clonded primary to secondary--switched--won't boot

December 9, 2012 at 17:41:33
Specs: Windows XP, Intel Pentium 4/3 gigs

Operating XP on Dell Dimension 4500S. Recently installed a second hard drive as secondary. Now realized should have made the new HDD my primary. Reformatted the new drive, cloned original primary (C (system) to it and switched them in my computer. Drives are recognized in BIOS, but the computer won't boot up--get blank screen with flashing cursor. I did not mark the partition where the cloned operating system resides as "active" before I switched the HDDs. Could this be the problem? Does the drive where I want my operating system to reside have to be labeled "C (System)" or can I leave it as "F" and mark it active?

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December 9, 2012 at 17:59:26

It matters little Whether is it is a primary or secondary drive as long as the BIOS boot order points to it.

The label doesn't matter either. You could make the label "Mickey Mouse" for all the difference it makes.

However, drive letters do matter. Drive letters are allocated by Windows each and every time it boots so you need to make sure that the cloned drive is in the same boot order as the original so it gets the same drive letter as the original. What is says in the drive label is irrelevant.


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December 9, 2012 at 20:52:24

Stuart, Thanks for your answer, but afraid I'm a little slow on this tech stuff. Are you saying that I don't have to switch the cable hookups to the disks (thought the operating system had to be hooked up as the "master)?

Do I go into disk managment and phycially change the letter of the cloned drive "C" as the original? If I do that, what does it do the the original?

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December 9, 2012 at 21:49:28

You need to go into the BIOS and change the boot order so the first device in the boot or is the new cloned disk.

You don.t change the Drive letter of the cloned drive to C:, in fact the chances are you wont be able to as the old drive will still have drive C: and as that is the drive you are booting from it cannot be changed. Let Windows allocate the drive letter.

It may be better to take the old drive out of the system until such time as you get the cloned drive to boot.


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December 10, 2012 at 06:55:19

It may help if you are trying to get what is going on to simply unplug the old hard drive connections, leave the newly cloned in as Stu says, check the bios settings. I am of the understanding the partition does indeed have to be made active for this to boot, but it should already be c:\ drive.

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December 10, 2012 at 07:19:21

If you have an XP cd you may also be able to attempt a "repair" installation on the new cloned drive if the xp partition is recognized. A repair install would keep your data in tact, but it is not the same as simply re-installing.

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