Dual/Triple boot Win XP/Vista/7 with separate drives

#1
OK, I'm a bit at a loss now, trying to setup dual/triple boot of XP, Vista and Seven each installed on separate drive.

But first things first.

I had WinXP installation on one drive. Then I got another, which I installed Vista to. But I did so with XP drive unplugged, so I could boot to each system independently by switching boot order in BIOS (it's that way so I can easily remove any drive without a need to mess with boot stuff).

Then I created dual boot on XP drive, using Vista bootloader. It is a bit of a frankenstein (had some problems making it work) but it works so I'm not touching it :wink: Anyways, I can dual boot XP/Vista from XP drive.

I recently added new drive to that setup and installed Windows 7 on it - again with other drives unplugged. So now I can boot to each system by selecting each drive as first to boot in BIOS and I can dual boot XP/Vista from XP drive.

Now on to the problem: I'd like to be able to dual boot XP and Win7, preferably from the XP drive, but booting from Win7 drive would suit me too if there is no other way. Problem is I was unable to set up triple boot (XP/Vista/Seven) from XP drive (choosing Windows 7 gave me ermm, "unsigned file" or something like that, error) - that was when I targeted the Win7 system partition. When I targeted the Win7 boot partition (that "system reserve" one) no entry showed up in boot menu. So I decided to create a dual boot on Win7 drive, no luck again. Adding XP entry with default settings did nothing and pointing to XP system partition (where XP/Vista dual boot bootloader resides) only makes system reboot after choosing XP entry...


So, not sure how do I get out of this :grinning: I still need XP for compatibility reasons, plus got a lot of stuff there, after almost 5 years of using it, that I want to be able to access, so being able to dual boot would be really nice, at least until I switch mostly to Win7.

If you need any more info, please ask.

EDIT: I noticed similar thread here: XP/Vista/Win7 Triple Boot, NTLDR error - The NeoSmart Forums
I followed the advice, assigned a letter to "system reserved" partition, added XP entry with automatic settings and I get this error when trying to boot to XP:
\NTLDR
0xc000007b
Can't load this entry because of missing or damaged application.
 
Last edited:

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
You chose the wrong entry type. NTLDR is for XP/NT. For Windows 7 you need to select the Windows Vista (Longhorn) entry type.
 
#3
Uhh, I wasn't clear enough - I was trying to add XP entry on Win7 drive. On the XP drive I did try adding Win7 entry as Vista/Longhorn type but it did not work as I described above.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
#5
That's exactly what I did.

I think the problem is with my Frankenstein setup - I have ntldr copied from Vista drive to my XP drive, and for some reason, can't remember why, I have boot.ini only as a backed up file (windows boots from its folder instead of using boot.ini file).

I'm kinda hesitant towards restoring the original boot files for XP since this setup is working as it is and I'm a bit worried about my ability to screw things up, so I don't really want to play with it at least as long as I'm moving stuff to new system.

Tho I'm not sure why adding Win7 entry into this bootloader doesn't work.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
Don't know why.
It should work either way, booting W7 from Vista or vv, but a number of people have reported here that W7 from Vista won't work for them but Vista from W7 does.
It's nothing to do with EasyBCD (it creates the correct entries either way round), but a strange intermittent quirk of the OS as far as we can tell.
There is also another on/off problem with Easy2 build 63 auto-configuring XP, if the boot partition is unlettered. It's being investigated, but the workaround is to letter the W7 "secret" boot partition.
 
#7
Hmm...

I did assign a drive letter to W7 boot partition but XP autoconfig did not work in the end - like I said, probably because of my strange boot setup on XP drive.

Anyways, I noted down the error I get when trying to boot to Win7 from entry added on XP drive, it's in Polish so this will be a rough translation:

File: Windows\system32\winload.exe
Error: 0xc0000428

Windows can't verify the digital signature of this file.
Tip above the error message says about going to advanced boot options to boot ignoring the "unsigned file" stop but I am greeted with the same error message after pressing F8.


I was wondering - maybe replacing ntloader and boot files with the ones from Win7 boot drive would help? But I'm not sure if I would be able to setup XP boot correctly then, which I can't risk atm.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
That's the error I was talking about.
Vista sees W7 bootloader as unsigned, though it's perfectly genuine. (Didn't happen to me, but you're by no means the first on here to experience the same)
Boot from W7 though, and it sees its own boot loader as genuine and Vista's too. The only workaround we know is to boot from the W7 BCD, not Vista's.

Some things in your earlier posts don't add up.
You said you copied NTLDR from Vista to XP, but there is no NTLDR on Vista, it's the XP boot manager/loader and XP would never have worked at all without it.
Why don't you post a screenshot of your disk management so we can see where everything is, and paste the ouput from EasyBCD "display settings" in debug mode.
I've a suspicion your XP/Vista dual boot was not working in quite the way you think it was.
 
Last edited:
#9
So replacing the Vista bootloader files with Win7 ones should help for the "unsigned" error?

In that case, would restoring boot settings from backup work? I mean I'd like to make a backup of current setup, replace Vista bootloader files with Win7 bootloader files and restore the backup to bring back the previous setup. Would that be possbile?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
I wouldn't recommend swapping the winload .exe modules. I've no ideas what other changes there are between the two. Try it if you like but don't let the Vista versions get overwritten (rename them first to protect them if you need to reverse the procedure.)
The recommended workaround is to boot from W7 and get the BCD entries for the other 2 systems correct. We can help you do that with a bit more info.
 
#11
No, I don't mean winload.exe, I mean the BOOT folder and ntldr, bootmgr, ntdetect.com files.

I had those copied from Vista drive to XP drive in order to use Vista bootloader to load both XP and Vista from the XP drive.

I hope I make sense now, lol.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
That's why I asked for the extra info. You don't copy those from Vista to XP. They're XP files that need to be copied to Vista when you want to boot XP from Vista.
That all gets done automatically by EasyBCD 2.0.
 
#13
OK, I'm completely lost now, lol. Sorry to be such a pain in the arse with my questions.
This is my current setup: http://ixolite.info/temp2/drivesnboot.png
I noted what boot options do I get by setting each drive as a boot drive in BIOS, I can also take other drives out, leaving just the drive I want to boot.

So, I do have Vista boot manager on XP drive, and unless I totally forgot what I did, I did copy Vista boot manager files to XP drive in order to replace the original XP boot manager with vista boot manager.

I did not touch Vista boot manager on Vista drive (tho I might have copied some stuff there while, but I don't have that set up to boot XP from Vista drive) and I did not touch Windows 7 boot manager, apart from trying to add XP entry to it.

Now let us forget about Vista, as I'm going to format that drive soon anyway.

I'm left with XP drive, that has Vista boot manager set up on it and Win7 drive that has Windows 7 boot manager. So far I was unable to set neither Windows 7 boot manager to boot XP nor Vista boot manager to boot Windows 7.


Again, sorry to be so much of a pain x)
 
Last edited:

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#14
Ok. If i read Polish correctly, that screenshot was taken with W7 booted. Can you copy/paste the text from EasyBCD "display settings" (debug mode) from W7 so I can see what's happening with the attempt to multi-boot from 7.
Incidentally, It would be most helpful if you could contribute to this thread too.
 
#15
This is what I have without XP entry:

Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device partition=X:
description Windows Boot Manager
locale pl-PL
inherit {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
default {1cd95e87-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
resumeobject {1cd95e86-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
displayorder {1cd95e87-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
toolsdisplayorder {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout 10

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {1cd95e87-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
device partition=C:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Windows 7
locale pl-PL
inherit {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
osdevice partition=C:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {1cd95e86-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
nx OptIn
detecthal Yes
I also noticed that bootgrabber.exe hangs while adding the XP entry, this somehow skipped my attention last time.

This is after adding the XP entry with automatic settings:

Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device partition=X:
description Windows Boot Manager
locale pl-PL
inherit {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
default {1cd95e87-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
resumeobject {1cd95e86-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
displayorder {1cd95e87-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
{1cd95e8c-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
toolsdisplayorder {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout 10

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {1cd95e87-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
device partition=C:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Windows 7
locale pl-PL
inherit {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
osdevice partition=C:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {1cd95e86-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
nx OptIn
detecthal Yes

Real-mode Boot Sector
---------------------
identifier {1cd95e8c-8ed8-11de-bb09-f02943113136}
device partition=X:
path \NTLDR
description Microsoft Windows XP
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#16
Ok If the auto-configure is failing because of a bootgrabber hang, that's a bug to be brought to Guru's attention.
To workaround we'll need to go back to the old fashioned ways and do it manually.
Copy NTLDR, ntdetect.com and boot.ini from the XP root into X:\ and edit the X:\boot.ini to change rdisk(0) to rdisk(1) on both lines where it appears.
 
#17
ARGH, stupid me :frowning: Only thing I was missing all the time was proper boot.ini file. I feel so silly right now. :glare: I changed the rdisk value as you said and it is working now, thank you.

Could you just explain me one thing: why does it have to be set to rdisk(1) instead of rdisk(0)?

I am probably confusing some things again, but Win7 drive is currently the second drive while XP drive is the first drive, at least according to disk managment.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#18
Boot.ini gets its information from the BIOS, not from Vista disk management.
The latter has a well known bug (or series of) one of which displays IDE drives before SATA regardless of the boot sequence.
In boot.ini rdisk(0) is always the boot disk (1st in the BIOS), so the version on the XP drive says rdisk(0) which is correct when you boot it directly, but the copy on Vista or W7 has to point back to the XP drive which wil be either (1) or (2).
If (1) hadn't worked I'd have told you to try (2)
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#20
When boot grabber hangs, can you please start the task manager, right-click on BootGrabber, and select "Create Dump File"

If you could get that file to me, I should be able to fix the hang :smile:

If the file is too big to zip & attach to a reply to this thread, drop me an email at ComputerGuru@NeoSmart.net and we'll work something else out.

Thanks!!!