Dual-Boot Windows 10/8.1 Major Issues


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I just accepted a work at home position that requires Windows 7 or 8.1 for their system. I had just upgraded to Windows 10 and it worked flawless (less the VPN issue everyone has been having but I have an Ethernet connection).

I figured it was not a problem, I just partitioned the hard drive and installed Windows 8.1. When it booted up it gave me the option to boot into either system and I also had the option to set the primary drive and the amount of time before it would automatically boot into the primary. Everything worked great!

Since I am using Office 2010 on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 was offering Office Live 365 Home for half off, I decided to take the offer.

I'm not saying that installing Office 365 caused the issue, but it was shortly afterwards things took a turn for the worse. My scanner app disappeared, then I noticed the accessories folder was missing, then OneDrive was no longer updating and when I tried to uninstall it, it was no where to be found.

I thought, okay not sure what happened but let me reinstall Windows 10 on the primary partition. When I tried, it said I couldn't because the partition wasn't GPT. Hmmm? I did some research to find out what GPT is, but really didn't have anything to do with my drive since it is only 1TB. I tried everything (including deleting it and reformatting to no avail).

Finally, I looked around online and found the commands to convert the drive to GPT and was successful. After, I went back and installed Windows 8.1 and then partitioned it to install Windows 10 but this time it said it could not be installed because the partition IS GPT. Huh?

At this point, I'm on overdrive with several trips to the 24 hours Starbucks fueling myself on espresso shots and no sleep.

I thought I'd try to outsmart it and wiped the whole drive, then converted it back to MBR and reinstalled Windows 8.1 and then cloned the drive and copied it over to a newly created partition. From there, I would surely be able to upgrade to Windows 10 and once again, I was out of luck.

I was reading somewhere else online that disconnecting your other drives when you get these error messages resolves the problem.

So I disconnected my 2TB WD Black I use for backup and decided to disconnect the 1TB WD Black and reconnected a 500 GB WD Raptor that I wasn't using and installed Windows 10 on that with no issue. Then I reconnected the 1TB drive that still had the 8.1 on it and low and behold Windows performs a short repair on boot up and I now once again have the option to boot into either even though they are on separate drives. Hallelujah!

When I looked in disk management the 500 GB Windows 10 drive didn't have any system partitions typical with an installation but a 500 MB empty space that can't be extended. I'm guessing, this drive is booting by utilizing the 1TB 8.1 drive information, which is why I get the option to choose (as if I had partitioned and was loading everything off of one drive). I can live with that.

Now, when I hook up my 2TB backup drive the computer no longer gives me the option to boot into one or the other but automatically boots into the Windows 10 drive since I set that as the primary. If I disconnect my backup drive, I'm back in business. This is in no way acceptable. I'm not big on cloud computing (accept for documents, presentations, etc. that can be accessed from anywhere) and have a great backup system in place for everything else (music, videos, etc.)

I realize this is long-winded but I'm going on 72 hours now with no sleep and I've drained every brain cell I have left to figure this thing out.

I'm great at following instructions, looking things up on the internet for solutions (see above) but this has really got me in a bind. I don't start the new job until the first week of October, the drives are only a few years old and frankly there's nothing wrong with them and I am seriously dirt poor and can't go out and buy new ones at the moment.

Any suggestions or help in finding a solution so everything works happily together would be more than appreciated.
 
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Trouble

Noob Whisperer
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It's probably not so much "what's connected", as much as it is, "how it's connected".
You need to sort it out physically, and then probably sort it out in your BIOS boot device order menu.
You have a 1 TB drive with 8.1 on it, and you are probably correct in your assumption that it contains the boot config files allowing you to boot from a menu which includes your 500 GB drive with Windows 10 installed.

Physically.......
That 1 TB drive needs to be connected to SATA 0 so it is drive 0.
Then the 500 GB drive needs to be on SATA 1
And your 2 TB backup drive needs to be on SATA 3. Additionally you need to make sure that it does not contain a partition marked as "Active" There should really be only one "Active" partition and that should most likely be the first partition on your 1 TB drive where the boot manager / boot configuration files reside.

Then check your BIOS and configure your boot device options so that you move the 1 TB drive to the top
Your optical drive second and generally you can just disable any third, forth or other. Unless you want to keep something like a USB thumbdrive as an option as a third boot device.
 
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Trouble, I just woke up and read your message. I took your advice and just swapped the SATA connectors for the 1TB and the 500GB drives. Ironically, they were setup correctly to begin with where the 1TB was 0 and the 500GB was 1. Now that they are swapped, where the 1TB is now 1 and the 500GB is 0, Windows recognizes the 2TB backup drive which has always been on 3. Yay, it's working!

Here's the weird part because theoretically, this configuration should not work at all. Windows 10 (500GB drive 0) is clearly booting off of Windows 8.1 (1TB drive 1). However, my BIOS no longer even recognizes the 500GB drive (likely because it's not bootable?) so the only drives that show up are the 1TB drive, which is 1 and bootable, the 2TB backup drive which is not bootable and of course my DVD drive.

From everything I've read, in order to get the option to boot into one operation system or the other, when in a dual-boot configuration they both need to reside on a single partitioned drive, which is the way I originally had it before the Windows 10 installation got all wonky on me.

In this case, both operating systems are residing on two separate drives where one is bootable and the other is not, which is what is giving me the option to boot into one or the other when my computer comes up. Heck, I can't even tell you how I installed Windows 10 without a boot option on its own drive. I've provided a screen capture of the Disk Management in Windows 10 so you can verify what I'm talking about.

This configuration defies all logic and reasoning but if ain't broke I sure as heck won't try to fix it.

Thanks again for providing a simple solution to getting my backup drive recognized.
 

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Trouble

Noob Whisperer
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Good to hear that you managed to get it sorted out.
Thanks for posting back and updating your thread with that information.
 
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Okay, have I got some great information for everybody that has ever received the "cannot install blah blah blah because it is or is not GPT" error message.

A friend came over this morning because he and I like to know how things work and why sometimes they don't. We hooked up one of his extra hard drives to my computer and took a whole new approach. First, install let's say Windows 10. In my case, I am using a bootable USB. What I noticed about this installation is that it IS NOT UEFI, which my BIOS is capable of. This is important.

So, then I put the Windows 8 CD in and go into my BIOS to make it bootable so I can partition (yet again) this new drive with Windows 10 installed, my BIOS displays two ATAPI devices; one is standard and the other UEFI. Ding, Ding, Ding! Because the Windows 10 installation does not show as UEFI, I moved the non-UEFI ATAPI drive into the primary bootable position and then restarted my computer.

In this situation, you do not get the message "press any key to boot from disk" but the Windows 10 logo flag displays. Wait about two minutes (maybe less) and then the installation comes up. From there, I was able to partition the drive with the Windows 10 installation and install Windows 8 with no more GPT error messages and/or issues.

So now, I've got Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 on one partitioned drive just like I wanted BUT Windows still only boots into the initial Windows 10 installation with no option to go into Windows 8. This is how you fix that problem.

Put in the Windows installation disk or USB and boot to it. Then select "repair this computer." Click on "advanced options" and select "fix problems with Windows loading" or something like that. Once Windows corrects the issue and reboots, presto! The option to load either Windows 10 or Windows 8 appears.

There is a plethora of questions related to these very two issues all over message boards going back for years and trust me when I say I have poured through all them with nothing but a bunch of empty solutions or options to settle for solutions that were not optimal. These two issues should be parsed and posted as a sticky somewhere for future users seeking a solution to these two problems.

If this post helps anybody that encounters these two situations, then I've done my civic duty LOL.
 

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