Black screen with "Boot error" on attempted Win7/syslinux setup

This is somewhat of a dual post, as I'm not sure where my issue lies yet. I have successfully used what I attempted to recreate below for at least a year, so I'm not sure why I can't get it working on this newly issued work computer.

The details are all on a post I created recently on the Arch linux forums here. For the quick summary, here's my partition setup:

- 1: SYSTEM (my computer came that way)
- 2: Win7 (C: )
- 3: Dedicated /boot partition (using full disk enryption with dm-crypt)
- 4: Arch linux install

I installed Arch, and used syslinux for the bootloader (to /dev/sda3, or "Partition 3" in EasyBCD lingo). Here are the EasyBCD menu entries:

Default: win7
Timeout: 30 seconds
EasyBCD Boot Device: C:\

Entry #1
Name: win7
BCD ID: {current}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \windows\system32\winload.exe

Entry #2
Name: arch
BCD ID: {6eb4143d-0013-11e5-b3ed-cc3d82b9eefb}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \NST\nst_linux.mbr

I used the partition size (128mb) to confirm I was picking the right partition from EasyBCD (Partition 3: Linux 128MiB). When I boot, I get a lone black screen with only the words "Boot error." I can't figure out if this is coming from syslinux or Windows. If I press a key, it takes me to some sort of other boot process, which I believe is BIOS based (not linux or EasyBCD). It tries to PXE boot, fails to find a network, tells me to install an operating system, blah, blah, blah. When I exit out of that, it reboots normally and I have the EasyBCD boot menu (win7 and arch), but I can only successfully boot into Windows.

Any way to troubleshoot? Many more details are in the arch thread with respect to bootloader settings, the output of fdisk, etc. Please feel free to ask for more information and I'll gladly provide it.

Update: I'm wondering if this is related to my computer's m2.SATA and/or the dedicated SYSTEM boot partition. Keep in mind that this is a work computer with full drive encryption, so I can't touch anything related to the MBR. In any case, I pressed a key at the "Boot error" screen and was greeted by "BootDevice not found (3f0)". When I google that, I get a lot of HP related posts (this is on an HP Zbook 15), and many of them are written due to users trying to install an SSD [mSATA] drive.

Is this something to do with device naming, mSATA, or possibly the use of a dedicated SYSTEM partition for Windows boot? I'm wondering about EasyBCD's setting of my arch linux boot option in the menu, which lists the drive as "C:". Should it be C:, or should it be something else?

Another update -- after a bunch of trial and error, I was able to boot my sdd drive's Arch installation from the USB installation media stick. There's a "boot existing OS" option in the boot menu, and trying various combinations of "hdx y" finally got me in.

So, I have a working Arch installation sitting on my drive, but currently no way to boot it natively.

Knowing this, can any EasyBCD experts chime in on how I might troubleshoot further? Here's the details from EasyBCD as it's currently setup:

Arch bootloader installation
# pacman -S syslinux
# cp -r /usr/lib/syslinux/bios/*.c32 /boot/syslinux/
# extlinux -i /boot/syslinux
/boot/syslinux is device /dev/sda3

# cat /boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg
LABEL arch
LINUX ../vmlinuz-linux
APPEND root=/dev/sda3 rw
INITRD ../initramfs-linux.img

Add new entry method
Type: SysLinux
Name: arch
Drive: Partition 3 (Linux - 154 GiB)

View settings (detailed mode)
Windows Boot Manager
identifier {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device partition=\Device\HarddiskVolume1
locale en-US
inherit {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
default {c109ab83-d5f8-44b4-855f-04fac743d822}
displayorder {c109ab83-d5f8-44b4-855f-04fac743d822}
toolsdisplayorder {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout 30
displaybootmenu Yes

Windows Boot Loader
identifier {c109ab83-d5f8-44b4-855f-04fac743d822}
device partition=C:
path \windows\system32\winload.exe
description win7
locale en-US
inherit {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
recoverysequence {6eb41435-0013-11e5-b3ed-cc3d82b9eefb}
recoveryenabled Yes
isolatedcontext Yes
osdevice partition=C:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {1cf70ed0-0013-11e5-9500-806e6f6e6963}
nx OptIn
bootmenupolicy Standard

Real-mode Boot Sector
identifier {6eb4143f-0013-11e5-b3ed-cc3d82b9eefb}
device partition=C:
path \NST\nst_linux.mbr
description arch
locale en-US

Not sure what else to try. Two other things that have been unsuccessful (same "Boot error" message):
- dd'd 512 bytes from /dev/sda3 and replaced nst_linux.mbr with it
- Under "Advanced settings," changed the drive for my arch entry from C: to BOOT

What else could I do/where could I look for the issue?

3 posts merged to make thread appear unanswered again - Moderator
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