Easy BCD in dual boot


Distinguished Member
Recently I installed Vista on a XP machine. I was able to get both os to boot properly by using EasyBCD in Vista. However after I select XP from its menu I still see the old Vista bootloader menu which is fine, however there are entries on that list for o/s that are invalid and I would like to remove them. I can not however edit the normal vista boot menu in Vista since EasyBCD is installed. Any suggestions how I can edit the normal Vista boot loader menu? Do I have to uninstall EasyBCD??
Hi frustrated, welcome to NST.
EasyBCD is not a bootloader, it's an editor for the Vista BCD. What you want to do is exactly what it was written for.
MS only provided a command line editor for the BCD which is not a familiar environment for anyone who started computing after the DOS era, so Guru wrote a friendly GUI which will handle the editing for you in a user friendly way.
Are you really meaning that you are seeing XP's boot menu with redundant choices you need to remove ?
If so, you just need to edit anything redundant out of the XP file x:\boot.ini using any text editor you like (notepad will do) where x is your "active" partition. If you can't see boot.ini, remember to "unhide" system files in folder options.
I am seeing Easy BCD menu with XP and Vista as choices when I select XP I see another selection menu with XP, Vista and 2 invalid Vista entries. If I select Vista I see no futher menus. This menu with the 4 choices is from Vista since the old boot.ini in XP only shows XP as the option and was what I was seeing before I installed Vista. I specifically seen this 4 choice menu after Vista was loaded but BEFORE I installed Easy BCD in Vista.
Don't assume that the boot.ini on the XP partition is the one being used. It's the boot.ini on the "active" partition which is in control (check in Admin Tools/comp mgmt/disk mgmt).
boot.ini is how XP is located by NTLDR (there should be no entries in it for Vista or any other non NT system), therefore a catch 22 situation would exist if Vista had to use the XP partition to find out where the XP partition is. For that reason Vista will expect to find the 3 XP boot files in the same partition root as its own bootldr. That's what the "active" flag is for, so that the Initial Program Loader in the Master Boot Record can find them.
Disk Management in XP shows that the Vista partition is the Active partition. I guess the only way for me to fix this is to uninstall EasyBCD, use a bcdedit util to remove the offending lines in the bootloader menu created by Vista and then reinstall EasyBCD. Here in the boot.ini file from XP which is the first thing I checked before I even posted my initial message here: ; ;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems. ;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.

;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /FASTDETECT /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN
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Vista's BCD, only contains the 2 entries you quoted earlier, to select Vista or XP. That's what EasyBCD edits, and if you uninstalled EasyBCD and used bcdedit instead, it would still be the same BCD with the same 2 entries, just a lot more difficult to manage with command lines than with EasyBCDs nice GUI.
When you select XP from that menu, it hands control to NTLDR. Vista's bootldr (and the BCD) are no longer involved. Because it doesn't yet know where XP is located, it uses a copy of NTLDR in Vista's root, and that copy of NTLDR refers to the file boot.ini which it also gets from Vista's root. (not from XP's partition - it doesn't know where that is yet)
If that copy of boot.ini contains more than one entry, it will present you with the second menu you're seeing.
Vista's BCD is no longer involved.
Do a search for boot.ini and see how many you find. Make sure that you don't have system files hidden in folder options.

Have a read of this
so you can see how it all chains together.
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In order to have the logical partitions on the hard drive when Vista is used to remain the same letter I had to tell EasyBCD that XP was actually a Linux partition so that the XP Primary partition could be another drive letter OTHER than D: . I found a post here in the forums that helped.

However after scanning for hidden and system files I still only come up with two boot.ini files. One at the root of the XP C: drive and one in a directory on the VIsta partition. THe contents of both are identical and is the same text as I posted above.

Guess my computer must be posessed since I am being told that this rogue boot menu can not be in a Vista bootloader file. It is strange that it was the menu I kept seeing BEFORE I installed EasyBCD. When EasyBCD was installed I went in and deleted the erronerous entries from the menu but trust me that I am still seeing them in a second menu which shows up AFTER the intial menu (EasyBCD edited).
Now you've lost me. Why would you say that XP is Linux ?
Are you saying that it's booting XP through grub instead of NTLDR ? If so that would explain why boot.ini has no effect on anything.
If you tell Easy BCD that XP is XP (It is you know), the reason it greys out the drive option is because EasyBCD knows where the XP boot files have to go (on the active partition- not necessarily on XP's).
It doesn't matter anyway what one system calls another (disk letters), the labelling is internal to each system (in the registry) not attached physically to the HDD.

If it's grub doing the booting, you should have a menu.lst with these spurious entries.
Have a look for that.
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Here is why I had to specify Linux for the type of O/S in EasyBCD for the XP boot partition AFTER Vista was installed in a 2nd primary partition. In particular see post # 3 by SonicComKid. Otherwise with two primary partitions Vista's partition will be C: and XP will become D: and the other 2 logical partitions will become E: and F: which is not the assignment that is under XP where XP is C: two logical partitions are D: and E: and the Vista partition is F:.
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Ah, I remember that thread now, but I didn't remember the Linux bit.
That certainly explains why boot.ini isn't doing anything on your system. You're not using NTLDR but grub.

In that case have a look for the menu.lst file which is what grub uses for its boot menu, and you should find the entries which are causing your unwanted second boot screen, and you can again use notepad to remove them (or set XP as default and timeout 0, which will achieve the same thing)

btw. It doesn't actually matter that the letter assignments are different on the two systems. It's just that Sonic and I are both neat freaks, which is why we have identical mapping, and discussed the different ways we achieved it. Mine still uses conventional Windows dual booting with bootldr and NTLDR.
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I did not have to install grub per the directions in Sonickids post. Just had to tell it that the XP partition was actually a Linux O/S. In my case I need the same drive letter assignment since in Vista I am able to run some applications off the logical partitions but only if these partitions are the correct drive letter due to their configuration files.
If you told Easy that it was a Linux partition, my understanding is, that it will have installed grub.
I am not a Linux user though, so this is outside my area of expertise.
Are you saying that there is no menu.lst file on your system anywhere ?
This second menu is being generated by some boot manager and it doesn't appear to be either Vista's or XP's.
Doesn't it say grub or give you some clue to its origin on the menu screen somewhere ?
Well I have used grub in linux and there is no grub on this computer.

The first menu says Windows Boot Manager and has XP and Vista along with the Memtst option at the bottom portion of the screen. If I select Vista then there are no further menus and Vista loads. However, if I select XP I see another menu which says Windows Boot Manager at the top. This menu has XP and Vista along with two erroneous entries for previous Vista installs. If XP is selected then XP loads. Like the first menu there is also a Windows Memory Diagnostic option at the bottom of the menu screen.
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It sounds like you've got another copy of Vista's BCD on your XP partition. Is there a "boot" folder on there ?
If there is, I'm not sure how you're going to be able to edit it, as the "active" one will be targetted.
You'd best wait around for Guru to see if he can advise with some command line clean-up.
What you have done is so unconventional that you are probably the world expert.
You could always use HnS to create a dual boot for you, and it will of course have the benefit of protecting your Vista restore points.
You can grab a copy here
The reason why sonic pretended XP was linux, was just to get grub doing the boot when he couldn't get it booted the way he'd hidden everything from everything else.
Did you follow sonic's route of hiding, installing ,unhiding and resetting active flags ?
If not, I can't see any reason (disk letter wise) why you needed to tell EasyBCD that XP was linux, EasyBCD has nothing to do with how the OS assigns its disk letters, it justs edits the BCD to say where everything is located and what loader to use.
If you go into Easy on Vista, remove the XP entry, then add it again as an XP entry, it should correctly set up a chain to NTLDR (and thence boot.ini), which should solve your problem by using the conventional MS bootloader sequence.
What does the bootloader chain for XP say in EasyBCD at the moment, presumably the same bootloader path as Vista, but a different disk letter ?
I should never post messages after a long week! I reread Sonic's post and he mentions using BCDEdit to set up grub! I think at the time that I did this (several months ago) I was having two problems. One was that I was seeing NTLDR failure errors when booting into XP but Vista was ok. The second problem was that if normal partition settings were used for Vista then the visible primary XP partition would be D: and Vista would not allow me to change its drive letter to something like K: since it is a primary partition. In my haste to try to get the two O/S working properly I came across Sonic's post in that thread and I guess in my tired state I read EasyBCD instead of BCDEdit. The thing is that these two problems were solved and I never paid any more attention to it until now. Sorry for all the run around I have given you and I will now go and sit in the corner for a while :wink:

Attached is EasyBCD settings.


  • EasyBCD.txt
    1.3 KB · Views: 2
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The attached file shows that you are using NST_grub to boot XP.
Go to the NST folder on your active disk and you should find the menu.lst file in there.
That will be where the spurious entries are.
The vista partition NST folder shows only nst_grub.mbr. If grub is actually installed then why are both menus showing Windows Boot Manger along the top of their screens?
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