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

Coolname007

Distinguished Member
Oh well...
At least we can say we gave it our best shot. :smile:

Honestly, I know very little about running the Recovery Console off a HDD. I'm only familiar with using one from the XP installation CD.

Weird though that it failed to work right from the W7 drive, and worked from the XP HDD. Both are using bootmgr/BCD/NTLDR/boot.ini combinations, and its got to be the NTLDR that finds the recovery console, based on the drive letter given in the boot.ini.

Cheers.
 

Conqueror

Member
Oh well...
At least we can say we gave it our best shot. :smile:

Honestly, I know very little about running the Recovery Console off a HDD. I'm only familiar with using one from the XP installation CD.

Before I got recovery console onto the boot menu, I could not run it from the XP CD. I don't know why. My XP CD came with the PC, which is an oem version so maybe they took it out, but I can't think why they'd do that.
That's the reason why I installed it as suggested from this page:
How to install and use the Recovery Console in Windows XP

Besides, it saves you having to look for the CD when something goes wrong.
Weird though that it failed to work right from the W7 drive, and worked from the XP HDD. Both are using bootmgr/BCD/NTLDR/boot.ini combinations, and its got to be the NTLDR that finds the recovery console, based on the drive letter given in the boot.ini.

Cheers.
There's a lot of cookery going on here! :lol: I must have changed the drive letter somewhere which wasn't allowed or something. I think I used Acronis Disk Director once to force the letter change as windows wasn't allowing. But this was long time, before I reinstalled XP after so many problems.

Maybe I need to change the other boot.ini file and not the one from windows 7 boot drive! :lol:

I will keep experimenting whenever I'll have the need to reboot my PC. I will post the results if I find the answer.

Cheers.
 

Coolname007

Distinguished Member
Ok, here's another idea:


  • Remove the last line of the boot.ini in your W7 HDD.
  • Boot XP with the W7 HDD first in the boot sequence (so its set of boot files will be used), and perform the procedure mentioned in that article you linked to again, then reboot, select the Recovery Console option, and attempt to boot into it. Who knows...it might work. :wink:
 

Conqueror

Member
Ok, here's another idea:


  • Remove the last line of the boot.ini in your W7 HDD.
  • Boot XP with the W7 HDD first in the boot sequence (so its set of boot files will be used), and perform the procedure mentioned in that article you linked to again, then reboot, select the Recovery Console option, and attempt to boot into it. Who knows...it might work. :wink:
That was a good suggestion. I really thought that would work. It has half-worked! :lol:

I did what you said and I am able to use the recovery option from boot menu. However I think installing the recovery console by following the steps in that article over-writes the Windows 7 boot manager.

I can no longer see an option for Windows 7 in the boot menu. I only see Windows XP and recovery console, both of which work. I booted from XP drive to check if everything is OK there and all boot options work there.

The line which installation of recovery console added to the boot.ini file is:

Code:
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons
which is exactly the same as the line in the XP boot.ini.

So it seems that the recovery console installation has changed/added other files somewhere else.

But the objective now is how can I safely add Windows 7 back to boot menu, without breaking the XP boot menu.

I cannot login to Windows 7 from it's hard drive. I can log into XP though. Right now I am in Windows 7 from XP boot drive. I don't think I should be using EasyBCD here.

Don't want to risk anything myself before some expert advice. :lol:
 
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Coolname007

Distinguished Member
Great! :smile:
I had a feeling it would do something like that.
Ok, so in that case, all you got to do now is run EasybCD 2.0 from XP while booted from the W7 HDD, and use Manage Bootloader | Reinstall the Vista/7 bootloader. I would suggest using Startup repair from the W7 DVD, but i'm afraid that might mess something up with the recovery console. I trust EasyBCD more.
 
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Conqueror

Member
Great! :smile:
I had a feeling it would do something like that.
Ok, so in that case, all you got to do now is run EasybCD 2.0 from XP while booted from the W7 HDD, and use Manage Bootloader | Reinstall the Vista/7 bootloader. I would suggest using Startup repair from the W7 DVD, but i'm afraid that might mess something up with the recovery console. I trust EasyBCD more.

OK, it is almost complete now. Just one little thing which isn't quite right.

When I boot from Windows 7 drive, I get the first boot menu, where everything works:

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


But the second menu is like this:

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

As you can see, the recovery console option works in the first menu option, but doesn't in the 2nd menu.

Any fix for this?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
I had the same problem. Its one of those unexplainable Windows bugs MS probably won't ever fix. The only workaround is setting the timeout in your boot.ini file to 0 and only using the recovery console option on the first menu.
 

Conqueror

Member
I had the same problem. Its one of those unexplainable Windows bugs MS probably won't ever fix. The only workaround is setting the timeout in your boot.ini file to 0 and only using the recovery console option on the first menu.
Yeh, I had thought of that as well but I thought maybe it could be fixed.

With the 2nd boot menu, when you select recovery console, you get this error:

Disk Error
Press any key to restart


Press a key and it says something like:

Please restart and select the proper boot device
Or insert a bootable disk and press any key


Press a key and it takes you to the first boot menu. So you don't really have to reboot the system.

I think I am going to make the timeout to 0 for the second boot menu and just finish this whole issue off as being "resolved". :happy:
 
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