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Cannot boot Windows installation on SSD after wiping separate HDD using DBAN

This is a discussion on Cannot boot Windows installation on SSD after wiping separate HDD using DBAN within the Motherboards, Bios & CPU forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. The two issues may not be related, but I’m providing al the information that I can. I just finished using


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Old 05-06-2020, 02:57 AM   #1
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The two issues may not be related, but I’m providing al the information that I can.

I just finished using DBAN to wipe a 1TB HDD that I’m planning to sell. The job completed with no errors and I am absolutely 100% positive that I only selected the specific mechanical hard drive that I was planning to wipe.

After restarting my PC and afte the BIOS splash screen flashed i was met with the message “Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key”

I’m starting to get confused because my Windows installation is on my 120GB SSD which is my C drive. File explorer and My Computer has always shown this info. However when I entered the BIOS to change the boot priority, my SSD wasn’t even listed as one of the specified options, as if it had never been selected in the list before. However the BIOS has a few other hard drive options that were listed in the boot order so perhaps it was grabbing detecting it from there?

In any case, I cleared the boot priority and now have only listed the SSD as boot option #1 but I’m still getting the same message. I don’t want to mess with anything else at the moment without help as to not screw things up further.

I am running Windows 10 with an MSI B350M Gaming Pro motherboard and a Kingston A400 120GB SSD.

I’ve attached pictures of the BIOS boot settings along with the available options for the boot order.
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Old 05-06-2020, 03:15 AM   #2
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I need to add that when I first entered the BIOS to change the boot priority, my SSD wasn’t even listed as one of the specified options, as if it had never been selected in the list before. Moreover, the old HDD that I wiped was in the list. There’s also a specific “Hard Disk Drive BBS Priorities” menu inside of the boot menu and my HDD was listed as #1 over the SSD which was #2. As I said, I am 100% certain that the SSD is where Windows was installed. It contained all the Windows files, it had the Windows logo hovering over the drive in File Explorer, etc. Yet it seems that the BIOS may have been booting from the mechanical somehow? I’m at a total loss.
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Old 05-06-2020, 05:05 AM   #3
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If the wiped HDD and any other drive is still attached to the PC, remove or disconnect them all except the SSD that has Windows on it, then enter BIOS setup and confirm that the SSD has top priority under the Hard Disk Drive BBS Priorities setting. Make sure you turn off the PC and unplug its power before removing the HDD or handling anything inside your PC. It's possible that the system partition (EFI System Partition aka ESP on UEFI-GPT installations or the Active partition on legacy-MBR installations) was located on the HDD and now that it's no longer accessible, Windows won't be able to boot.

Create Windows 10 media (DVD or USB flash drive) and boot from it. You can do so using the Media Creation Tool. We need to find out more about how Windows 10 was deployed on that SSD, for example, was it a UEFI install or not, is the SSD GPT or MBR partitioned, what are the partitions on it and so on. Once you've booted from the Windows 10 media, you will be prompted to choose language settings. Do so if necessary and click Next. The Install Now screen will appear. Press Shift + F10 (Shift and F10 together) to open Command Prompt. In Command Prompt, type DISKPART and press Enter, then type LIST DISK and press Enter. A numbered list of attached drives will appear. If you detached all other drives from the PC, then you should readily see the SSD in that list and maybe the Windows 10 media (if using a USB flash drive). Note the number that the SSD has been assigned in that list, for example Disk 0. In that list, there is a column labelled GPT. If the SSD is GPT partitioned, there will be an asterisk (*) under the GPT column next to the SSD. If you're not sure of what you're seeing, take a clearly focused photo of the command prompt window and attach it in your replies so that we can see what you see. Report back whether the SSD is GPT partitioned or not. This is important before we proceed further because if the SSD is GPT, then you need to boot from the Windows media in UEFI mode, and if the SSD is MBR, you need to boot from Windows media in Legacy mode before we perform further disk operations.
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Old 05-07-2020, 12:57 AM   #4
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I followed your instructions. The SSD (Disk 0) does not have an asterisk in the GPT column.

I also want to point out that the Boot menu in my BIOS has a “Boot Mode Select” section with “LEGACY+UEFI” selected as the option. I’m not sure if that is relevant at all, but just wanted to let you know.
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Old 05-07-2020, 01:22 AM   #5
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The SSD is MBR partitioned. Change that boot option to LEGACY only, then boot from Windows 10 media and run DISKPART just like you did. In DISKPART, run the following commands:

SELECT DISK 0

LIST PARTITIONS

The above commands will return a list of the partitions on the SSD and their properties. The SSD needs an active partition containing Windows boot files in order to boot.
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Old 05-07-2020, 01:56 AM   #6
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The only options for Boot Mode Select were UEFI or LEGACY+UEFI, so I’ve left it as the second option.

“LIST PARTITIONS” seemed to return a list of commands, one being “LIST PARTITION” (without the S at the end). I’ve attached a picture of what was returned.
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Old 05-07-2020, 09:01 AM   #7
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LIST PARTITION is right; my phone is messing up my typing, apologies for that. Leave the BIOS boot setting as it is then, but since your SSD is MBR partitioned, make sure you boot from Windows 10 media in legacy mode and not UEFI mode. Your boot menu gives you both UEFI and legacy boot options, so make sure to use the one that doesn't have the "UEFI" label appended to it. Moving forward, you don't have a separate boot (System Reserved) partition on the SSD, so we need to select the Windows partition and mark it as active. To do this, run the following commands in DISKPART:

SELECT PARTITION 1

ACTIVE

LIST VOLUME

The currently selected partition/volume will have an asterisk next to it in the list. Note the drive letter assigned to it. Normally it is drive C, but not always, so take note of it then run EXIT to quit DiskPart. This will take you back to the Command Prompt. Run the following:

BCDBOOT C:\Windows /S C: /F BIOS

Where C: is the drive letter noted in previous command. The above command copies boot files to the Windows partition and also creates the boot configuration data (BCD) store on the same partition to allow the system to boot the Windows installation on the SSD. Run BCDEDIT to see the contents of the BCD store. Post a screenshot of the same. If all goes well, reboot your system and boot from the SSD. Windows should load without any issues.
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stancestans View Post
Leave the BIOS boot setting as it is then, but since your SSD is MBR partitioned, make sure you boot from Windows 10 media in legacy mode and not UEFI mode. Your boot menu gives you both UEFI and legacy boot options, so make sure to use the one that doesn't have the "UEFI" label appended to it.
Do you mean when I’m selecting the specific boot options? I’ve attached two pictures. One lists my current “FIXED BOOT ORDER Priorities” and the other lists all the available options for those priorities. Could you tell me which ones I should be choosing?

Please note: I currently have the USB flash drive that I used for the Media Creation Tool as #2 and it’s listed as “UEFI USB Key:UEFI: 1.26, Partition 1”. There is another option that is just listed as “USB Key: 1.26”. I’m guessing I should change it to that? And how about the SSD itself?
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garmo91 View Post
Do you mean when I’m selecting the specific boot options? I’ve attached two pictures. One lists my current “FIXED BOOT ORDER Priorities” and the other lists all the available options for those priorities. Could you tell me which ones I should be choosing?

Please note: I currently have the USB flash drive that I used for the Media Creation Tool as #2 and it’s listed as “UEFI USB Key:UEFI: 1.26, Partition 1”. There is another option that is just listed as “USB Key: 1.26”. I’m guessing I should change it to that? And how about the SSD itself?
Yes. Currently you have boot option #2 set to the USB Key in UEFI mode. Change it to the other option that is just listed as USB Key (for legacy boot). Leave the SSD as it is, as you can see, it is not listed as a UEFI boot option (because it is not UEFI bootable). The USB key created by the Media Creation Tool is both UEFI and Legacy bootable, that's why it appears twice, with options for both legacy and UEFI boot.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:29 AM   #10
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I’ve attached an image of what was returned after following your instructions above. After following the instructions and restarting the PC and selecting the Kingston drive to boot from, it took me to the Windows Installation screen from the Media Creation Tool still. I turned off the PC and removed the flash drive and restarted the PC. I then removed the USB key from the boot priority order so that only the SSD was listed. After trying to boot again I still got the “Reboot and select proper boot device...” screen.

I also wanted to point out that the LIST VOLUME command returned three results. The last one, Letter E, was listed as hidden. I’ve attached an image of this also after re-running the command.

Should I perhaps try to run the BCDBOOT command again? I forgot to verify that I typed it correctly before running it. I’m not sure if you’re able to tell from the images I attached if it was done correctly?
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:04 AM   #11
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The BCD store looks okay to me, so the BCDBOOT command did run successfully. Let's run one more command to update the master boot code of the SSD:

BOOTSECT /nt60 C: /mbr

and reboot.

Note: there is a single space between C: and the forward slash / in the command line above. Don't mistake it for a path C:/mbr

If that still doesn't lead to Windows booting successful, run the following command:

BOOTSECT /nt60 C:

and reboot.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:53 PM   #12
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The first command did the trick. Thank you so much for your help.

Out of curiosity, what exactly caused the HDD to be necessary to boot Windows even though I had installed the OS on my SSD? And how can I prevent this in the future? I’m guessing that if I’m going to install Windows in the future, I would need to ensure that the hard drive I’m planning to install to is the only one connected to the motherboard?
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garmo91 View Post
The first command did the trick. Thank you so much for your help.

Out of curiosity, what exactly caused the HDD to be necessary to boot Windows even though I had installed the OS on my SSD? And how can I prevent this in the future? I’m guessing that if I’m going to install Windows in the future, I would need to ensure that the hard drive I’m planning to install to is the only one connected to the motherboard?
Great! You're welcome. On MBR disks, an active partition containing boot files is required for a system to boot from that disk. Marking a partition as "active" sets the "boot" flag on that partition, which is what the legacy bios looks for to determine whether the disk is bootable or not. This partition is also know as the system partition, which should not be confused with the OS (boot) partition. By default, the Windows installer creates the system partition IF none already exists on the attached drives. The active/system partition may reside on a different disk while the OS partition resides on another. This must have been the case in your situation. The active partition resided on the HDD while the OS partition resided on the SSD, so when you wiped the HDD, you erased everything from it, so the system couldn't find the active partition to boot from. Yes, to prevent it from happening again and to make sure the Windows installer creates all the necessary partitions on the same disk, it's best to detach all other drives. Performing disk operations is less prone to mistakes when the target disk is the only one connected, which is why I insisted that you detach all other drives in the beginning. Things can get really messy when you have multiple disks and partitions/volumes, resulting in data loss and/or non-booting systems.

Next time you install Windows afresh, I suggest you use UEFI mode, then delete ALL partitions from the target disk. The Windows installer will convert the disk to GPT and will create the necessary partitions automatically. Now that you're familiar with running DISKPART from the Windows Pre-installation Environment (WinPE), you can also manually delete all existing partitions from the target disk and convert it to GPT before starting the installation, using the following commands:

DISKPART

SELECT DISK 0

CLEAN

CONVERT GPT

EXIT

EXIT

The first exit quits DiskPart while the second one quits Command Prompt, then you simply click Install Now and go from there. CLEAN deletes all partitions from the selected disk. CONVERT GPT converts an MBR disk to GPT. Windows installation and booting in UEFI mode requires a GPT disk.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:51 PM   #14
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Thanks for the in-depth response and thanks again for the help. Take care
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