Weird one.

I have a domain controller with Server 2008 R2. It is a hack job but is reliable.

AMD system. AM2 6000+ Asus Crosshair MB.

The server is utilizing 5 Sata ports for Hard disks of assorted size. No raid is configured. This is mostly for random storage and backup DC

When we attempted to upgrade 1 of the drives upon reboot we got a "No Operating System Detected Insert System disk and press ENTER" error. Fiddling around enough to find out the computer would only boot if the System disk and one of the storage disks (the one we removed to upgade...) were connected on boot.

What is going on here? How do I repair this issue? I would like to be able to remove that drive.


I see the issue. Recomendations on the command to best resolve it. We want everything on C:.


Windows Boot Manager -------------------- identifier {bootmgr} device
partition=H: description
Windows Boot Manager locale
en-US inherit
{globalsettings} default
{current} resumeobject
{c7cb3484-5288-11e0-a6a3-b7c0d75655a0} displayorder {current} toolsdisplayorder {memdiag} timeout 30

Windows Boot Loader ------------------- identifier {current} device
partition=C: path
\Windows\system32\winload.exe description Windows Server 2008 R2 locale en-US inherit
{bootloadersettings} recoverysequence {c7cb3486-5288-11e0-a6a3-b7c0d75655a0} recoveryenabled Yes osdevice
partition=C: systemroot
\Windows resumeobject
{c7cb3484-5288-11e0-a6a3-b7c0d75655a0} nx OptOut


Here is a screenshot of the situation. Drive 7 is of no concern its external did not feel the need to grab the sceenshot a second time to fit it in. enter image description here


Boot\BCD is not on H: any ideas Here is my output

H:\Boot>xcopy /e h:\boot c:
30 File(s) copied

H:\Boot>bcdedit -store C:\boot\BCD -enum all
The boot configuration data store could not be opened.
The system cannot find the file specified.


 Directory of H:\Boot

03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          cs-CZ
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          da-DK
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          de-DE
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          el-GR
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          en-US
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          es-ES
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          fi-FI
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          Fonts
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          fr-FR
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          hu-HU
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          it-IT
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          ja-JP
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          ko-KR
11/20/2010  11:24 PM           485,760 memtest.exe
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          nb-NO
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          nl-NL
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          pl-PL
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          pt-BR
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          pt-PT
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          ru-RU
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          sv-SE
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          tr-TR
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          zh-CN
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          zh-HK
03/19/2011  11:28 PM    <DIR>          zh-TW
               1 File(s)        485,760 bytes
              24 Dir(s)  177,605,242,880 bytes free
  • 2
    Your question needs a list of the drives and, at the very least, an indication of which drive holds the boot volume and which the system volume. The output of the list disk command in diskpart is the bare minimum. The detail partition command will tell you system/boot information about each partition.
    – JdeBP
    Jun 5 '11 at 22:41
  • 1
    Well, because you use bcdedit, I would say your "System Reserved" partition is on a separate partition, which can or cannot be on the same drive. This is done, for the same reasons Linux recommends /boot on a separate partition: so when the OS or bootloader is hosed, both do not go down with the ship. In the past, I just backed up my BCD store, relocated the H:\Boot files (in your case whatever is on H:, they will probably be hidden, so attrib -H H:\* to see) onto C:, and then used manually reconfigured with bcdedit. You need bootrec or a fancy BCD GUI editor if you're asking this.
    – songei2f
    Jun 7 '11 at 18:42

The computer was booting off one of those disks you removed, and starting the OS from the Operating System disk (which is apparently a separate disk). This is what happens when someone carelessly installs an OS.

You need to get the BCD on the OS disk and corrected for it's new location. You may be able to boot the Installation Disk and Repair the installation into booting again.

Update - To Fix:

  • First a backup: run bcdedit -export C:\bcd.backup, should probably copy this to another computer or thumbdrive.
  • Open Drive Management, mount the boot partition (should be 100 or 300 MB) to a drive letter, note the letter.
  • mkdir C:\boot
  • xcopy /e x:\boot c:\boot (where x: is the drive you just mounted)
  • bcdedit -export C:\boot\BCD
  • bcdedit -store C:\boot\BCD -enum all
    Note the entry identifier and property of any lines where the second column says partition=x:

    For example:

    Windows Boot Loader
    identifier          {current}
    osdevice            partition=x:
  • For each occurrence noted execute the following; be extremely careful to not screw this up!
    bcdedit -store c:\boot\BCD -set {current} osdevice partition=c:

    Note: change {current} to whatever the identifier of the section was for the property you're changing. Then just follow it with the property and new value. Also note the new c: value instead of x:. Also, the identifiers may/will be GUIDs.

  • Once that looks all good, fire up Drive Management again, remove the drive letter from that other drive so it's back the way it was. Mark the C: partition Active.

You should now be able to remove the other disk and boot off the system partition. If this doesn't work you haven't messed up the other disk and can put it back in.

Update 2:
Looks like you've got that other partition mounted as h: already, so ignore that mount and unmount stuff, just jump into the copy, edit, yada yada.

  • 4
    Not always carelessly, our first Win NT 3.51 Server machine was an Alpha and had to have the HAL on a small FAT partition. Jun 5 '11 at 2:03
  • 3
    @Ward & @JdeBP, putting the critical boot information on what is otherwise an ancilary storage volume, without extradorinarily good reason and documentation, is careless at best. Server 2008 R2 installation will force you to have separate boot and system volumes unless you manually deploy the image. This isn't a question of requirements or best practices, this is simply not paying attention to what you're doing.
    – Chris S
    Jun 6 '11 at 0:13
  • 2
    @JdeBP, you best read the question again. He specifically states the server is "mostly for random storage" and "I would like to be able to remove that drive". I would certainly think it is careless to separate the Boot and System drives in a Windows Server 2008 deployment. I can't think of a single reason to do it; I can think of several reason not to, this situation included. I have reason to suspect this is not intentional (the fact that this question even came up for one); you have no reason to think this is intentional (or do you??); Occam's razor would agree with my assumption.
    – Chris S
    Jun 6 '11 at 12:29
  • 3
    @JdeBP, using metaphors about "that house of cards" instead of making a logical and concise argument "doesn't cut the mustard". My assumptions aren't from this air, as I have previously stated, they're based on the question. While my assumptions are far from irrefutable fact, they're based on something more than your assumption that the situation is more complicated than it appears on the surface. I don't see how William's oath of poverty has any bearing on this either.
    – Chris S
    Jun 6 '11 at 13:59
  • 2
    @Campo, my apologies, tested the commands this time around... Should have started with mkdir C:\boot then xcopy /e H:\boot C:\boot and bcdedit -export C:\boot\BCD. Will update my answer with that.
    – Chris S
    Jun 8 '11 at 2:00

If this is just a secondary DC (no such thing as a backup DC), why not just dcpromo it out, blow away the OS and start over?

  • 2
    Because (for one thing) that way they won't learn what they did the first time around that got them into the situation that they are in now, and will possibly just repeat the problem.
    – JdeBP
    Jun 5 '11 at 22:31

First, a little history since it will make clear what is going on.

In the past with Server 2003 and before for NT-based OS'es (not the 9x OS'es), you had a boot.ini, which had a line similar to this: default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS . This told the NT loader where to find the OS to boot from.

So if you had a boot.ini that booted from partition(2), but you remove partition(1) because it is on a different disk (or even change the boot order of your disks in the BIOS), when you boot, it is still looking for partition(2), but it has, in effect, been moved and renamed partition(1) so it won't boot since the required files are not in that location. The same goes for changing of disk numbers.

In Server 2008, the boot.ini has been replaced with the BCD (Boot configuration data), and needs to be edited using the BCDEdit tool. Here is a good tutorial on how to use it: http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/Longhorn/server_2008_bcdedit.htm

When you removed that disk, you changed your partitions and/or disks, and your server is not looking at the right partition/disk to boot from. When you fix the boot configuration data to look at the right disk and partition, it will boot.

  • Added my BCDEDIT to my question.
    – Campo
    Jun 7 '11 at 18:12
  • One more question: Which drive did you remove, or want to remove?
    – KCotreau
    Jun 7 '11 at 19:41
  • drive H: is the drive that we would like to upgrade.
    – Campo
    Jun 7 '11 at 20:15

Windows 2008 R2 (every Windows since Vista, actually) has taken the Linux approach of separating the boot loader from the operating system, by storing it in a separate partition; if you take an empty disk and tell the Windows setup to create a single big partition in it and install Windows there, it will automatically create a small (~100 MB) partition at the beginning of the drive to hold the boot manager, and then it will actually install Windows in a second partition filling the rest of the disk. This will happen automatically, and you can't even avoid it: Windows can have the boot manager and the operating system on the same disk, but the only way to achieve this is to install it in a disk which has already been partitioned.

Ok, this was a little digression; anyway, looks like in your case the partition holding the boot manager somewhat ended up on a different drive than the one holding the operating system; but we don't know the actual disk layout from your question: we only know the boot manager is stored on H: and the O.S. is on C:, and from your description of the problem, looks like H: resides on the disk you were trying to remove.

You should post some output from the diskpart command, or, even better, a screenshot from the Disk Management snap-in.

As for moving the boot manager, yes, that can be done, but it's somewhat tricky, so please post more informations about your actual disk layout before we can provide you with a solution.

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