Disk Image Restore Advice


Please bear with me. This post might be a bit long.

I run a dual boot; XP Pro SP3 and WIN 7 X64. XP was installed first and some time ago. Both XP and WIn 7 are installed on separate HDDs. BIOS boot order is the XP drive, then the WIN 7 drive. I have multiple image backups of XP on a third separate internal HDD. All were taken prior to the install of WIN 7.

I installed WIN 7 a couple of weeks. All went fine and it appeared the XP? bootloader was updated to show the WIN 7 installation. XP showed as "previous version of Windows" etc. I used BCDEdit in WIN 7 to just change the "previous ..." entry to "Windows XP Professional."

All was fine for almost two weeks until I "borked" my XP installation. So I thought no problem, I will just do an image restore. Did not even consider the dual boot implications. To make matters worse, I though should not only install the XP partition but I should also restore first track of the HDD!

Of course after the restore, all I could do was boot into XP. I downloaded EasyBCD 2.0.2, installed, and proceeded to try every recommended EasyBCD method to recover the dual boot and nothing worked. I was finally able to rebuild the WIN 7 bootloader using my WIN 7 XP CD and doing the repair option, then repair startup files. At that point, I was able to boot into WIN 7. I Then installed EasyBCD and added WIN XP and all is fine.

I did notice that a boot directory and WIN7 boot files exist on the XP installation. Is this the way things should be?

How can I eliminate this mess if I have to again restore an XP image that was taken prior to the WIN 7 current bootloader setup? Should I backup all my XP files; boot.ini, ntdetect.com, and all the WIN 7 bootloader files plus the boot folder to external media? Then reload all the above after I restore the XP image? Should I only restore the XP partition image and not the track 1 image?

Finally if I restore any of my WIN 7 images taken prior to my above rebuilding of the WIN 7 bootloader will I run into any problems?
When you install a new version of Windows with another version already present, the MS architecture is to add the boot information for the new OS into the existing "system" partition.
Even when the new system is W7 and replaces the XP NTLDR boot with the newer bootmgr, it will still place the W7 boot folder and bootmgr into the "system" partition (XP).
This is because bootmgr expects to find all the legacy boot files in the same partition as itself, so it puts itself in with them.
If it were to put the boot files in the W7 partition, it wouldn't be able to locate XP.

EasyBCD 2 is more intelligent.
If you use BCD backup/Repair > Change boot drive and point it to W7, it will copy the W7 boot files for you.
Then change the BIOS to boot from the W7 HDD.
When you're in W7 (disk management will now show W7 as active/system/boot), you can add an XP entry (auto mode) and EasyBCD will locate XP and make copies of its boot files in the W7 partition.
Future restores of XP won't affect the boot.
If you restore an old W7 image (with no boot files) it obviously will. Best take a new image complete with your new files.
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Thanks. I read what you posted and thought about it for quite a while.

Presently my WIN 7 backup images are more important to be. So I am just going to keep my configuration as is. The likelihood of doing another XP image restore is low and at least I will know what to do in the case I have to restore one of those XP backup images.