Windows 7 URGENT: Windows won't boot after old hard drive erase


New Member
Dec 17, 2011
Hello. I have a dell dimension 9100. I have two drives on it, a ~160gb drive that came with it with xp, and a 500gb drive with win7. I put the win7 in myself and had been using that. Finally, I decided to erase the old drive with xp on to install linux on it. After erasing the old drive, my computer won't start up. It says it cant find sata 1 or 3. I've tried switching the cables hooking up to it but that doesn't help. If I push continue after it tells me how it can't find them, it says 'loading pbr for descriptor 2...done' and stays there. I did not erase windows 7, I checked. Whats wrong?
Have you tried unplugging the power connection and data connection cables from the drive that had XP on and reboot with just the drive that has 7 on it.
When you erased the XP drive, you probably removed the boot files for Windows 7. As bassfisher recommends, disconnecting the other drive usually simplifies things during an install. If you know how to set a drive to primary in the bios, you might be able to do that.

Then do a Startup Repair on Windows 7. It will usually take 3 runs to repair the system, but there has to be an active partition somewhere on the system. It would be good if the Windows 7 OS partition is the active one, but that will be up to you.

If you try a Startup Repair and it runs for a really long time, there may not be an active partition.

I learned the hard way that you can't remove one operating system from a dual boot system without modifying the Boot setup first.

You have to disable the OS that you are removing.

When I did it I found that I couldn't restart the computer without re-installing Windows 7.

Since Service Pack 1 it has become a lot harder to do a repair install from your original disk unless it contains SP1 to start with.

If your disk doesn't you might want to try downloading Windows 7 with SP1 and try the repair install option.

Official Windows 7 SP1 ISO from Digital River « My Digital Life

Here is the process.

Repair Install - Windows 7 Forums

If you have a lot of data on your C:\ partition you might want to create a Ubuntu disk and boot to that.
It will let you back up the data on C:\ before you go through the install process to be safe.

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