Dual boot from two hard drives when EITHER one present OR both at the same time in PC

#1
Slaam,

I want to keep this simple so here goes...

I have two drives, one IDE and one SATA. Now, I want to install XP on the IDE drive and Windows 7 on the SATA drive. However, my goal is that I want to be able to successfully boot into windows in the following cases:

1) Boot into XP when only IDE drive is present in the PC
2) Boot into Windows 7 when only the SATA drive is present in the PC
3) Have an option to boot into either XP or Windows 7 when both drives are present in the PC and the same time (regardless of whether I boot from the XP drive or the win& drive.)

I am aware that if one of the drives is not present in the computer, then I will get an error of some sort if I try to boot into it from the OS options menu, but that doesn't bother me too much. As long as I can fulfill the 3 goals I listed above, I am happy.

I also made a very small FAT32 boot partition (100MB) on both of the drives where I'd like to keep the boot files, and installed the operating systems on the second partition of each drive.

I installed XP first on the IDE drive and then Windows 7 on the SATA drive. I tried fixing the boot manager with EasyBCD but couldn't boot into XP. This took me hours so in the end, I decided to installed XP again, this time with the SATA drive disconnected.

I did recovery using Windows 7 DVD, but was unable to boot into Windows 7 or XP. I've played around with the priorities in BIOS for the two hard drives, nothing worked. I installed recovery console and used the fixboot and fixmgr commands.

After nearly 24 hours of non-stop playing around and reinstalling, this is what I have finally managed to achieve:

I get a boot menu for operating systems like this:

Windows 7 [works]
Windows XP [I get another boot menu, see below *]
Recovery Console for XP [works]

* As pointed above, when I try to boot into Windows XP, I get another boot menu like this:

Windows 7 [I get a black screen with no error message and hangs if I select this]
Windows XP [works]
Recovery Console for XP [works]

This occurres whether I boot from the XP drive or Win7 drive from the BIOS. My goals is nearly acomplished. However, I'd like to get rid of the extra boot menu and also be able to boot into XP from the first menu. If I have to keep both menus (since I've read that this is a microsoft problem), then I'd like to be able to boot into Windows 7 as well from the second menu, without the black screen and a hang.

Here is what my final bootloader looks like in the detailed debug mode:

Code:
Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier              {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device                  partition=K:
description             Windows Boot Manager
locale                  en-us
inherit                 {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
default                 {adf1e587-cdc7-11de-b6a0-0023540ab4bb}
resumeobject            {adf1e586-cdc7-11de-b6a0-0023540ab4bb}
displayorder            {adf1e587-cdc7-11de-b6a0-0023540ab4bb}
                        {adf1e588-cdc7-11de-b6a0-0023540ab4bb}
toolsdisplayorder       {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout                 5

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier              {adf1e587-cdc7-11de-b6a0-0023540ab4bb}
device                  partition=C:
path                    \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description             Windows 7 Ultimate
locale                  en-us
inherit                 {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
osdevice                partition=C:
systemroot              \Windows
resumeobject            {adf1e586-cdc7-11de-b6a0-0023540ab4bb}
nx                      OptIn
detecthal               Yes

Real-mode Boot Sector
---------------------
identifier              {adf1e588-cdc7-11de-b6a0-0023540ab4bb}
device                  partition=K:
path                    \NTLDR
description             Windows XP Professional

Addendum:

I don't know why, but sometimes the second boot menu becomes like this:

Windows 7
Windows XP
Recovery Console for XP
Windows (default)

which is frozen and reset the computer after 1 second.


Also, I forgot to paste the bootloader as seen from windows XP:

Code:
Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier              {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device                  partition=I:
path                    \bootmgr
description             Windows Boot Manager
locale                  en-US
default                 {ebf8660b-ce0c-11de-8a7d-819e2405e231}
displayorder            {ebf8660b-ce0c-11de-8a7d-819e2405e231}
                        {ebf8660e-ce0c-11de-8a7d-819e2405e231}
timeout                 5

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier              {ebf8660b-ce0c-11de-8a7d-819e2405e231}
device                  partition=X:
path                    \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description             Windows 7 Ultimate
locale                  en-US
recoverysequence        {ebf8660c-ce0c-11de-8a7d-819e2405e231}
recoveryenabled         Yes
osdevice                partition=X:
systemroot              \Windows
resumeobject            {8f6a48ed-cdcb-11de-adac-806e6f6e6963}

Real-mode Boot Sector
---------------------
identifier              {ebf8660e-ce0c-11de-8a7d-819e2405e231}
device                  partition=I:
path                    \NTLDR
description             Windows XP Professional
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi conq, welcome to NST.
The second boot menu is NTLDR's. You see it because you have 2 XP entries in boot.ini.
This is MS design (you can't have 2 XP entries in the BCD)
NTLDR will not boot Vista/W7. It's not forward compatible. Remove the W7 entry from boot.ini.
When you mix XP and later systems in a dual boot, XP will destroy the restore points of the V/W7 systems unless you take steps to prevent it from seeing them.
This can normally be accomplished with a registry hack in XP, but for users (like me) for whom it doesn't work, NeoSmart provides HnS. It uses a custom version of Grub4Dos as the boot manager, which can be user-customized even further in the way I describe here.
It could be used to do what you want, or you could make copies of the W7 boot files on XP and use the W7 bootloader to dual-boot whichever HDD is 1st in the boot sequence, but there's no way you'll get the XP NTLDR to boot W7.
 
#3
I have two drives, one IDE and one SATA. Now, I want to install XP on the IDE drive and Windows 7 on the SATA drive. However, my goal is that I want to be able to successfully boot into windows in the following cases:

1) Boot into XP when only IDE drive is present in the PC
2) Boot into Windows 7 when only the SATA drive is present in the PC
3) Have an option to boot into either XP or Windows 7 when both drives are present in the PC and the same time (regardless of whether I boot from the XP drive or the win& drive.)
To do what you want, install XP on the IDE drive with the other drive disconnected. Next, disconnect the IDE drive, plug the W7 HDD back up, and install W7 on it. Now plug the XP disk back in, boot W7, install [thread=642]EasyBCD 2.0[/thread], run, and add an XP entry to the W7 BCD, letting it auto-configure. Then adjust the default entry to W7 under "Change Settings", and change the timeout to 5. Now shutdown, unplug the W7 disk, boot XP, install [thread=642]EasyBCD there as well[/thread] (first remembering to install .Net Framework), run it. You'll get a message saying it couldn't find the BCD, and asking if you want to point it manually at one. So do so, and point it at "Neosmart.bcd". Now, use EasyBCD's Diagnostic Center | Recreate the Boot files option, and then Manage Bootloader | Reinstall the Vista/7 Bootloader | Write MBR. Next, go to "Change Settings" and set the default entry to XP, and change the timeout to 5.
Now, before rebooting, add an XP entry to the BCD created on your XP disk, letting it auto-configure. Now power down again, plug the W7 disk back up, go into your BIOS, and make sure the XP disk is the first HDD in the boot sequence. Now boot into XP again, use EasyBCD again to add a W7 entry to the BCD, pointing it at the drive letter of the partition W7 is installed to, and you're done. :smile:

You'll now be able to boot into either one, no matter which HDD (or both) is plugged in, and if they're both plugged in, which one comes first in the BIOS. Also, the OS on the boot drive (drive 0) will boot by default too.So, if your Vista HDD is first in the boot sequence of the BIOS, Vista will boot, and if its XP that's first in the BIOS, XP will boot.
 
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#4
Hi conq, welcome to NST.
The second boot menu is NTLDR's. You see it because you have 2 XP entries in boot.ini.
This is MS design (you can't have 2 XP entries in the BCD)
NTLDR will not boot Vista/W7. It's not forward compatible. Remove the W7 entry from boot.ini.
Hi Terry,

As mentioned in my first post, I was getting the second menu like this:

Windows 7
Windows XP
Recovery Console for XP
Windows (default)

I removed the entry for Windows 7 (which was also set to default as well) from the boot.ini files on both drives. This removed the "Windows (default)" entry from the boot menu. However, I am still getting the second boot menu.

This is what is happening now:

Boot from W7 drive:

Windows 7 (works)
Windows XP (gives 2nd menu, see below *)
Recovery Console for XP (\CMLDR missing error)

* 2nd menu:
Windows XP (works)
Recovery Console for XP (\CMLDR missing error)


Boot from XP drive:

Windows 7 (works)
Windows XP (gives 2nd menu, see below *)
Recovery Console for XP (works)

* 2nd menu:
Windows XP (works)
Recovery Console for XP (works)

I am getting even more closer. Problem is only when I boot from W7 drive, although I can still get into XP from second menu but I'd like to fix the error for XP recovery console. Looks like bootloader can't find the correct location.


When you mix XP and later systems in a dual boot, XP will destroy the restore points of the V/W7 systems unless you take steps to prevent it from seeing them.
This can normally be accomplished with a registry hack in XP, but for users (like me) for whom it doesn't work, NeoSmart provides HnS. It uses a custom version of Grub4Dos as the boot manager, which can be user-customized even further in the way I describe here.
It could be used to do what you want, or you could make copies of the W7 boot files on XP and use the W7 bootloader to dual-boot whichever HDD is 1st in the boot sequence,
Thanks for info about missing restore points. I had noticed that they get deleted. Didn't know it was XP that was deleting them. I'll apply that fix too.

but there's no way you'll get the XP NTLDR to boot W7.
Yes that's, true but I could install Vista/W7 botloader on the XP drive too,c an't I using W7 bcd files and use easyBCD to configure?

Addendum:

To do what you want, install XP on the IDE drive with the other drive disconnected. Next, disconnect the IDE drive, plug the W7 HDD back up, and install W7 on it. Now plug the XP disk back in, boot W7, install [thread=642]EasyBCD 2.0[/thread], run, and add an XP entry to the W7 BCD, letting it auto-configure. Then adjust the default entry to W7 under "Change Settings", and change the timeout to 5. Now shutdown, unplug the W7 disk, boot XP, install [thread=642]EasyBCD there as well[/thread] (first remembering to install .Net Framework), run it. You'll get a message saying it couldn't find the BCD, and asking if you want to point it manually at one. So do so, and point it at "Neosmart.bcd". Now, use EasyBCD's Diagnostic Center | Recreate the Boot files option, and then Manage Bootloader | Reinstall the Vista/7 Bootloader | Write MBR. Next, go to "Change Settings" and set the default entry to XP, and change the timeout to 5.
Now, before rebooting, add an XP entry to the BCD created on your XP disk, letting it auto-configure. Now power down again, plug the W7 disk back up, go into your BIOS, and make sure the XP disk is the first HDD in the boot sequence. Now boot into XP again, use EasyBCD again to add a W7 entry to the BCD, pointing it at the drive letter of the partition W7 is installed to, and you're done. :smile:

You'll now be able to boot into either one, no matter which HDD (or both) is plugged in, and if they're both plugged in, which one comes first in the BIOS. Also, the OS on the boot drive (drive 0) will boot by default, no matter which HDD comes first in the BIOS.
Hi Coolname007, Thanks for your very detailed instructions. Unfortunately, I am at a stage where I cannot reinstall the operating systems, since I have spent hours installing programs and configuring settings. :frowning:

I will remember those steps for next time I ever want to dual boot again. Isn't there a way where I could completely erase every trace of the bootloader from every drive and partition on my PC and start from scratch without having to reinstall the operating systems? This is exactly what I had been trying to do for the past two days, erasing and adding until I have got to the stage where I am now.
 
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#5
I am getting even more closer. Problem is only when I boot from W7 drive, although I can still get into XP from second menu but I'd like to fix the error for XP recovery console. Looks like bootloader can't find the correct location.
Ok, so please post the contents of the boot.ini in the W7 drive, and the contents of the boot.ini in the XP drive (I need both). Chances are you'll need to adjust the rdisk() value in the W7 version, for the Recovery Console entry, to point at the correct HDD.
Yes that's, true but I could install Vista/W7 botloader on the XP drive too,c an't I using W7 bcd files and use easyBCD to configure?
Yes, and by the sound of it, you already did that, or you could never boot into W7 with the XP drive first in the boot sequence of the BIOS...

Addendum:

Addendum:

Hi Coolname007, Thanks for your very detailed instructions. Unfortunately, I am at a stage where I cannot reinstall the operating systems, since I have spent hours installing programs and configuring settings. :frowning:

I will remember those steps for next time I ever want to dual boot again. Isn't there a way where I could completely erase every trace of the bootloader from every drive and partition on my PC and start from scratch without having to reinstall the operating systems? This is exactly what I had been trying to do for the past two days, erasing and adding until I have got to the stage where I am now.
No need to do any of that now, really, since you've already achieved the exact same end result as my instructions were supposed to help you achieve. :brows:
All you need is a simple fix in the boot.ini of the W7 drive, and your system will be working perfectly fine (you'll just need to change the defaults, and set the timeout, of both BCDs, like I already mentioned, in order to get your system the way you want it).
 
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#6
Ok, so please post the contents of the boot.ini in the W7 drive, and the contents of the boot.ini in the XP drive (I need both). Chances are you'll need to adjust the rdisk() value in the W7 version, for the Recovery Console entry, to point at the correct HDD.
XP drive's boot.ini:

Code:
[boot loader]
timeout=5
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons
W7 drive's boot.ini

Code:
[boot loader]
timeout=5
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(2)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons
Both operating systems are installed on the second partition of their respective drive, with the first partition used for boot files.

Yes, and by the sound of it, you already did that, or you could never boot into W7 with the XP drive first in the boot sequence of the BIOS...
As a matter if fact, that's what I did!
 
#7
Ok, sorry. My bad.
Turns out the Recovery Console entries don't go by rdisk() and partition() values at all, like the normal XP entries do. Instead, they go by drive letters.

In that case, please post a screenshot of your W7 Disk Management.

EDIT: Or if you want to do this the quicker way, look in all your partitions, for the CMDCONS directory. It'll probably be the XP partition, but maybe not, if your first partition on that HDD contains the boot files...
Whichever partition it is that contains that directory, and the file named "BOOTSECT.DAT" in it, make a note of the drive letter of that partition (as seen from W7), and adjust the boot.ini in your W7 HDD, to point at that drive letter, instead of C.

Now your recovery console should work when booting from W7's HDD too.

Cheers.

Jake
 
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#8
Ok, sorry. My bad.
Turns out the Recovery Console entries don't go by rdisk() and partition() values at all, like the normal XP entries do. Instead, they go by drive letters.

In that case, please post a screenshot of your W7 Disk Management.

EDIT: Or if you want to do this the quicker way, look in all your partitions, for the CMDCONS directory. It'll probably be the XP partition, but maybe not, if your first partition on that HDD contains the boot files...
Whichever partition it is that contains that directory, and the file named "BOOTSECT.DAT" in it, make a note of the drive letter of that partition (as seen from W7), and adjust the boot.ini in your W7 HDD, to point at that drive letter, instead of C.

Now your recovery console should work when booting from W7's HDD too.

Cheers.

Jake

Hi jake, yes I knew what you were trying to get at. I will try what you suggested.

I've attached a screenshot anyway of Disk Management as seen in Windows 7.

I will report back if this works.
 

Attachments

#9
I found the cmdcons folder in boot partitions of both drives i.e. in the same place where boot.ini exists.

I changed the drive letter in boot.ini for cmdcons to be the same as the boot.ini partition.

So for windows 7 boot.ini, I change it to:
K:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

and for XP boot.ini, I changed it to:
I:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

However, this didn't fix the issue. In fact it caused a problem.

1) Recovery Console is missing from the first boot menu
2) It is present in the 2nd menu, however when I select it, PC hangs a bit and reboots.

Any ideas?
 
#10
Ok, you shouldn't have changed the XP boot.ini at all, since the Recovery Console works ok for that HDD. So you'll need to change it back to point at C. Note that the drive letters are dependent on the booted system, and have no bearing whatsoever on any other system, when that system is booted. So, even though, XP's boot partition probably had the I: drive letter from W7, when XP boots itself it probably calls its boot partition C.

The idea is to have each one pointed at the drive letter of the boot partition of the boot drive, when the primary system (i.e. XP in the case of the XP HDD being first in the boot sequence, or W7 in the case of the W7 HDD being first) is booted.

When you grabbed that screenshot, were you booting W7 with W7 first in the BIOS, or was XP first?

Could you also post a screenshot of XP's Disk Management, so I can see how things look from its perspective?

Addendum:

Try pointing the entry in your W7 copy of boot.ini at the I: partition, and leave the XP boot.ini pointing at C. Next, reboot with W7 still first in the boot sequence, and attempt to boot the recovery console. It just might work...:smile:
 
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#11
Ok, you shouldn't have changed the XP boot.ini at all, since the Recovery Console works ok for that HDD. So you'll need to change it back to point at C. Note that the drive letters are dependent on the booted system, and have no bearing whatsoever on any other system, when that system is booted. So, even though, XP's boot partition probably had the I: drive letter from W7, when XP boots itself it probably calls its boot partition C.

The idea is to have each one pointed at the drive letter of the boot partition of the boot drive, when the primary system (i.e. XP in the case of the XP HDD being first in the boot sequence, or W7 in the case of the W7 HDD being first) is booted.
Ah yeh I should have left the XP boot.ini since that was working. I will change the drive letter back to C:

As for the drive letters. I had manually changed them so that "I" drive is seen as "I" in both operating systems, and "K" is seen as "K" in both. (You maybe wondering why I didn't use I and J, it's because I had an external drive attached at that time which "J" as it's boot drive, but I took this drive out later.)

I think I need to select the drive of cmdcons folder which is on the XP drive only in both boot.ini as seen from their respective operating systems.


However, if you look at the boot.ini files I posted before I made the changes, XP is using letter C: even though C: does NOT have the cmdcons folder in it, whether I boot into XP or W7, from either drives.

So I think these letters are different from what we see in disk management.

It's like when we use recovery console in XP, vista or W7, we see the drive letters different from what we see them in the operating system.
 
#12
When you grabbed that screenshot, were you booting W7 with W7 first in the BIOS, or was XP first?

Could you also post a screenshot of XP's Disk Management, so I can see how things look from its perspective?

Addendum:

Try pointing the entry in your W7 copy of boot.ini at the I: partition, and leave the XP boot.ini pointing at C. Next, reboot with W7 still first in the boot sequence, and attempt to boot the recovery console. It just might work...:smile:
If you look at the filename of my screenshot, I had made a note where I was booting from. It was the W7 drive I booted from.

I also took a screenshot of Disk management when I booted from XP drive. I was going to post both of them, which is the reason I took a bit time to reply for that post, but I thought you only needed the W7 disk management like you said.

Here is the disk management as seen when booting from XP drive:


Edit: I will also try to get a screenshot when I am in XP if changing the boot.ini again doesn't work.
 

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#13
I think I need to select the drive of cmdcons folder which is on the XP drive only in both boot.ini as seen from their respective operating systems.
I think you're correct (the same thought just occurred to me), and I think you should change the drive letter of the W7 boot.ini to I: (the XP boot partition).

However, if you look at the boot.ini files I posted before I made the changes, XP is using letter C: even though C: does NOT have the cmdcons folder in it, whether I boot into XP or W7, from either drives.
Yeah...that's a bit of a problem isn't it? Except how did you change the XP boot partition's drive letter, since XP doesn't allow you to mess with the drive letter of a "system" partition...? :wink: What was it originally, before you changed it? Maybe it was C, and its using the old drive lettter.
So I think these letters are different from what we see in disk management.

It's like when we use recovery console in XP, vista or W7, we see the drive letters different from what we see them in the operating system.
You could be right...but I don't think so, because the whole idea of the drive letter in boot.ini is to POINT to the recovery console. The recovery console can't load until your NTLDR finds it (through the boot.ini line). So that makes me think its going by the XP drive letter rules when XP is first in the boot sequence, and its going by W7 drive letter rules when W7 is first.

Addendum:

Here is the disk management as seen when booting from XP drive:
Funny...:smile: That means when you have XP first in the boot sequence, you're using the copy of the recovery console on the W7 HDD. So the one that appears to be working is actually on the W7 HDD ! :brows:

EDIT: No, wait. Was that second screenshot from W7's Disk Management, or XP's, when booted from the XP disk?

Addendum:

Ok, obviously both sets of boot files are going by the drive letters as seen by NTLDR. I just don't know how NTLDR handles that... (i.e. whether it stores in its memory the drive letters as seen the first time it boots, and ALWAYS uses that set of drive letters, no matter whether its right or wrong according to the system its booting, or if it goes by the booted system's drive letters for reference each time it loads a system; it seems likely the latter is the case). So, say, XP is first in the BIOS, and you boot XP. That means its going by the drive letters as seen from XP. Those drive letters may or may not be the same when booted from either W7's disk or from XP's, I'm just not sure. If there's a difference there, it explains why you're having problems...

SO I think its fairly safe to say its going by XP's drive letter rules, in both cases (NOT W7's).

Which is why it would help to see a screenshot of XP Disk Management, while booted from the XP disk, and also one while booted into XP, with W7 first in the boot sequence.
 
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#14
Changing the letter of the W7 drive's boot.ini to K didn't work.

So C, I, K don't work.

XP's boot.ini is fixed fixed when I use C: for recovery console.

When I use K:, I do see a different error though. It is saying that some hal.dll file is missing. So it makes me wonder whether recovery console should work or not when booting from a windows 7 drive.

Here's are the screen shots of disk management when booting from XP and W7 drives (see file names for descriptions.)
 

Attachments

#15
Ok, based on the screenshots then, it looks like C: is your XP partition.
Better check that partition, to make sure that directory and file don't exist there too...

Addendum:

Changing the letter of the W7 drive's boot.ini to K didn't work.

So C, I, K don't work.

XP's boot.ini is fixed fixed when I use C: for recovery console.
Try X: for the W7 drive's boot.ini.
 
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#16
Yeah...that's a bit of a problem isn't it? Except how did you change the XP boot partition's drive letter, since XP doesn't allow you to mess with the drive letter of a "system" partition...? :wink: What was it originally, before you changed it? Maybe it was C, and its using the old drive lettter.
LOL! Let me tell you this that I had reinstalled windows XP 2 or 3 times before I finally got the letters I wanted.

Once I followed this guide:
How to restore the systemboot drive letter in Windows

But this broke my XP and I could only get up to login screen and it would freeze before showing the login window. I could not repair is in anyway, using recovery console, So I wiped the drive and installed again.

This time I format two drives during windows XP installation (the boot drive and the system drive where I was going to install XP. I gave me the C drive for the operating system. I then change the boot to I, J, K (later took J out which was on external drive.)

EDIT: No, wait. Was that second screenshot from W7's Disk Management, or XP's, when booted from the XP disk?
I have posted 4 screenshots now.

The first part of file name tells you what I have logged into (XP or W7), and second part "bootfrom..." tells you which drive I am booting from in BIOS.

Addendum:

Ok, based on the screenshots then, it looks like C: is your XP partition.
Better check that partition, to make sure that directory and file don't exist there too...
cmdcons folder doesn't exist on C drive as seen from XP OS or W7 OS, which makes me wonder that NTLDR is using it's own letters and is seeing the boot drive as "C:".

Try X: for the W7 drive's boot.ini.
Makes sense. I will try this and see.
 
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#17
I have posted 4 screenshots now.

The first part of file name tells you what I have logged into (XP or W7), and second part "bootfrom..." tells you which drive I am booting from in BIOS.
Yeah, I figured all of that out by now. Thanks anyway. :smile:

Addendum:

cmdcons folder doesn't exist on C drive as seen from XP OS or W7 OS, which makes me wonder that NTLDR is using it's own letters and is seeing the boot drive as "C:".

Makes sense. I will try this and see.
Come to think of it, you're probably right, and NTLDR is using its own letters. I bet the naming convention is as follows:

C: = "active" partition on first disk in the BIOS (disk 0)
D: = partition following that
E: = the partition following D, etc.

So that would put "C" when booting from XP as your boot partition (partition containing the boot files; sometimes i swap terms "boot" and "system" just to confuse you..:brows:smile: of XP (namely, the first partition on that HDD). And when you're booting W7, it would mean your "system" partition (partition containing the boot files; Ha! did it again), the first partition on the W7 HDD, is "C".

Don't know how XP's C would translate to W7, though...

EDIT: Or maybe it counts the drive letters starting at C: from the first partition on the first HDD, followed by the second partition, etc., and then if you have multiple HDDs, it begins the next one starting at the first partition on that HDD too, with the next drive letter up, which would make the partition letter G: as far as the boot.ini/NTLDR of W7's HDD is concerned..

Addendum:

Yeah, if X: doesn't work, try G: next in your W7 copy of boot.ini...
 
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#18
OK, I did the long thing:

I went into recovery consoles of XP and W7 and used diskpart to take note of what drive letters it is seeing.

XP Boot partition:
From XP Recovery console = J
From XP OS = I
From W7 OS = I

All other drives are same in XP recovery console as in XP and W7 Operating systems.

Win7 recovery console on the other hand, when booting from XP drive OR the windows7 drive, is seeing these letters:

XP Boot partition:
From W7 Recovery console = C
From XP = I
From W7 = I

W7 Boot partition:
From W7 Recovery console = D
From XP = K
From W7 = K

XP System partition:
From W7 Recovery console = F
From XP = C
From W7 = X

W7
System partition:
From W7 Recovery console = G
From XP = X
From W7 = C


I have tried every single drive in boot.ini: C, D, I, J, K, X, but none of them work for XP recovery console when booting from windows 7 boot drive.

Makes me think it's not possible to use xp recovery console when booting from a non-XP boot drive.

Addendum:

EDIT: Or maybe it counts the drive letters starting at C: from the first partition on the first HDD, followed by the second partition, etc., and then if you have multiple HDDs, it begins the next one starting at the first partition on that HDD too, with the next drive letter up, which would make the partition letter G: as far as the boot.ini/NTLDR of W7's HDD is concerned..

Addendum:

Yeah, if X: doesn't work, try G: next in your W7 copy of boot.ini...
haha! :grinning: That's the only letter I haven't tried since I did not think it would work. I'll try that one too just to satisfy my taste buds! :brows:
 
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#19
Have you tried G?

Addendum:

Addendum:

haha! :grinning: That's the only letter I haven't tried since I did not think it would work. I'll try that one too just to satisfy my taste buds! :brows:
Yeah...knowing our luck, it'll be the last one we thought to try. :brows::lol:
Oh, ho, and while you're at it, try E, F, and H too, just to be safe, and to be sure you tried every one it could be, haha. :smile:
 
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#20
Have you tried G?

Addendum:


Yeah...knowing our luck, it'll be the last one we thought to try. :brows::lol:
I just got back after booting and it didn't work.

So I think I'm going to leave it here instead of trial and error and wasting our time.

I'm still able to boot into Windows 7 and XP, and also recovery console when booting from XP drive. This is a lot of accomplishment for the goals I set at the start.

So all I can say is thank you very much Jake, and thanks to Terry as well for pointing me in the right direction at the start.

You guys are doing a great job. And thanks to the author of EasyBCD, Mahmoud H. Al-Qudsi aka "Computer Guru" for making this wonderful utility which comes very handy.

Peace. :lol: