Help! Windows installs but can't boot from HD!

So I’m building this computer and I can’t get Windows to work. I can load Windows onto the HD from CD and it boots fine immediately after the installation finishes (maybe that’s because it actually booted from the CD and then started Windows or something). But if I restart, my computer won’t boot from the HD. I get a message saying it’s not a valid boot disk or something like that. I don’t get it because Windows works ONCE and then after restart it doesn’t. I set my bios to only boot from HD and it still won’t work. Any suggestions?

One more thing, I took the HD out of a Dell computer but it’s fairly new and I don’t see why that would be the cause. I have the HD partitioned into two parts and fully formatted the system partition b4 installing Windows on it. I just don’t get it.

Did you load the m/b chipset drivers after installing the OS?

Is the first partition bootable?

Yeh, make sure the partition you install windows on is “active” / bootable…what version of windows are you installing and what do you use to format your HDD?

Well, the first time I installed Windows, I tried to load the m/b drivers. Then when I rebooted, it didn’t work so I assumed that was the problem. But then after re-installing Windows and NOT installing m/b drivers and still no boot from HD, I didn’t know what to think.

I don’t know how to set the partition as “active.” I created the partitions using the utility in the Windows installation process.

I think I know the problem. I slipstreamed SP2 into my Windows CD and I think I screwed it up. I’m going to try installing from the original windows disk. Oops…duh.

Check this site out he has step by step instructions if you have not found your problem.

I’m going to suggest the most obvious thing here since the drive came out of another PC. Make sure your jumper for Master / Slave is set correctly for the drive the computer it is going into.

Hey guys, I thought I had located the problem but it turns out I didn’t. Please help if you can with any suggestions. I’m willing to try anything. Below is the email I sent to the MoBo manufacturer support dept. I didn’t feel like retyping the whole thing.

Please help me! I am building a computer and cannot make this motherboard work. I can load Windows XP but after installing it, the system will not boot up unless the XP CD is in the CD drive. It will never boot from the hard drive alone. Sometimes when I try to boot with the CD, it goes into Windows and the machine acts like it booted from the hard drive alone (although it won’t do it without the CD in the drive) and sometimes it boots into the Windows XP installation routine. I can’t figure out how to do either consistantly. I’ve tried the installation using two different Windows XP Pro CDs. I also flashed the BIOS for the MoBo which I downloaded from your website. Unfortunately the BIOS which is on your website is OLDER than the one that came with the board. The flashing was successful according to the WinFlash utility but now the computer won’t boot up at all. It doesn’t get past the point where it detects the drives on the system – it just freezes there. Below is the important info about the system I’m building.

MoBo: ECS 661FX-M v1.0 (came with firmware 1.0g, flashed to 1.0f)
CPU: Intel Celeron D 2.4 GHz (Prescott core)
RAM: Corsair 512 MB
Primary Master: Western Digital 80 GB HD (jumper set to MASTER)
Primary Slave: none
Secondary Master: NEC 3500A DVD-RW (jumper set to MASTER)
Secondary Slave: none

Please help me as soon as possible.

P.S. The downloads on your website are out of date and hard to find. There is also no board-specific support available on your website.

BTW, yes, I do have the HD first in the boot sequence.

I have encountered this issue once when I created a partition on a new hard drive on a PC running Windows XP, popped this hard drive into a PC with no other hard drive and attempted to install Windows XP on it.

For some reason when a partition on a new hard drive is created within Windows, it leaves out the boot loader, which means that even though it is possible to install Windows XP on it, it will not boot (at least in my experience) once the installation is complete.

In my case, the only way I could get the new drive to boot was to delete the main partition on it and create a new one in the Windows XP Setup, although this does mean having to do a full reinstall again. :confused:

Just in case the Dell drive has some sort of proprietary or other boot loader leftover, it may be worth doing a low level format on the drive. Hitachi offers a bootdisk tool for testing hard drives and performing a low level disk format:

Well, the easy way (just to be sure) is to delete all paritions and create a new one within the installer. I suggest that you make it about 6-8 Gb and make an extented (instead of a primary) in Windows once you’ve it installed where you keep all your personal files. Pretty much what seanbyrne suggested above and it does require a reinstallation.

Thanks, I’ll give the Hitachi thing a try.

I DID create the partitions in the WinXP setup. The only thing maybe worth mentioning is that I did NOT make the partition the entire size of the hard drive. I only made the partition 10 GB. I’ve tried leaving the rest of the drive partitioned and unpartitioned and neither way works.

I’ve also done a full NTFS format of the entire drive and that didn’t help either.

EDIT: I will try it with a different HD tonight.

Tried to load them but not sure if it worked because the installation CD and routine are not easy to make sense of. It should be able to boot fine without them though especially if it boots into Windows with the CD in drive.

I don’t know how to explicitly do that. Is there a way to make it active/bootable after info has been written to it?

It surely will be a cold day before you get a response from ECS. They sell product and are not in the business of training people to build their own box. ECS provided driver versions are irrelevant at this point, XP should have all the drivers necessary to get the machine to boot, after which you can load the SIS drivers….

Looks to me like DiiZzY has it right!

Boot the machine to your XP CD.
In the setup process, delete all existing partitions.
Create (1) partition (10) Gig or so.
Format partition with NTFS.
XP will copy files to the HD and reboot. (Remove CD prior to reboot)
Now that the CD is removed the only boot device available will be the Hardrive.
The box should boot to the HD and proceed with the install. (It will prompt you to insert the CD when necessary).
Upon completion it will reboot again to finalize the installation (Remove CD again before reboot)
XP will boot and take you through a little cutesy stuff, welcome you to Windows, and life is good…At that point, insert the driver disk that came with the MB and follow the prompts. After loading drivers and rebooting, go to Control Panel (Adminstrative Tools) and create your other partions. I would recommend create primary partitions rather than extended so you could load applications on one, store data on another, and if you have any reason in the future to reload XP you could format C and do a clean install without risking any data.

If you follow this step by step and the machine doesn’t complete the install and boot correctly, you have one of (3) problems:

  1. You didn’t follow these steps
  2. You have a problem with the board (unlikely)
  3. Hardrive problem. Replace drive…….

Good Luck

I was assuming in my previous post that you where installing XP… If that was a bad assumption and you are working with Win9X, create a boot disk of that OS with “FDISK” on it. Boot to that disk and run “FDisk”. Your second menu choice will be “Choose Active Partition”. Of course choose your primary partition. I doubt that this is the issue as any 9X OS should have recognized the fact that the partition wasn’t active and prompted you accordingly.

PCdoc, I followed the steps in your previous post with the exception of taking out the CD during install. I will try that although it had never been necessary before and I’ve installed XP a lot of times.

As far as creating additional partitions after the Windows install, I thought you could only create 1 primary partition on each hard drive and any additional ones had to be extended partitions. Are you sure this is possible?

Edit: If I install applications on a non-system partition, won’t they be unuseable after re-installing an OS because of .dll files and registry stuff?

I’m only suggesting that you remove the CD so you don’t end up rebooting to it…

I’m sure… You can create up to 5 primary partitions…

You can install apps on any partition you choose. The install procedure will place support files where ever they to need to be…

But don’t some of those support files have to be loaded into the system partition and won’t they get lost if I format that partition and reinstall Windows? Additionally, wouldn’t any references in the registry to that program be lost?

I don’t think you get it… The instructions I posted were to do a “Clean” install in an attempt to fix the problem!. You’ll need to backup your data prior to starting the install. Afterward you’ll need to reinstall your apps and transfer data back…

Doc, I totally get it. I was asking for future reference, not because I want to save stuff on my hard drive right now. I’d actually still like to know the answer to my question. I really don’t understand how you could install an application and then re-install your OS without reinstalling the application. I thought the two things were too interdependent.