Restore WinXP boot

Mark Phelps

Active Member
I have the following situation:

  • Took an existing WinXP machine, did an image backup with Acronis True Image
  • Then, installed Win7 Home Premium -- onto a second hard drive
  • Am able to boot into either XP or Win7 just fine.
However ... since I'm just really testing how well this machine will run Win7, what I want to do down the road is remove Win7 and restore the WinXP boot -- without damaging the XP partition.

I've already tried this (thinking I knew what to do) and it failed -- as follows:

  • Mounted the Acronis XP image on another machine
  • Copied all the XP boot/loader files onto a USB stick
  • Booted the original machine (the one with XP and Win7), selected XP.
  • Removed all the Win7 boot and loader files
  • Using the USB stick, copied back the saved XP boot/loader files
  • Rebooted
Then, instead of the familar XP boot screen, got a black screen -- no error messages, no blue screen. So, I restored XP from the Acronis image -- effectively resetting it back to the date/time of the image. I don't want to have to do this when the 30 days is up on Win7.

And yeah, I know that I COULD co fixmbr and fixboot on the two-OS machine, but (1) I have no idea where the XP CD resides, and (2) I've customized the boot screen -- and would be in DEEP TROUBLE if that screen disappeared.

So, what detail have I missed?
You can't make XP boot W7.
If you want a dual-boot, just put the W7 drive first in the BIOS boot sequence and using EasyBCD 2.0 latest build add an XP entry and let it auto-configure.
The XP boot files will be copied to W7 by Easy2 and the XP HDD will be completely unchanged.
When you want to go back to XP, just remove the W7 HDD.
(or put XP first in the BIOS, and the ability to boot W7 will disappear)

Follow the first link in the sticky thread and you'll find an excellent guide to how the MS boot works.
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Sorry ... guess I didn't explain myself well enough ...

I don't want to boot Win7; I simply want to remove the Win7 drive, restore the original XP boot setup, and reboot into XP by itself.

I thought just copying back the original XP boot & loader files would do it -- but it didn't.
If you installed W7 to a 2nd HDD as you said in your OP, and XP wasn't connected, then there will be no overlap between them.
If you installed W7 with the XP disk visible and it put the W7 boot files in the XP partition; when the time comes to remove W7, use EasyBCD / Manage bootloader / Uninstall Vista bootloader as the last thing you do from W7.
It will rewrite the PBR to look for NTLDR instead of bootmgr and the XP boot will take over.
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