Dual boot Windows 7 x64 and *BSD fails

I have an HP Pavilion laptop computer which has two 160GB hard drives.
It came with Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit installed. I installed FreeBSD 6 to the second hard drive ... and wiped out the Vista MBR! I got a recovery disk, repaired the MBR, and used Easy BCD (1.7, I think) to create a dual-boot. It worked great. I said many good things about EasyBCD.
I upgraded my system to Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and it runs fine. But I've been anxious to get BSD back. I tried installing PC-BSD 8.0 on the second hard drive, and used the EasyBCD 2.0 betas to try and set up a dual-boot. All attempts failed ... Win7 booted fine, but when I selected BSD I got "boot error". Pressing ESC re-booted the computer.
So far, I've installed PC-BSD 8.0 and FreeBSD 8.1 about 20 times ... with boot loader, without boot loader, leave MBR untouched, etc.
I've tried EasyBCD 2.0 beta Build 59 through 109, and EasyBCD 2.02. All have failed. I even tried GAG a couple of times ... no joy!
BSD installs without error onto the 2nd drive, but I have been completely unable to get any configuration to boot. I've gone through every configuration of every setting in the installs, and in EasyBCD, without success. The only message that ever comes up is "Boot error".
I just allowed EasyBCD to write to MBR, and install BCD ... and the system would not boot at all. The first entry was for PC-BSD, and the boot error came up without even showing boot options. I had to use the Win7 install disk to repair the startup; now Win7 is back, and EasyBCD is uninstalled.
I imagine the issue is because of the two separate disks. By the way, don't suggest I change the boot order in the BIOS to test ... it doesn't list the two disks separately!
Even though I messed up the MBR the first time around with Vista, the dual-boot went very well, and I used it for over a year without problems.
I'm confused as to why there's so much problem this time around.
If anyone has experience with a two-disk system with Win7, I'd appreciate any help you could give.
There's absolutely no problem dual-booting W7 across multiple disks, but your assertion that you can't see 2 HDDs in the BIOS sounds strange.
Do you mean that the BIOS boot sequence shows CD/HDD ... ?
Remember that modern BIOS boot sequence is normally multi layered.
Top layer is device-type priority, then another layer specifies the sequence within device types.
(You can always interrupt the BIOS with F8 and tempoarily override the boot disk)
Post a Disk Management screenshot and the contents of EasyBCD 2 "view settings"

It sounds like the problem lies in the Linux installation.
Does it boot if you install it to the 2nd HDD with the W7 HDD removed from the PC completely ?
more info


Thanks for the reply.

Although I haven't messed with a BIOS in a while, I am familiar with them. In a past life, I used to make copies of the BIOS on a floppy disk I carried with me, in case of major problems; it really helped a few times. Back then, I preferred AMI BIOS over the others.

But this notebook has very little in it that can be accessed. A PDF file attached shows what I can see.

Another file has the EasyBCD settings (I just re-installed EasyBCD 2.02 for that screen). I've also gone to the advanced settings and changed the location for the BSD to the 2nd disk (D:smile:, but nothing changes. I've done quite a bit else, too ... just no difference.

As I mentioned, I went through this before with Vista and an earlier version of FreeBSD (and an earlier version of EasyBCD). Other than messing up my Windows MBR and having to do a repair, it worked great.

Same BIOS, same hardware ... different result.

And since this is a notebook and the hard drives are NOT just "push a button and pull it out" types, I'm not inclined to remove the hard drives unless something crashes.

Although I'd like to have BSD with me on this notebook, I need to keep Windows on it ... I use it in my business, and some of the old software is ONLY available for Windows.

For now, I'll just have to use my old, heavy, clunky, slow notebook to get back to BSD ... or settle for a virtual machine.


  • BIOS info.pdf
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  • EasyBCD settings.pdf
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I know i have brought it up before. I dont think by default EasyBCD has support for BSD. I have tried and failed many times to install PC-BSD along side Windows. I have had talks with the creators of PC-BSD and several others and their loader is old and outdated. I have mentioned to them this information before.

I am not sure where this stands as of now. But that is what i have learned over time.