Dual Boot issue: XP doesnt load .. Err - invalid boot.ini

Hi Guys,

Just need some help fixing the dual boot.

Originally I had XP .. I partitioned my HDD to 3 partitions
C: \ had xp so i created D:\ for installing win 7 and E:\ has important data.

Win 7 installed fine on D: \ but didnt create a dual boot option .. so i used EasyBCD 2.0 beta to create xp entry ..

Xp starts loading after giving err - invalid boot.ini , booting from c:\windows\
and then gives blue screen sayin - Auto check program not found - skipping autocheck
and they system crashes and reboots

I read a few thread and saw that i need to assign a drive letter to my original XP c: \ , as there is no drive letter at the moment .. but I cant assign drive letter in disk mgmt tool .. the only option i get is to delete the partition.

Also my data partition cant be accessed in win 7 which might be normal as I was told that win 7 doesnt make changes to XP partitions .

any ways .. just wanted to fix the dual boot / or be able to go back to just XP as i had originally

The screen shots of Disk Mgmt and EasyBCD are attached

PLZ help



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Hi Harry, welcome to NST.
How did you re-partition your XP HDD - what software ?
Did you successfully reboot XP after doing it - before installing W7 ?
Assuming that the C D and E you refer to, are sequentially left to right in that screenshot, then E is "RAW", i.e you haven't formatted it as NTFS, which is why W7 doesn't access it, nothing to do with XP (W7 will access your entire XP OS without a problem - the only problem comes the other way round. If you let XP access your W7 partition, it will destroy its restore points and backups).
The reason XP is not booting would indeed seem to be the lack of a letter on the XP partition (as seen by W7). Since that partition has no "system" "boot" or "page" flag, W7 should be perfectly happy to let you give it a letter as shown in the attached. (right click)


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Thanks for a quick reply Terry

I was happily using the XP on this HDD for more than an year with 2 partitions. C: had XP and D: had other data.

I used paragon hard disk manager pro 2009 from within XP to create a drive for windows 7, by shrinking earlier 2 partitions and gave it letter D. I reassinged E: to data partition.

I used xp fine for 2 days after doing that. It went quite smoothly.

Drive E that is shown as RAW is actually my E partition which has all the imp stuff. I used E fine with XP after partitioning.. No Issues . Only after installing the Win7 that it shows up as raw.

I must admit that i used a wizard for "installing a new OS" on D in paragon disk manager..Again this was done from within XP.. I made D primary from paragon and paragon rebooted pc and asked to insert new OS install disc and then i continued doing a custom install of win 7.

You are right, the C D and E are in sequential order from left to right.

Right click on first partition (c: xp) in win 7 only gives me an option to delete the partition. NO other option is available in right click.

I tried to unistall the bootloader for WIN7 to restore XP using EasyBCD .. XP started to load but it fails with the same errors I posted earlier.

Most Imp to me is the data in the partition showing up as RAW.. I need to restore MBR I guess.

Any suggestions?
It seems to me that your XP partition was originally the "system" and "active" partition (i.e. it contained the boot files for XP) until you used Paragon, which apparently changed the "active" flag to Win 7's partition, and installed Win 7's boot files to it. When you used EasyBCD, it re-created the necessary boot files for XP in Win 7's partition. Anyway, that's not the problem you're having now obviously (since you say Xp starts to load, and then crashes)...something else is wrong. If its trying to autocheck and failing, then it sounds like maybe it cant find the chkdsk program for some reason, and I have no idea why. No telling what else Paragon screwed up...
The RAW problem with your former E: partition would seem to indicate that the bootsector of that partition could have been damaged. When that occurs, you can't mount it, and access the data on it. Are you able to browse that partition at all from XP?

You could try using a 3rd party software (such as TestDisk) to repair that partition, and then assign a drive letter to it again.
As for the XP partition, probably a problem with it too...you could try using TestDisk on it too.
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Thanks for your Reply CoolName007,

I managed to use a softare called Find and Mount to find the both partitions mount it and then retreieve data from both drives (c: and E:smile: .. at least i have my data from E now .. It was v v quick . took 20 secs to find both lost drives.

Prior to doing that I also managed to use paragon's recovery disk and "unhide" & "make active" C + "hide" and "make inactive" D (win 7) .. by which i could boot XP and copy my document and OUTLOOK data files to external drive .. But E was not accessible from xp , neither was D and XP was running terribly slow.

I reversed the HIDE and MAKE ACTIVE settings and booted win7 , I have managed to save an image of my C: XP via " find and mount " on a network drive and I hope to restore my XP some how .. I have formatted C: xp via WIN7 disk mgmt tool and given it D as C: is now win7

I dont knw if would be able to put the data from the XP image I created back to "now" D and boot xp, which i would like to do .. or else I might reinstall the XP as new .. Do you think I should format the whole drive and start from scratch..?

Thanks guys
I dont knw if would be able to put the data from the XP image I created back to "now" D and boot xp, which i would like to do .. or else I might reinstall the XP as new .. Do you think I should format the whole drive and start from scratch..?

Thanks guys
If you made an image of the XP partition, then you should be able to restore it back to the formatted partition, but the problem with XP may still exist. I would suggest first restoring the image to the XP partition, attempting to boot it, see if everything's fine, and if everything is, leave it like that, or if everything isn't fine, format the partition again, and simply reinstall XP to it. A fresh install would probably be best anyay, seeing as you rescued your user files. But no need to re-format the entire hard drive. The problem was XP, not Win 7.

And so, that is my advice.

Good luck. :smile:

same issue but with separate hard drives - still can't figure it out

jumping onto this thread because its the closest thing that I've found to my situation.

I had XP Pro Sp3 on its own hard drive c:
had three other hard drives for storage M:, N: and O:

I added two partitions to the C: to add Win 7 and to mess around with MythTV (this is my HTPC setup) so I now had c: , e: and g: for partitions on Disk 0. (D: had been the DVD drive which I've since changed to Q; to see if that helps my probs).

After installing Win 7 to E: I had a perfectly good dual boot menu, but both XP and Win 7 would both auto run CHKDSK on Drive M:, saying that the drive needed to be checked for consistency. WTF? That drive had nothing to do with anything (or so I thought.)

Additionally, from XP, I can no longer access drive M:. It shows up as RAW and empty and gives me the "you cannot access this drive" error message. However, from Win7, it recognizes the drive, including its name (M: HTPCMusic) and has no problem accessing any of the files.

Also, when I select Win 7 from the boot manager, it still shows the Win 7 Drive as E: Win7 and the XP drive as C: XP3

I still have not been able to get it to stop the CHKDSK loops, but would love to figure out why I can't access the one drive from XP. Any suggestions?
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Hi Hobo, welcome to NST.
Can you attach screenshots of your Disk Management, as seen from W7 and XP, with all the flags visible. (Use "go advanced" below the quick reply box and the paperclip Icon to upload .jpg files)
Disk Mgmt Screen Shots from Dual Boot XP / Win 7

Here are the screen shots.
At the moment, the Win 7 partition boots without running CHKDSK automatically. I've cleaned them both so that they aren't "dirty" but the XP drive still runs CHKDSK when it boots.

my next step was to try FIXMBR off the XP start up disk but will wait for more feedback.



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One of the things I had tried earlier was changing the drive letters. M, N and O are now O, P and Q.

Same prob exists, though. When I boot to XP, is runs CHKDSK on Q: HTPCMusic. Previously it did the same thing on M:HTPC music.

Q shows up empty in XP, but shows up normally in Win7
Perhaps you could run chkdsk manually from XP?
Run chkdsk /r from the command-line on the Q: partition, and see if it finds any bad blocks or sectors. Could be something screwy with that partition.

Don't run FIXMBR from the XP CD...that will only overwrite your W7 MBR with an XP version, and you'll lose your dual-boot.
I can't say I've experienced anything similar hobo, and the screenshots don't reveal some glaring mistake you've made (99% of "inexplicable" problems posted here, are as a result of such errors).
My own approach, if I had the same problem, would be to format the partition from XP and reimport all my user files from their backup store (I have spinning backup on a 2nd internal HDD, idle backup-backup on a 500Gb USB external HDD which only gets powered up to receive new backups, and remote backup-backup-backup on DVD-RW).
If you don't have all your music backed up, I'd suggest
a) you consider doing so in future (I would - wouldn't I !!)
b) you copy everything to spare space on the other HDDs from W7 while it's happily accessing it, then format the disk as NTFS from XP and copy everything back.
Not a quick-fix by any stretch of the imagination, but it should probably fix you up if no better advice is forthcoming.

btw. You do realize I suppose, that XP is busy destroying the system restore points on every W7 drive it can see ?
You might want to consider this
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FYI Terry: it's recommended to leave the 500GB drive running at all times in order to minimize risk of failure. HD damage is most likely to occur during spin-up or spin-down, so it's good to leave backup disks (even if disconnected) unless it's powered via USB or something... :smile:
All of my HDDS (on every generation of PC I've owned), are powered down with the whole PC at night, and on again next day. Every HDD I've ever owned, back to the original IBM 800Mb (yes <1Gb !!) on the Aptiva, now about 15 years old, is still going strong. I've never had a disk failure.
(This is beginning to sound horribly like tempting fate)
My 500Gb USB is only used for my monthly backup-backups, my daily backups go on the 2nd internal HDD. I figure it's safer (and consuming a lot less power) if it's switched on once a month for 10 minutes, than if it's spinning for 720 hours doing nothing. It's also cycled On/Off only 1/30 as many times as the internals, so at considerably lower risk, and of course the bearings are going to last 42300 years.

That should see me out !

(I've heard that the first 1000 year old human being is probably already alive, though he's going to be under 30 years old presently, so that rules me out. I am aiming for 100 though (my dad is nearly 90 and my mum nearly 88, and both fit and healthy, so I have the gene-pool in my favour)
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Wow.... how come I've had 3 drive failures and I'm still so young :'(
I used Western Digital disks until 3 of them failed me.. then I switched to Seagate out of fear for my data and for many years all was good until I bought a Western Digital Raptor 150GB for the speed, then upgraded to 2x Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB in RAID0 for even more speed... so far, I haven't been haunted by the Ghosts of Hard Disks Past, and god willing they'll stay away forever.... The thing is, the older me and my drives get, the more valuable the data on them gets as well!!

I'm sure there's an as-of-yet-undiscovered Murphy's Law that states something to the effect of "the more valuable the data on a HD is, the more likely it is to go."

I back up my MacBook on an external Firewire 500GB hard disk, and my development PC is mirrored on two computers (home and work) + on the cloud as an SVN repository....

In Arabic, we say "may allah grant you long health and long life," you and your parents :smile:
thank you

thank you all for your help.

yes, I do realize that XP would be messing with my restore points, but I always turn off the restore points and do my own incremental backups with Acronis (which also may be part of the problem I suddenly realize)

Fortunately I'm anal about backing up, especially my music, so I'm not concerned about losing anything. I've got a complete copy on another computer and also on two external drives. and my mom has 500gb of music on her computer that she doesn't know about, just in case my apartment blows up, floods, struck by lighting, earthquake or other act of god uncovered in my insurance.

So I think the easiest /smartest thing to do is to unplug my drives except for my boot drive, do the CHKDSK /r (/f?), and then add the additional drives one by one, making sure they both are seen and can be accessed. if they can't (particularly the M:/Q: HTPCMusic drive) I'll just reformat that one, too, and rebuild my music library. not the most sexy solution, but at least I'll be up and running. Any probs and I'll just wipe the boot drive and reinstall both OSs before adding any other drives.

This has happened to be before on another computer when I've tried to create a dual-boot with XP as the basis. I'm clearly doing something wrong, but just can't seem to figure out what it is.
No need to lecture you about backups then.
A man after my own heart indeed.
Good old mum ! (does she even like your music ?)
Can't comment on whether Acronis is implicated (have you cloned that drive anyway ?), not being a user of their software, but I can't immediately think of any reason for your symptoms.
After losing 250gb of music once, I swore I'd never do it again. At $.99 a track, I lost more than $10k worth of music, and decided that $100 for a hard drive was a great price for insurance.

My mom doesn't like a lot of my music, but in exchange for "renting" some of her hard drive space, I hook her up with music she likes, too. So she's happy with her Rod Stewart and Allison Krause and other random stuff I grab for her. Its a good deal for some peace of mind.

I'm not sure that Acronis is the culprit either, but I'm out of ideas other than the "Demon of Redmond" so I'm just glad that I've got a little bit of work ahead of me and not a full blown crisis. But I'll be curious to see if anyone else comes up with anything. There's lots of people on a bunch of boards with the same issue and no solution.
I've seen this issue before, it has to do with some inconsistencies between the different NTFS versions that ship with the different versions of Windows.

My advice:
Copy all the files over from the partition that doesn't work to another partition (use an Ubuntu live CD, if you need), delete the partition, then re-create it using either Acronis or Partition Magic.... Then copy everything over again.

It's a serious PITA, but it was the only solution I came across 3 or 4 years ago during the Vista beta program. Then again, I never really looked too hard for a solution because I was in an extreme hurry to get the problem over with for some particular reason that I now forget.

Apparently the in-setup partitioning wizard does some weird things with the metadata and system volume information stores, resulting in it being inaccessible from another OS.