Windows 7 - MBR Error 1 on startup

  plusman 18:49 02 May 2012

I’m having a major problem booting up my PC. I keep getting the error message “mbr error 1 Press any key to boot from floppy” every time I reboot my PC.

The PC is running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, and everything was working fine until I started to do some cleaning up in preparation for moving my OS from an existing HDD to a new SSD. My PC has a Gigabyte X58A-UD3r motherboard.

I cleaned up my files using Windows System Cleanup and also defragmented the C: drive. All of this seemed to go successfully. On rebooting my PC, and with the SSD installed in an external caddy connected via eSata (because I wanted to clone my existing C: drive across to it to avoid a new installation of Windows 7), I entered BIOS and changed the SATA from IDE to AHCI. (As far as I am aware I didn’t change anything else). Then I booted up the PC and got the error suggesting that there was mbr error 1 etc.

I turned off the PC and went back into BIOS and reset the SATA back to IDE, and rebooted. Same error. I tried rebooting a number of times – no success.

I then put my Windows 7 installation disc into the DVD drive and rebooted from the DVD (after selecting the DVD drive as the boot option in the BIOS startup). It seemed to boot up right into some version of Windows (note: it did not ask me if I wanted to install or repair windows; it just came up with a standard Windows 7 wallpaper and nothing else). I rebooted again, with the Windows 7 disc in the DVD drive, but when it asked me if I wanted to boot from DVD, I just let it run – and it booted up my Windows as normal. But when I tried and reboot without the DVD in the drive and with the HDD boot option as the primary boot, it still gave me the mbr error. So I booted once again with the Windows DVD, and created a Windows Repair Disc. I rebooted with this and attempted to carry out a MBR repair (using the CMD line: bootrec.exe /fixmbr – which indicated that it ran successfully). I rebooted the PC – still got the mbr error.

I rebooted with the repair disc again and ran: bootrec.exe /fixmbr, and bootrec.exe /fixboot, and bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd. They all seemed to run successfully – but on reboot I still got the mbr error. I also downloaded and rebuilt the MBR using the MBR rebuild utility on Partition Wizard Mini Tool – it still hasn’t solved the problem. I also tried to recover using a previous backup of my C: drive (one created yesterday before I did any clean up or defragmentation, but I am not sure if it had the MBR backed up) – it restored OK, but didn’t solve the error. I also ran chkdsk on my C: drive – it suggested that the drive was clean with no errors.

So at the moment the only way I can boot up my PC is to have the Windows 7 installation disc in the DVD drive and have the DVD drive selected as the first boot device (even though I don’t subsequently press any button to boot from the DVD) – it just seems to force it to get around the mbr error somehow.

Can anybody suggest how I can resolve this issue ( as I am pulling out what little hair I have left trying to find a solution)?

  ams4127 20:30 02 May 2012

Somewhere in your BIOS (probably in the Boot section) is an entry saying something like "Stop on error" Make sure that is disabled and you should be able to boot as normal.

  plusman 08:20 03 May 2012

ams4127: There is no floppy drive in my system and I have reset the BIOS to "None" for FDD installed - made no difference; I also tried setting the BIOS to continue booting if there were errors, as you suggested, - made no difference - I still get the error or need to have my Windows 7 DVD in the DVD drive to get it to boot.

  plusman 12:46 09 May 2012

After days of pulling my hair out I have finally solved the issue – but unfortunately the saga seems to have damaged/corrupted my HDD.

First of all I had a 2Tb HDD divided into 2 partitions ( 1 = C: 500Gb for the operating system and key files; 1 = D: 1500Gb for data). My plan was to have cloned the C: portion as it was only ca. 80Gb in size and so would have fitted neatly onto my new 128Gb SDD.

The error arose when I first of all tried to defrag the C: partition and then set the drive to ACHI (rather than IDE mode). This messed up the MBR. I tried resetting the BIOS SATA back to IDE, but got the error detailed in my initial post. I tried resetting the BIOS and also clearing the CMOS but still got the mbr error 1 message on boot.

So in the end, I downloaded and installed a later version of the BIOS for my motherboard (Gigabyte X50-UD3r rev2; changed from BIOS version FA to FH), and reset all of the SATA back to IDE. I then booted up with my Windows 7 installation disc in the DVD, tried to boot from DVD, and at long last it booted up from the DVD and gave me the option to repair the mbr. My PC booted up and then I was able to restart it again without having the DVD in the drive.

I then decided that rather than try and clone my C: drive onto the new SSD, that I would carry out a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. I disconnected all HDDS, installed the SDD, and went in to the BIOS and set the SATA regime to ACHI. I was then able to install Windows 7 successfully without having to worry about setting up TRIM or aligning the SDD (as luckily Windows 7 carried this out on installation).

After installing/updating Windows, MS Office and the other programs I use, I then tried to install the software for my HP Officejet printer (which I had previously installed without problem on this and other PC's using either the 64-bit or 32-bit copies of the software). I downloaded the latest version of the 64-bit software from HP, and started the install. It ran into a problem and didn't install properly, and then I found that I was unable to uninstall it as it was missing some files to uninstall smoothly. I tried an uninstall using Revo Uninstaller and that also failed.

So I decided to go back to square 1, and reinstall Windows from scratch (again!). I didn't erase or reformat the SDD – just deleted the MBR and main partition at the start of the Windows 7 installation. His time I installed the Officejet software immediately after I had installed/updated Windows 7 and MS Office 2010, and before I had installed any firewall (Comodo) or AV (Avast). The installation went smoothly. I then installed the rest of my software.

On a separate PC, I reformatted my HDD (the one with the C: and D: partitions) and restored a recent backup of my D: (data) drive – BTW this PC had SATA ports set to IDE. I then installed this into my main PC (the one with the SDD and SATA ports set to ACHI). Everything seemed to be OK, until the drive seemed to disappear at times when I was copying data to it, or if I was accessing Outlook 2010 (I had the .pst file on my D: drive).

As it is a WD drive, I ran the WD Lifeguard program – the quick test showed an error, but on rebooting and retesting the quick test ran OK; I'm now running an extended test – but I don't really trust this HDD anymore, so I'll probably restore my data onto a different one.

Now all I have to do is figure out if I can get my Outlook 2010 to search through my emails again – I switched off the Windows Indexing function when I reinstalled Windows as a number of other sites suggested that it was better if it was switched off when using an SDD – however it seems that this function is needed for Outlook searches; so that's another problem to solve!

So I'm really not sure at this stage if the original problem was due to wrong BIOS settings, a corrupted mbr, or a corrupted/failing HDD. All I know is that I never expected that installing a SSD would end up being such a trial!

Oh, and if you are using a Gigabyte X58a-UD3r motherboard - it is recommended that you don't use the Marvell SATA 3 ports for your SSD as these seem to give problems according to other posters (I ended up using the slower SATA 2 Intel ports).

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Best Amazon Echo: What’s the best Alexa speaker?

Kano Computer Kit Complete review: A fun DIY 'laptop' that teaches kids to code

Best pro photo editors for Mac 2018

TV & streaming : comment regarder les Jeux olympiques d’hiver 2018 ?