Setup installs to two partitions?

#1
(Note: Linux knowledge not necessary, but possibly helpful.)

I just installed Windows 7. I keep my laptop with several partitions, because I like to experiment with different operating systems. I had one partition in use (Linux), and several open. Partition 2 was already NTFS, Partition 3 was unused. I chose an Partition 3 for installation.

Windows 7 is now installed on Partition 3 (P3), but there's an interesting catch. In order to boot to Windows 7, I realized (when I edited my Grub menu) that I actually have to boot/chainload Partition 2. If I boot straight into Partition 3, it won't work.

If I go to the device manager, I see something interesting. For the status column of the two relevant partitions:

Code:
Partition 2: System, Active, Primary Partition
Partition 3: Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Logical Drive
I'm not sure what those mean, but why does Partition 2 seem to be of interest when it has no relation to the install of Windows?

Has anyone else had an issue like this, where they had to boot to a partition other than the one Windows 7 was actually installed on?
 


reghakr

Essential Member
#2
What is the size of this partition?

Partition 2: System, Active, Primary Partition

Do you do a "clean" install or an upgrade?
 


Kyle

New Member
#3
When you install Windows 7 it installs a 200 MB partition to aid in certain system functions.
It's nothing to worry about.
 


fjgold

New Member
#4
When you install Windows 7 it installs a 200 MB partition to aid in certain system functions.
It's nothing to worry about.
It does?? Where? My install didn't create a 200 MB partition of any kind. I told it to install to sda10, a NTFS partition and it installed completely there. It did overwrite my MBR which is expected so that when finished I had the Win 7/"older version of windows" boot menu. I have XP on this machine as well as 4 Linux distros. Running SuperGrub to restore the GRUB bootloader to the MBR restored my old boot menu with my chainloaded Windows entry. Choosing the Windows menu entry
brings up the Win 7/XP boot menu.
I can boot my Linux distros by choosing the appropriate entry from the boot menu as before.
Nice integration.
 


#5
It was a clean install. All partitions are 40GB in size, the way I originally created them.

It boots from partition 3, while W7 is actually installed on partition 5. Partition 3 has the following files:
Code:
$RECYCLE.BIN
BOOTSECT.BAK
Boot/
System Volume Information/
bootmgr
It's like W7 decided to install all relevant boot info on a separate, pre-existing partition. Has anyone had this happen? Does anyone remember if the installer even gives this option?

I find this setup kind of annoying because it's clogging up my one free partition I wish to put my actual normal copy of Windows on.
 


fjgold

New Member
#6
Before the install Win 7 asks where to install. I found that it's best to format the partition you wish to install to beforehand to NTFS. If a copy of windows exists there and you attempt to overwrite you will end up with a large file called windows.old
or something like that. The installer makes note of this but doesn't give the option of not creating this large (2-3 GB) file.

Could that be what happened?

BTW good luck installing XP, if that's what you mean by your normal copy of Windows. If you try to install on anything but the first physical partition of your drive, you may have troubles.

I don't think this is normal behavior BTW.
 


#7
Before the install Win 7 asks where to install. I found that it's best to format the partition you wish to install to beforehand to NTFS. If a copy of windows exists there and you attempt to overwrite you will end up with a large file called windows.old
or something like that. The installer makes note of this but doesn't give the option of not creating this large (2-3 GB) file.

Could that be what happened?

BTW good luck installing XP, if that's what you mean by your normal copy of Windows. If you try to install on anything but the first physical partition of your drive, you may have troubles.

I don't think this is normal behavior BTW.
I hadn't formatted the partition first. I had to delete the existing partition, recreate it, and format it from the installer. XP wasn't already installed, it was formatted as ext3.
 


#8
Before the install Win 7 asks where to install. I found that it's best to format the partition you wish to install to beforehand to NTFS. If a copy of windows exists there and you attempt to overwrite you will end up with a large file called windows.old
or something like that. The installer makes note of this but doesn't give the option of not creating this large (2-3 GB) file.

Could that be what happened?

BTW good luck installing XP, if that's what you mean by your normal copy of Windows. If you try to install on anything but the first physical partition of your drive, you may have troubles.

I don't think this is normal behavior BTW.
If your installing to a HDD that is already partitioned before you put in the Win 7 install media than the 100MB partition is NOT created.. It is created if your installing to a brand new HDD that hasn't been partitioned yet.. In this case when you go to setup a partition to install to Windows 7 will automatically create a seperate 100MB partition for recovery files and system files.. They are nothing to worry about.. If you don't have the 100MB partition then there's no need to worry, In this case Win 7 simply puts the files in the C: .. ;) It's confusing but there's absolutely nothing to worry about. If you have it you have it, if you don't then the files are still there, they're just in a different location.. :)
 


reghakr

Essential Member
#9
Radenight,

Thanks for explaining that in detail.;)

I have completely reformatted at the command prompt and never hasd a 100MB partition..
That's why I was so confused when someone started it was aleways created.
 


#10
If your installing to a HDD that is already partitioned before you put in the Win 7 install media than the 100MB partition is NOT created.. It is created if your installing to a brand new HDD that hasn't been partitioned yet.. In this case when you go to setup a partition to install to Windows 7 will automatically create a seperate 100MB partition for recovery files and system files.. They are nothing to worry about.. If you don't have the 100MB partition then there's no need to worry, In this case Win 7 simply puts the files in the C: .. ;) It's confusing but there's absolutely nothing to worry about. If you have it you have it, if you don't then the files are still there, they're just in a different location.. :)
That's what's odd in my case. The partition I have to boot W& from has 100 MB of Windows-related stuff. There's no boot-related files on the W7 partition. It's as if the installer decided to use an existing partition as the 100MB partition it wanted to create.

Any ideas on how to merge my boot and W7 partitions? (Like I mentioned above, I don't have the space to devote 40GB to one boot partition. :p ) I can copy the files across, but is there anything special, like copying the first X sectors of the partition?
 


reghakr

Essential Member
#11
It has no drive letter, correct?

Like I stated, I would restart by hitting the F8 key, and choose Safe Mode with command prompt.

Then you'd see a drive letter appear as X:\windows\system32.

This is not the real system32 directory.:confused:

I changed directories and located the partition with the OS installed, changed directory to another one (as you can't delete and reformat from the partition you want to reformat

All went well and no extra partition created.:)

I guess this would be a extra, extra "clean' install
 


#12
That's what's odd in my case. The partition I have to boot W& from has 100 MB of Windows-related stuff. There's no boot-related files on the W7 partition. It's as if the installer decided to use an existing partition as the 100MB partition it wanted to create.

Any ideas on how to merge my boot and W7 partitions? (Like I mentioned above, I don't have the space to devote 40GB to one boot partition. :p ) I can copy the files across, but is there anything special, like copying the first X sectors of the partition?
Is there any way you could post the exact partition structure of your machine including what is installed on every partition and the file system of each.

If you have access to a linux LiveCD could you boot to that and at the command line (terminal) type "fdisk -l" (without quotes) and report the results. BTW that's fdisk -l where l is a lowercase L.
 


#13
It has no drive letter, correct?

Like I stated, I would restart by hitting the F8 key, and choose Safe Mode with command prompt.

Then you'd see a drive letter appear as X:\windows\system32.

This is not the real system32 directory.:confused:

I changed directories and located the partition with the OS installed, changed directory to another one (as you can't delete and reformat from the partition you want to reformat

All went well and no extra partition created.:)

I guess this would be a extra, extra "clean' install
What drive are you saying to reformat? Are you suggesting that I reformat and then reinstall?

Is there any way you could post the exact partition structure of your machine including what is installed on every partition and the file system of each.

If you have access to a linux LiveCD could you boot to that and at the command line (terminal) type "fdisk -l" (without quotes) and report the results. BTW that's fdisk -l where l is a lowercase L.
Good idea, I should've initially done that. Here's my fdisk -l :

Code:
Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xc9096b63

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1          12       96358+  83  Linux
/dev/sda2              13        4632    37110150   83  Linux
/dev/sda3   *        4633        9252    37110150    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda4            9253       19457    81971662+   5  Extended
/dev/sda5            9253       13872    37108736    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda6           13873       18492    37110118+  83  Linux
/dev/sda7           18493       19003     4104576   83  Linux
sda3 is the partition I have to boot too, but sda5 is the partition W7 is installed on.
 


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#14
What drive are you saying to reformat? Are you suggesting that I reformat and then reinstall?
I just reread your OP and realized you have knowledge/experience with linux.
Instead of using a liveCD, boot to a linux distro and run the fdisk -l command from there. With Ubuntu use sudo fdisk -l
or in a non ubuntu distro use an admin terminal.

Sorry B-Con I guess we cross posted.
 


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#15
B-Con What distro is located at sda1?

Anyway I can see now that you had no Windows installed before installing Win 7.
You mentioned earlier that you wanted to run a normal Windows install on this drive also.
Did you mean XP or Vista?

Another question, what partition/distro is the location of your /boot/grub/menu.lst ?

I'm thinking of a plan to get you out of this mess and setup everything the way you want.
It may/will require some work if you are up to it.
 


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#16
sda1 is blank, I usually put Grub on it but haven't done so yet. Right now sda2 has Grub and Arch Linux.

I'm willing to do work, but the Win7 install is relatively fresh. I could redo everything in just a couple hours after the install. The issue is that my laptop (Acer Aspire 4530) requires drivers for the disks that are either missing or broken in most (all other?) versions of Windows. I've tried XP and Vista, but I can't get them to install. I turned to Win7 out of desperation for *anything* that would work. I'm fine with Win7, but it's only a temporary copy (almost a year, but still) and I'd like to get back to working on something more permanent.

So I'd feel bad to take up too much of your time. I'm hoping there's a simple way to transfer the "bootability" across partitions. I'm willing to do work, I just hate to take up too much of your time solving a problem that simply has an alternate time-intensive solution.

Worst case I'll just blow a couple hours, remove the other NTFS partition, and reinstall Win7, hopefully everything will go to the same partition this time.
 


#17
sda1 is blank, I usually put Grub on it but haven't done so yet. Right now sda2 has Grub and Arch Linux.

I'm willing to do work, but the Win7 install is relatively fresh. I could redo everything in just a couple hours after the install. The issue is that my laptop (Acer Aspire 4530) requires drivers for the disks that are either missing or broken in most (all other?) versions of Windows. I've tried XP and Vista, but I can't get them to install. I turned to Win7 out of desperation for *anything* that would work. I'm fine with Win7, but it's only a temporary copy (almost a year, but still) and I'd like to get back to working on something more permanent.

So I'd feel bad to take up too much of your time. I'm hoping there's a simple way to transfer the \"bootability\" across partitions. I'm willing to do work, I just hate to take up too much of your time solving a problem that simply has an alternate time-intensive solution.

Worst case I'll just blow a couple hours, remove the other NTFS partition, and reinstall Win7, hopefully everything will go to the same partition this time.
Ok My suggestion is to boot Arch and use it to delete everything on the two NTFS partitions. If you have gparted installed or some other linux partitioning tool on Arch use that to completely delete one of the NTFS partitions. Then run the Win 7 installer
and instruct it to install to the only remaining NTFS partitions. After install you should have only one Win 7 install and 40GB of free space. You will need to boot the SuperGrub CD to restore your grub bootloader at which point you will have an entry for Win 7 as well as your other linux distros.

See link below for SuperGrub iso

Super Grub Disk Download - Softpedia

If you havent used SuperGrub before D/L the .iso and burn to a CD. Boot to CD and choose restore grub with help and follow instructions to restore grub to sda2 (Arch).

P.S. you will be able to format the free space to NTFS or Fat32 after installing Win 7 using the Disk Management tool in Win 7.
Control panel>all control panel items>Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Disk Management.

You will also need to add an entry in your menu.lst to boot Win 7 after restoring grub.

The entry I use is

title Win 7
root (hd0,0)
savedefault
makeactive
chainloader +1
you would change (hd0,0) to the location where you installed Win 7. If installed at sda3 the location would be (hd0,2)
if at sda5 it would be (hd0,4).

Putting the Win 7 entry at the top of the other entries in menu.lst will make it default.
 


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