Problems Bootloading 3 physical S-ATA hard drives


Active Member
Hello There Folks!

I have attached a screenshot of my "disk management" page and another shot of easy bcd of "View Settings" ver.

here is the problem: This computer was built with two Hitachi 320 Gb drives and configured in S-ATA. My plan was to have Win Xp Pro on one separate drive and then have Win Vista Home Premium on the second separate drive.

I wanted it this way because I am most familiar with Win xp pro but I wanted to get started on learning Vista without mucking up my win xp pro OS while learning my way around Vista. Keep the two os' totally separate.

This was accomplished and needed to boot into BIOS to change between Os'.

Then a friend introduced me to your program and sent me some instructions on how to set up the bootloader so I was able to toggle into either Operating System while booting up without having to go into the Bios. VERY COOL!

your proggy allowed me to do this effortlessly for over a year. :joy:

Then I decided to install a third physical drive so that I might start to experiment with Win 7 RC. So I did my due diligence and chose a Hitachi 1 Terabyte drive which is compatible with the other two drives.:grinning:

So I installed the third drive and with a minimum of aggravation I was successful in the installation; the drive was successfully seen in the disk management and I had already downloaded the Win 7 RC and burned the ISO to an installation DVD.

Then I did a simple format to the new disk and so now I'm ready to install win 7. However, I'm not an IT Pro. So I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to install the Win 7 OS over the top of one of the other two Os' thereby destroying a nicely functioning OS.

So I Open up Easy BCD and somehow changed the settings in the "Change Settings" which of course screwed up the whole boot process :brows: and now I'm thinking "wotta smart fella I am" .! I now have a very expensive "Small Boat Anchor":grinning:

Somehow I was able to load my Oem disk and do a repair which now allows me to get into Vista and that is how I got here:brows:

So I would like to ask of your help to get me squared away once again so that my machine will boot properly and I will be able to install win 7 RC on the third drive.

When I push "Submit New Thread" button I hope that you will see two attachments along with the thread; one should be an image of my "Disk Management" page and the other should be an image of my current display mode within Easy BCD.

OK crossing my fingers now and pushing button!

Thank you very much,



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Hi Ranger, welcome to NST.
Download yourself a copy of EasyBCD 2.0 latest build to Vista.
Add an entry for XP using the XP/NT tab letting it auto-configure for you.
If you install W7 with the other 2 disks disconnected, you'll ensure that it won't be able to alter the status quo, then when you reconnect, make sure that the BIOS boot sequence of the disks is restored (XP first, because it's "system")
Then add an entry for W7 to the Vista BCD using the Longhorn tab of EasyBCD and pointing it to the W7 drive (I think that's Z:, but your screenshots are not clear - please delete and reupload them as JPG if you need any more help)
Terry Thank you kindly for your rapid response!

I will carry out your instructions and will let you know what occurs; downloading /installing Easy BCD Beta 2.0 now.

Yes, the dedicated disk for win 7 is (Z:smile:

Wilco on changing images from Bitmap to JPG.

Thank again,



I posted my initial thread from Vista but on this post I'm posting from Win XP Pro thank to your help and your fix.:grinning:

Everything seems to be back to normal in both Os'. When I "shut down" the entire system or if I choose to "Restart" my confuser is once again seeing the boot loader and I am able to choose between the two system's.

Thank you so much! Would that all life's problems were as easily solved!

And Ten Dash Four on disconnecting data and power cables on the two uninvolved disks when I begin the installation of Win 7 RC.

Thanks again for your help!


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One more thing to bear in mind. If you Install W7 to an empty unformatted space, it will create two partitions, the C:\ disk where the OS resides and an unlettered "secret" partition containing the boot files. If you pre-format the disk with a single partition yourself and point the Install at it, everything will go into the same place.
Either way, when you add an entry for W7 to Vista's BCD, point it at the OS (you're locating the loader portion of the boot process, which resides in the windows\system32\ folder on the OS)
Remember that W7 will call itself C:\ and the other systems by other letters even if you've installed it to something you called Z:\ from Vista. Each OS has its own internal (registry entries) map of what disk letters are associated with individual devices or partitions and those maps are completely independent of each other. If you want them to be mapped in a consistent way you'll need to use disk management to reassign letters in each system (a useful thing to do anyway with all your USB drives etc, so that they are always called the same thing no matter which system is running. Avoids confusion which could cause you to accidentally overwrite the wrong thing in the future)
You can't change the disk letter for anything marked "system" "boot" or "page" though.
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Hi Terry!

Yes, Thank you for the additional info, The hard drive intended for Win 7 RC has already been formatted in a simple format and I was aware that each OS "Sees itself as (C:smile: drive so I will not be confused by that.

Also Thank you for the very useful tip on using Disk Management for re-assigning Drive letters.

I believe its: Action> All tasks> Change Drive Letters and Paths within the Disk Management Dialogue.

Thank you very much once more for your excellent help!

Just right click on any drive (top or bottom panels) and "change drive letter" will be one of the options.
Hi There folks,

Ok I have all three hard drives back in service and here is a screenshot of how disk management sees the three drives. Right now I am in Win xp pro. I am also trying to get a screenshot of the display mode overview so you can see the entries listed in the bootloader.

But I seem to be having trouble with the capture. But I didn't have any problems capturing the computer disk management shot.

The problem I'm trying to solve is that I can't seem to set up the bootloader properly and I can't toggle back and forth from Hard drive and Os to the next.

what must I do to get these disks loading properly?

Thanks very much,

I will keep trying to capture the display mode overview.


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I also seem to be having another problem with EasyBCD 2.0 Beta.

It has frozen to my desktop monitor # 2 It will not respond to any mouse/cursor activity.

Everything else seems to be responding correctly in this OS.

I can't get the application to respond at all.

Thanks Terry,

Right now I can't seem to get into any of the OS's, I seem to be caught in a loop of repair disk hell:lol:

If I am able to get back in one of the os's I'll copy/paste the text for you to see.

If I remember correctly, you had a dual-boot V/XP working OK and you added W7 independently to a 3rd HDD, then added a W7 entry to the Vista BCD.
If you've screwed things up, go back and disconnect the W7 HDD, boot the Vista DVD and "repair startup" and get your dual boot back (with XP as "system" Vista should detect it and dual-boot it automatically)
Then reconnect W7, disconnect the other disks and do a W7 "startup repair" till W7 is booting alone.
Then reconnect all the disks, put the BIOS back with your XP "system" disk 1st, and add the W7 entry to the Vista BCD again.
OK Terry!

Sorry for the delay in answering. Many thanks for your continued help!

I will get right to work with your instructions and it looks like this will take a while:smile:

Thanks again,



Hi Terry,

Disconnected W7 HDD and "powered up" the machine and it booted nicely into Vista, everything ran fine so I restarted machine to boot into win xp pro and the boot loader manager opens and gives three choices to select from : 1) Vista 2) Microsoft Windows XP 3) Win 7 (keep in mind win 7 is disconnected)

So I select / scroll to 2) Microsoft Windows XP and hit enter

I am now in a text page "Windows Manager Open" and it says; Insert disk click repair computer and below that it says: File: \ NTLDR

Status: OxcOOOOO7b

Info: Selected entry will not load application files missing or corrupted.

I hit "escape and the machine reboots and loads the win xp installation disk and gives the choices and I select Repair:

And now I'm sent into a command/prompt window asking if want to access c: or D: I select D because that is win xp pro.

It prompts me for my admin password and I enter tells me "Password Invalid" and I end up in another endless loop of this.

My system is legitimate and I have not changed my password in a long time but I can't get in.

So a re-cap 1) win 7's data cable and power cable are presently disconnected.
2) "Power up" the machine from off and it boots properly into Vista which seems to be operating just fine.

3)restart to boot into win xp pro access denied..won't allow repair disk to run..

And here is a copy/Paste of the text in EasyBCD 2.0 Beta "Display Mode" Overview:


There are a total of 3 entries listed in the bootloader.

Default: Windows Vista
Timeout: 5 seconds.
EasyBCD Boot Device: D:\

Entry #1
Name: Windows Vista
BCD ID: {current}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

Entry #2
Name: Microsoft Windows XP
BCD ID: {ccacdf18-7ab1-11de-bc2e-001d605ed250}
Drive: D:\
Bootloader Path: \NTLDR

Entry #3
Name: win 7
BCD ID: {ccacdf1a-7ab1-11de-bc2e-001d605ed250}
Device: Deleted Partition
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

What should I do next?

Thank you,

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I don't understand what you mean by "So I select / scroll to 2) Microsoft Windows XP and hit enter"
Don't you just use the down arrow key to go to the XP line ?
If the XP entry is not working, don't repair XP, doing a repair install of XP will regress the boot so nothing newer can boot.
Delete the XP entry in EasyBCD 2.0 (build 63 - no earlier) and add an XP entry again, letting EasyBCD auto-configure it for you.
Then try the boot again.
When that's working, reconnect W7, disconnect Vista and XP and continue with the post #12 instructions.
ok i did this: Delete the XP entry in EasyBCD 2.0 (build 63 - no earlier) and add an XP entry again, letting EasyBCD auto-configure it for you.
Then try the boot again.

After following those instructions I was able to boot into Vista and then restart in to win xp pro and back into vista. Hooyah!

Now , as I understand it; I need to disconnect the vista HDD and the win xp disk AND then re-connect the win 7 hdd and follow the rest of the instructions : Then reconnect W7, disconnect the other disks and do a W7 "startup repair" till W7 is booting alone.
Then reconnect all the disks, put the BIOS back with your XP "system" disk 1st, and add the W7 entry to the Vista BCD again.


sorry Terry

Is that correct?
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Yes, get W7 working as a standalone system, then put all the HDDs back, make sure your XP ("system" ) disk (where all the Vista and XP boot files are) is 1st in the BIOS, boot Vista and use EasyBCD to add a W7 entry to Vista's BCD (select "longhorn/vista" from the dropdown menu and drive E:
Ok Terry Thank you, I will be working on this today and will let you know the outcome.



Yes, get W7 working as a standalone system, then put all the HDDs back, make sure your XP ("system" ) disk (where all the Vista and XP boot files are) is 1st in the BIOS, boot Vista and use EasyBCD to add a W7 entry to Vista's BCD (select "longhorn/vista" from the dropdown menu and drive E:


I had the win xp pro HDD and the Vista HDD working fine. I could power up the machine and enter either disk upon restarting and all seems to be fine at that point.

Then I connected the HDD dedicated to "Win7" and disconnected the win xp disk and the vista disk and did a start up repair on "Win7" and that was done successfully. Then I re-connected win xp pro and Vista and powered up the machine and it booted into Win7 but it doesn't see the other two Hdd at boot-up.

I don't know how to insure that the win xp and vista boot files are on the number 1 disk in the bios; Here is what Win7 sees from the Disk management screen:

vista (F:smile: simple basic NTFS Healthy (Primary Partition)= Disk 2
Win7(C:smile: simple basic NTFS Healthy (System,Boot,Page File,Active,Crash Dump,Prim.Partition)-Disk 1
win xp pro (E:smile: simple basic NTFS Healthy (Primary Partition)-Disk 0

I will also include a cut/paste of the overview mode in Easy bcd

There is one entry in the Windows Vista bootloader.

Default: Windows 7 Ultimate (recovered)
Timeout: 5 seconds.
Boot Drive: C:\

Entry #1
Name: Windows 7 Ultimate (recovered)
BCD ID: {current}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

This is all "seen" from Win7 HDD

I believe I'm right on the edge of doing this correctly but I can't boot into the other HDD's now.

Is it about changing an entry in the bios?

I apologize for my confusion.

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Can you boot W7? You may add entries for other OSes using EasyBCD. Other than that, yes--you should be able to boot from the hard drive you want by changing the boot sequence in the BIOS or selecting from a boot menu if your system provides one.
You have W7 1st in the BIOS.
If you look at the 1st spash screen you see as the system powers up, it should contain instructions on how to enter the BIOS setup (hit "del" on my ASUS).
Inside the BIOS setup you'll find a menu or menus for setting the boot sequence. It might be an all-in-one menu or like mine it might prioritize device type (CD HDD USB) in a top menu and then the order of HDDS inside a lower level menu.
Alternatively, now you've fixed W7, you could disconnect it again and boot without it, then when the old boot is working, reconnect it.
That will probably put it below the other disks, as that seems to be the default behaviour on your system.