Restoring Backup Images for Multiboot System (Vista, Vista, XP, XP, XP, Win7)

#1
Restoring Backup Images for Multiboot System (Vista, Vista, XP, XP, XP, Win7)

I just purchased Acronis True Image to take a full partition backup of Vista (IE7), Vista (IE8), XP (IE6), XP (IE7), XP (IE8), and Win7 x64 (IE8).

After partitioning 50GB partitions for each of these, then using EasyBCD I have been able to get the 2 Vista and 1 XP to properly multiboot together. However I cannot get a 2nd or 3rd XP to work. The Boot Screen shows all 3 XP options, labeled correctly, but always loads the same XP.

My purpose to make these partition images, is so i can restore them as they are broken through testing over time by various people on their own computer (pre-partitioned harddrive). But I can't get the restored Images to multiboot properly, at least as far as the multiple XP instances go.

I have found that restoring images does not put anything into the Boot loader. And when creating an XP install to back up, it removes everything else, and I have to use BCDedit or EasyBCD to fix. I'm not really good as EasyBCD, however ive found that restoring the MBR seems to fix things most of the time. Resetting Drive Letters does not seem to be the solution. I have set up a drive letter and formatted each 50GB partition. But Im wondering if i am having a problem when restoring, and getting the restored imaged partition into the boot loader and then actually working, may have something to do with the partiion signature as described below from this link: http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm

The partition signature is derived from the DiskID and the partition's starting sector number. The DiskID (sometimes called the "NT serial number") is a group of four bytes in the master boot sector (LBA 0) at location 01B8h. Each partition's starting sector number is doubled and combined with the DiskID to form a unique signature for that partition. For example, consider a disk with the serial number 3D173D16h (hexadecimal) and a partition starting at LBA 44933868 (decimal). Double the sector number (89867736) and convert to hexadecimal (055B45D8h).
Does someone have a solution for how to properly do this? I'm guessing there are some other files that needed specific editing, such as the boot.ini, in some or all of the instances. Appreciate any help. Thanks.

Here this should help if anyone is willing to assist:

Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device partition=C:
description Windows Boot Manager
locale en-US
inherit {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
default {c3102111-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
resumeobject {c3102110-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
displayorder {466f5a88-0af2-4f76-9038-095b170dc21c}
{c3102111-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
{8a5d2ffa-01be-11de-99b1-00226849365c}
{c3102101-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
{c310210d-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
{c310210e-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
{c310210f-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
toolsdisplayorder {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout 30

Windows Legacy OS Loader
------------------------
identifier {466f5a88-0af2-4f76-9038-095b170dc21c}
device partition=C:
path \ntldr
description Earlier Version of Windows

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {c3102111-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
device partition=I:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Windows 7
locale en-US
inherit {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
recoverysequence {c3102112-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
recoveryenabled Yes
osdevice partition=I:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {c3102110-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
nx OptIn

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {8a5d2ffa-01be-11de-99b1-00226849365c}
device partition=C:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Microsoft Windows Vista
locale en-US
inherit {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
recoverysequence {572bcd55-ffa7-11d9-aae2-0007e994107d}
recoveryenabled Yes
osdevice partition=C:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {8a5d2ffb-01be-11de-99b1-00226849365c}
nx OptIn

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {c3102101-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
device partition=D:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Microsoft Windows Vista (QA)
bootdebug No
osdevice partition=D:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {64307e58-418c-11de-8b97-806e6f6e6963}
nx OptIn
pae ForceDisable
sos No
debug No

Real-mode Boot Sector
---------------------
identifier {c310210d-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
device partition=C:
path \NTLDR
description Microsoft Windows IE6

Real-mode Boot Sector
---------------------
identifier {c310210e-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
device partition=C:
path \NTLDR
description Microsoft Windows IE7

Real-mode Boot Sector
---------------------
identifier {c310210f-418a-11de-a8d4-005056c00008}
device partition=C:
path \NTLDR
description Microsoft Windows IE8
 
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#2
Hello Ariccougar, welcome to NST.
Get [thread=642]EasyBCD 2.0 Beta, Build 61[/thread], delete all XP entries in your BCD, create a new one, and then hit Yes at the prompt asking you if you want to let it auto-configure boot.ini for you.
This will configure your boot.ini correctly for all XP systems, and you will be able to boot into any of them as you please. :joy: Don't know why anyone would want that many XPs and Vistas though...
One of each is more than enough for me.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#3
It doesn't matter how many XP entries you put in your BCD.
Bootmgr does not locate the XP system, it locates the copy of NTLDR in the "system" partition, which reads the boot.ini in the same partition, and that locates the XP OS.
So if you make multiple XP entries they are all locating XP through the same boot.ini, hence you'll keep finding the same one.
Multiple XPs can only be booted with the Vista/W7 bootmgr, through a second level boot menu (boot.ini), not directly from the BCD.
This also applies to a single XP, but you don't notice the second menu because it doesn't get presented if there is no choice to make.
You need a boot.ini with 3 XP entries in it.
Follow Jake's instructions and EasyBCD 2.0 will do all the hard work for you. (you don't even need to invoke the tools menu. When you've deleted the old entries and you add a new XP, it will offer to do the auto-configure for you. Just accept the offer)
 
#4
Solution that works

Thank you both for your insights and suggestions.

I did read the primary post of this forum, but mostly glazed over any talk of Beta, as usually I never touch betas, just final releases. However, at your suggestion, i went back and more closely read that post, downloaded the Beta 61 and tried it. It appears to have moved the boot.ini from an XP partition and put it on the 'system' partition (which happens to be Vista in my case, the first one i installed.

The second person's advice above was good. I had to find and open the boot.ini on the Vista C:\ (once i figured out how to mess through the protections that Vista tried to stop me with), and duplicate the last line of the file, changing the partition(#) to 1 through 7.

I then tested each one, and after noticing that the XP options in the first boot screen actually took me to an XP boot screen (probably would have included W2K if i had an install of it) where all the XP copies are found. I found which ones worked, and used a Txt file on the desktop to differentiate between them and ensure that i found all 3 separately. Then i deleted all the other partition(#) lines that failed to load, probably because they Vista's partitions, and it seems to work now.

(oh and now i see that i can delete the other entries in EasyBCD for XP, since only 1 is necessary now that i have the XPs in the second boot screen which using the boot.ini.) However the Beta did perform the initial linking of moving the Boot.ini to the System partition, but after that one single use... it completely crapped out, never again to even load, no matter how much i uninstalled, and reinstalled it. It is definitely a beta and im a bit scared to use it again in its current form. In fact is messed up so badly in the OS i had installed it in, that i could not even reload the 1.x EasyBCD again. Luckily I had learned what i needed to, and will attempt to restore images to a clean drive (i just wiped this drive because it is hosed now anyway), and hope to be able to reproduce the success. I fear that ill be stuck for the future though if EasyBCD renders itsself useless after one use again. Perhaps the Beta 61 bug can be fixed and I'll be able to reuse this program in the future after this specific setup need.

Again, thanks to both of you for the help. This is a great forum. And i believe the EasyBCD will be an amazing software when its bugs are worked out.

(EDIT: I need all these Vistas and XPs and Win7 because we do Q/A Testing of web products and require that it works for all OS/Browser combinations. If it wasnt for this, I wouldnt want so many either. We have both VMs of each and multiboot of each for when we connect our proprietary hardware to the box which does not work with VMware.)
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#5
EasyBCD (all versions) needs the NET 2.0 framework as a pre-requisite to run it on XP. (already included on Vista onwards)
Other than that, there are no known problems with the Beta 2.0, like you describe.
Can you be more specific about what you did.
If you'd deleted all the XP entries in the BCD, then added a single new entry with 2.0, it would have created the only boot.ini that you need (in the "system" partition), and told you where to copy the other 2 XP files.
You don't need to do any other editing. All other boot.ini files are irrelevant, they're not accessed during the boot process, only the one in the "system" partition has any function if you're booting via the BCD.
 
#6
Program would not start

Yes, most of you are saying is exactly my understanding of how it worked. The Beta 61 created a single boot.ini on the system partition and used it when selection any XP option. I did not delete all the old XP entries. They simply remained as duplicate entries in the boot list, always going to the sub-menu (the XP boot.ini boot menu), so i doubt that was a problem.

The real problem was once i used the program, and then closed it, tested the result to find out it worked, i logged back into the Vista partition with the software and the software would not start again. No window appeared, even though the process showed in the process list, with 13MB in RAM. After a while, i tried again, and ended up with 2 processes with that EasyBCD name, and then three. I killed each process, and started again, nothing... same result, a process in the list, but no GUI window of the program. I uninstalled it, reinstalled, still same result, no program. I uninstalled, rebooted, and reinstalled and rebooted, and still nothing. I uninstalled, rebooted, and attempted to reinstall the original 1.x version and now it no longer started either. But everything else in the partition worked just fine.

Eventually, i decided i didnt have time to post a forum bug, because this system is pressing and everyone is yelling for their machines. So I wiped it, and started over, and i now have the 2 Vista images restored, and used EasyBCD 2 Beta 61 to add the second Vista D: to the boot menu. IT worked, and now im creating 3 partitions for the 3 XP instances, and will restore those.

Any advice on if i should restore 3 copies of the XP OS to the 3 partitions all at once, and then use EasyBCD 2 Beta, or should I restore the image for one to one of the new partitions, use EasyBCD 2, test to login to it, then restore the second, EasyBCD, test, and then the third?

Addendum:

Well I thought i had it as discussed above, but it resulted in a total failure. I must have misunderstood something about how the EasyBCD 2 works.

I restored all 3 XP images and then booted to the initial Vista Partition which is the system partition and on which i had installed the EasyBCD 2 Beta. I ran it, and it did give that little window when i tried to add an XP instance.

But when i rebooted, only the original 2 vista partitions work. The XP option and the Win7 new option fail. (All were restored from images the same as the first 2 Vista partitions).

NTLDR errors on the XPs, and I just won't worry about the Win7 at this point, no time.

So I figured perhaps EasyBCD 2 looked for a boot.ini and grabbed it and placed it in C: of the system partition. I looked. And there was something there, but obviously it doesnt work. So I copied a copy of the old Boot.ini that i had preconfigured for every parition, from a pendrive, and placed it there. When i tried the reboot, it still failed with the same error. I don't believe the link between the boot.ini and the system partition is working. I did verify that this partition is the system (in Computer Management Disk Management) C:\ my Vista-IE7, and first in the boot list, and first image restored, says its System, Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Primary Partition. So that sounds right. Im nervous to start the Beta up again and try it again, because last time it completely hosed everything related to EasyBCD, but i suppose i have no choice now. Im stuck and under a bad time constraint.

If anyone has any ideas, id appreciate it. Otherwise, i may have to just deploy these computers in a degraded form and hope people will just figure its their own responsibility to figure it out. Id rather get it right for everyone initially, but one way or another, these must go out by end of day tomorow. Feels like im close.

Addendum:

Okay, i read closer on that little popup window when letting it automatically configure boot.ini, and it turns out i needed to download those 2 free files and drop them in C:\ of the system partition. This worked. Now i get the second XP menu with all 3 entries. The 3 entries are all the same, which is what EasyBCD must have done. But ill go edit it, as the instructions said, to make sure they are different partition(#) and names as desired. I think this is it. And im on my way again. I'll make the deadline.

Of course if anyone has insights into the Win7 failure, id be up for an idea on that. Thanks. I added Win7 using the Vista ADD in EasyBCD 2, perhaps there is another way to do it?
 
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#7
AricCougar: Its really simple. Restore all the images you have, boot into a single instance of Vista, install .Net Framework there, and then 2.0 Beta of EasyBCD.
Next, open up EasyBCD, delete all existing entries from the BCD, and then using the "Longhorn" option in the drop-down menu under the Windows tab, add Vista entries to boot every single Vista, making sure to point each one at the correct system's partition.
Then add a single XP entry, and hit Yes at the prompt asking you if you want to let it auto-configure boot.ini for you. DO NOT MODIFY THE XP ENTRY IN ANY WAY!
Next, verify that the files NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM exist inside the root of the "active" "system" partition (as seen from Disk Management). If they don't, then copy them over from anywhere (since you have multiple XPs, you'll probably find multiple copies of those files). You only need a single NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM to exist inside the root of the "system" partition.
Then you should be able to boot into all of your systems.

Post back if you have any more trouble.

Jake
 
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#8
Yes

Yes, and thank you for the great summary. But everything you listed worked for me by the end of my previous posting here. What I ended with was a question about Windows 7. How do i restore that image, and then get it to show up in the Boot list with all the others that now work?
 
#9
Yes, and thank you for the great summary. But everything you listed worked for me by the end of my previous posting here. What I ended with was a question about Windows 7. How do i restore that image, and then get it to show up in the Boot list with all the others that now work?
Same as you did with all the rest of the images...:wink:
Win 7 will be no different, provided you restore it to a partition reserved for it (and not try to restore it to an existing system's partition!). :??
Just once the image is restored, simply add a normal "Longhorn" entry under the Windows tab in the Add/Remove Entries section of EasyBCD, and point it at the correct partition the Win 7 image was restored to.
Don't get confused if you find you have more than one BOOTMGR and BCD. The one that is getting used by the boot will be in the partition that is "system" and "active" (as seen from Disk Management).
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
If you've cloned Vista or WIndows 7 to a new partition, it's a bit more complex than XP (which gets partition information from the BIOS), because the BCD identifies partitions by the UID, and if you've cloned multiple copies with identical IDs, it can't distinguish between them.
You might need to "startup repair" the clone so that the UIDs are reset to their new location. I'm not sure, but some newer cloning tools might be capable of doing this automatically, but if you're having problems booting the W7 entry in the BCD, and it appears to be described correctly, that may be your problem.