• Sign in to Neowin Faster!

    Create an account on Neowin to contribute and support the site.

Sign in to follow this  

Is disconnecting data drives still a thing when fresh installing Windows?

Recommended Posts

Salty Wagyu    106

I followed some old advice to disconnect any data drives and leave the OS drive intact when reinstalling Windows, otherwise odd things might happen? I think I had my own experience of the System Reserved partition getting written to another drive or a boot order got messed up, can't really remember now. But to this day I've always disconnected non-relevant drives before an OS install on any PCs I work on.

 

Do any of you still do the same?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
goretsky    1,004

Hello,

 

I do the same, just to prevent the boot record from being written to the wrong drive.  I can't recall it ever being a problem, but it is only a minute's worth of work for me to open a computer and disconnect the other drives before installing Windows, then plug them back in when the installation is finished.

 

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DKAngel    309

yeah im the same, new installs i plug all the data drives after the os install, had it happen to many times where ive gone to remove a drive and nothing boots up properly anymore

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
adrynalyne    11,189

I just disable the drive(s) in the bios/uefi, install, then turn it back on.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Radium    126
2 hours ago, adrynalyne said:

I just disable the drive(s) in the bios/uefi, install, then turn it back on.  

Do you mean that you disable the drives at the controller level or the whole controller instead of unplugging them?

What if you disable the wrong drive/controller??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+warwagon    12,743

Ya, it just makes sure you don't nuke the wrong drive during install.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mando    5,117

eh, only if your extremely daft and cant read or pay no attention to what you click, never in 25yr of working in IT have I ever disconnected data drives...wtf thats what DR backups are for :P 

 

classic urban legend imo.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sulphy    1,435

I have an M.2 as OS drive, and 4 SSD's for data... seems when installing windows from fresh.. after first reboot, i have issues. So i unplug all SSD's, and only run off my M.2 until i have the OS somewhat setup... then plug the rest back in again. its a pain! never had that issue back in the days of pre M.2..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mando    5,117
12 minutes ago, Sulphy said:

I have an M.2 as OS drive, and 4 SSD's for data... seems when installing windows from fresh.. after first reboot, i have issues. So i unplug all SSD's, and only run off my M.2 until i have the OS somewhat setup... then plug the rest back in again. its a pain! never had that issue back in the days of pre M.2..

thats a W10/Ms issue with M2 drives, Win10 insists on being installed on Device 0 M2 slots usually take over the IRQs of SATA-0 and SATA-1 (or share )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
adrynalyne    11,189
2 hours ago, Radium said:

Do you mean that you disable the drives at the controller level or the whole controller instead of unplugging them?

What if you disable the wrong drive/controller??

I disable the drive at the controller level. I know what my drive internal names are so it’s easy to differentiate. And in the unlikely event that I disable the wrong one, it’s not much effort to go back into the settings and rectify the issue. It’s quicker and easier than cracking open my case which requires no less than four thumb screws to remove a side. 

 

The only time it might be an issue is if it’s one of my two nvme drives but since I dual boot with incompatible filesystems, it ends up not being an issue. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jason S.    1,473

during install, select Custom, choose the drive on which you want Windows installed. is this what we're talking about? i dont see a reason to disconnect drives.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Human.Online    8,067

I hosed a drive once.  Managed to get a lot of it back as I realised pretty quickly, but a simple error really caused me a load of grief.  So now, yeah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
adrynalyne    11,189
13 minutes ago, Jason S. said:

during install, select Custom, choose the drive on which you want Windows installed. is this what we're talking about? i dont see a reason to disconnect drives.

Windows arbitrarily decides where it wants to put the boot files, etc. (especially when you repartition drive or format it beforehand) that includes a hidden partition. Now imagine that being on a data drive and you decide to swap it out one day or format it.  

 

You dont boot anymore in the first instance and you can’t in the second. This can be fixed after the fact but it’s not fun, so this is preventative action. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jason S.    1,473
58 minutes ago, adrynalyne said:

Windows arbitrarily decides where it wants to put the boot files, etc. (especially when you repartition drive or format it beforehand) that includes a hidden partition. Now imagine that being on a data drive and you decide to swap it out one day or format it.  

 

You dont boot anymore in the first instance and you can’t in the second. This can be fixed after the fact but it’s not fun, so this is preventative action. 

interesting. i guess i never knew that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mando    5,117
1 hour ago, adrynalyne said:

Windows arbitrarily decides where it wants to put the boot files, etc. (especially when you repartition drive or format it beforehand) that includes a hidden partition. Now imagine that being on a data drive and you decide to swap it out one day or format it.  

 

You dont boot anymore in the first instance and you can’t in the second. This can be fixed after the fact but it’s not fun, so this is preventative action. 

Aint that caused by not following Microsofts guidance of partitioning the drives in Win setup, which actually causes this scenario :) Ive never had the instance where windows has ever put the bootloader or hidden partition on other drives, other than primary device0, but i always nuke partitions in winsetup (NT4 onwards). I do the same setting up win servers (as well as under provisioning on the OS vol).

 

ofc though dual booting adds a layer of complexity to the rule.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
adrynalyne    11,189
11 minutes ago, Mando said:

Aint that caused by not following Microsofts guidance of partitioning the drives in Win setup, which actually causes this scenario :) Ive never had the instance where windows has ever put the bootloader or hidden partition on other drives, other than primary device0, but i always nuke partitions in winsetup (NT4 onwards). I do the same setting up win servers (as well as under provisioning on the OS vol).

 

ofc though dual booting adds a layer of complexity to the rule.

Nah it happens if you partition during windows setup too sometimes. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
d5aqoëp    830

ASUS, GIGABYTE bios allow to disable SATA controllers individually. MSI doesn’t. You cannot disable M.2 NVMe drives. 

 

Sometimes disconnecting/removing is the only option especially if one is using a third party bootloader like Clover to dual/triple boot Windows/Linux/macOS on the same computer. I know I do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
adrynalyne    11,189
3 minutes ago, d5aqoëp said:

ASUS, GIGABYTE bios allow to disable SATA controllers individually. MSI doesn’t. You cannot disable M.2 NVMe drives. 

 

Sometimes disconnecting/removing is the only option especially if one is using a third party bootloader like Clover to dual/triple boot Windows/Linux/macOS on the same computer. I know I do.

I don’t have any problems with Clover with this though I imagine it’s due to me having my drives separate and not using multiple OSes on the same drive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mando    5,117
28 minutes ago, adrynalyne said:

Nah it happens if you partition during windows setup too sometimes. 

Really? Ive never personally experienced it mate (maybe W98 and SATA introduction era), that doesnt mean it doesnt happen these days ofc :) rejoicing at Abit IC7 with Marvel SATA2 ports! omg!

These days at home, i always nuke the volumes via iRST in bios and rebuild my new volumes (2 ssd stripe set and 4 ssd striped set) so i can set them up as GPT for full secure boot.

 

I never professionally depend on data on any drive in a build, so even if i did bork both disks, id restore from the backup anyways regardless on fresh volumes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Som    410

i've never disconnected a drive for a fresh install

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
adrynalyne    11,189
17 minutes ago, Mando said:

Really? Ive never personally experienced it mate (maybe W98 and SATA introduction era), that doesnt mean it doesnt happen these days ofc :) rejoicing at Abit IC7 with Marvel SATA2 ports! omg!

These days at home, i always nuke the volumes via iRST in bios and rebuild my new volumes (2 ssd stripe set and 4 ssd striped set) so i can set them up as GPT for full secure boot.

 

I never professionally depend on data on any drive in a build, so even if i did bork both disks, id restore from the backup anyways regardless on fresh volumes.

Oh I’m not worried about data; I just want my drives properly segregated at all times. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
goretsky    1,004

Hello,

 

I've had it happen, back when I was starting to migrate from SCSI HDDs to SATA SSDs.  I switched from booting off of SCSI HDD's to booting from SATA SSD's, and ended up with the boot record on the HDD loading the operating system kernel from from the SSD.  Everything worked fine until I removed the HDDs, at which point the systems would no longer boot.  Easily fixable from the troubleshooter on Windows installation , but rather annoying to deal with at the time.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

On 5/22/2018 at 6:47 AM, Mando said:

eh, only if your extremely daft and cant read or pay no attention to what you click, never in 25yr of working in IT have I ever disconnected data drives...wtf thats what DR backups are for :P 

 

classic urban legend imo.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Scrip    396

I used to physically disconnect all my data drive when I did a fresh install... mostly out of paranoia.

 

But it's pretty easy to find my 128GB boot SSD in a sea of 1TB data HDDs... :)

 

I shouldn't mistakenly install an OS on the wrong drive... at least I hope I don't!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
adrynalyne    11,189
5 hours ago, Michael Scrip said:

I used to physically disconnect all my data drive when I did a fresh install... mostly out of paranoia.

 

But it's pretty easy to find my 128GB boot SSD in a sea of 1TB data HDDs... :)

 

I shouldn't mistakenly install an OS on the wrong drive... at least I hope I don't!

It’s not about mistakenly installing the os to the wrong drive. The bigger issue is that Windows decides where to put the bootloader and associated files, not the user. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Scrip    396
1 minute ago, adrynalyne said:

It’s not about mistakenly installing the os to the wrong drive. The bigger issue is that Windows decides where to put the bootloader and associated files, not the user. 

I see.

 

But even then.... nothing fishy has happened to me so far.

 

Fingers crossed!  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.