EasyBCD unexpected behavior when dealing with multiple hard drives.

#1
My full experiences are listed in this thread: (http://neosmart.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2692)

But, here I'll just post a summary of the major issues. I had a two-hard drive setup (one PATA one SATA), with the SATA drive to be the Vista drive and the PATA drive to be the XP drive. I wanted to put BCD on the XP drive so that I could have a boot menu when booting XP from the BIOS (I wanted this so that I could consequently not have a boot menu when booting the Vista drive from the BIOS.... thereby giving me a direct-boot option):

First off: Either 1) this guide (http://neosmart.net/blog/2007/how-to...ws-xp-machine/) wasn't correctly written, or 2) there's a bug with EasyBCD. After following the steps carefully and repeatedly trying different ways to reset the BCD store and reinstall the Vista bootloader, I couldn't get a BCD boot menu. I eventually found out that the bootmgr wasn't being put on my XP disk, which would be the cause for the BCD menu not showing up. There's absolutely no reason why the bootmgr shouldn't have been placed on my XP disk after following the guide.

The second issue was the inability of EasyBCD to 'save' the B: drive letter to a different drive unless it was above the C: drive in the drive ordering when booting from the XP drive into Vista. i.e. Vista is C: XP is B: I'd select "B:" in the change settings button for XP, however it would immediately revert back to C: after saying it successfully completed the operation. This happened repeatedly, and the only way to fix it was to put the XP drive above the Vista drive in the drive ordering.

The final issue seemed to be more of a GUI issue than anything. Switching back and forth between drives under "Entry-based settings" in the "Change Settings" button of EasyBCD will eventually cause EasyBCD to innaccurately display the drive letters assigned to an OS, even though nothing has been changed or saved (if you leave the button and come back, it's normal again). It's a small, perhaps insignificant bug, but a bug nonetheless.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
For troubleshooting purposes in regards to EasyBCD, which version are you using? We occasionaly get a few users that epxerience problems because they are using older versions that have been fixed in newer builds.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#4
As i stated in that thread. This is not a EasyBCD issue. This is your personal setup that caused this issue.

You want to have dual bootloaders. Which is where the problem comes in. To have it auto boot to Vista directly when you power on is fine. But to have it give you teh BCD menu when you hit F12 and have the BCD there is what is causing this confusion.

If you would just have 1 bootloader there would be no issues at all with EasyBCD using multiple drives. I haev done it with 3 hard drives. 1 more than you and i had no issues getting it to work.

This is not a problem with EasyBCD. This is a problem with trying to have 2 bootloaders working at the same time. Both of them being BCD.
 
#5
As i stated in that thread. This is not a EasyBCD issue. This is your personal setup that caused this issue.
And you clearly didn't read my response to in that thread. I'll have to repost it I guess:


Originally Posted by Makaveli213

Having the system boot directly to Vista unless you hit a button and have that bring up a boot loader menu controlled by BCD is not a common setup. It is not even something that was thought of.

Well, actually, that's not the setup I have (although that would be even better if it were possible). The way it works now (and it does work now, as it did before) is that when I boot the XP drive first in the BIOS, there is a BCD menu, and when I boot from the Vista drive first, there isn't. Both drives use BCD. All this requires is there to be a separate BCD store on each drive, with the MBR of each drive pointing to its own bootmgr. This does work natively (without EasyBCD), and in the future I probably wouldn't have a need for easyBCD.



I had EasyBCD working across 3 different hard drives with no issues.

While that may be true for you, that doesn't mean it "doesn't have any issues." Anyone who knows anything about program development knows that just because it works for input set x doesn't mean it works for all input sets. Regardless of whether or not BCD was designed to be put on separate drives (and I DO believe the developers of BCD designed it with enough modularity in mind so that this would work fine... as evidenced by how my setup was working fine beforehand), the fact is that a couple elements of the EasyBCD program (not the BCD system itself) seem to have unexpected behavior when dealing with my setup. These issues, once resolved, are no longer imporant -- but they're still issues nonetheless.

The first of these issues was the inability of EasyBCD to 'save' the B: drive letter to a different drive unless it was above the C: drive in the drive ordering. This has absolutely nothing to do with BCD, nor with my "unique" setup -- it's an EasyBCD bug.

The second issue seemed to be more of a GUI issue than anything. Switching back and forth between drives in the "Change Settings" button of EasyBCD will eventually cause EasyBCD to innaccurately display the drive letters assigned to an OS, even though nothing has been changed or save (if you leave the button and come back, it's normal again). It's a small, perhaps insignificant bug, but a bug nonetheless.

And finally, the most important issue: Either 1) this guide (http://neosmart.net/blog/2007/how-to...ws-xp-machine/) wasn't correctly written, or 2) there's a bug with EasyBCD. The bootmgr wasn't put on my XP disk, which would have been necessary to do the things I wanted (which said could be done in the guide). There's absolutely no reason why the bootmgr shouldn't have been placed on my XP disk after following the guide.

If you take the stance "well these are small issues for an unsupported method," I don't buy that because the description for EasyBCD says that it can do "just about anything" -- having shaky behavior when dealing with separate BCD stores on separate hard drives to me doesn't seem like "just about anything."


To sum up, this IS an EasyBCD issue -- why? Because it's NOT a BCD issue. Mathematically speaking, if it's not a BCD issue, and there's a problem with it in EasyBCD, it HAS to be an EasyBCD issue. End of story.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#6
You can say what you want. But the fact is this. EasyBCD saves to the C: Drive. This is known. IT is stated in our Wiki. The B drive on anything but a Vista machine is reserved for the Floppy/ZIP drive. Why do you think Every Windows installs itself as C:\?

If you say it is a EasyBCD issue then dont use EasyBCD and manually edit the BCD and get it working to show that it is a EasyBCD issue. Take EasyBCD out of the picture. You do NOT need EasyBCD to edit the BCD. So if you claim that it is EasyBCD remove it and get it working to show us that it is.

That is the END OF STORY.

You give us nothing. You just claim it is a EasyBCD issue cause you cant get it working any other way. You do not tell us how you manually went in and edited the BCD thru Vista and got it working to dual boot the way you want. You do not show us anything other than EasyBCD doesnt do what you want it to do. That is not the fault of the Application. It was designed with a specific function in mind and it isnt what you want so you just claim it to be faulty.

I want to run iLife on Vista but i cant. Is that the fault of Vista cause it cant run Mac Programs? No.

Show us that you manually edited the BCD. Show us those screenshots on how you edited the BCD without EasyBCD and that it worked.

As for the XP thing. The XP dual boot is set up so that the BOOT drive. Not the XP drive is the one that controls how it boots. AGAIN your system is setup to DUAL BOOT. So that guide works for everyone BUT you cause YOU are working with a different situation than the rest of us. YOU are the one who is not working within the normal parameters of how EasyBCD and the BCD function.

I have used these guides. I have helped with testing all this stuff. It WORKS but only if you use it correctly!

Trying to make a dual boot system act like a single boot system in certain situations and dual boot in others is not normal parameters. You are the one working outside the limits here not us.

So i have said it before i will say it again. You claim it to be EasyBCD. Fine take that out of your equation. Manually edit the BCD and show us that it works that way. Then i will accept your claim about EasyBCD being at fault. Till you show me that you can manually edit the BCD to make it do this the way you want i will still claim that YOU are the one outside normal parameters.
 
#7
If you say it is a EasyBCD issue then dont use EasyBCD and manually edit the BCD and get it working to show that it is a EasyBCD issue. Take EasyBCD out of the picture. You do NOT need EasyBCD to edit the BCD. So if you claim that it is EasyBCD remove it and get it working to show us that it is.
As I already said earlier, I don't need EasyBCD to do the things I'm talking about. And as such, when editing the BCD, the things that I'm talking about DON'T happen. Think about it. I'm not talking about EasyBCD simply not working. I'm talking about EasyBCD having a few bugs, which can be overcome. Running the command "Bcdedit /set {ntldr} device partition=\Device\HarddiskVolume1:" isn't just going to 'not' work (this is the equivalent of setting the XP drive to the B: drive in the EasyBCD GUI). It's either going to say "error" or it's going to work. It's not just going to do nothing -- i.e. keep a value of "C:" The things I'm talking about are GUI-related, they are the result of incorrect event handling.

Think about it: There's absolutely no way I could come up with a command from BCDedit that would simulate problem number 3 in my post. Why? Because nothing is actually being changed in what I'm doing in problem 3. All I'm doing there is viewing info on a GUI. It's the equivalent of hitting "BCDedit" on the commandline over and over again. I'll show you the screenshots of what happens when I do that -- it prints out the same thing every time. This is 100% GUI. This is 100% event handling.

Think about it: Problem 1 is exactly the same way: BCDedit works by assuming bootmgr is on the disk with which bcdedit is on. You can't run a command from BCDedit to put bootmgr on your disk. The only way I can get it on my disk is by actually manually copying it onto the disk. This was the job of EasyBCD to do, according to the guide I provided in my first post. EasyBCD didn't do it. That = bug.

Again, be mindful of what I'm claiming: I'm not claiming that EasyBCD does not work with multiple hard drive installs, or that it does not work with the specific setup I'm attempting. All I'm claiming is that there are some bugs. Showing you how to get this setup working is unrelated to the bugs themselves, and thus would have zero relevance toward them. Think about it.

But, regardless, I've already provided a method to get my setup working (in my earlier thread) without ANY EasyBCD or BCDedit at all. All you have to do is install the OSs in the correct order. Go find it, I wrote it in my earlier thread. It works 100% of the time. By mathematical reasoning, if you can create the setup with a simple correct OS install order, you can create the setup with BCDedit. And if you can do that, obviously you don't need EasyBCD.

Please read carefully what I've written.
 
Last edited:

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
PAX boys !
I like this forum, and help out when I can because it's the only place on the net I've found that's not riddled with increasingly bitter and escalatingly rude exchanges.
Let's all settle down and have a nice cyber-pint and relax.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#9
Everyone please calm down.

EasyBCD is just a piece of software, it's susceptible to bugs and issues like any other program.

Hannedog, I don't understand the problem you're having with regards to drive B: - at least, I can't see anything in the code that references before or after the Vista partition, etc.

At any rate, EasyBCD 2.0 is in the final stages of the beta process. Send me a PM with your email address and I'll send a copy your way - amongst other things it addresses the GUI issue which was a known bug caused by buggy multi-threading, and has since been addressed. Since it's been re-written from scratch under-the-hood, it may have fixed the B: drive issue that you're referring to as well, inadvertently.

As for your very first issue: EasyBCD will install the Vista bootloader to the drive that Vista tells it is the first & primary boot drive. In certain cases, Vista will incorrectly detect this (usually in mixed SATA/IDE environments) - if that's the case, there's nothing that EasyBCD can do since we're trusting Vista to give us the facts.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#10
I am calm. :grinning:

I just dont see how this is specific to EasyBCD when no steps were taken to show that it can be done via manual edit of the BCD. That shows me that the user is relying on EasyBCD to do something that maybe it wasnt intended to do.

If tests were done where a manual edit of teh BCD allowed for the configuration to work but EasyBCD couldnt do it then i would accept that EasyBCD wsa the culprit. But with no tests such as this done i dont see how putting the blame on a piece of software solves the issue.

To me that is like blaming Vista for a driver failure. That is why i reacted the way i did. It isnt anything personal. I am sorry if it seems that i was a bit upset or hasty in my replies. I jsut dont see how it is the fault of EasyBCD when no proof or evidence was shown that it can be accomplished any other way.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#11
It's OK - it's good to be flexible and understanding from all sides. Perhaps Hannedog is attempting to do something that EasyBCD isn't intended to do, but then again, I do that every day with a dozen different programs.

If constructive criticism and many failures and bug reports can lead to a better, more hackable, uber-powerful EasyBCD.. I'm all for it :smile:
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#12
I just sent a PM with my apologies to Hannedog. To me it seems as if the attempt is being made to do soemthign that EasyBCD isnt designed to do which is why i got so defensive right away.

If anything this will help to be able to make EasyBCD soemthign better to be able to accomplish such tasks as this for other users who wish to boot this way.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#13
Well, the way I see it, I see where hannedog is coming from.... I mean who are we to demand someone to do it OUR way just because we think it is the right way?

But then again... this is a support medium. As such, the user who is having problems doesn't haft to follow everything someone suggested. It is up to them to decide what to do with the information provided to best meet thier own needs.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#14
It is not that i am demanding him to do it our way. But the software can only do what it is programmed to do. Which jsut happens to be "our" way. We can not force it to do it any other way cause it is not programmed to do that.

It is just like my situation with the iLife software on Vista. iLife isnt programmed to work on Vista. I cant force it to. I cant expect it to. Because it cant.

You cant force EasyBCD to do something. You cant expect it to do something that it is not made to do. To sit there and say that it is buggy and at fault for the issue when clearly you are trying to do something beyond hte parameters of the scope of what it can that isnt right in any way.

I highly doubt that even manually editing the BCD in Vista would produce the results he wanted. But that is a totally different story that i dont want to force the issue on.

That is my point to this whole thing. You cant force software to do something it cant. That is just impossible.