How to Fix Unbootable Windows 7 After Restoring the C Drive to Another Drive

by on November 18th, 2013

Windows Operating System (OS) based computers generally have logical divisions on their hard drives known as partitions. These partitions work as an individual hard drive, and hence provide you an environment to store and organize your data according to its usability. Normally, Windows users keep their Operating System files on one partition and other useful data on another.

Commonly, the C drive or C:\ partition of your Windows hard drive is dedicated to Operating System and hence, it is called primary partition. Any problem with this partition can result in inaccessibility of your entire computer system, and hence can result in data loss. However, using efficient solution provided by Microsoft can resolve the problem. Let us understand this entire scenario with a practical example of Steve.

Steve, a computer professional, bought a new computer wherein he wants to use his big 1TB drive (which is the system drive on his old computer). Moreover, he wants to move the data of his old computer to a 330GB drive. For this, he used a third-party imaging tool with which he took the image of the boot sector and system partition and restored this image to 330GB drive with only one partition. The 1TB drive has three partitions: C (that has Windows 7), H (that has data), J (Windows XP). He installed Windows 7 on this drive as XP sometimes back. However, he gets the following error:

“Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause…
Status 0xc00000e. Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible.”

To resolve this issue, he used system repair and repaired automatically but with no luck. Then, he used bootrec.exe /fixmbr and /fixboot, and /rebuildbcd, but nothing worked for him. However, after browsing the hard drive contents, he noticed that the \boot\bcd is on the J drive, wherein Windows XP was installed. Moreover, he found some boot files there as well, but he could not find \boot\BCD on the C drive as well as no system files were there (despite his selection to show all hidden files and all Operating System files). The BCDEdit output that he got at that time was:


Windows Boot Manager

identifier              {bootmgr}
device                  partition=J:
description             Windows Boot Manager
locale                  en-US
inherit                 {globalsettings}
default                 {current}
resumeobject            {8b0464b0-1542-11df-a177-8c3140daf829}
displayorder            {current}
toolsdisplayorder       {memdiag}
timeout                 5

Windows Boot Loader

identifier              {current}
device                  partition=C:
path                    \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description             Windows 7
locale                  en-US
inherit                 {bootloadersettings}
recoverysequence        {8b0464b2-1542-11df-a177-8c3140daf829}
recoveryenabled         Yes
osdevice                partition=C:
systemroot              \Windows
resumeobject            {8b0464b0-1542-11df-a177-8c3140daf829}
nx                      OptIn

Grounds of the Issue

Furthermore, he searched over the Internet and found that the reason behind this problem is the presence of boot files on Windows XP partition, as it was the primary partition and it was active where Windows 7 put the files on install.


He then followed the below mentioned steps to work around this situation:

  • First off, he backed up the working disk and restored its data to the desired disk with only Windows 7 partition. (Make sure that the restored partition is primary and active.)
  • Boot with the working disk by leaving the new disk accessible.
  • Copy the boot or system files. Copy the bootmgr to this new disk. Copy the boot directory to the new disk and ignore the files that cannot be copied (like BCD and .log files).
  • Back up the bcd from the working disk by using bdcedit.
  • Now, boot with the new disk.

After following these steps, the system became bootable successfully.