Multi-Boot Alphabet Soup \#*%@&/ Please Help!

leejosepho

New Member
Well! Here is my Win7 once again! I have not shut down and done a cold boot just yet, but this first go-round showed the last EasyBCD boot menu I made while in XP ...

I will go try for Debian now, then do an EasyBCD in Win7 to get XP's "boot.ini" back into the mix ... then come back a little later with a final report I suspect we will all appreciate!

I truly thank each and all of you.


Addendum:


Okay, here is my Win98 and with Debian's SATA drivers still intact, but EasyBCD did not find 2k/XP's "boot.ini" (with its own option for Win98 inside it). Rather, it (EasyBCD) only found and added Win98's *usual* boot even though I had recently "repaired" my XP installation so its (XP's) "boot.ini" would be called instead. Doing another "repair" of my XP *installation* would likely accomplish that once again, but then Win7's BCD would be knocked back out of the picture.Suggestions?!

Addendum 2:

I think having "/mbr" in those last EasyBCD commands over-wrote whatever had been pointing to XP's "boot.ini".

Win7's "startup repair" would have picked it up and included it ... so maybe we tried to do too much with EasyBCD in this particular situation?
 
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mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
You *should* be able to do:

EasyBCD -> Add Windows 9x
EasyBCD -> Add Windows XP
 

leejosepho

New Member
You *should* be able to do:

EasyBCD -> Add Windows 9x
EasyBCD -> Add Windows XP

Yes, that worked for Win98, but not for XP's "boot.ini", and I believe maybe that is because EasyBCD was "denied access" because I was in XP on the boot drive (0) at that time? So now that I am here in Win7 on the third drive (2), is there a way to to use bootsect.exe to specifically target whatever we are looking for without doing harm elsewhere?
 

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mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
What folder is XP installed to on E:\ ?

(as in, E:\Windows\ or E:\Winnt\ or what?)
 

leejosepho

New Member
What folder is XP installed to on E:\ ?

(as in, E:\Windows\ ...

Yes, but here is its "boot.ini" on "C" (being called "R" here in Win7 (see below)). To explain:

First Win98 was installed on "D" (placing its boot on "C"), then 2k went in on "C" (and hijacked 98's boot), then XP went in on "E" and hijacked 2k's "boot.ini" on "C". So, we are now not trying to find XP on "E" unless we are going to also go find 2k on "C" at risk of losing 98. In place of all of that, we need to simply bring "boot.ini" on "C" into Win7's BCD so the 98-2k-XP "boot.ini" menu can appear from there.

=====
[boot loader]
timeout=8
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Pro" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows 2K Pro" /FASTDETECT
C:\ = "Windows 98 se"
=====

The screenshot below shows the assigned drive letters as EasyBCD will see them while running here in Win7. 0/0 is "0_SYS2K (R)" where XP's "boot.ini" is located, and XP is in "E".
 

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leejosepho

New Member
I wonder whether all of this could be as simple as replacing 98's "msdos.sys" with the version in use prior to its (98's) re-installation knocking 2k and XP out of the lineup, but I do not know how, where or when XP's "boot.ini" actually gets called.
 

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leejosepho

New Member
Okay, here is where I am at the moment:

I ran "FIXBOOT C:" from XP's Repair Console, and that put XP's "boot.ini" (offering 98-2k-XP) back in as this system's boot menu. And as a result, of course, Win7's BCD no longer showed anywhere.

At that point, I used EasyBCD in XP to delete all entries from that dysfunctional Win7 BCD, then I ran Win7's "startup repair" from its DVD to make a new BCD ... and that new BCD did *not* take notice of XP's "boot.ini", and neither did it get placed as this system's new startup menu. Rather, XP's "boot.ini" yet remains the boot menu shown at startup even after Win7 made a new BCD ... and re-running Win7's "startup repair" now shows no errors to be repaired.

After I ran "FIXBOOT C:" in XP's console, I also typed "FIXMBR" but was given a warning about having a non-standard MBR and that the execution of "FIXMBR" could ruin my partition tables and keep this computer from booting. So, I did not proceed with that command.

I could re-install Win7 (or repair its installation), but I wonder whether that would resolve the problem of its installer not being able to place its BCD on "C".

I could easily live without Win7 altogether and use that partition for something else, but then how could I add Debian to XP's "boot.ini" or whatever? I know my Debian installation is still good, but now I no longer have Win7's BCD available for using EasyBCD to get to it.

Ah, maybe I need to go see how people dual-boot Debian and XP ...
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Run EasyBCD in Windows XP.

Add New Entry -> Linux

Go back to the main EasyBCD page. You'll see the entry there, together with the path for the entry in the form of "X:\NST\nst_grub.mbr" or something like that.

Open boot.ini and add a new entry to there:
X:\NST\nst_grub.mbr = "Debian"
 

leejosepho

New Member
Run EasyBCD in Windows XP.

Add New Entry -> Linux

Go back to the main EasyBCD page. You'll see the entry there, together with the path for the entry in the form of "X:\NST\nst_grub.mbr" or something like that.

Open boot.ini and add a new entry to there:
X:\NST\nst_grub.mbr = "Debian"

No BCD I might make now will end up being recognized as a boot menu, but now everything is already working ... and I cannot explain how. As I had previously mentioned: XP's "boot.ini" was working for 98-2k-XP, but then Win7's "startup repair" could not get a Win7 BCD working ... but then Debian's installer ended up somehow finding *all* operating systems and giving me the option of letting GRUB take over, and that worked perfectly. My previous entry for *Debian* in the last BCD I had made does *not* work even though Win7's does, and I cannot on either my "C" or XP's or Win7's partition find the BCD Grub is using.

I began with a "mess" and seem to have ended up with some kind of anomoly, but it works and I thank you for your time and effort in helping me get there!

Note: Please excuse my bad lens on an old camera ...
 

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leejosepho

New Member
Did you disconnect any HDDs at some point ?
It sounds as though the BIOS boot sequence has changed and your Disk 0 /1/2 assignments are now different. (As a rule they follow the BIOS sequence)
If you disconnect and reconnect drives during a sequence of boots, the BIOS will reset that order without your knowledge.

Just a brief afterthought here ...

The matter of my BIOS and drive order is still a question rolling around in my mind. Sometimes this machine comes up quickly, but sometimes my BIOS takes several seconds doing whatever it does before letting the machine proceed. My "reset configuration data" switch does not automatically disable itself the next time around after being enabled, and I actually find it best (usually quicker boots) to just leave it enabled ... and I installed a new battery last week because my BIOS sometimes seemed a bit shaky. In any case, that "reset" switch had been disabled for a while until yesterday when I enabled it again while re-installing Debian, and that is when Debian's installer suddenly again began seeing my third drive first (like it occasionally had in the past) and was able to find/see *all* systems for GRUB to then begin handling.

Later on today (after having booted into each of the systems here at least once) I will likely disable that "reset" switch again, but either way never renders any OS unbootable.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
I'm glad you got it all working. Hope it stays that way!1
 

leejosepho

New Member
I'm glad you got it all working. Hope it stays that way!1

I thank you, and same here! I would *much* prefer what I previously had with "boot.ini" for 98-2k-XP sitting in behind Win7's BCD as customized with EasyBCD to add Debian, because now I am completely dependent upon a GRUB loader I know absolutely nothing about and while having no idea what I will have to do if it in any way messes up.

One interesting update here:

This morning I was able to use EasyBCD in Win7 to edit the Win7 BCD being called (linked) by GRUB as "Longhorn", but I still cannot find that BCD with EasyBCD in XP. No problem there, but I sure would like to know the location of that BCD and how GRUB is finding it!

Keep up the good work on your end! EasyBCD is the way to go in order to maintain control over and easy access within one's own multi-boot system.
 
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