Problem dual booting Windows 7 (RTM) and XP

#1
Hi guys,

I've been trying to get this sorted for about an hour now. I am using the latest beta of EasyBCD and trying to get into Windows XP. Here is a screenshot of my drive layout:



And here's my entries from EasyBCD:




EasyBCD has created the Boot.ini, ntldr and ntdetect.com files in that first 100mb partition. Here's the contents of the Boot.ini:

Code:
[boot loader]
timeout=20
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Windows XP on G:\" /fastdetect
When booting, I see Windows 7, and Windows XP. Windows 7 boots fine, but windows XP throws up an error about ntldr.

Any thoughts?

Cheers :smile:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi Killer, welcome to NST.
Can you post a disk management screenshot with all the relevant information visible. That restricted snip doesn't show the all important flags. or whether your partitions are all lettered.
Did you allow Easy2 to auto-configure ? (the boot.ini looks like you did).
Have you really left 660Gb unusable with 4 primaries already allocated ?
Or did you use GPartEd to configure the HDD, confusing W7 about the true nature of the partitions ?
i.e. are those partitions really primary ? (there's a Windows bug, when Linux formats an extended partition, it sees the contents incorrectly)
 
#3
Hi killerspam,

EITHER:

Delete the XP entry. In Disk Management, rt click the 100mb partition and give it a drive letter.

Use Easybcd to create a new XP entry and let it autoconfigure.

OR:

open an elevated command prompt and type ( Then press enter)

bcdedit /set {ntldr} device boot

Hope it helps.
 
Last edited:
#4
Hi Killer, welcome to NST.
Can you post a disk management screenshot with all the relevant information visible. That restricted snip doesn't show the all important flags. or whether your partitions are all lettered.
Did you allow Easy2 to auto-configure ? (the boot.ini looks like you did).
Have you really left 660Gb unusable with 4 primaries already allocated ?
Or did you use GPartEd to configure the HDD, confusing W7 about the true nature of the partitions ?
i.e. are those partitions really primary ? (there's a Windows bug, when Linux formats an extended partition, it sees the contents incorrectly)
Sorry for the snip. I've since managed to boot, and have decided to wipe the old XP partition (it was only for gaming, and a quick Steam reinstall won't take long).

I've since reconfigured the drive to use an extended partition with three logical partitions (one for gaming OS, one for ubuntu, and one for some storage). Here's some info for you though:

  • Regarding that snapshot, I can tell you that 'C' had the flags 'Boot, Page file, Crash dump, Primary Parition.
  • This was a fresh disk yesterday. I installed Windows 7 on it when it was completely blank. It added the 'System Reserved' partition of 200MB, and the 100GB C: drive
  • Yes I did leave that 662GB space (for ubuntu install) but forgot about the 4 primary partition limit
  • I then COPIED the G:\ partition over from another disk (xp install) and also created the 500GB partition. This was done using GParted
  • I changed the XP NTLDR entry in EasyBCD to point to G:\ and I copied the (EasyBCD created) boot.ini, ntldr and ntdetect.com into G:\... and it booted properly! (Well, it blue screened, but that was enough)

Switching the XP entry over to G:\ was contrary to everything I've read, but doing that and moving the files actually worked. How strange is that??

Thanks for your efforts, and I hope my analysis helps. EasyBCD is a great piece of software.

:smile:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#5
The crucial point is that you let W7 do its own partitioning, and it did its normal trick of creating the unlettered "system" partition. That's where all the boot files should be.
Are you using the latest build of 2.0 ?
Support for the W7 unlettered partition was added very late in the build list, but even so, some configurations have been found to confuse it. Yours may be a case in point.
Either use the latest build, or if you are already doing so, a workaround is simply to give the system partition a letter in Disk Management, and the XP auto-configure should work.
Your "fix" of pointing the BCD to XP is working by a hybrid quirk, partly using the files on the "system" partition, and partly on XP, and will probably cause you confusion as to which is which in the future.
 
Last edited:
#6
I have the most recent beta (as of yesterday) and yes, I let windows 7 set up its own partitions (Win7 was installed on the blank disk). However, I did NOT assign a drive letter to the 'System Reserved' partition, but EasyBCD seemed to copy the files over anyway (I checked by mounting the partition in an empty folder). Do you think that may have been an issue?

Addendum:

Another small nugget of information... it seems there's about 1mb of unallocated space BEFORE the 'system reserved' partition. Would this cause any issues?

On another note, installing XP into a logic partition has caused all sorts of problems ('Error loading operating system' even after I've run the Windows 7 startup repair and tried `bootsect /n60 SYS`). Currently at the 'copying files' stage of XP setup as a primary partition.
 
Last edited:

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#7
No, it's supposed to.
The problem before build 63 (I think) was the necessity to give the partition a letter to enable Easy2 to do its job, or even to enable a manual copy. The latest builds can cope with the lack of a letter and still put all the necessary boot files there, which re-reading your 1st post, it obviously did.
The problem is that your BCD is incorrectly stating that C: is the boot disk, which it isn't in your case because you let W7 create its own separate boot partition.
Compare your screenshot to mine, and that's what a normal 1 partition W7 BCD looks like.
Yours is pointing to the wrong partition, leading to inevitable problems trying to add in extra entries to the wrong place.
Also It's saying "EasyBCD boot device", rather than "boot drive", suggesting that it's been altered.
Did you do some playing around, changing it ?
 

Attachments

#8
I don't recall changing it, but I did have an older version of EasyBCD installed before the beta.

I'm currently stuck. I can't get Windows 7 bootloader or Windows XP bootloader to appear. I've tried the 'startup repair' on the Windows 7 DVD, but that says there are no problems. I've brought up the command prompt and typed `bootsec /nt60 SYS` and that hasn't worked. I've also deleted the logical partitions at the end, leaving lots of free space, then tried to set up XP on a new partition (created by the XP installer, 250GB).

I always get 'Error loading operating system'.

Thanks for your help. BTW, is there an IRC chan?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#9
If I were you, I'd format that stupid W7 boot partition,
(it does that btw, in case you want to encrypt your C: drive, to keep the boot unencrypted)
set W7 active, run startup repair 3 times to rebuild all the W7 boot components on C:, then run Easy2 to set up the XP boot again.
I suspect that the unlettered boot partition is also preventing your XP install from working properly.
(you do have CD set to boot before HDD in the BIOS I suppose ? dynamically altering the boot sequence with a function key causes problems with an install at the 1st reboot when it will go to the HDD instead of back to the CD)
 
#10
Sounds like plan. Will boot into Ubuntu LiveCD and delete every partition except for the windows 7 one. Will then try the 3 repairs as suggested. :smile:
 
#11
FYI - Vista/7 installations start the first partition 1mb into the drive.

Is it showing in Disk Management ?

Terry's suggestion is best - that 100mb partition can be a nuisance.

If you are using Gparted - you could move the 7 partition into the lower address spaces while you are at it. ( move it to the left as seen in Gparted window ). No point in having dead space at the beginning of the drive.
 
Last edited:
#13
You will need to run startup repair again after installing XP - to get back into 7. Then add an XP entry to 7 bcd using Easybcd.
 
#14
I attempted to install XP into a primary NTFS partition created after my Win7 install. After the XP installer finished copying files, it rebooted, but the screen would just sit blank with a blinking caret, doing nothing :/

I'll perhaps try later today by deleting the NTFS partition and letting the XP installer do its own thing. I got pretty annoyed last night having to continually boot into the Windows 7 DVD to restore the bootloader; the actual setup window takes about 5 minutes to appear.

Thanks for the help thus-far guys :smile: