Extreme mess with EasyBCD.

SolelessSoul

Active Member
I have to admit I didn't fully understand how EasyBCD works. I now have some understanding, but far from complete.

So I have 4 systems multiboot. Two Win 7, and two Win 10. Every time I login into another OS, my boot menu changes or disappears all together. I keep editing it in EasyBCD but that edit keeps there for a while before it gets changed again. I tried to "Reset BCD Configuration" and "recreate boot menu again", most of the time that have worked, but recently it removed boot menu all together and I can't boot.

Sometimes completely new entries appear in boot menu, the ones that I've never entered! Such as "Windows 7" or "Windows Boot Manager"

After painful two complete days of messing with all that, two of my Win 7s are back, but Win 10s are not loading no matter what... Not knowing how this all works and trying to get rid of multiple duplicate (or so I thought) BCD files, I deleted 3 small hidden partitions next to a Win 7 and Win 10 via Minitool Partition Wizard. Now I think those partitions contained some important BCDs as well....

Windows installation media in "repair" option did not fix the booting...

Upon looking closely I discovered that each of my OS partitions have 3 ECD files.
1. In \boot\BCD
2. In \EFI\Microsoft\boot\BCD
3. In \windows\boot\EFI\BCD

In Win 7 (my main OS) I've been able to select C: EFI\Microsoft\boot in "Select BCD Store" until recently: but now it says that it doesn't have access to the file. Neither does it have access to ECD on both of my Win 10 partitions.

IEFI has multiple "Windows Boot Manager {drive name}" entries.

1. I've enabled viewing system and hidden files. Why am I getting "Unable to obtain exclusive access" message in EasyBCD when loading some BCD files, even though I granted absolutely all administrative rights and enabled all users with full access to all drives?

2. So it looks like I have 12 BCD files: 3 per each OS. How can I have only one, be able to edit it in EasyBCD, and always load from it?

3. Should I have only one BCD or should there be 1 per each OS partition? If latter is true, what is it's proper location of the 3 locations that I've mentioned?

This whole thing is causing me extreme pain. Please help!
 

Terry60

Telephone Sanitizer (2nd Class)
Staff member
UEFI installations of Windows create many extra hidden partitions for recovery purposes (one even hidden from Disk Management)
It doesn't do it for fun and "cleaning them up" because you don't know what Windows is doing with them is a recipe for disaster.
UEFI also creates boot entries for just about every device atached to your PC including all your USB flashdrives.
EasyBCD (in view settings overview mode) doesn't display them all (though they'll all appear in detailed mode) to keep things tidy for you and concentrate on the OS entries you and it are concerned with)
DON'T do anything with EasyBCD on an "experimental" basis. It's designed to be a very simple to use and safe means of adding, removing or editing BCD entries in its basic functions, but the advanced tabs are like regedit. They'll do whatever you tell them to, even if that makes your system unbootable. They're for "power" users and should only ever be used if you know exactly what you're doing and why you're doing it.
None of the BCDs in Windows is used to boot the system, all those you mention are what setup uses as its prorotype when creating the actual boot files.
On a UEFI system all of the boot files are in the EFI System Partiton.
Anything you do to any of those proto BCDs with "select BCD store" is a complete waste of time.
The only thing affecting your boot is the EasyBCD > File > Load System BCD version.
The ability to work on other BCDs enables you e.g. to import a HDD from a non booting PC and fix its BCD on a working PC
 

SolelessSoul

Active Member
Thanks, I'll try to go back to basics.

The "File - Load System BCD" points to another partition:

There are a total of 4 entries listed in the bootloader.
Path: E:\Windows\Boot\EFI\BCD

When I edit those records, click Save Settings and close EasyBCD, I get message: "Unable to obtain exclusive access to E:\Windows\Boot\EFI\BCD... If this is a removable disk...."

When I select "everyone" and all possible combinations of user access to the E partition, I'm getting a message: "An error occurred while applying security information to E:\Boot. Access denied". Same for E:\bootmgr, E:\EFI\Windows\Boot, E:\Program Files, E:Windows.

Why doesn't my Win 7 give me or EasyBCD permissions to access system files on both of my Win 10 drives? I've tried to copy and paste that BCD file into E:\Windows\Boot\EFI\BCD while booted into a LiveCD, but that had created more booting mess...
 

SolelessSoul

Active Member
Can anyone please reply to my previous post? What can cause Win 7 to restrict access to Win 10 partitions? All administrate right are granted... It causes immense desperation. I really need to fix the ability to boot into my Windows 10 setups....
 

Terry60

Telephone Sanitizer (2nd Class)
Staff member
I already said. "None of those proto BCD files inside Windows does anything"
It's the "live" BCD in your EFI System partition which is booting the system.
 

SolelessSoul

Active Member
Which means that there's absolutely no way to control how/if real BCD boots the system? Real BCDs live their own life, can mess the whole computer as they wish and we can't do anything about it... Then what's the purpose of EasyBCD? I don't understand...
 

Terry60

Telephone Sanitizer (2nd Class)
Staff member
EasyBCD defaults to the live BCD unless you direct it elsewhere. If it cannot locate the live BCD at boot it will be because you have your HDD sequence in the BIOS wrong. It expects to find the BCD on the drive 0 i.e. top HDD priority in the boot sequence.
 

SolelessSoul

Active Member
But if I select any other drive as top priority in bios, I simply doesn't get into a working boot menu and I can't get into my Windows 7.

But with my current setup (when windows 7 boots) it's looking for a live BCD on E drive, which my Windows 10...
 

SolelessSoul

Active Member
There are 7 disks in total. Only two disks contain system partitions (4 system partitions in total). I didn't list non-system drives since I don't think you need them. Screenshot taken from one of the Win 7 that I can boot into. Drives E and H are Win 10 (can't boot to them). Drives C and K are Win 7 (can boot).
 

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pmshah

Member
I just built myself a new Ryzen 7 5700 system . Going to try Win11. Currently running Win 10 Pro and I constantly get message that my system is not compatible for Win 11 because of non secure CSM / MBR boot. Went on NeoSmart site to look for UEFI compatible version which they don't have. Of course there are plenty of videos on YouTube how to install Win 11 on MBR booting partition.

The question is not UEFI drive, it is whether your Win 11 boots from an EFI partition which is normally formatted as Fat16. The boot partition has to be on an MBR disk for EasyBCD to function with your version of Wndows. My boot drive is MBR. I have 5 additional drives which are GPT formatted. They are all fully accessible. I can tell you more once I receive my new SSD tomorrow for Win 11 and see if I find a workaround.
 

Terry60

Telephone Sanitizer (2nd Class)
Staff member
EasyBCD has been fully UEFI compatible for many years.
Not all functions available on an MBR PC are available on a UEFI PC.
That's not a shortcoming of EasyBCD, its a design feature of the .efi version of MS bootmgr.
MS decided that W10 (It's first OS of the UEFI era) would not be allowed to operate alongside "foreign" OSs (even its own legacy products) for security reasons so a whole raft of EasyBCD's MBR compatible features are "greyed" in a UEFI environment.
@soleless
The reason you have trouble with EasyBCD finding your BCD automatically is because of your BIOS HDD boot sequence.
Your Disk3 should be Disk0, i.e. top of the pile

Disk Management flags have the following meanings on an MBR PC

"boot" = "this is the system you're running"
"system" = "this is where I found the boot files for the currently running system"
"active" (on the first HDD in the BIOS boot sequence) = "this is where I started the search for the boot files"
"active" (on subsequent HDDs in the BIOS boot sequence) ="this is where I will look if I don't find something in the MBR on the first HDD"

"active" has no meaning on a UEFI PC, it's a flag in the MBR partition table indicating the location of the one (of four) which contains the boot files.
In UEFI the EFI System Partition contains the boot files.
You don't appear to have one though you've redacted so much it's impossible to say.
Your installation is therefore a bit of a dog's breakfast, neither fish nor fowl to mix a few metaphors.
Do your BCD entries load Winload.exe or Winload.efi ?
 
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SolelessSoul

Active Member
The reason you have trouble with EasyBCD finding your BCD automatically is because of your BIOS HDD boot sequence.
Your Disk3 should be Disk0, i.e. top of the pile
Please see the screenshots of my UEFI. In "Boot Option Priorities" there are are 5 entries, each named "Windows Boot Manager (Samsing SSD...)". If I select some other lines of "Windows Boot Manager" - my Win 7 may not boot (tried that). I don't fully understand these boot menus... There's also a page called "Hard Drive BBS Priorities" (another picture). I don't filly understand that section either. How can I make Disk3 to be Disk0 ? The 3 most important Windows systems are all located on the same Samsung 1Tb SSD.

Do your BCD entries load Winload.exe or Winload.efi ?
Sorry but how can I check that?

20220716_185657.jpg20220716_185722.jpg
 

SolelessSoul

Active Member
Do your BCD entries load Winload.exe or Winload.efi ?
When I select "Load System BCD" - I get an error "Unable to access exclusive access to E:\Windows\Boot\EFI\BCD. If it's a removable disk, try ejecting etc...". All entries there are Winload.efi.

If I chose "Select BCD Store" and choose: C:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot - I get no error message, the first entry there appeared on it's own and it's Winload.efi, the rest are Winload.exe

If I chose "Select BCD Store" and choose: C:\Boot - all entries there are Winload.exe
 

Terry60

Telephone Sanitizer (2nd Class)
Staff member
Have you put something in EasyBCD > Options > "Automatically load..." ? (if so get rid of it)
EasyBCD won't think that any proto BCD in x:\Windows\... is the system BCD
The DM screenshot shows that the BCD in use is in E:\boot (system flag)
Point EasyBCD to that.
 
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