Installing OS on SSD from HDD

Started Dec 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
Birk Binnard
Birk Binnard Senior Member • Posts: 1,982
Re: Don't forget to mark the old Windows partition Inactive


The answer is 3 - you want to mark Partition 3 as inactive.  How to know this is probably more complex than you want to know, but in case you do here is a picture of my current disk drive/partition setup.  I'll use it to explain the answer to your question about which partition to fix.

Note there are are 4 disks - 2 HDD and 2 SSD.  The Disk numbers, 0 - 4, are determined by the motherboard's physical connectors to which each disk is connected.  These numbers are for identification only, they have nothing to do with any sort of actual priority for anything.

Disk 3 is my boot disk.  This is a new (3 day old) 128GB SSD that I just installed and onto which I cloned my former OS boot drive.  Note that Disk 3 has 2 partitions.  This is because when you do a clean install of Windows 7 it creates a separate 100MB partition for future recovery purposes.  Note also that the large partition, where my Win7/software/etc. is installed, is the only partition marked as Active.  That is because (1) it got created from cloning a previous boot disk (Disk 2) which had the Windows partition marked as Active, and (2) I have marked as Inactive the previous boot disk's Active partition.

Disk 2 is my former boot disk.  It is formatted the same as Disk 3: a 100MB System Reserved partition and a second partition for booting that consumes the rest of the disk.  The larger partition on this disk still has all the same Windows/application software on it as before - in case for some reason I have to go back to boot from it.  But the Windows partition is no longer marked Active; if I wanted to boot from Disk 2 I'd have to go back to Disk Manager (or use a DOS command) and mark the partition as Active.

So - in your case the partition to mark as inactive is the one you used to boot from, NOT the one you boot from now.  If you open Disk Manager you will see 2 partition marked as Active - your old one and the one you boot from now.

Your SSD is Disk 1.  You can tell this because Disk 0 is shown as being 931GB  in size and your SSD is much smaller than this.  So you obviously have to fix a partition on Disk 0 (which you already know.)  You could brute-force the process by simply marking them all as Inactive (because if a partition is not Active, then it is Inactive.)  But the real answer to your question is 3 because Partition 1 is tiny and was set up by Dell (that's where the OEM comes from);  Partition 2 is also small and is probably the System Reserved partition, although I can't be sure of this.  Partition 3 was where all the real software was stored (if you had any.)  So that's the one to mark Inactive.


No is the answer because marking a non-boot partition as Inactive will not affect the partition's use as a data partition. The reason is that marking a partition as Active or Inactive only affects the Boot Loader.  Nothing else cares about this.  You can mark any partition (other than a real boot partition) as either Active or Inactive and it has no effect at all.  But if you mark a boot partition as Inactive your system will not boot because the Boot Loader (which is part of the system  BIOS and not on any disk drive) will not be able to find the boot partition.

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Birk Binnard;

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