Noob needs help - dual boot dual sata's

Hi all :smile: I read some of the stuff posted here and unfortunately I am so new to all this stuff that I don't really know if it applies to my situation or not.

My goal: Dual boot system (don't really care how it's set up as long as it works)
Current system: (My build) AMD Phenom IIx4, Asus Mobo (M4a77TD Pro), 4 gb Adata 1600 ddr3 Gaming (2x2GB), ASUS EAH4650 series [Display adapter], Thermalake PS 650 watt
SHARP HDMI [Monitor] (37.0"vis)
ViewSonic VX1935wm [Monitor]
2 Sata drives 640 each

Where I am and how I got here: (After reading enough to think that I knew what I was doing) WRONG! LOL
I first tried to dual boot with a new copy of Windows 7 home ed. 64 bit and a running copy of XP service pack 2 that was already installed on one SATA. After much aggrevation I gave up on that project having decided that MS was deliberately making it impossible because XP was service PK 2 (and an illegal copy)

Next I unplugged the xp drive and installed Ubuntu on the empty sata. It all worked well so I transferred my files to that drive, unplugged it, and installed Windows 7 (this time the 32 bit edition) to the xp drive. This also seems to work fine (using it now).

The probem is that when the ubuntu drive is the first sata . . I can boot to it . . but it says the windows drive is damaged and it can't see any files there.

When I switch the order of the drives, I can boot to windows 7 but not to Ubuntu. I installed BCD and I have the Linux option available but when I click on it . . . it says it can't find the file (or something like that). I think I used an earlier edition of BCD and I know I probably used the wrong settings when I installed Ubuntu. Anyway, today I downloaded the latest version of BCD. Unfortuanately I don't know how to proceed from here. Any help is appreciated :lup:


Active Member
Hey, while you wait for help from someone who usually helps out people here, I thought I could share a word or two with you.

First, why do you disconnect one of the HDDs to install an OS? I know that Windows 7 doesn't have a problem with seeing multiple HDDs, and probably (any of the newer) Ubuntu(s) doesn't. I haven't tested the setup but I'm guessing that has to be possible.

Why those OS's don't see each other? During the installation of both OS' they didn't have to see other drive and whats on it, therefore they do not install drivers they need to see. For example if you install a Windows 7 on a computer, and then switch the motherboard, Windows 7 will have trouble working since it doesn't have the needed drivers prepared.

Anyways, if you knew that already, its always good to mention... I hope :smile:

Why did you unplug the 2nd HDD while installing an OS on 1st?
Similar Experience

Hi Geoduck,

If you look down the list of posts about 3-4 posts, you will see one by me (muskt) about somewhat similar difficulties.


Been there & done that & it won't work.

What happens (I think) is that the computer reassigns (for lack of a better term) drive designation or drive sequence when you do that. That is what happened to my triple boot.

Here is what I would do. I would put both OSs on one of your drives. EasyBCD does that like a champ==almost never a problem. The black arts become involved when multiple drives contain multiple OSs. EasyBCD doesn't seem to have a clue how to talk to both of them (drives), & documentation is as scarce as chickens teeth.

The "gray" copy of XP should actually have nothing to do with it.

About a year ago, I was using 4 drives--3 SATA & 1 IDE. It didn't like that mix, either. I had XP, 2 Vistas & Simply Mepis (Linux). Never could get the IDE to boot one of the OSs.

I have one drive on my Dell laptop, & dual boot Vista 32 & Simply Mepis. I only use 1 partition for each OS, & it works as advertised. I am not very experienced with Linux; however, in my case using only 1 partition works fine.

The normal responders here (Computer Guru, Coolname007, Terry60, & a couple of others) all have tons of knowledge. Sometimes, you just need to tell them to slow down a bit & use terms for a beginner. They will get it all sorted out, eventually. I know, I know, we want it now; but, sometimes "ya just gotta wait". Hard as it is to believe, they may have a life, too (other than EasyBCD).

Jerry in Anchorage
Thank you :smile:

I guess my mistake was unplugging the Ubuntu when I installed Windows 7? I did first try to format the xp disk using Ubuntu . . . but for some reason it wasn't working. I guess that's when I decided to just use windows 7 to get rid of the illegal XP copy. I wanted to make sure my files were safe when I did this so I unplugged it! LOL

I can easily put both operating systems on a single disk. Which way should I go . . . Ubuntu on the Windows 7 or Windows 7 to on the Ubuntu?

I was reading the FAQS page here and I noticed the swap file on the diagram of a triple boot. It was at the end of disk 0 I think. How does that get there? Is it a BCD file?

Ok so if I install a fresh copy of Ubuntu onto this drive (the windows 7) I will then be able to retreive my files off of the other drive, erase the Ubuntu from it, and use it as a dynamic disk?

Is it better to set up the BCD boot files before or after I install Ubuntu?

Sorry to be so ignorant and thanks for the help!:booyah:


Ok so I have been reading here some more and it seems like I should be able to use Grub2 and get it to boot the way that it is. I downloaded the latest version of BCD 2.0 and installed it but when I click on the Linux option and look in the type drop down menu . . . there is no Grub2 option. From what I understand this is the one I need if it is to work with Ubuntu. Anyone know which version includes this option? Many thanks :smile:)
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Up to you

I am going on memory, now, & that is highly suspect.

If you use 7 as your primary OS & if you have lots of apps & files on it, I would leave it alone and put Linux on that drive.

First off, you should back up everything you are afraid of losing. Got that out of the way.

Next I would shrink the 7 partition to a happy size===200-300 Gig would seem nice.
Then, I would determine if I wanted all 3 partitions for Linux. On my desktop machine, I did it that way. On the laptop, I only have 1. I cannot tell any difference===remember that I am a rookie with Linux.

Since Linux is so easy to install (read that as quick), I might just go for 1 partition as an experiment.

Build the partition and remember what it is called (might be sda2). You will have to figure that out based on your system.

Install Linux on the newly created partition====take your time & read the instructions as you go====you don;t want to overwrite 7. Install GRUB in Root (not MBR).

After that is all done, you can go back & boot into 7 and then install EasyBCD.

If my memory holds, I believe that all you need to do then is to select Linux and add it. Check the box about "GRUB not installed---". DO NOT forget to hit the save button prior to exiting.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, remember that I am about as dumb as a box of rocks with this stuff. Right now, I can only boot into Vista & 7 on my desktop machine. My laptop works fine. I am beyond 60 years old, so my memory isn't always 100%. I am trying to give you good info, but I recommend caution when applying the techniques I have quoted.

I have checked all afternoon, & the Neosmart Wiki has been down. There is some info in it, but as I said before, documentation is very (read that as extremely) limited.

One more thing, you should be using ONLY the Beta version (Build 78). The released version doesn't work well at all.

I tried Ubuntu and didn't care for it. I looked around and finally settled on Simply Mepis. The released version is 8.0.15. It has a good forum, as most distros do,

Here is a link to a recent article about different distros.

Hang in there, I'm sure that someone with much more knowledge than I have will chime in soon.

Best to you,
Jerry in Anchorage


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Use the latest build of EasyBCD 2.0 (frequent updates)
If you're using Ubuntu 9.10, add a linux entry, choose grub 2 from the dropdown (under grub legacy, above lilo). Everything else greys because EasyBCD doesn't need anything else.
(there's no problem multi-booting across several HDDs, in some ways it's easier.)
I wish I could say that

Terry, I wish it were that easy.

I must be dumber than I think, cuz I have a terrible time with it.

Jerry in Anchorage
Hi Muskt, Hi Terry!! Thank you both for your great help. Terry . . . I used your suggestion and it worked perfect! This is really a great program! I love the iReboot :smile:!

I still have the problem where niether os sees the other, once inside, and I cannot share files because of it. Also, the Ubuntu drive is still reporting the Windows 7 drive as damaged. It says it has many bad sectors. Is that normal? And do be able to share files, do I need to repartition both drives to have dynamic areas or something? Anyone know about this? Terry?

Also, I did make an error during this process, and because of it have one suggestion. The error was thinking that the EasyBCD versions were listed with the latest on top, and downloading the wrong one because of it. Anyway when I read Terry's post, I looked again, more carefully, and found that they are listed from bottom (most recent) to top (oldest). I find this somewhat counter-intuative and so would suggest that you reverse the order. Short of that . . . how about some big flashing red thingy on the page that alerts us noobs? LOL



Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
There's a BIG link at the top for the latest build, followed by a list of builds which gets added to at the bottom, hence newest last.
I afraid Windows is too self centred to acknowledge the world of Linux. It can't read the file systems.
Linux shouldn't have any trouble the other way round.
Try chkdsk /r on the Windows partition.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
I guess big, flashy, blue thing doesn't cut it these days :tongueout:

GeoDuck2 and Muskt - You guys seem to have gotten hang of the whole dual-booting thing.. why don't you guys stick around and see if you can help :grinning: