With a day off and nothing to do, I was excited to migrate my home PC to Windows 7.  I’ve used the beta and RC for a while on my laptop but my home PC is a different story.  This is my “main” computer in the house and I need it for lots of stuff. I wasn’t worried about Windows 7 but I also decided to go 64 bit!  Plus I have a lot of software to install and licenses to find, so that always makes me nervous.  All (hopefully) of my data is on different drives than my OS so that makes life easy.

Anyway, I installed Windows 7 64 bit with no issues, so I thought.  Afterwards I even started installing additional software.  It wasn’t until I rebooted my PC without the Windows 7 install DVD in the drive that I realized I had a problem!  On boot up, I got the following doosy of an error:

Disk Boot Failure, Insert System Disk and Press Enter

That is one of those errors that really makes you pause.  It really makes you feel like you are in big trouble.  Figuring maybe there was some piece of installation that wasn’t yet complete, I put the Windows 7 install DVD back in and it booted just fine!  But of course, I still couldn’t boot without the DVD.  This had me bewildered for a while, I tried various combinations of rebooting, and then searched the internet for answers.  All the while, this seemed strangely familiar – I’ve had this happen to me before, but I can’t remember when and why (don’t you hate that?).  I did a reinstallation of Windows 7 but that didn’t fix anything.  I was reading articles about bootmgr and active drives and all kinds of stuff.  From my research, I started to figure out that (I may explain this wrong) when you install Windows, some information about how to boot up goes on your hard drive but it isn’t necessarily the same hard drive (or partition) that Windows gets installed on.  I mentioned early that I had a separate data drive.  As a matter of fact, I have 4 hard drives in my PC.  So now I had an idea of the problem (just an idea at this point) – my PC was probably reading hard drives in the wrong order and couldn’t figure out how to boot up.  I wasn’t sure how to fix it.  Then the answer came to me, it was really quite simple.  Here is how to solve the problem:

When installing Windows 7 (or any Windows version, I’d guess), disconnect all additional hard drives except for the C drive!  Then you know all of the right information goes on the drive that you want to boot off of.

I did just that.  I left just the one HDD connected in my pc and reinstalled Windows 7.  I’m sure there are exceptions to this and reasons why you shouldn’t do this.  I’m not an IT Pro, just a software developer who’s done installations more than a few times.  But this worked for me!  After installation, I just hooked up my additional drives and everything worked perfectly! 

I hope this helps and good luck.  By the way, if you have additional questions related to installation problems, I am probably NOT the guy to ask.  I just got lucky on this one.