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Telephone Sanitizer (2nd Class)
Staff member
We're very friendly and try to answer every post as quickly as possible, and we are fairly widely spread geographically meaning that you'll normally find someone about at most times of the day or night, but this is a volunteer forum and we all have other calls on our time, so there are no guarantees of a rapid response.

Please help yourself therefore by checking a few things before you make a new post.

1) If you want to know how dual booting works before you do anything,

Have a read of this excellent illustrated guide.

2) If you're contemplating a dual boot for the first time and want advice,

read the relevant part of our wiki for XP, Linux generally (Ubuntu or Fedora specifically)

see Jake's thread in these forums

or the excellent APC magazine guides for XP before Vista, Vista before XP, Vista before Linux.
(Several other combinations available from the same site)

3) If you've tried to make a dual-boot and it's not working.

Let's start by checking that you've got everything in the right place
(this is the EasyBCD Support forum. EasyBCD runs on just about any Windows operating system, but it's a tool for manipulating the Vista/Windows 7 BCD, so if you don't own a legitimate copy of Vista or Seven you're in the wrong place, You can't use EasyBCD)

If you only have a single Hard Disk Drive (HDD) that's obviously where you're booting from, so skip on to the next step. If you have multiple HDDs, don't assume that The disk containing Vista is necessarily where you're booting from. Check in your BIOS the order in which the HDDs are checked at boot time.

Run Control Panel \ Administrative Tools \ Computer Management \ Disk Management and look at the flags on the HDD which is 1st in your BIOS boot sequence.
Is there a partition with the "system" flag ? (if not, move on to the next HDD in the sequence till you find one)
This is where you're booting from and where all of your Windows boot files should be, for every Windows OS in your multi-boot set-up.
(Don't assume this will be on Vista/Windows 7. It could be on XP, or a completely different partition. Check for yourself.)

(Microsoft uses its own unique naming system for partition flags. What we refer to colloquially as "the boot disk", and what Linux flags as "boot", is as we've just seen, "system" to MS.
This can be a source of great confusion leading to incorrect identification and consequent mistaken action, so I'll attempt to clarify the situation.

There is just one physical flag of all those mentioned in Disk Management, (a single bit) which actually exists in the MBR partition table. This is the "active" flag which is read by the Master Boot Record Initial Program Loader (MBR IPL) to find which partition should be searched for the boot files). In linux terms, the is the
boot (or bootable) flag.

When you power up your PC, the BIOS will locate the HDD at the top of the boot sequence and start to execute the code in the MBR at the start of the disk. This code will examine the partition table which is also inside the MBR and look for which partition has this single "active" bit set (to 1, the others will all be 0)
It will then go to the "active" partition boot sector and continue the boot process with the boot manager code it finds there.

When Windows is finally up and running and you look in Disk Management, you'll see that Windows tells you "this is where I found the boot files for starting your system" by assigning the virtual flag "system".
It will also tell you "this is the system you're running at this moment" by assigning the virtual flag "boot"
Neither of these flags exists outside of Windows, so don't try looking for them with bootable third-party software, only "active" (or
boot, or bootable) is really there.

Why does it bother ? It might seem redundant when your Vista partition is "active system boot", but note that a Windows 7 OS will most probably have a little unlettered "System Reserved" partition which is "active system" whilst the main OS is "boot" because the install process deliberately tries to keep the boot files separated from the rest of the OS,
and even though the boot process will always start with the "active" partition; because boot managers can chain one from another, the boot files which started the OS do not have to be on the starting (active) partition.
In this last case, the three flags might all be in different partitions.)

4) If you've just added XP to your Vista or Windows 7 PC and now you can only boot XP,

Follow the advice in the wiki to repair the Vista boot. (same procedure applies for Windows 7)

(The Master Boot Record (MBR) sitting invisibly on the 1st few blocks of your HDD, contains the Initial Program Loader (IPL), which will search for the "active" flag and find in the bootsector of that partition a small program (PBR) which looks for the Vista/Windows 7 boot manager program (bootmgr).
Installing XP after Vista or Windows 7 replaces the PBR with an XP version which looks for the XP boot loader (NTLDR).
NTLDR cannot boot Vista or Windows 7, so you need to put Vista/W7 back in control)
Confusingly, the boot sector of each partition, the Partition Boot Record (PBR), and the IPL, are all sometimes refered to "the MBR", which can make it hard to understand what's happening. But you don't actually need to know any more than, "putting XP on after Vista/W7 requires the Vista/W7 boot to be repaired"

5) If Vista/Windows 7 boots but you can't see an option for XP,

Follow the advice in the wiki about XP dual-boot

Using EasyBCD 2.0 will take away a lot of the previous manual customizing necessary with the 1.7 release. As you click Add, you'll trigger the automatic boot.ini configurator which will detect the correct values and create your boot.ini file for you. It will also ensure that copies of the other XP boot files are placed in the correct location if needed.

The drive option will be suppressed to prevent you from pointing the entry at the XP partition because the BCD should point to the XP boot files, on the "system" partition, which in turn point to XP. (see 6 below)
If you've been overriding EasyBCD's attempt to point you to the right place by "change settings", and EasyBCD says drive "U", this means "unfound, unknown, undetected" (take your pick), not "drive U:\".
Use "change settings" again and point to the "active" "system" partition, or just delete the XP entry and add it again and this time leave EasyBCD alone when you think it's pointing to the wrong partition. It's right - you're wrong! read the previous sentences again.

6) If the XP boot option tries, but fails to boot successfully,

Follow the advice in the wiki XP troubleshooter which contains each of the possible errors you might encounter and how to fix them.

If you've followed the advice in 5 above, but not used EasyBCD 2.0 the only errors you'll probably see will all have the same cause, namely the copy of boot.ini which is in the "active" "system" partition (see 3 above) is not pointing to the XP partition. Get the latest copy of EasyBCD and let it fix things for you

EasyBCD 2.x will configure boot.ini for you automatically as you add an entry for XP to the Vista BCD, or you can invoke the auto-configurator directly from the "Tools" dropdown menu. The other boot files will be automatically copied to the correct location at the same time. There is no longer any need to copy them manually.

7) If you're having problems getting the correct disk and partition values for Linux,

The following advice, left for historical completeness, really applies to much earlier distributions than you are probable using.
There has been recently a trend for different flavours of Linux to change the way they boot virtually at every new build.
EasyBCD therefore has to adapt to whatever has changed as and when the changes are announced (or worse still as they are discovered). It is imperative that if you are experiencing difficulty getting a new Linux to boot via the BCD,
that you make sure you are using the very latest Beta build
of EasyBCD. Older builds can only be expected to handle methods of booting that pre-existed their release.

There is a known problem with some later- build Linux distributions which you should read about in this other sticky thread.
Make sure that you are using the latest EasyBCD 2.x release which fixes the problems. Previous releases of EasyBCD do not know about the changes of syntax in Grub which arrived with Ubuntu releases subsequent to 8.04, and you will not be able to make the BCD boot newer Linux distros using an out-of-date EasyBCD.

If your Linux system is on a different HDD to the one with the active bootloader, and has Grub installed in the Linux partition, you will not be able simply to add a Linux entry to the BCD, you will have to tick the "Use EasyBCD's....." box and EasyBCD will install and use NeoGrub to circumvent the problem for you. This is due to a problem with Grub (not EasyBCD) when it is not on the same HDD as Vista.

If Linux is on the same HDD as Windows "system" (boot) files, then you do not need to tick the box. The chaining will be done directly without Neogrub being needed.

From Ubuntu 9.10, grub changed yet again. This time a complete upgrade to Grub2.
When adding a Linux entry for a distribution which uses Grub2, in EasyBCD 2.0, select Grub2 in the "Type" dropdown of the Linux tab.
You will see that other options, necessary for legacy Grub, will disappear, to be replaced by a message telling you that you no longer need to provide the information.
Don't worry, this is not a fault. EasyBCD 2.x will find and configure the boot for Grub2 completely automatically.

Remember firstly that Linux and Windows count partitions differently. Whilst they both count the disks starting from 0, Linux counts the first partition as 0 also, whereas Windows counts it as 1. (This applies to legacy grub. Grub2 now starts counting at 1 like Windows)
Also Linux assigns a number to the Extended Partition, inside which the Logical disks are located, whereas Windows ignores the Extended Partition when assigning numbers.

8) If you want to start a new thread but can't see how to do it,

You're probably already inside another thread (like this one now), where your only visible options are concerned with adding to the existing thread (if it's open to new posts).
You need to go back a level or three.
Look at the top of the thread. Just above the "post reply" button, (which says "closed" for this particular thread because it's not open to replies) you'll see a small box telling you where you are

The NeoSmart Forums > NeoSmart Support Center > EasyBCD Support

Click on the third link, and you'll be back at the list of threads in this particular forum, where you'll see this is one of the sticky threads.
The "closed" (or "post reply") button will have changed to "New Thread".
Click on this button and you will start a completely new thread in this forum.

If your problem is not EasyBCD related, click on the 1st link "The Neosmart Forums", and you'll be taken to the top level where you'll see each of the available forums
Click on the most appropriate one, and you'll again be in a list of all the existing threads on that topic. Click on "New Thread" and you'll open a brand-new thread in that forum.

9) If you want to attach a screenshot of your problem but can't find how,

If you are starting a completely new thread (see 8 above), you'll notice a Paperclip Icon available above the composition whitespace.
If you are making a new post in an existing thread and you used the "Post Reply" button at the top left, you will also see the Paperclip Icon.
If however, you used the "Quick Reply" button (bottom right, next to the Edit and Quote buttons), there will be no paperclip available. In this case you can use the "Go Advanced" button just below the Quick Reply Box, which will bring up the same composition options as the previous two cases.

Use the Paperclip Icon to take you to the "Manage Attachments" page. There you can upload your images to the post.

Some Tips for uploaded images.

Make sure they're big enough to be readable but not so large as to need continual scrolling up and down, and side to side.
Use the snipping tool in Vista and W7, very handy for capturing only what's needed.
Save images as .jpg not bitmaps. Save at the highest compression (lowest quality) consistent with remaining legible, to save upload time and space.
If you need to capure an open dialogue box (right click), which disappears as you try to "snip" it, then use the "PrtScn" button on your keyboard to capture the entire screen image into your clipboard. Open the Windows program "Paint", right click in the whitespace and "paste". The image of your captured screen will appear from the clipboard frozen in time.
You can now use the Snipping Tool to capture the open dialogue box from the Paint image.
The things we are most likely to ask you to post are the Disk Management display, and the output from EasyBCD "view settings". For Disk Management, follow the advice above, making sure that all the relevant information is available. If you don't label your partitions , don't expect us to be able to guess which is which; anotate them with the snipping tool tools. Make sure all the partition attribute flags are visible.
In the case of the "view settings", you don't need to take a screenshot. Since the data is purely text, you simply need to drag the mouse cursor over it to highlight it, "Ctrl C" to copy it to the clipboard, then paste the text directly into the rest of your post. No need for attached pictures of the text.
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