Moving the MBR


I have two hard drives in my system. I had XP on my C: drive and I installed Vista on drive G: after a virus ran rampant through my XP system. I had it set up as a dual-boot machine for a while until I got a chance to get everything installed and running under Vista. Now I want to format the XP drive, but I realized that Windows can’t because the Master Boot Record is on that drive. Is there any way to move the MBR from the XP drive to the Vista drive so I can set the latter as the primary boot drive in my BIOS?

—Ian Klasovsky

Ian, provided you have your Vista install disc, there’s a fairly easy solution. Boot into Vista and enter Computer Management, and click Storage, then Disk Management. Right-click your Vista drive and select “Mark Partition as Active.” This tells Windows you’ll be booting from this drive. Restart your computer and enter your BIOS. Set your boot order as follows: Optical Drive > Vista Drive > XP Drive. Save and exit. Boot into your Vista install disc, and go to the recovery console. Run Setup Repair and you should get a fully functioning Master Boot Record on your Vista drive! Afterwards, you can set your Vista drive back to top of the boot order, then boot into Vista, and use Computer Management to quick-format your old XP drive. Presto!

Click "mark partition as active" to tell Windows you want to be able to boot from that drive, then use an install disc to repair your master boot record.

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