Could Not Find Some Fairly Basic Information, Sorry.

jqp

New Member
#1
Hi hi hi!

Okay, so here's my situation.

I have XP installed in the machine. I decided to add both Win 8 and Win 10.

So I took the XP drive (an IDE drive, by the way) out of the box, put in a SATA drive, then installed Win 8.1, and then installed Win 10. And the Win 10 boot manager is working fine.

But now I want to put the XP drive back in the machine. I want to stress that XP is far more important to me than the two later Windows. If I put the XP drive back in the machine, will the Win 10 boot manager find it and give me the option to boot XP? Or will the boot manager just ignore XP?

(Parenthetically, what I need to state here, is that I could not find instructions on how to actually install EasyBCD. I found a very detailed explanation of how both the boot process works and how EasyBCD works, and I did some extensive reading about it, but I could not find actual instructions about how to install EasyBCD. And so I have some questions...)

Browsing through this forum, I read a post that stated that EasyBCD must be installed on the latest version of Windows that you want to run, as it won't see versions of Windows later than the version on which it's installed?

Fact?

So, if I install EascyBCD on XP, then it won't see either 8.1 or 10; if I install it under 8.1 then it will see XP but not 10, and if I install it under 10 it will see both 8.1 and XP.

Have I understood this correctly?

If I install it under 10, and then take that drive (with both Win 8.1 and Win 10 in it) out of the machine, will XP boot normally, or would I need to repair the MBR or something similar in order to enable it to boot?

I'm pretty sure that with EasyBCD installed under Win 10, that taking out the XP drive will not cause any problems for booting either 8.1 or 10.

At any rate, I'd be grateful for any help or insight into my situation, which is probably not too out-of-the-ordinary.

Thank you!

Ah, I perhaps should have mentioned that my system is set to boot, in BIOS (and it's BIOS and not UEFI) - it's set to boot from the XP PATA drive first, and then the Win 8.1/10 SATA drive second (even though at this point there is no PATA drive in the box.)
 
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jqp

New Member
#2
Well I guess I'm on my own here although possibly I am expecting an answer to arrive more quickly than feasible for reasons based on people and their responsibilities in the real world.


******************************************

Here's something which I noticed in Win 8.1 Disk Management:

Win 8.1 Disk Manager
--------------------
Disk 0 Partition 1: Win 10 (D: ), Healthy, System, Active, Primary Partition
Disk 0 Partition 2: Win 8.1 (C: ), Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition
Disk 0 Partition 3: Healthy logical drive, FAT32, (irrelevant to the matter at hand)

Now, I am going to boot into Win 10 and see what its Disk Manager has to say about this same roster of partitions.

And note that having smileys enabled by default is perhaps not the wisest configuration option for a board dealing with hard drives and partitions, where the character ":" (full colon) is in frequent use. I could not find the option to disable smileys in my post. : ((

BRB!

Back!

Here's what:

Win 10 Disk Manager
-------------------
Disk 0 Partition 1: Win 10 (C: ), Healthy, System, Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Active, Primary Partition
Disk 0 Partition 2: Win 8.1 (D: ), Healthy, Primary Partition
Disk 0 Partition 3: Healthy logical drive, FAT32, (irrelevant to the matter at hand)

So notice that C: and D: have been assigned to different partitions according to the OS booted, with the C: drive being each OS's bootable partition. The boot flag and the C: drive letter are assigned to the boot drive of each OS. This is exactly what we would expect.

However, the Crash Dump and Page File are different but I don't know enough to judge the importance of this situation.

***********************

Well, as noted in my previous post, I could not and still can't find any real installation instructions, so here's my plan:

1) Get something to eat. There's plenty of ice cream here, thank heavens!
2) Come back here and see if anyone has been able to authoritatively answer my posts.
3a) If someone has, then use that insight to configure my computer and resume doing stuff with it.
3b) If no one has answered my posts authoritatively, then I will proceed to 4.
4) Reboot the computer, and go into BIOS and set the Win10 / Win 8.1 drive as the first bootable hard drive.
5) Boot into Windows 10 and install EasyBCD. (I would prefer to install it under XP but installing it under the most recent OS might be an actual requirement. Not 100% sure, though. So, because I have 8.1, 10, and XP installed, I am compelled to install EasyBCD under Win 10.)
6) Reboot yet again to see if EasyBCD has found both Win 10 and Win 8.1, and, if necessary, to configure the EasyBCD menu.
7) Shut off the computer and connect the PATA IDE drive with XP on it.
8) Turn on the machine, go back into BIOS, and be sure that the Win 10 / Win 8.1 drive is still the first bootable hard drive.
9) Exit BIOS, reboot (i.e. reset) the machine, and see if EasyBCD finds the newly-connected XP drive, and make any changes as required.
10) If EasyBCD does not let me hide boot drives from each OS, then use Disk Manager in each OS to hide drives as required.

(I might decide to install the XP PATA IDE drive and then see if the Win 10 boot manager finds and configures it, though. This is kinda sorta my preferred plan. But I don't know if the Win 10 boot manager will find and configure XP, and I don't know if there are any risks involved in letting it attempt to do so. One problem which I see with EasyBCD is that it can't be run from a rescue disk of some sort, which in turn means that any problems must be repaired with the Win 10 installation disk, and then EasyBCD must be reinstalled.)

***********************

So that's my plan. I think it's a pretty good plan, but maybe it isn't. Dunno.
 
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mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#3
But now I want to put the XP drive back in the machine. I want to stress that XP is far more important to me than the two later Windows. If I put the XP drive back in the machine, will the Win 10 boot manager find it and give me the option to boot XP? Or will the boot manager just ignore XP?
Simply adding a drive to a system will never result in any of the bootloaders "picking up on" the presence of the new disk and adding it to the menu. This is why EasyBCD exists and where it would come in :smile:

(Parenthetically, what I need to state here, is that I could not find instructions on how to actually install EasyBCD. I found a very detailed explanation of how both the boot process works and how EasyBCD works, and I did some extensive reading about it, but I could not find actual instructions about how to install EasyBCD. And so I have some questions...)
Good point and actually something we're in the process of fixing. This hasn't been published and it's not final, but it should be enough to get you started:


Browsing through this forum, I read a post that stated that EasyBCD must be installed on the latest version of Windows that you want to run, as it won't see versions of Windows later than the version on which it's installed?

Fact?
Fiction :smile: EasyBCD can be installed on any OS on the machine and provided that all share a boot drive (i.e. you are not changing boot drives in the BIOS each time), it will automatically manage and allow you to configure dual-boots with *any* of the installed OS on your machine.

So, if I install EascyBCD on XP, then it won't see either 8.1 or 10; if I install it under 8.1 then it will see XP but not 10, and if I install it under 10 it will see both 8.1 and XP.
As above, you can install it on any or all; they will share a configuration and pick up on changes from one another.

If I install it under 10, and then take that drive (with both Win 8.1 and Win 10 in it) out of the machine, will XP boot normally, or would I need to repair the MBR or something similar in order to enable it to boot?
The bootloader and the boot configuration database are stored on the boot drive. This has nothing to do with EasyBCD, it's the way your PC is set up. If your PC is booting now with Windows 10 that means that the boot drive is on the Windows 10 disk. Removing the disk (even w/ the other disk in) will likely leave your system unbootable unless you repair the XP MBR.

I'm pretty sure that with EasyBCD installed under Win 10, that taking out the XP drive will not cause any problems for booting either 8.1 or 10.
Correct, but again, not because EasyBCD is installed on the Windows 10 drive but because that's where your bootloader is.

Ah, I perhaps should have mentioned that my system is set to boot, in BIOS (and it's BIOS and not UEFI) - it's set to boot from the XP PATA drive first, and then the Win 8.1/10 SATA drive second (even though at this point there is no PATA drive in the box.)
In this case, if the XP drive has an active partition, the XP drive becomes the boot drive. My advice is to configure your PC to boot from the Windows 10 drive first (since that's the one that will always be there), then you can add or remove the XP drive as you like without breaking anything.

Bottom line: change boot order to 10 drive then XP drive, insert XP drive, PC will still boot into Windows 10. Install EasyBCD. Add XP entry in EasyBCD. Reboot and profit/enjoy.

Cheers!
 

jqp

New Member
#4
Thank you for the detailed reply, I greatly appreciate it!

For me, XP is far, far more important than 8.1 or 10; in fact I am only installing 8.1 for the sake of playing games, and 10 because it was free, and I got it in the hope that eventually it will be an OS that I will want to use i.e.with the telemetry removed. I can do all my real work on XP and that's my intention. (In fact, I have enough XP-compatible games to last me the rest of my life so there's no real necessity for me to run 8.1 or 10 at all.)

Let me outline please my new plan!

1) Put the XP PATA IDE drive back in the box, and remove the Win 10 / 8.1 SATA drive.
2) Go into BIOS to make sure that the XP PATA IDE drive is the first boot device.
3) Boot into XP and install EasyBCD.
4) Reboot the machine and boot XP so to be sure that it, as the only OS, will boot correctly.
5) Turn off machine, connect SATA drive with 8.1 and 10.
6) Go into BIOS and be sure that the XP PATA IDE drive with EasyBCD installed is still the first boot device.
7) When the machine boots, EasyBCD will open; add the two OS's on the SATA drive.
8) Test each OS entry in EasyBCD to be sure that all OS's will boot successfully.
9) And, hopefully, done! (Although I might need to go to each OS's disk manager and remove the drive letters from the other two OS's boot partition, so that they don't show up in Windows Explorer).

Is that a workable plan, do you think?

And thanks in advance!
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#5
No.
You must boot from the disk containing the latest version of Windows (W10 in your case) and add entries to its BCD for the other system(s) which it doesn't yet know about.
Add an XP entry and let EasyBCD auto-configure.
It will locate XP and create all the file copies and create all the necesssary chaining to get XP multi-booting.
You are getting confused between the Microsoft bootmgr and EasyBCD.
The latter is a tool to help you manage the former.
Bootmgr is booting your OS. EasyBCD has nothing at all to do with the boot process during the boot.
It just makes changes on a running OS which will come into effect next time you boot.
It's bootmgr which cannot boot a newer Windows from an older, nothing to do with EasyBCD, which works anywhere on anything.