Using EasyBCD to dual boot Windows XP and Linux

I am already using EasyBCD successfully on my current laptop. It had Win7 installed from new. After partitioning the drive appropriately, I installed Linux Mint..... Linux Lite..... and PCLinuxOS each into separate partitions, with each Linux OS's "grub" installed in the same partition as its' parent OS. Thanks to EasyBCD I have a multi-boot system which works well.

I would now like to try setting up dual-boot on an old laptop which has Windows XP installed.

I know that it's possible, using EasyBCD, to add XP as dual boot into a computer which is already running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10. EasyBCD works well with the 'new' Win7 and later bootloader (bootmgr).

My question is: does EasyBCD work satisfactorily with the 'old' Windows XP bootloader/MBR ..... which I understand is different from the more recent Windows OS bootloaders?

Ideally I would like to have EasyBCD on my WinXP laptop, install Linux Mint (with its Grub) on its own separate partition, and then use EasyBCD to boot up into either the original XP, or into Mint. But searching online forums suggests that this may not work: a post at dual booting issues - EasyBCD, WinXP, and Linux - [Solved] - Systems describes how someone tried this but ran into problems.

Any advice or comments would be welcome. Of course I am aware that I could install Mint alongside XP and allow the default arrangement whereby the Linux Mint Grub overwrites/replaces the Windows XP MBR. But I'd prefer to retain the MBR and use EasyBCD to boot into Linux Mint, if in fact that is a feasible option.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
EasyBCD, as the name implies, manages the contents of the BCD.
XP has no BCD.
The BCD is longhorn's (Vista/7/8/8.1/10) repository of location information, used by "bootmgr"
In XP "boot.ini" is the logical equivalent of the BCD, and NTLDR is both the boor manager and loader.
There is nothing for EasyBCD to manage on an XP-only Windows device.
People have "imported" the longhorn boot files into XP to achieve your intented result, (and indeed EasyBCD v1 even automated the process, but stiffly worded correspondence from Microsoft with mention of anti-piracy legal procedings, soon had that function removed.)
In short, there is no legal (MS approved) way of doing what you want.
Your final para, is the best option.
Thanks Terry. I think you were aware from the way I posed the question that I was half-expecting the answer you gave! I am not expert enough to understand the nuances of BCD v NTLDR v "boot.ini", but I had grasped that Win7, 8 and 10 used a different way of loading to that of XP.

It's only marginally relevant - but my uncertainty arose in part because various parts of the NeoSmart Wiki and FAQs suggest that EasyBCD works with XP. This isn't quite the whole picture. EasyBCD can work with XP in one direction only: if you want to add XP to an existing Win7, 8 or 10 system. But - as you say - it doesn't work the other way round: ie if you want to dual boot something else (a later Win OS, or Linux....) on an XP system.

A pity.... but such is life. I'll go the other route and hope that when I install Mint alongside XP, its Grub successfully sees and boots XP as well. I have seen some worrying forum comment which says this isn't guaranteed.....and the worst of all outcomes would be to install Mint, lose the WinXP MBR, and then find that Grub can't boot WinXP!


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
It's a long time since I booted via grub, but for many years I used grub4dos to quad boot Ubuntu, XP, Vista and XP.
That was based on legacy grub, not grub2, but there shouldn't be any problem I'm aware of to prevent you doing what you want.