I have an issue with my Dell XPS 8500 and I would really appreciate if someone could help me.
My Dell came with two hard drives: SSD 256 Hard Drive on which my factory image was installed and a 2 TB Hard Drive. Last week I was attempting to do a dual boot on my computer by installing Windows 7 on my 2TB Hard Drive. Something went wrong and both hard drives changed their numbers.The 2TB Hard Drive became Disk No. 0 while the SSD256 Hard Drive became Disk No. 1. II decided to format both hard drives with the hope that the disk numbers will change again but they didn't. Now I can’t install my factory image on the SSD 256 Hard Drive because the factory image automatically installs itself on the 2TB Hard Drive. How can I change the disk number numbers so that I can install my factory image on the 256GB Hard Drive?
I sincerely appreciate your help. Please, help me if you can. Thanks in advance.
You didn't say what the original OS is. For dual boot, you must install the OLDER OS first followed by the NEWER. This is necessary because the second OS MUST be aware of the first. Win 7 has never heard of Win 8 or 10.
My original OS was Windows 8 and it was installed on the SSD 256GB Hard Drive while on the 2TB Hard Drive I installed Windows 7. After installing Windows 7 I noticed that it took a few minutes to boot so I tried to repair it by using the installation CD and it worked. After this I noticed the Hard Drive on which Windows 7 was installed changed number from 1 to 0 and on the boot manager the word '(recovered)' appeared next to 'Windows 8.1'.
After noticing this problem I decided to format both hard drives and tried to install windows 8 again on the SSD 256 but I didn't succeed. At the moment I can only install my factory imagine on the 2TB Hard Drive because it is listed as Disk 0. How can I change the number? Is there are a way how can I virtually disable this hard drive so that I can install it on the SDD 256GB hard drive?
I would like to know if there is a setting which I can use in order to change the disk numbers.
It doesn't really matter what drive NUMBER is assigned. When you do a dual boot install, the Boot Manager doesn't care. It knows that two OSs are installed so displays the Boot Menu so you can choose which one to load. The booted OS is always considered the C:\ drive, no matter the drive number. I guess I am not sure what you actually want to do. The easiest way to get the Win 8 image back on the SSD is make sure the SSD is plugged into Port 0 on the main board and do not attach the 2 TB drive to anything at this time. Normally the Port number assignments will not change unless you plug them in the wrong Ports.
Trying to do the dual boot the way you have will not work, as I stated before. I ran across a site a long time ago that supposedly had a way to install the OSs backwards and then install a Boot Manager and configure it, but I don't have the reference. The only simple (but not easy) way to do this is to install the second OS on the other drive with the first drive disconnected (second drive on the Port 0).Then when you want to change OS, you must shut down, go inside and change the Port attachments - not very convenient.
Disk order can be set in firmware.
Disk order is important as Windows boots to first MBR disk (and BIOS firmware).
So the boot sequence is:
1) BIOS loads code from MBR on first disk and looks for active partition on that disk.
2) Boot sector code from active partition is loaded and executed which loads Windows boot manager (for Windows 7/8/10).
Note for UEFI boot:
On UEFI firmware the boot sequence does not involve MBR and boot sector code - Windows EFI boot manager is loaded from UEFI firmware. Windows boot manager is placed on EFI System partition (special partition for boot related files).
So back to question.
1) Be sure to set SSD as first disk in firmware (or remove 2TB disk).
2) Use Windows 8 installation media to either fix Windows 8 on SSD, install fresh or restore.
3) Reconnect 2TB drive ( if it was removed).
4) Install Windows 7 on 2 TB hard drive.
5) Set SSD as first disk in BIOS (if Windows 7 install has changed disk order).
6) Reboot to Windows 8.
7) Use Visual BCD Editor or bcdedit to add a loader for Windows 7.
Additional notes (as it is unclear if OP uses BIOS or UEFI firmware):
If disk or SSD is MBR style you can use only BIOS way of booting Windows.
If disk or SSD is GPT style you can use only UEFI way of booting.
You can change UEFI boot order in firmware by moving boot entries up or down - first entry is default entry.
Hi darko65. You seem to understand my problem. Sorry I couldn't reply back earlier.
You told me I could set my SSD as first disk in firmware. Can you please give me an easy explanation of how to do that? I'm not an expert and therefore I prefer not to remove the 2TB disk as I don't want to damage my computer.
Just to remind me you about my problem. My XPS 8500 changed disk numbers of my 2 hard drives while I was experimenting with dual boot. Disk 0 was 256 GB SSD hard drive and Disk 1 was 2TB hard drive. Now they changed numbers with the consequence that every time I format my pc, my operating system is installed on the 2TB Hard Drive instead of my 256GB SSD hard drive. What can I do to solve this issue was and for all?
Thanks in advance for those who wish to help me. Your help is much appreciated.