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upgraded to SSDs, now Recovery is a second OS

Posted on 2013-11-30
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I just upgraded a Dell T7500 workstation from conventional Western Digital HDDs to Intel 530 series SSDs using Paragon's Migrate OS tool to, well, migrate the OS. It mostly went smoothly. There is one undesired dual-boot situation I'd like to see if we can remove.

One of the original HDDs contained both the Recovery and OS  (C:) partitions. Paragon's software migrated both of these to one of the SSDs.

The workstation was originally Windows Vista 64-bit; I upgraded it to Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. So the Recovery partition is Vista.

Before the upgrade this was not an issue. The recovery partition was not considered an OS so Windows never showed the screen to choose an OS during boot.

Now the Recovery partition seems to be considered a separate OS so Windows shows the 'pick one' screen. I've minimized the disruption by making Win 7 the default and setting the time the selection screen is shown to zero seconds. But it still flashes onscreen during the boot.

The Recovery partition is the active partition on the drive. It also seems to be the only partition that has what I'll call the boot loader, although that may not be the correct term. I tried making the OS partition active, which temporarily made the PC unbootable. I had to revert to the old Western Digital drive to reboot and revert to  the Recovery partition again being the active partition.

So the current state is that the workstation is super responsive due to SSDs (great!) but the OS selection screen flashes briefly during the boot process (annoyance).

Is there any way to resolve this? Can we "undeclare" Recovery as an OS? Or make the C: partition able to provide what I'm calling the boot loader function so I can delete the Recovery partition? Or some other solution?

Many thanks,
Pete
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Question by:Peter Bye
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12 Comments
 
LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39687159
Did the Paragon software let you choose what to migrate?    You may simply need to re-do the migration, but tell it to NOT migrate the recovery partition (which is obviously not needed).

Note that the recovery partition has ALWAYS been an "OS" ... it just hasn't shown up in the selection screens when you booted.  

Another option is to simply remove the entry from the boot configuration database -- that won't remove the partition, but you won't see the "flash" on boot-up, as it will no longer be listed as a choice.   You can do this with BCDEdit.    Be CAREFUL => be sure you're deleting the correct entry [you have to type a long ID string, so be sure you have ALL the characters correct].    Details are here:  http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/2676-bcdedit-how-use.html
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39687163
There is a tool that lets you do BCD edits "visually" -- I have NOT used this, but it would likely be a bit easier than the native BCDEdit tool:   http://www.boyans.net/

If you're comfortable with BCDEdit, I'd just use that.   But if you want to try this tool, it should do the same thing from a GUI.
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Author Comment

by:Peter Bye
ID: 39687333
Hi Gary, thanks for these suggestions.

Paragon asked if I wanted to migrate Vista or 7. I could only pick one, so of course I picked 7. It then proceeded to migrate both the Recovery and Win 7 OS partitions! So I don't think re-doing the migration will help much.

BCDEdit seems to be Just what I need. To clarify my understanding, before I do it:

* I need the Recovery partition since it seems to be the only partition with the bootloader file. (Or could I copy it from Recovery onto the Win 7 partition?)

* Witt BCDEdit I am leaving the recovery partition completely unchanged and just removing it from the boot loader list so the OS selection screen will no longer appear.

* Per the sevenforums article I'll make a copy of the whole file in case I screw things up and need to restore it.

Do I have it right?

Thanks,
Pete
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 200 total points
ID: 39687334
As this system is an upgrade from Vista you had the old loader on this drive as well. Paragon found it and considering it could be a dual boot OS added its record to bcd. Use bcd edit or EasyBCD to remove this record.
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Author Comment

by:Peter Bye
ID: 39687341
One further thought. Can I use BCDEdit to export a copy of the bootloader file to the C: drive so I could then make C: the active partition and boot from it, totally removing any need for the Recovery partition?

Pete
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39687489
Yes, sure. For this you need boot cd from Paragon Hard Disk Manager. In this CD mode you can move Boot folder from Recovery partition to C drive then move BootMGR from this recovery partition to C drive. Then delete Recovery Partition and set C active. Then in Boot Corrector in the same Recovery Cd from Paragon update partition boot record and after that you must be ok.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39687750
You could also simply delete the Recovery partition; then use your Windows 7 installation DVD to repair the boot files (it will add the appropriate boot code to the '7 partition.

This assumes, of course, that you have your Windows 7 DVD.
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Author Comment

by:Peter Bye
ID: 39688474
This didn't work so well. See description and couple questions below.

Windows disk management did not give me a choice to delete the undesired Recovery partition. Good thing.

I changed the Win7 partition to active and booted from the Win7 DVD. Entered repair mode. Win7 did not see the drives and the Win 7 installation. It asked for drivers for the hard disk (the Intel SSD). I didn't have anything to give it - none came with it - it seems to just use the regular Windows HDD drivers according to Device Manager.

I clicked through to the repair menu and tried doing a boot repair. That had no effect and the PC was rendered unbootable. I reinstalled the Western Digital drive with the system, booted into Windows, changed the SSD drive back to Recovery = active partition, and that of course returned me to where I was before.

I think I'm starting to get OK with the idea of seeing the "choose OS" window flash by.

Question: Is the BCDEdit option discussed previously truly safe in that it:

* Leaves the Recovery partition since it seems to be the only partition with the boot manager.

* Just removes Recovery from the boot loader list so the OS selection screen will no longer appear.

* Windows 7 will boot.

Separate related question: Do I need to create a new Win7 repair disk now that the SSDs are installed so that the proper drivers are available in case I ever need to actually use the repair disk?

Pete
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39688532
Not sure what you did that caused the Windows 7 disk to ask for "drivers" for your SSD.    There are no drivers required -- the SSD is just a disk drive from the perspective of the OS.

In any event, yes, BCDEdit doesn't remove anything -- it just changes the set of choice you'll see.   So the partitions will still be intact ... you simply won't see the "flash" as the choice is presented.   If you're okay with the flash, you can just leave well enough alone.   But if you delete the 2nd option with BCDEdit, the flash will go away.
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Author Comment

by:Peter Bye
ID: 39688552
Is it possible that by changing the active partition from Recovery to Win7 and then booting from the Win7 DVD the lack of a boot manager on that Win7 partition prevented the DVD from seeing the existing Win7 installation?

Should I be attempting the repair with the Recovery partition still designated as active?

Otherwise I'll just go the BCDEdit route to eliminate the flashing "OS choice" window.

Pete
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Accepted Solution

by:
garycase earned 300 total points
ID: 39688745
I'd have expected the Windows 7 installer to see the installation no matter which partition was currently active, so I'm not sure why you had that issue.

I'd just use BCDEdit and eliminate the 2nd choice.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Peter Bye
ID: 39689024
Thank you both. Given the unusual experience I had with the Win7 DVD not seeing the existing installation I'l take the easier route now of just using BCDEdit to remove the old Vista entry from the boot list. I just hope the issue with the installation DVD not seeing the current installation doesn't indicate future problems should a Windows repair ever come necessary. But that is for another time and another question. Again, thanks for helping me understand and figure out how to handle the current problem
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