Multiboot (3 Win 7 Partitions) on single drive

#1
I hope someone can help me. I have a specific application where I need to create 3 bootable Win 7 32bit partitions. I used EASEPartitioning software and EasyBCD do the initial setup. I installed Win 7 from install disk in each partition. I have drives C, E and F on the single drive. What I need is to be able to boot into any partition and it appear as its C drive. The applications I load into each partition expect to reside on the C: drive only. I am hoping its a drive mapping issue I can fix with EasyBCD. Did I do the OS install incorrectly and can I fix it? Thanks in advance for any help.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
What do you mean "I used ...... EasyBCD do the initial setup" ?
What OS were you running it on, and what did you set up if no other OS existed.
If you installed (i.e. not cloned) W7 three times into different partitions from the booted DVD, then each one should be C when in use, and each one should have added itself to the BCD of the first installed system automatically during setup.
What is the "issue" you are trying to fix ?
Each OS will appear in the BCD as being on a drive with the letter as seen by the running OS (i.e. the same as it appears in Explorer).
That bears no relation to the letter by which the OS knows itself.

Disk letters are virtual Windows labels, just entries in the registry of the running copy of Windows, they don't actually exist. Each OS has its own registry, hence its own letter map. There are no letters in the BCD, EasyBCD just translates the unintelligible UID into a form the end-user can easily understand by using the OS registry letter map to reflect the same identity as is seen in Explorer.

Hence, if you look at the exact same BCD from your three different systems, any apparent change is illusory. The information is identical, but the translation may appear to indicate differences. The differences will reflect exactly the same information as you'll see when looking at the partitions from Disk Management or Explorer on that same system.
 
#3
If you installed (i.e. not cloned) W7 three times into different partitions from the booted DVD, then each one should be C when in use, and each one should have added itself to the BCD of the first installed system automatically during setup.
This is what is not happening.
Sorry when I said "used" I meant just one of the tools I used to try and accomplish my objective. This was a brand new Dell Laptop with Windows 7 already installed on the C drive. I used EASEPartition to create and format 2 additional partitions. I then used Dell windows 7 install disk to load Windows 7 OS on to each partition (no cloning). I then used EasyBCD to setup the bootloader which allows me to specify which partition I want to run. Everything went fine and my partitions show up as C,E and F which is fine except when I run the OS in partition/drive E for example I was needing that partition to show up as C: and the other two partitions would be assigned a different drive letter. The only reason I need this to happen is because the software applications I have to run in each partition is expecting the drive to be C:. I've seen this done before but can't figure what I did wrong. Not sure how else to explain and hope this helps.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
"...used Dell windows 7 install disk to load Windows 7 OS......"
Can you expand on this a little.
I am not aware that any OEM provides a Windows DVD capable of performing a true "install" (i.e. booting the DVD and running the Microsoft setup program to create a tailored OS from scratch)
Do you mean that you have used the Dell recovery image to create multiple copies of the pre-installed OS.
If so, that might be called a clone, though a true clone by strict definition would be identical, including the letter by which it calls itself.
What you seem to be describing is a modified copy of the original OS, in which the copy process has made a bulk update to the registry to modify the thousand entries which refer to the "C" disk.
If that is what you've done, then you'll need to refer to the Dell documentation to discover if it's capable of creating an unmodified "true" clone.
This would also explain why you needed to use EasyBCD. Copying an image will not create a dual-boot entry the way the MS setup program does.
 
#5
This is a genuine Dell Windows 7PRO 32bit install disk. I had to request it when I ordered the PC from Dell for my specific application and yes its not easy to get. I use EasyBCD so that I can name the partitions and because its easy to use. I did run EasyBCD toolbox again and I verified that when I "view settings" I see 3 entries with entry 1 name "Mazda" and drive"C". Entry 2 name "Honda" and drive"E" and entry 3 name "Nissan" and drive "F". The current partition I'm in shows BCD ID as "current" with the other 2 entries with different BCD ID's as expected. In examples I've seen before, the entries all show "C:" as the drive. Is this my problem? Under Advanced Settings this can be changed.

When I open explorer in the 2nd or 3rd partition it always shows the drive letter assigned to that name and not "C:" as expected. This help????
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
It's quite correct that all of the BCD entries show the OSs as different letters. (see my first reply). That's just how one OS sees itself and the other OSs (there cannot be multiple C drives on one system). That's absolutely normal.
Are you saying that when you boot "Honda" it comes up and calls itself "E" in Explorer ?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
How did you install them then ?
If you run setup from inside another Windows (as opposed to booting it from the distribution DVD), the running system is already "C" so it has to allocate a different letter for the new OS being created.
The only way to make all the systems "C" is to install them from the booted DVD.