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Why can't boot ANY windows volume if the internal drive is connected?

A while ago I opened up my iMac (7.1 24" 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM) and replaced the internal HD with a 32 GB Solid State Drive. My /Users folders, all my apps, documents and "super duper" system copies and Time Machine backups are all housed on external drives connected by firewire. This works superbly and I'm very happy with it.

HOWEVER, I have now spent ages trying to set up a Windows 7 installation with Boot Camp and just can't seem to do it. By experimentation it seems to come down to this:

  • No windows volume (whether it's a complete installation already on a drive, or the Windows setup DVD) will boot AT ALL if the system drive (the internally SATA-connected SSD) is connected to the motherboard.

Any windows drive I select, such as the setup disc, freezes the machine instantly. For example, if I hold the Alt key and click the icon for the Windows disc to boot from it, the mouse cursor locks and that's it... nothing.

However if I open my iMac and disconnect the SSD's SATA cable from the motherboard, I can boot Windows discs absolutely fine.

Can anyone suggest what's causing this or if there is anyway to fix it? I have tried the following:

  1. Removed all extra equipment out of the equation, leaving just the SSD and the Windows setup disc.
  2. Formatting my system drive (SSD) so it is totally blank
  3. Disconnecting the power cord for 10 minutes
  4. Installing rEFIt and syncing the partition tables.

None of these makes any difference. It's as if the mere physical presence of the SSD prevents Windows discs booting at all. With it connected, the machine happily boots other OS X installations and the Snow Leopard installation disc. With it disconnected, I can boot the Windows installer just fine. I have tried reconnecting the SATA SSD (with my Boot Camp partition) once the Windows installation has started. This makes it show up in the Windows setup partitioner, but it then complains that the drive can't be used because it's not known to my system's BIOS.

I'm out of ideas! I think I may have to give up on installing windows. I get the impression if I took out the SSD and replaced it with the original hard drive, that would solve it (I always used to have a Boot Camp setup when I had the HD installed) - but that is not what I want.



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+ for a very well stated question.


Ah OK, interesting! It's a Corsair "Extreme Series" 32GB SSD. I don't see any firmware updates on the corsair site. And my Mac's boot ROM version is IM71.007A.B03 (which is the latest available, apparently). Here's the drive info:

Corsair CMFSSD-32D1:

Capacity: 32.02 GB (32,017,047,552 bytes)

Model: Corsair CMFSSD-32D1

Revision: 1.0

Native Command Queuing: Yes

Queue Depth: 32

Removable Media: No

Detachable Drive: No

BSD Name: disk0

Medium Type: Solid State

TRIM Support: No

Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)

S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified

And here's my hardware overview:

'''Model Name: iMac

Model Identifier: iMac7,1'''

Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo

Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz

Boot ROM Version: IM71.007A.B03

SMC Version (system): 1.21f4


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Solution retenue

There are lots of problems with the SSD drives and bootcamp. First I would check to see if you have done the EFI Boot ROM or SMC firmware updates:

There is also a possibility of a need for a firmware update on the drive itself especially if your have a X18M, X25-M and X25-E Solid State Drives. What is the specific SSD drive you're trying to use?

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Agreed +


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Just in case it's of interest to anyone: I have now replaced my iMac with a mid-2011 Mac mini, dual-core i7 2.7GHz, 8GB RAM and I've moved the same SSD into that. It works fine AND boots various Windows-y volumes, like a Windows installation drive etc. So I guess the issue was something in that particular Mac after all.

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