Win10 re-installation, boot problem due to two drives


I've a laptop which has a tiny 20GB SSD coupled with a normal hard drive, which has been replaced with a large SSD.

Widows 10 was instructed to install to the new large SSD and the installation went smoothly however it won't boot from the new drive.

I've tried setting the active partition on the new drive and other BootRec commands to no avail.

what am I missing?  

Many Thanks TC
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skullnobrainsConnect With a Mentor Commented:
if the SSD is drive 1 while the bigger disk is drive 0, it should not interfere with the boot process

it looks like we're dealing either with a basic mistake during the initial install, or some idiotic self healing technique that will reactivate efis and safe boot automagically in the bios. it has become quite painful to deactivate safe boot on many computers which is actually a pathetic attempt from the producer and microsoft to prevent the users from using anything except for the initially installed OS. EOM OSes rule and when they die, so does the hardware !
without a clear description of what happens on boot and the drives' layouts, i'm fishing in the dark, here but this may help

you're probably using EFI boot. in that case the EFI boot partition needs to be located on the first hard drive. this is the order in which the bios displays them.

try F12 to get a boot menu. your windows bootcode might be detected and even memorised from there in some bioses

it is unlikely that your bios supports drive swapping for EFIS, but it is probably feasible to store the EFI path corresponding to the second drive in the bios... but it is a pita to setup onless automatic detection works

most likely the simplest way to solve this would be to move the efi partition to the other drive. please post the relevant information
Is the small SSD removable? If so, remove it, then try installing Windows 10 to the large SSD.
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TopCat-007Author Commented:
thanks, I had a quick look for the small SSD when I changed the large on, couldn't see it - might have to dig a bit deeper into the laptop.

I'm kicking myself I thought UEFI had been disabled but when I checked, no - i'll try another install with it disabled.

The small SSD isn't shown in the BIOS at all, however diskpart shows the new large SSD as drive 0 with the small SSD as 1.

I deleted all partitions and created a new one on the large SSD during setup, I thought this would re-create the EFI partition on the new large drive.

thanks for your comments/help
The small SSD isn't shown in the BIOS at all

might not be an actual ssd but rather some flash storage that is connected in such a way that it is not visible to the bios ( like usb keys on some systems ) or it may have been hidden voluntarily

diskpart shows the new large SSD as drive 0 with the small SSD as 1.

meaning i was wrong and the problem lies elsewhere

I'm kicking myself I thought UEFI had been disabled but when I checked, no - i'll try another install with it disabled.

this should solve many problems. afaik windows will try and install efi if the installer is booted through efi and a regular CSM boot otherwise.

if you deleted the EFI partition when creating yours i have no idea what windows did : normally the EFI partition is hidden to windows, but likely not at install time. if you removed the EFI partition and installed with EFIs, chances are windows just created a /EFI directory in soem inappropriate location or skipped the boot part.

i see no reason to use EFIs at the moment on a desktop.
rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Some devices with small SSD's may have them soldered to the mainboard and so aren't removable. On such devices you may have to check at the manufacturer's site for details on how to install another OS to them, or maybe search the web particularly for that device for someone else who has successfully done this.
what laptop model is this? you probably need to follow the manufacturers set up guide
and it can be the disk cannot be changed
TopCat-007Author Commented:
Its a Samsung np530u3c, there's a post about it here

Even that didn't work but luckily I have a few of these so I think I'll image one of the other drives..  then use upgrade to Win10 rather than clean install.

I'm still a little puzzled because I would have thought disk 0 to be the primary, even with a soldered drive. (I've not checked but I expect its soldered)  

Thanks for all you comments
Disk 0 or Disk 1 doesn't make one of the disks automatically primary. Most BIOSes allow you to select which should be the disk to boot from, whether it is disk 0 or 6 or whatever. Whether a disk can be booted from is mainly defined on which disk holds the Boot-Sector or has been marked as Active.
@rindi : you can't mark disks as active. that's for partitions, and in fact many boot loaders do not even care about the flag

if you manage to remove the safe boot, you should manage to install your own OS. done this many time end always ended up struggling more than i wanted but managed at some point. the key part is usually to understand that you cannot remove safe boot and bios protections appart by doing so from the original windows installation and had better crash it just in case it would decide to reset settings when it stops.

many laptops are also provided with allegedly bugged bioses that reset settings, often won't give you access to anything, and many other fake bugs that are only there to compell you into accepting microsoft's terms and conditions before you can do anything with the computer. in that case, a bios update is ( from my experience ) always available and not bugged.

i've also seen many idiotic stuff such as disabling the wifi or setting the screen to zero luminosity and contrast upon shutdown. these are targeted towards non-ms users

note that only one constructor ( from my experience ) does not play this silly game ( or much less than the others do ) : lenovo
Yes, it is for partitions, but only one partition should be active on all disks of a PC. The disk with the active partition will also get the boot-loader when you install an OS to it. If you have more than one active partition on your PC's disks, the installer will install the boot-loader to the first one it sees, so in such an unsure state you can never be 100% sure where it goes then.

With "Safe Boot" do you really mean "Secure-Boot"? Secure-Boot does allow you to install other OS's but they must be using an official signature (many linux distro's meanwhile are signed and can be installed on PC's with Secure-Boot on. But of course older OS's aren't signed and to install those Secure-Boot would have to be off. Windows 10 is definitely signed and that can be installed with Secure-Boot on, provided you got the an original iso that hasn't been tampered with.
The disk with the active partition will also get the boot-loader when you install an OS to it

not quite : in CSM boot, the initial loader is always located on the first sector of the FIRST disk, but obviously some bioses can directly boot a different disk or event logically swap drives. any OS will default to install boot0 on the first sector of disk0. then different policies can be used for boot1, boot1.5 or whatever. some involve starting from whatever file or sector of the active partition ( windows for example ), others don't ( grub for example ).

With "Safe Boot" do you really mean "Secure-Boot"

yes, my bad


i mentioned secure boot for a different reason :

in most cases it is configured so that only a specific set of signed loaders can be used. you can obviously start one of the signed loaders ( if you're lucky you have the efi shell available ) and add extra loaders. disabling secure boot is actually a quick and insecure way to get rid of these "security features". i assumed the author did not care since he tried to install without EFIs at all.

additionally not being able to disable secureboot or seeing it reenabling itself while  the initial install was removed is an indication that a not-so-accidentally faulty bios is installed

in many cases, you end up being able to use F12 to boot, and then use bcfg or the likes in order to add your new os... and when you reboot, the bios magically discarded your settings... which is pretty much what happens when the installer does the exact same thing
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