This is where I stand. I gave up on swapping the installs from 785 chipset board to my 890 chipset board, although they would boot they cried to be re-activated and the only way to get around that was cracked-type loaders and I didn't want to do that since I am
using a valid key, just one with limited re-installs/re-activations. So this thread is about taking the 640GB SATAIII platter drive from the 890 board that has Windows 7 Ultimate on the C: partition and Windows 8 Media Center on the D: partition in a dual-boot setup (Win 8 installed second) and data on a third primary partition and transferring/cloning the Operating System partitions to two separate SSDs, then just making the platter drive one big data drive for storage.
This is what has been accomplished so far:
I have successfully copied the Win7 OS (C partition) to SSD1
I have successfully copied the Win8 OS (D partition) to SSD2
Using Win7's repair utility I was able to "recover" the Operating systems so the dual-boot loader no longer looks for the OS's on the 3 partition platter drive, and the bootloader menu I see as the computer boots showed the following-
Windows 8 Media Center (recovered)
Windows 7 Ultimate (recovered)
and it is now set to look for Win7 on the 1st SSD and Win8 on the 2nd SSD rather than separate partitions on the same drive and will boot to either depending on which one I choose at startup, with Win7 set as the default.
I didn't like the "(recovered)" after the listings so I used EasyBCD editor to edit the names and remove the word from the titles, as well as taking the countdown timer down to 10 seconds from 30 seconds (I am thinking of making that 5 seconds, I dunno yet). This at least cleans up my GUI so it doesn't look so hodgepodge, although I think somewhere there is still some page that will show what I had written earlier about the previous Win7 install being missing and the "new" Win7 and Win8 installs being "recovered". Oh well, I guess I can live with that for now, out of sight out of mind.
I would have really liked to have been able to make the Win8 Media Center install on the 2nd SSD a standalone like I have it on the 785 box (on that box I installed Win7 on the SSD I won, unplugged it and then installed Win8 on a 320GB platter drive, and then plugged the SSD back in so I can boot to whichever OS I want to using the boot order Fkey hotkey as my computer boots and if I do ever have a problem with one it won't fubar the other. I did experiment by unplugging the 2nd SSD Win8 drive on the 890 board and although it shows up in the bootloader if I don't click on it then it doesn't do anything and will load to Win7 after the 10 second countdown so I'm assuming if I edit the Win8 line out of the bootloader using either msconfig or EasyBCD then the Win7 install on the 1st SSD can standalone and safe (paramount!). Is that a correct assumption? I don't want to delete the Win8 entry in the Win7 bootloader if it will fubar the Win7 loader and make it cry for the Win8 install again...
When I tried the same thing by unplugging the 1st SSD and just trying to boot to the 2nd SSD Win8 install, I get the error message "ntloader is missing" which although it is a throwback to WinXP could also be a generic message from my bios saying the chain of boot command is broken. I think it is because the bootloader is all on the Win7 drive so even though the Win8 O/S files are on the 2nd SSD the "keys" to start Win8 are in the Win7 bootloader on the 1st SSD, correct? Would I be able to somehow copy over, repair, or "create" a bootloader for the Win8 install to enable it to be a standalone? That is really the final question...
Actually I do have one more thing I don't understand. If I installed Win7 first and Win8 second, isn't it the Win8 bootloader that is actually the alpha loader here? I am so confused about this thing that you all probably find simple...
Soooooo sorry for all the questions and long read, but I figure I would get it all out there at once so you would know my thought process on this. Now you know how exasperated my professors got with me back in college, every time they told me one thing I had three more questions to try to clarify further until I was absolutely positive I understood every facet. D'oh!
Thanks everyone for your patience with me!