Revert to Win 8.1 Boot Menu Appearance

I've a multipartition HDD with Win7, Ubuntu, and newly installed Win8.1 . After installing Win8.1 and reboot, a new nice light blue Boot Menu appeared with several startup items, some imported in duplicate. To edit the list of startup items via a GUI, I installed EasyBCD. After editing, I turned off hibernation in Cmd and also turned off Fast Startup in Windows Power Options as suggested in this section's sticky "Windows 8 boot problems ?...". Now new attractive Boot Menu disappeared, being replaced with Black-n-White Win7 Boot Menu.

I don't like it, and neither boot other OSs often so would prefer revert to nice Win8.1 Boot Menu, but its proven quite a challenge. I tried several combinations, but it didn't work:

- using Restore Boot option, when pressing F8 on Win8.1 boot menu item at boot time
- enabling both Hibernation in Cmd (powercfg -h on) and Fast Startup in Win8.1 Power Options
- restoring native menu via BCDEdit in Cmd (bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard)
- replacing Win7 Bootloader with Win8.1 Bootloader in Win7
- changing Boot options or choosing Standard Boot via MSConfig

Nothing seems to challenge EasyBCD attraction to old Boot Menu style short of recovering OS from an installation DVD. Can someone suggest how exactly I can go back to very nice Win8.1 Boot Menu, while not using OS Recovery options and keeping current startup items list? Of course originally I could delete duplicates with BCDBoot, but opted for an "easy" GUI approach that fails compatibility with new style Boot Menu.

Relevant question is, why EasyBCD still sticks to old style Boot Menu, when the new one is so much more attractive and modern? Changing menu appearance to the old style looks like a major bug to me given Win8 is available for quite awhile, and the new Bootloader also supports multiboot. Major problem is, EasyBCD seems to offer no means to restore original Boot Menu, which is totally unacceptable for a program that is also offered as commercial.
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After further testing, the only way so far to restore native Win8.1 Boot Menu after using EasyBCD2.2 I found is the following suggested by MS BCD Store repair:

Repair the system partition

If the system partition has been corrupted, you can use BCDboot to recreate the system partition files by using new copies of these files from the Windows partition.

  • Boot your PC to a command line. For example, boot to the Windows installation disk and press Shift+F10, or boot to Windows PE (WinPE: Create USB Bootable drive)
  • Use Diskpart to determine which drive letter contains your Windows partition and system partition (diskpart, list vol, exit)
  • Optional: Format your system partition: format (drive letter of your system partition) /q
  • Add a boot entry for your Windows partition: bcdboot D:\Windows
  • Reboot the PC. Windows should appear.

After deleting current Boot folder from your system partition, you can alternatively use Startup Repair feature of Win 8.1 Installation DVD instead of BCDBoot command. It will auto add entries for all Windows versions found on your disks when it runs. You then need to manually add entries for non-Windows systems like Ubuntu or Grub4Dos etc. after rebooting to Win 8.1 - follow Adding Windows Boot Entries guide. To make life easier, before booting from DVD and deleting Boot folder, run bcdedit /enum in Win 8.1 Cmd to print current BCD Store content, and copy it to a text file to use for hints later. See BCDEdit Ref Manual for details on using it.

Of course it would be nice to find a GUI based tool that can work with new Windows 8 Bootloader and Boot Menu, not sure if EasyBCD developer plans to bring it up-to-date and when, despite he promised it 3 years ago!!! So far its incompatible, though it can add Win 8 boot entries selectable at boot via an old style Win 7 menu. MS as usually refuses to provide a GUI based Boot Menu Editor, still attempting to slow down broader use by consumers of alternative OSs in multiboot.
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
This is nothing to do with EasyBCD.

On my PC W7 and W8.1 are dual-booted via the automatic MS routines during setup.
The W8 GUI appeared when W8 was added to W7 and remained as long as W8 was default.
As soon as I set W7 to be default (via the option within the W8 GUI - EasyBCD not even being installed on W8), the menu reverted to the old familiar version. This is entirely within MS responsibility and seems to follow the rule "make any change to the default W8 boot menu by any means and the GUI goes"

I believe you might be able to force the GUI back by
bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard
but I have not done so myself, seeing absolutely no point.

I must entirely disagree with your last paragraph. There is no time difference in booting through either of the menus, only aesthetic differences.

I personally can see no advantage in bothering to switch back. Two seconds at the start of the day (when I'm probably not looking anyway) while the screen flashes black rather than blue on its way to my desktop is neither here nor there, but if you feel differently you can always try the above.

Incidentally you can do it through the EasyBCD Power Console.
This is nothing to do with EasyBCD. As soon as I set W7 to be default (via the option within the W8 GUI - EasyBCD not even being installed on W8), the menu reverted to the old familiar version. This is entirely within MS responsibility and seems to follow the rule "make any change to the default W8 boot menu by any means and the GUI goes"

I believe you might be able to force the GUI back by
bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard
Due to Win8 using hybrid boot by default, it sounds logical for MS to switch to Win7 boot sequence, which doesn't support hybrid boot, when a user selects Win7 as default OS, though I didn't try this option. As to other Boot Menu and MSConfig Boot related options, changing these doesn't result in replacing Win8.1 Boot Menu with something else. :grinning: In fact, I was able once to revert from Win7 to Win8.1 Boot Menu via MSConfig, but haven't documented the exact set of changed options and preceding choices, possibly by changing default OS.

It's NOT possible to revert Win8.1 GUI back from Win7 GUI with the above bootmenupolicy standard command after it was changed by EasyBCD - probably a command bug or set of Win8 bootloader rules not permitting.

As to "not EasyBCD fault", EasyBCD development appears halted 2 years ago, possibly once and for all. If you run bcdedit /enum to compare Win8 OS Boot List structure to Win7's, its obvious Win8 BCD uses somewhat different set of default descriptors in the OS List compare to Win7's. When adding new entries or restoring BCD, EasyBCD uses obsolete set of Vista bootloader descriptors supported by Win8 Bootloader mostly for compatibility. When Win8 Bootloader reads the BCD at boot, it identifies incompatibility and switches to Win7 Boot Menu and sequence, even if you leave Win8.1 as default OS to boot.

Studying new commands introduced to manipulate Win8 BCD, comparing boot options and implementing the new OS descriptors in EasyBCD should fix the issue. But no-one seems to work on EasyBCD updates anymore. You can try justifying it with whatever arguments come to mind, but the reality is - there is NO boot menu editor right now as nice and supporting modern OSs as EasyBCD once was when regularly updated. If "uncatchable" differences resulting in Boot Menu reversal appear a mystery - just look at enum results to see they are NOT, and possibly quite easy to fix given desire to update now obsolete EasyBCD2.2.

Sorry if the author feels discomfort reading this, but trust - many EasyBCD users feel a lot bigger discomfort seeing their favourite program abandoned. Lets tell exactly as it is. :x There is a nice rEFInd Boot Manager actively developed, but its latest releases support for BIOS based hardware thus far is mediocre at best, and of course it works different from Boot Menu Editor like EasyBCD.

---------- Post added at 10:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:59 PM ----------

Here's and example, how to add entries to Win8 BCD manually... Lets say, you added earlier a NeoGrub entry (i.e. Grub4dos) to Win8 Boot Menu using EasyBCD that also had Win8 and Win7 entries. Now your new glossy Win8 boot menu suddenly changed to old plain Win7's. To revert it to Win8 Boot Menu, you can re-create it manually following the above links or Fixing Windows Bootloader article. Just print your current Boot Menu in Command Prompt first to use as a reference later. You can also use Win8 Installation DVD to delete old one and rebuild a new BCD store. But it'll only add entries automatically for Windows OSs installed on your HDDs. Other entries you'll have to add manually. For example, let's add now missing NeoGrub entry (remember, NeoGrub files are still stored on your HDD, only its boot menu entry is missing):

Open elevated Command Prompt as Admin in running Win8, then enter commands:

bcdedit /create /d "NeoGrub" /application bootsector
bcdedit /set {71f7abde-ded2-11e3-827a-00e0fd0bj56f} device partition=C:
bcdedit /set {71f7abde-ded2-11e3-827a-00e0fd0bj56f} path \NST\NeoGrub.mbr
bcdedit /displayorder {71f7abde-ded2-11e3-827a-00e0fd0bj56f} /addlast

where {ID} is taken from the newly created entry. Now print the new Boot Menu to see your entry is there:

bcdedit /enum

Now edit in a text editor NeoGrub's Menu.lst saved in NST folder on your HDD - to add any ISO and other service images you may want to quickly boot from to service your system without storing them to a USB Thumb and changing disk boot sequence. Then reboot and see new shiny Win8 Boot Menu showing your newly added NeoGrub entry among others. You're hired now instead of EasyBCD's author. :brows:

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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You've obviously looked a lot deeper into this than my superficial delvings (you'll have gathered from my tone that I'm not a fan of W8. The 8.1 Update is on in preparation for the hinted return of true W7 compatibility, but till then it just sits, patched but unused and unloved).
You must forgive the author.
In the days of daily Beta releases he was a carefree student and the deep mining of BCD and BIOS was all grist to the mill of his dissertation. Since then, like the rest of us he has had to board the treadmill of life, family, mortgage and all the other daily tasks of keeping the wolf from the door.
Despite that, I believe there is another release in the pipeline which specifically addresses an issue (caused more by EFI than W8) in this area. I expect the points you raise will be addressed in that.

Incidentally, the reason for my PC reverting to the legacy boot menu couldn't have been related to the hybrid boot. I'd long before turned off "fast startup"
Both W7 and W8 are EFI/GPT and telling the W8 GUI to set W7 default produced an immediate BSOD. Turning off secure boot fixed that, but produced the legacy menu so that's implicated in some way.
Turning off secure boot fixed that, but produced the legacy menu so that's implicated in some way.
Subtle differences in Boot Menu element descriptors are likely to produce such reversal effect, hinting Win8 bootloader expects a certain default elements set to invoke the new Boot Menu. I finally found a quick way to revert to Win8 glossy original boot menu in most cases where it was replaced with old Win7 black & white copy.

Suppose one needs to add some boot items to Win8 boot menu like Windows XP, Ubuntu, and a few ISO & VHD images. Use EasyBCD2.2 to add these items to boot menu one by one, name and sort them in the right order as usual. Now you know, it will result in new Win8 boot menu being replaced by the old style one - until a new EasyBCD release is out in undefined futuristic miracle future. There are some objective - like almost total lack of Win8 BCD official detail documentation for about 180 descriptors by now - and subjective reasons for that like laziness etc. :smile: But we can fix that for now:

Open Elevated Command Prompt as Admin, run the command (assuming you booted to volume C:\ ):

bcdboot C:\Windows
That's it, your BCD Boot Store will be rebuilt on the fly, with all its boot menu items remain untouched, while some of their descriptor elements changed to Win8 defaults. Exit Command Prompt and reboot to the new and shiny Win8 Boot Menu with all newly added boot items present and selectable. Your can then edit (copy to a new one and delete original) any item titles you don't like with bcdedit /create command or with EasyBCD2.2 - just don't add new items to the boot menu. Enjoy! :lol:
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I'm not a fan of W8. The 8.1 Update is on in preparation for the hinted return of true W7 compatibility, but till then it just sits, patched but unused and unloved.
Actually, latest Win8.1 OS boots directly to Desktop, so it has distinct advantages to Win8 you are missing. After switching Off Hybrid Boot, there're no boot sequence differences btw Win8 and Win7, while Win8 starts faster. Also its Boot Menu is more esthetically pleasant, modern and feature-rich compare to Legacy version. In case one needs to reboot to a different OS from running Windows, boot time can be further shorten by clicking Shift - Restart in the running OS - the disk Boot Menu will open on exit, and one can select the next OS to boot directly without showing Boot Menu after restart. Another hint for owners of PCs with multiple disks: add NeoGrub menu item to each disk's Boot Menu, and then add Boot 1st Drive, Boot 2nd Drive etc. sections to NeoGrub Menu on each disk. That would allow after clicking Shift - Restart in the running OS to directly select any disk (not only partition) to boot from without changing BIOS settings upon reboot. :evil:
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
I'm on W8.1 + Update.
It boots directly to desktop but it still doesn't handle it properly. It's rumoured to be a precursor of a fully compatible Start menu. If and when one arrives I'll give 8 another try, but since I have a 3 monitor (no touch) PC, the whole philosophy of W8 (acting like a phone) is alien to the environment I'm running.
W7 does everything the way I like it. I use Start Menu fly-out options extensively, so till W8 reinstates them, it's considerably less convenient to use
No doubt they'll get there in the end (probably in W9) but as long as W7 is still fully supported, It's my OS of choice till there's a positive advantage in switching.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Sambul, I'm more than happy to engage with you in any conversation about EasyBCD's shortcomings or future updates, but some of the suggestions you make in your earlier post are fairly vague.
I can also assure you that development on EasyBCD has not halted. While the last EasyBCD release was in September 2012 (not actually two years ago), I have a few beta builds sitting on my desktop right now - only there aren't enough new features to merit the start of a new beta program.

There also really isn't a "obsolete set of Vista bootloader descriptors" that EasyBCD uses.

The instructions you specify
bcdedit /create /d "NeoGrub" /application bootsector
bcdedit /set {71f7abde-ded2-11e3-827a-00e0fd0bj56f} device partition=C:
bcdedit /set {71f7abde-ded2-11e3-827a-00e0fd0bj56f} path \NST\NeoGrub.mbr
bcdedit /displayorder {71f7abde-ded2-11e3-827a-00e0fd0bj56f} /addlast
are the same ones EasyBCD uses to add the neogrub file to the boot menu, actually!

EasyBCD also specifies a few other properties for maximum compatibility, though. If you have any insight as to what properties EasyBCD adds that the Windows 8 BOOTMGR dislikes, that would actually be immensely helpful.
Its nice to hear from the author that EasyBCD next version is in the works. :grinning: Especially given the fact that EasyBCD remains extremely valuable tool for multibooters, used frequently. As to what properties EasyBCD adds that Win 8 Bootmgr dislikes, it might be easy to identify ones. For example, I lately noticed that adding new entries in EasyBCD doesn't result in switching to Win 7 style Boot Menu, if EasyBCD is simply closed. It only switches to old menu style, when a default boot entry is changed by EasyBCD, or some boot Options are manually changed in EasyBCD like wait time, and than Save button pressed. It limits the choice of coolprit properties to consider.

Another way to identify changed properties is to run BCDEDIT command before and after changing default item with EasyBCD. It would show what properties of the default item were changed. You can switch to a different default item in EasyBCD and than return back to original default item during same session to allow such comparison. If that's not enough, I'd consider using VisualBCD to look at other changed properties of the Default and Bootmgr items, even so currently VisualBCD also needs update to Win 8.

Given the fact, that booting to a VHD with Win 8 Bootmgr via new Win 8 Boot Menu requires reboot twice regardless whether Hybrid Boot is On or Off, unless one uses Shift+Restart to reboot from running OS, may I suggest a new feature for the next EasyBCD release allowing to select Next Boot Item (one time) in EasyBCD, so a user can boot straight to the item newly added to Boot Menu with EasyBCD.
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I noticed that you were able to make NeoGrub known to the W8 boot loader. I'd be interested to know whether you can actually boot some form of Linux through this boot loader.

In a related thread, Terry60 stated that as far as he knew, the Windows 8 boot loader cannot boot Linux at all. Is this really true? Did the W8 boot loader boot Linux directly, or did it do it through Grub. If you got this to work, what procedure did you use to make it work?

Many thanks.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Sambul, you know about iReboot, right? It does the one-click one-time reboot.

I shall look into the rest of your feedback. Thank you.
Actually it's quite easy to restore the original blue Windows 8.1 boot menu, after EasyBCD corrupted things to keep defaulting to the black Win7 menu even while Windows 8 is your default boot OS.

In Windows 8.1, open a command prompt (administrator level) and enter the following command:

bcdboot C:\Windows

where C is your current Windows 8.1 system disk or partition, obviously you should use the right drive letter here.

This command will restore all the original Windows 8 boot files and settings. At the next boot, you will see the blue "modern" Windows 8 boot menu again.

Because the boot settings have been reset to default as well, the boot menu timeout will be back to the original value of 30 seconds. Use msconfig.exe, "Boot" tab, to set the timeout to a more convenient value (I set it to 3 seconds myself).

HTH - Henk
I have the very easiest solution possible for the restore to the windows 8.1 bootmenupolicy standard.
It took me a long time but I believe it is as easy as this: "I THINK"
First boot into Windows 8.1, install EasyBCD 2.2 once installed I ran as Admin, then I went to "View Settings" and make sure Windows 8.1 is the C: partition and Windows 7 is anything else but the C; Partition
(Note: If Windows 8.1 is not the C: partition further ahead you need to go to Useful Utilities and run "EASYBCD Power Console" type at the end of Easybcd\bin>bcdboot C:\Windows) but not right now!!!
then I went to "Edit boot Menu" and made sure that Windows 8.1 was "checked off" as the "default" and that "Skip the Boot Menu" button was selected down below.
Now here is where you will change then partition to C: if windows 8.1 is not shown as the C: partition by "default"
go to "Useful Utilities" and run "EASYBCD Power Console" type at the end of "C:\Program Files (x86)\NeoSmart Technologies\Easybcd\bin>bcdboot C:\Windows , press enter you should see "successful"
and then immediately follow with again at the end of "C:\Program Files (x86)\NeoSmart Technologies\Easybcd\bin>
bcdedit_/set_{default}_bootmenupolicy_standard" ,
press enter you should see "successful"
(NOTE: Do not put these in "
_" they are just used to signify a space is all, because of the type it is hard to know that there is a space!)
and here is the most important part "DO NOT CLOSE CMD" or the "Power Console", leave it open
and also look at my typing above and be sure to properly space and use the the proper symbols before you continue, especially around the {default}.
now reboot with "Power Console" still left OPEN.
At reboot it will take a little longer than usual but you should see the blue boot menu.
Now if by chance that does not work repeat all above but replace {default} with {current}. I had 5 separate attempts on 5 different laptops with Windows 7 installed first, then Windows 8.1. Once I re sized either partition I would loose the Windows 8.1 Bootloader. This worked for me all 5 times with the {default} Please let me know if this was successful for anyone.... Merry Christmas to all
FYI- This is my first post and I made several mistakes, but I am tired of taking and not giving back. So be kind!!!! LOL
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Mostly Harmless
Staff member
zackfree, did EasyBCD 2.3 beta not do the trick for you?
Mahmoud..... Thank you for this fine program......

I tried 2.3 and i still reverted back to the old style boot menu. Yes, I did check the box specifying to use the new metro menu.

Just thought it might help you.



Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Hi czerwinski, welcome to the forums.

Did you try 2.3 beta? The latest build?
EasyBCD 2.3 current release (Community Edition) still reverts in Win10 to old text style Boot Menu, when Save Settings button is pressed in Edit Boot Menu section, regardless whether Use Metro Bootloader is selected or not. This article outlines, what BCD elements control this: BootMenuPolicy - set text or graphical style boot menu :
  1. "BootMenuPolicy" = standard (for default loader object)
  2. "DisplayBootMenu" = false (or element not present in {bootmgr} object)
  3. "EmsEnabled" = false (in object {emssettings})}
Since Detail Mode in EasyBCD View Settings section doesn't allow descriptors edits, can this long standing bug be finally fixed in the Community edition? Its one of the most annoying "features" that make folks disappointed in EasyBCD, and its easily fixable.

Btw, in what cases Save Settings button needs to be pressed? The menu changes seems to be preserved without pressing it.

Alternatively, a user can revert to Graphical Style Boot Menu without changing current Boot Menu list by running the command in Admin Cmd Prompt:
bcdboot C:\Windows /s C: /f BIOS (or UEFI - depending on your system hardware)
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