Need help before decided to get EasyBCD

#1
So I want to make absolutely sure this product will help me and perhaps get some advice on how to accomplish my goal because I've been basically pulling my hair out all day.

I need two dual installations of Win 7 Ultimate x64 on the same laptop (Dell M6500) for some beta testing/demo. It has to be dual install and not VM because VM is way too slow and limited.

I have a 500GB drive I've been using for a couple of years. It's been partitioned into 2 drives, has OS and works great. We'll call it 'A'.

I purchased a 100GB SSD drive for the beta/demo side. We'll call it 'B'.

I original installed the OS in 'B' while it was in the primary HDD slot of laptop.
I moved 'B' to secondary slot and put 'A' back in it's original location of primary slot.

Without anything, I boot up 'A' ok, then 'B' ok, and try to go back into 'A' and thus started my day of learning all about bootmgr errors and etc...

Right now, I'm back in my original config of just 'A' physically installed in the laptop. I would prefer not to have to switch out 'A' and 'B' in primary HDD slot if i can because I know from experience, having internal RPM drives out, even protected in foam and static bags, are still prone to bad things happening.

It appears EasyBCD will allow me to put 'B' back in secondary hard drive slot and resolve the dual boot/conflicting master boot sector issues I was seeing all day?

Do I HAVE to reformat 'B' and reinstall the OS after getting and installing EasyBCD?

I have already 'hid' the drives from each by removing them in disk management when booted into either OS. Is that going to cause any conflicts?

If anyone has any positive helpful advice, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance everyone. I'm sure you're having a much happier Friday than me! :smile:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Would you care to expand on
"Without anything, I boot up 'A' ok, then 'B' ok, and try to go back into 'A' and thus started my day of learning all about bootmgr errors and etc..."
How ? Physical switching? BIOS override ? What error ?
 
#3
Would you care to expand on
"Without anything, I boot up 'A' ok, then 'B' ok, and try to go back into 'A' and thus started my day of learning all about bootmgr errors and etc..."
How ? Physical switching? BIOS override ? What error ?
I used a Bios override, both drives physically connected at all times. First it was a bootmgr error. Thought it might not be seated properly at first and reseated after cleaning lightly with canned air. Then it would try to start up, get to 'starting windows' message but the icon would never load above it ( 4 colored tiles 'blooming' or whatever). Tried the startup repair recommended on other forums. Startup repair reported it failed but then I could launch 'normally. All data and operations seem in tact afterwards. It did miss the device and printers attached until a second reboot tho.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
So you can boot A , then boot B with a temporary BIOS override, but subsequently A refuses to boot until "startup repair" ?
That sounds as though the installations were not as independent as you thought.
Check the Disk Management flags as seen from each booted system. System and Boot should move together with the booted system if they are truly independent, both should be Active
they have the following meanings
"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"
 
#5
So you can boot A , then boot B with a temporary BIOS override, but subsequently A refuses to boot until "startup repair" ?
That sounds as though the installations were not as independent as you thought.
Check the Disk Management flags as seen from each booted system. System and Boot should move together with the booted system if they are truly independent, both should be Active
they have the following meanings
"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"
hang on.. gotta crack it open again and put the ssd back in secondary slot.
but anyhow.. will easy BCD help me with this?

The goal is to not have internal hard drives laying around because i can only physically have one installed at a time to work properly. and again, if it does work, do i need to reformat and reinstall the OS on the secondary drive, which I don't mind doing. I just don't want to have to do it after I go through the trouble of installing full blown sql and enterprise products on the drive.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
I'm sorry. You've got me confused now.
In previous posts you seemed to be saying that both drives were in the PC and that you could(/could not) boot to one or the other using a BIOS override, and now you imply that only one drive is installed because that's the only way you can boot the PC.
If you have 2 HDDs, and each is bootable when installed separately in the PC, then you should have absolutely no problem when you install both (assuming the laptop has two bays), though the second will only be bootable by overriding the BIOS boot sequence dynamically at power-up.
EasyBCD will enable you to boot either without needing to touch the BIOS. It will not adversely affect either system.
All it does is add an additional entry into the BCD of the primary OS telling bootmgr that another OS exists (and where it resides), which causes bootmgr to display a dual-boot selection menu (for as long as you specify) enabling you to select the non-default system if you choose to. If you do not make a choice it boots the default system after the menu timeout elapses.
The default action is therefore identical to a boot of the OS at present except for the presentation of the boot option menu for a few seconds. In all other respects the OS is untouched.
EasyBCD is a passive app which takes no part in the booting or the running of either OS. It merely facilitates the management of the contents of the BCD on either system.
I would advise (for speed) that you put the SSD in the primary bay and add an entry for the HDD OS into the SSD's BCD.
First though, you need to sort out why you are having to "startup repair", since two independent W7's on separate devices, should not be giving you any problems.