Problems with Disk Signature and Partition Offset when Cloning Vista-Dual Boot


I had EasyBCD working just fine. I was installed on my stock 5400 rpm 8 meg cache 200 Gig drive that came in the machine. (A Sony VAIO VGN-NR385E/W)

I bought a 320 Gig, 7200 rpm, 16 meg cache drive. I did the BCDedit to prepare the drive for cloning. Then I also used the vista preparation tool - unfortunately I do not know what this thing did. I thought it would be a script I could see. It is found at net-runna Vista Preparation Tool

BCDEDIT /set {bootmgr} device boot
BCDEDIT /set {default} device boot
BCDEDIT /set {default} osdevice boot

These above were the commands for BCDEDIT to prep the drive, but the last one failed, so I ran the net-runna tool.

Now when the new drive boots, both O/S's boot - but Vista gets to the "welcome" screen, and then goes to "Prepare a new Desktop" and goes to a blue screen with a working mouse arrow, and there is a lot of hard drive activity, but after 20 minutes, still no Vista Desktop.

The XP side at first would not boot until I manually copied the NT Loader (NTLDR) and a boot.ini to the C: drive from the D: drive where there is a copy. I copied NTDETECT.COM also.

Now it appears the old BCD numbers from the drive are still in EasyBCD which are preventing the OS's from loading.

I need to know if there is way to manually edit the file to use a default or current drive designation in EASYBCD. My file shows:

Entry #1

Name: Microsoft Windows Vista
BCD ID: {bdc3b07f-dcc7-11dc-b07a-adbd4fc1fb63}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe
Windows Directory: \Windows

Entry #2

Name: Microsoft Windows
BCD ID: {default}
Drive: Active Boot Partition
Bootloader Path: \NTLDR

But I cannot edit it.

The BCD ID I think is causing a problem or I can I uninstall it completely before I copy the drive. I am using Ghost 9


Is there another known procedure which works I do not know about with EASYBCD?
Hi Orson, welcome to NST
I take it you've a working system (if you put your old drive first in the BIOS), and a cloned system which will not boot ?
If so, and you don't own a bootable Vista DVD, download and burn yourself a copy of our Vista Recovery disk with the 1st system (look for the pink box), then boot it, select "repair my computer" / "repair startup" and point it at the cloned system. (good idea to temporarily disconnect the old system to protect yourself from losing that by accident). This will repair the boot on the new system (you may need to do it 2 or 3 times till the new system boots by itself.)
Trouble with cloning Vista and EasyBCD

I have a copy of the Vista PE. I did that already. It boots. Both OS's boot. I said they both do not get past the welcome screen - so they are booting. I asked if there is way to manual edit the EasyBCD file
If it's booting successfully, there's no point in changing the BCD. It's only referenced by bootmgr.
Once bootmgr has called winload.exe you're past the BCD's involvement.
It must not like something else in your cloned system.
Are you trying to boot the clone with the old system still connected ?
If so the hardware configuration described in the clone will be different to what actually exists, causing a conflict between the drive letters and causing failure to find what it's looking for.
Try booting the clone alone, so that the system is the same configuration (albeit on a different HDD) as it was when you created the clone.
It is the same system. The Laptop. The hard drive is pulled and swapped before boot.

I still have the old drive working and have to go back to it after each boot attempt and then re-clone it fresh again.

EASYBCD has the drive identifier in the old boot file and when it boots the OS's both reset like it is an unknown user and try to build new desktops.

Changing EasyBCD is EXACTLY what I need to do to tell the OS's (and registry values) that the drive identifier is what EasyBCD thinks is the old drive still even after cloning.

I asked a simple question as to if EasyBCD's boot file can be manually edited.

You wrote

"If it's booting successfully, there's no point in changing the BCD. It's only referenced by bootmgr.
Once bootmgr has called winload.exe you're past the BCD's involvement."

This is not true. At least two things affect Vista's ability to boot after calling winload and due to a cloning.

The partition offset changed from usual 63 sectors to 1MB. So a chkdsk may or may not be addressing this problem. I run chkdsk first and it appears to correct problems

More importantly Vista is sensitive to disk signature. If Vista takes or creates a new disk signature - it also thinks the user is new and begins as though it is a new installation building a new desktop - which is the problem I have with both OS's. I am a bit perplexed why XP is doing this also too however

In earlier versions, if the disk signature is blank, the OS creates it upon boot. However, Vista would not boot under this situation, unless you use -FDSP switch when restoring the image using older versions of Ghost.

Ghost Solutions Suite 2.0 supports Vista and I am obtaining a copy of it now.

HOWEVER, because of EasyBCD I may STILL run into the desktop rebuild issue - even though I have done the BCDedit adjustments in Vista (see my first post carefully)

I used to work at Microsoft testing these OS systems. I know how they are built and what was changed and is now in the way. I have not tried Ghosting manually with the FDSP option - but that would only likely work WITHOUT EasyBCD

It appears EasyBCD does by graphically calling - to a limit - what BCDedit does - but I cannot edit tell exactly what - so I asked.

I do not need troubleshooting - I just need the question answered

When you do a BCDedit /enum you can read the values in the data store.

Windows Boot Manager
identifier {bootmgr}
device boot
description Windows Boot Manager
locale en-US
inherit {globalsettings}
default {default}
displayorder {bdc3b07f-dcc7-11dc-b07a-adbd4fc1fb63}
toolsdisplayorder {memdiag}
timeout 30

Windows Boot Loader
identifier {bdc3b07f-dcc7-11dc-b07a-adbd4fc1fb63}
device partition=C:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Microsoft Windows Vista
locale en-US
inherit {bootloadersettings}
osdevice partition=C:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {bdc3b080-dcc7-11dc-b07a-adbd4fc1fb63}
nx OptIn

Real-mode Boot Sector
identifier {default}
device boot
path \NTLDR
description Microsoft Windows

This is what mine reads above

I need to edit those values before I boot to the Vista system as the new hard drive so as to be the new drives' indentifier number.

Can I manually edit the EasyBCD file that shows?

I am not a Boot Configuration Data (BCD) guru. That is why I am asking here.

The question I have is not for troubleshooting - but the ability to manually edit BCD and EasyBCD values
Sorry Orson, whilst I was right about bootmgr using the disk signature to locate winload.exe, you're also correct about a cloned copy needing an edit to correct an erroneous partition offset.
I'm not aware of any facility in the EasyBCD GUI to do anything so esoteric, though obviously Guru (the author) is the definitive source on that.
The best I can do is point you at another section of the above-linked guide, which details the BCDedit commands necessary.
Hope it's of some help.
Sorry to have insulted your intelligence, no slight intended, but advice sought here can be of the "what's a partition root ?" level, and judging the expertise of new callers can be hit and miss.
Terry, you did not insult my intelligence, at all you just read more into what I asked than I did.

I am aware the EasyBCD GUI does not do this - I was asking if their was a known procedure to do this edit when USING EasyBCD (see the first post for the two questions asked 1.; A way to manually edit the BCD store using EasyBCD OR 2.; a known procedure work around)

A good colloquialism of the word "ASSUME" is known many places to be "ASS-U-ME", (that is to "assume" makes and ass out of you and an ass out of me) so it is always good policy to never assume - let the other person make clear what they are asking and answer just that - and if they cannot be clear - leave it be.

I had already been to the multiboot website. Thanks. I am going to try Ghost Solutions Suite 2.0 now - BUT I am still wondering how it is going to get around the BCD store issue and the new drive indentifier. I guess it would be built into the actual clone process.

Since I am going to be putting the MacOS on my third partition and had planned to use EasyBCD to boot between the three, I will keep you posted if I lick this problem.
I have a copy of the Vista PE. I did that already. It boots. Both OS's boot. I said they both do not get past the welcome screen - so they are booting. I asked if there is way to manual edit the EasyBCD file
If this post is correct, then your problem is not with EasyBCD or the BCD at all. Your problem is that the Net Anna or other things you have run has corrupted your install.

The BCD and that only get Vista to the boot process. Which you say is fine. So your issue isnt with EasyBCD or BCD at all. Your issue is that Vista is now corrupted and not working since it wont get to a desktop.

2 completely different issues here mate.

No, Vista is not corrupted, it is doing EXACTLY what Vista will do if the Hard Drive identifier changes.

It thinks it is a new installation and goes to build a new desktop. All I am trying to do is stop that by editing the drive identifier in the BCD BEFORE it boots and then knows the actual hard drive has been changed.

For instance, I can copy the XP alone and boot it without any EasyBCD and it will boot fine. I can copy (clone using "default" as an identifier) Vista without a boot manager, and it will boot fine. If I leave EasyBCD there and copy the drive - it will not work becasue of the drive indentifier in the BCD store.

I was trying to save the process of copying twice Vista and then XP seperately, and setting up EasyBCD all over again. It seemed senseless.

Same problem same issue - though I do not know what you are talking about where you say "Net Anna"

Same issue - Vista is hard drive sensitive and when it reads that the BCD has an identifier that is not the same as the current drive identifier - THAT is where the problem is plain and simple and Vista starts a new desktop and security setup

I asked if EasyBCD had a way to edit this or if there was a known work around - not for troubleshooting - which in this case again is WRONG.

Same issue - one issue - the BCD identifier and the drive identifier are different after a cloning. Vista is NOT corrupt the drive identifiers do not match the BCD.

Same issue mate.
Yes Vista is corrupted. I have changed my boot, boot identifier and many more things. If you get past the scrolling bar at the bootom you are PAST what BCD controls.

You are past anything that has to do with the BCD and past anything that EasyBCD has to do with the system.

Getting to the Welcome Screen and being able to see user accounts is well beyond the BCD.

You said it youself

so they are booting.

This is all EasyBCD and the BCD does. They boot. End of line. End of story.

If they are bootking like you say then that it is for the BCD. It has done its job. From there on out it is Vista.

Changing the identifier will not do nothing. The only thing that the identifier does is tell it what partition to boot. Not what profile to load.

Yes you can copy XP. Why cause much of the clone software used is XP Compatible. As you said in your post you used Ghost 9. Take a wild guess about its Vista compatibility? It isnt. It has been known to corrupt Vista more than make it work.

So as i have said Vista is corrupt.

Sorry i said Net Anna it was Net Runna.

So yet again. I will state this. It is a corrupt Vista.

The BCD ID I think is causing a problem or I can I uninstall it completely before I copy the drive. I am using Ghost 9

That is where you went wrong. They are up to Ghost 14 now. Check Google if you dont believe me. It is said all over there that Ghost 9 and Vista is a no good combination.

The Green Button - Vista and Norton Ghost

That is just one of many results that backup my statments.

Norton Ghost 9.0 system requirements

The Norton document that shows that Ghost 9 is not rated for Vista.

Ghost 9 Vista compatibility - Google Search

Many more results.

I know what i am talking about. The ID in the BCD matches cause as you said. It boots. That is ALL the BCD Does. It BOOTS Vista. You said it boots.

I am not wrong. I have shown several times now that the software you used is not known to work with Vista yet you used it. It has been shown time and time again by many people over the internet that using Ghost 9 with Vista caretes corrupted images.

So plain and simple i dont care if you believe me or not. But the fact is this.

BCD controls the boot. You said it boots. The ID is correct cause you said it boots which i have now quoted twice. If the ID was incorrect then it would NOT boot.

Since EasyBCD controls the BCD which is working and the system is booting according to you then it is not a issue related to the ID or the BCD.

No where do you show me that changing the ID will allow you to boot into your old profile. That is because a Hard Drive ID does not control which profile Vista boots into. That is done by Vista.

It is not the same issue. Cause the software you are using doesnt work right in Vista. Therefor what you are thinking will fix it wont. Cause it goes much much deeper than jsut a ID cause that is correct since it boots. Which is all teh BCD does. It has nothing to do with anything else. Since it is booting the ID has to be right.

Sorry mate. But i have shown how my information checks out. I know a thing or 2 about it cause of several reasons. 1. I tried to make a image of Vista with Ghost 9 and i came across this myself. 2. I have been working very closely with Microsoft for a couple of years now. Not to mention with EasyBCD adn the boot process.

If you dont belive me the way to manually edit the BCD is to start up the BCDEdit.exe in teh Windows/system32 folder. But i can bet you that changing the ID wont help. Cause the system already boots.
Dear Makaveli213

I appreciate you trying to help, but you are absolutely wrong on this one.

I never said EasyBCD was causing the problem, I said the inability to change the drive identifier is what was causing the problem. I said this from the begining.

Vista will boot by itself without EasyBCD when cloned with Ghost 9 and chkdsk run with the Vista PE disk before booting it.

XP will boot by itself cloned by Ghost 9.

Copying them together with EasyBCD installed causes the failure.

I have to assume you do not understand how Vista boots. Multibooters - Vista's MBR Disk Signature will give some help.

There is no such thing as a "corrupt" Vista - it is non-descriptive and implies only that the hard drive format is completely no good. This is not the case.

Vista will boot on it's own and build a new desktop without XP on the drive. If XP is on the drive it tries to read the contents of the D drive and goes into finding a registry there and programs and hard drive activity would continue - until the installation would be - then corrupted by the presence of the two operating systems - but Vista itself is NOT corrupt. Vista in this case is doing exactly what Windows would do on a fresh install - searching the drives for setting up programs.

If the drive indentifier was not one which caused the rebuilding of a desktop then it would work.

Hence it has nothing to do with Ghost 9. Even Ghost 8 will work with the -fdsp option.

You do not understand how Vista boots. Since the Multibooters - Vista's MBR Disk Signature page is a good place to start if you read it, you will see why you are wrong on this one.

I have Vista copied (cloned) without XP and booting with Ghost 9 without EasyBCD. I am now back copying manually XP via a USB drive into the D partition and will re-install EasyBCD then and set up the dual boot that way.

This is proof that you are wrong.

It was the drive identifier in the BCD store that when called by the boot manager - in this case an existing installation of EasyBCD - which was causing the drive indentifier to report to Windows it had changed.

As I said I worked at Microsoft testing these systems - and while it was before Vista was designed and released - I know what the symptoms of Windows are when I see them. Nothing was wrong with Vista except it was building a new desktop because it saw a new drive identifier - and it said exactly that - "setting up your installation -preparing your desktop".

Let me close by saying AGAIN - I did not ask for troubleshooting. I asked if EasyBCD had a way to edit the BCD store prior to boot or if there was known workaround for my situation.

What I have gotten was a lot of guess work from well intended parties who do not know how to focus on exactly what I asked and nothing more - who conicindentially have been WRONG in their analysis.

You are just wrong on this one - and I guess that is publicly embarrassing, but before you write something to aid another - be sure it is correct or you will usually wind up making it worse for the person you are allededly helping if they listen to you. My Vista was never "corrupted", and in the scheme of computer venacular - there is no such thing as "corrupted" unless the complete format on the hard drive is bad.

Thanks for your effort, but review Multibooters - Dual/Multi Booting With Vista very well as well as BCDEdit Commands for Boot Environment and you will see how you are just plain wrong.

I have it working with Ghost 9 and a chkdsk - but just without EasyBCD on the drive when cloned. There was no corruption and Ghost 9 works - and according to Symatec ghost 8 with the -fsdp option too.

Thanks again for your effort
Not even worth it....

Think what you want. You worked there before it was released yet you know how it works? Okay. Fine. Congrats. More power to you. But to say Vista can not be corrupted is wrong. If not check just the Vista area here alone. Then start checking places like Neowin and other Tech Forums. I bet you will see all sorts of threads about Vista being corrupted. From driver installs and many other things.

Plus your not the only one who is know by Microsoft. So am I. I am a MVP of 2 years now for Windows Desktop Experience. So i think i know a thing or 2.

But frankly i dont care anymore. I had a response and removed it cause i am not going to sit here and continue this argument with you. So not worth my time anymore. Think what you want cause i frankly dont give a darn. Your opinion of me will not change a single second of my life. You tell me to read those pages, fine. Didnt tell me anything.

So whatever. Post what you want. Say what you want. I know what i know. You think what you think. You think that i am wrong and you could not possibly be wrong. No else but you could be right. Whatever. Doesnt phase me. I see it all the time. Being the internet no one else can be right but you! *yawn*

Tired of that party line. So enjoy. Good day, Best of luck to you. Ohh an before you go off. I never said i was perfect. I know i can be wrong. Guru has proven it to me many times on this site alone. So no i am not saying i cant be wrong here. So dont post back all angry that "I think i am all high and mighty and cant be wrong".....

I am not saying that. I am saying that you are acting that way. Also about those pages, like no one has ever been wrong on the internet before? Comeon. Those pages were so basic we have better information in our Wiki about the boot process.

So again best of luck. Hope you get it fixed and take it easy mate. Its been real.
Last edited:
Dear Makaveli213

Boy, you do not read.

It is working - just as I said.

Symantec who makes Ghost - said it works a specific way - and it does and did.

You have gotten emotional in your reply - because you are wrong. Grow up young man.

This attitude and reply is not supporting EasyBCD - and it never was about an argument with you - but you made it that way.

In Science, the facts prove a party wrong or right - THAT'S WHY it is called a "proof".

The way Vista boots is simply an extension of the RAID technology Microsoft was using. Nothing exotic about that - and how and why Vista would do certain things.

But here is the real thing.

I asked a specific simple question - and that way if EasyBCD had a way to edit the BCD store so I could change the identifier before attempting to boot.

Everyone else wants to tell me all other kinds of things I DID NOT ASK - so yes; I never asked for your opinion which I did not need and I know - and now everyone else reading this banter now knows - is wrong.

I too have been on the Internet long enough to see the sandbox mentality you are exhibiting. You want to cry louder and throw sand to try to change the rules you do not control.

If you want to cry about eperience and credentials, you are a baby compared to me. I am a Novell certified Network Engineer for both Unixware and Netware, I am an IBM Certfied Engineer for Lanserver - in andditon to being Microsoft certified - which frankly was the easiest set of tests to take - becasue it did not require one really "know" anythng about networks. I have worked at Delta Airlines in the Atlanta flight dispatch center, at IBM directly, at NYNEX in New York and at Microsoft in Redmond, WA and I was not employed at those places becasue I fought with people over being wrong. I have been in the computer business long enough to see "support" deteriorate into bickering matches like this between people who really after all just want to to have the last "wrong" word in a desperate attempt to make it look right, all the time not realizing they are immortalizing an argument that others can see and reproduce to see who is wrong.

You have made references to "other sites" claiming Vista is "corruptable"; but just becasue a group of people keep using thye same wrong termninology and excuse for not knowing what is really going one does not make them right either. Several books have been written about the phenomenon of inter-group reinforcement of being wrong to the point the group will support the lie in the face of the truth becasue of social pressures, and that is what i see here. That is what you write above.

Proven wrong - you resort to glittering generalities to try to maintain your slot of dominance to an outsider - well the operating system proves you wrong.

One can tell a lot about a person who uses a specific internet "handle". Makaveli is a mis-spelling of the name Machiavelli - and is associated with Tupac Sakur. It was your first strike against you as to trust of your word and ability and YOU chose it - to signal others not to trust you.

Whatever Machiavelli's own intentions (and they remain a matter of heated debate), his name became synonymous with ruthless politics, deceit and the pursuit of power by any means.

Thus you did this to yourself. You can write and all the diatribe you want and it will not change the fact that it WORKS the way I said it would, and that my friend is the PROOF you are WRONG

Though I do not say this often - you need to grow up and get a life. Get some real honor and honesty. If you read what I wrote last - I have it working just as I said it would, just as Symantec said it would with Ghost 8 and 9 and just as the website at Multibooters - Vista's New Partitioning Rules said it would and would not. You are left in the cold with your diatribe.

I Do not need you or your "support" any further - and you do not speak well for the EasyBCD namesake.
For the public record i was wrong. Orson was right. Posts were removed cause they were not worth keeping in the pubic to be viewed.

I am done with this and will not respond to Orson again cause he does not wish to have any futher contact from me. So as far as this thread is concerned i am done with it.

Sorry i couldnt be of any assistance and forgive me for trying to defend myself from attack. It was wrong of me to let my personal feelings get to involved in this. For that i am truly sorry. I will try to not let it happen again.


I have restored the posts so that everyone can see how incorrect i was with my response and how Orson proved his stuff every step of the way. I was incorrect with my information and i was proven wrong. I let my emotions get the best of me and responded out of anger rather than listening to reason.
Last edited:
OK, everyone chill please :smile:

Orson, welcome to NeoSmart Technologies.

I see what you're trying to do, but I don't think it'll work in this particular method. I'm not which "drive identifiers" you are referring to when you reference the bcdedit output though - the individual GUID for each entry is just a reference to the entry itself and doesn't determine the partition offset.

While the BCD bootmanager uses the disk signature to determine what drive to boot from, any actions on BCD's behalf are fully independent of the OS. BCD is only involved far enough to call upon "winload.exe" which does all the dirty work of creating and preparing an environment for the OS, including the reading of disk signatures and partition offset information.

I do fully understand your issue with the partition offsets though, all I'm saying is that you're (most likely) looking to resolve it from the wrong location.

The information you need to modify isn't in the BCD, it's in the registry. In particular: HKLM\SYSTEM\MountedDevices

Take a look at the attached screenshot of that registry key from my PC. Windows maintains a list of disk signatures + partition offsets here so it can know how to associate each volume (as in drive letter) with physical disk+partition entities.

Let's take a look at the entry for Drive V: in my screenshot.
bf a0 ec 9e 00 62 3a ad 34 00 00 00

The first 4 bytes are the disk signature. The remaining 8 bytes form a Little Endian 64-bit integer which indicates the offset of partition V: on the disk with the disk signature indicated in the first 4 bytes.

00000034ad3a6200 is the 64-bit integer in this case, and indicates that partition V: starts after 226244583936 bytes on the disk.

This is the value you need to change, assuming that the only problem you have is with where Windows thinks each partition begins and ends.

Keep in mind that this is only one of several locations in the registry where this data is stored - you'll have to perform a fulltext registry search to ascertain that this info is updated in all locations.

My personal opinion would be to recommend a better imaging method that doesn't change the offset, because this is a rather messy thing to fix.


  • MountedDevices.png
    100.4 KB · Views: 4