that I misread.
from my end it looked like you used GDB on the other driver,
"In the end the separate HDD for windows running GetDataBack was my best option"
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westoneAuthor Commented:
That's someone else, not me. But thanks for the suggestions just the same.
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MereteCommented:
Sorry I had a doh moment it seems .
Your right it wasnt you.
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