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Windows on nvme doesn't boot without second SSD

I have a strange thing going. I recently reinstalled WIndows on my nvme SSD. Works great. BUt when I was swapping components, I noticed the machine doesn’t boot if I don’t have my SATA SSD installed. Although the OS is very much installed in the nvme.
I guess some boot partition is somehow left in the SATA drive.
Is there any way go make it so that the machine can boot from nvme alone?

If possible, try to reformat and reinstall Windows. Im thinking this may be part of the license verification and Windows decides it a “different” machine? How far into the boot process did you go? Any error messages your computer spits out?

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Yes, Windows is like that. It expands to all the drives connected to the system and if one gets taken out you can’t boot your machine anymore.

There’s a swap partition on the second drive, if I’m not mistaken. You could try to move partitions from one drive to another, but I can’t guarantee that you’ll solve your problems and even boot Windows.

I learned this lesson the hard way too.


Windows created several partitions during installation. It is know to put partitions on different disks and then all disks are required for the computer to work. Next time you install Windows select the manual partitioning during the setup process and it will show you where it puts partitions. Normally you can select a single drive, during manual partitioning, and Windows setup will then put all partitions on a single drive.

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What exactly is it doing? Did you install in GPT or MBR mode on the nvme disk?

Well shit, maby that’s what happened to me a while back.

Yet another reason why windows is now permanently confined to VMs.


I think the way to go would be to create a backup with Acronis and restore from it. But the question is, would Windows boot? I guess maybe not so that makes the backups also unusable for full restore.
This is problematic from so many angles. For example now if my second drive fails the machine won’t boot.

Sorry I have no idea

Your guess is correct. Since you’re imaging your disk bit by bit you won’t get far that way.

If it’s a catastrophic fail yes, just like disconnecting it from the system.

Since you recently reinstalled Windows I think your best bet is to start over one more time. This time don’t connect the second drive to the system when you’re installing.


Did you try the BCDboot repair?

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Interesting!! I will try

Good points, yes, I think I will probably do this step

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There is also this

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Windows is using the old partition file on your other drive. Use a new boot manager or reset the wirdows one.

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How do I either use a new boot manager or reset the windows one?

That is the reason on a new pc i make sure to only install the nvme drive to install windows, easiest way to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Simplest for me would be to disconnect the sata drive and then boot from windows install drive (recovery) and rebuild the Boot on the main drive.

Afterwards you should check if the bios is setup to boot from that drive and if it is an nvme drive, that you computer can boot from nvme.

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Simplest for me would be to disconnect the sata drive and then boot from windows install drive (recovery) and rebuild the Boot on the main drive.

Actually I tried that using the windows USB and recovery, it said “media not found” . I tried also to boot with the SATA connected, assuming it would copy to the NVME, well, it did not.

Can you computer actually boot from nvme? What motherboard to you have?

There are a set of commands you can run on the nvme drive to rebuild the boot, but i think you might need an EFI Partition.

You could install something like Grub or Refind, or go in the windows boot repair, take the other drive out, tell it to do bootrepair.

I’d just burn refind to a cd and call it good, but I’m also lazy and don’t care.