Three OS with BCD???

#1
Hi!

I have 3 disc drives.

I have Vista on drive c: (first partition) and WinXP on the second partition (drive "d:") of the first drive. WinXP has been installed after Vista.
The second drive contains only data. The third drive is partitioned in three parts.

With support of EasyBCD I managed to have dual-Boot with these two OS.
However, when I switch over to WinXP, the system-drive letter is k: :tongueout:oint:
But that's not the issue. The dual boot works quite well (exept of the known problem with the system restore points...)

I'd like to test Win7.

Now, to prevent any harm to the working OS & data mentioned above, I disconnected the respective disc drives 1 and 2 and installed Win7 tentatively on drive3 (first partition).
In this configuration Win7 runs quite well...

But now I'd like to make this entry available to the dual-boot.
So I added a third entry with EasyBCD.
Booting the computer there are shown three entries now, indeed...

But choosing the Win7 entry gives me an error message, that winload.exe is not found.
From view of the first system (Vista) the respective partition is shown as drive "o:"

I'm aware of it, that I presumably made a mistake installing Win7 without the the other drives and need to reinstall it...

Now the questions:

Can I install Win7 riskless on drive o: (first partition of the trird drive) and what do I have to do to have three entries (at boot time) where I can choose one of it (especially Win7)

Which adjustments do I need to make in EasyBCD (I'm unsing EasyBCD 2.0.2.117)?

Thanks a lot for your support.

Regards,

Wolfgang
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Winload.exe is not found ? or invalid signature ?
There is a problem with Vista booting W7 (older bootmgr not recognizing newer), which you can workaround by changing the BIOS to put W7 first, and add the other systems to its BCD, or you can use EasyBCD on Vista to "recreate boot files" so that you get some that are compatible with W7.
If it's really "not found", then you must have put the wrong disk letter when you added the W7 entry.
 
#3
Thanks a lot for your quick reply.

You mean it's OK that I installed Win7 like this? :happy:

Maybe tomorrow I'll find time to tinker with it...
Today I'll be lying on the couch, it's 10 pm here and I'm already a bit tired...

Bye,
Wolfgang
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
If you install a new Vista/7 OS with one already visible, the second will add itself to the BCD of the first, but there's absolutely no problem having each of them with an independent BCD. You just need to add an entry in one of them for the other OS to dual boot. (subject to the known "invalid sig" problem already mentioned.)
 
#5
...indeed, it is an invalid signature problem, initially I misinterpreted the message...
I'm attaching the screen photo. As I guess that most readers here do not understand German, I tried to translate it into English...:

###############################################################

Possibly caused by a recently performed hardware or software
change, a wrong signed or damaged file or a file containing
malicious software from an unknown source was installed.

If you have available a Windows Installation Data Medium, insert
this medium and restart the computer, Click on "Repair Computer"
and choose the restore tool.

Otherways, press the return key to start windows new and to
show the start menu. Press the F8 Key for extended start options and
choose the option "Latest as working known configuration (extended)".
In case you understand the reason, why the digital driver cannot verified,
and you want to start windows without tis file, repeal temporarily forcing
of the digital signature.

File: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

Status: =xc000428

Info: Windows cannot check the digital signature for this file.

################################################################

Pressing the F8 key leads back to this message... Return leads to the boot selection menu.

The Message seems to be a poor translation of an originally english text
into German, so it was at the first glance not completely clear to me what it
means...
I hope the retranslation is better...

So my question is:
What about the signature problem? How can it be solved?

As I understand your latest postings, changing the order of boot devices could solve the issue?

Thanks,
Wolfgang
 

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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
Yes, you can boot the W7 HDD, then use EasyBCD to add entries for your old systems, or you can recreate the Vista files if you still want to keep Vista as the first boot HDD.
 
#7
[Solved]

According to your hints I changed order of boot devices this way, that drive 3 (with Windows 7 on the first partition) starts first. However, I was surprised that there were 3 entries in the boot menu, all three called "Windows 7"...
That might be a bug in EasyBCD...???

I have to admit that I don't know anymore exactly what I did before. I any case I had tried to access Win7 on the thrid drive from the BCD of the first drive what ended up in the described error (signature of winload.exe not verified).

With EasyBCD however I could identify which entry belonged to which OS. Actually I could have changed simply the names of the OS and after that I gues it might have worked....

But I was afraid to make a mess of it, so I deleted all entries and generated the entries from scratch...
It was a good idea to make a backup of the EasyBCD configuration before...
Because after re-generation of the entries I could access Vista and Win7, but nor anymore WinXP.
Checking the deteails of the entries I found that the WinXP entry pointed to NST\easyLDR2...
But I was sure that there was no such file on the WinXP Partition...
So I got an error message. I know that the loader has to be NTLDR...

It is not quite clear to me when and why this pointer was changed to NST\easyLDR2, I tinkered with several options of EasyBCD before.

As I could not change this pointer to "NTLDR" with EasyBCD (could be a good idea to introduce this possibility to EasyBCD), I restored the backup and generated only the entry for Win7 from scratch, as the other two entries were still present and working...

...Now Im happy, the "tripple Boot" works perfectly.... :smile:

The other issue, what I want to solve, is that with the "k:" as root directory for the WinXP partition, which generates problems off and on...
But that's a different story, maybe I need to reinstall WinXP on a different partition...

Anyways,

Thanks a lot for your support,

Regards,

Wolfgang
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
EasyLDR is the NeoSmart custom XP loader, which can be used to boot multiple XPs from the Vista/7 menu. (something that NTLDR cannot do. It makes you use a second menu for multiple XPs).
You don't have multiple XPs, so you don't need to use it.
Just tick "auto" when you add an XP entry and it will find it for you (and suppress the drive option).
If you use the manual entry option for XP, you must tell it which XP you're referring to (you only need to use manual entry for multiple XPs).
It would still have worked with one entry if you'd trusted it. It uses the loader from the Neosmart folder.
You made things a lot more complicated than necessary, but glad you're happy now.

Windows XP - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

No problem with XP being K: as long as it can't see a C: disk with another Windows on it. That will cause 3rd party apps (notably Adobe's) to put files on the wrong OS even if you tell them not to.
That shouldn't be a problem, because you should never let XP see Vista or W7 anyway.

System Restore Points - Stop XP Dual Boot Delete - Vista Forums
 
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#9
EasyLDR is the NeoSmart custom XP loader, which can be used to boot multiple XPs from the Vista/7 menu. (something that NTLDR cannot do. It makes you use a second menu for multiple XPs).
You don't have multiple XPs, so you don't need to use it.
...I will have...
Just tick "auto" when you add an XP entry and it will find it for you (and suppress the drive option).
That was exactly what I did and it ended up that I couldn't start XP anymore...
If you use the manual entry option for XP, you must tell it which XP you're referring to (you only need to use manual entry for multiple XPs).
That's clear to me. But the boot loader searched for the NST\easyldr which was obviously not present...
It would still have worked with one entry if you'd trusted it. It uses the loader from the Neosmart folder.
There is no NST folder in the XP installation...
You made things a lot more complicated than necessary, but glad you're happy now.
Yes.
That is very interesting and helps me to understand the boot process.

No problem with XP being K: as long as it can't see a C: disk with another Windows on it. That will cause 3rd party apps (notably Adobe's) to put files on the wrong OS even if you tell them not to.
That shouldn't be a problem, because you should never let XP see Vista or W7 anyway.

System Restore Points - Stop XP Dual Boot Delete - Vista Forums
I already knew this trick and aplied id already...
But it prevents XP merely to overwrite the restore points and it is not possible to make restore points for XP...

From the Vista point of view (here it's drive "D:" it's very easy to make XP partition invisible, you need only t delete the drive letter unsing the disk management. This can be easily made undone if necessary...

But I'm despite of that planning to install a new XP which uses drive letter C:, because some programs presume that the root directory is c: at installation time...

Regards
Wolfgang
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
The NST folder isn't in the XP installation, that doesn't matter. EasyBCD knows where it is.
XP system restore still works in a Vista/7 multiboot.
Just make sure that it's only turned on for the system partition in use (and its apps if they're in another partition), and off for all the other system(s) partitions and any shared data partition(s).
Do this on each OS and SR will work properly on all systems.
(It follows that apps cannot be on a shared partition).
 
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#11
The NST folder isn't in the XP installation, that doesn't matter. EasyBCD knows where it is.
...I think I unrevaled the mystery

The NST Folder is on Vista (1. System / partition on the first drive).
Furthermore the correct adjustment of the entries looks like the attached picture.
Both, the Vista and the WinXP entry point to drive C:, so it was a mistake to point it to drive "D:" (which is then starting XP drive"K:" after it) ... Because on "D:" is no load / boot information. I guess EasyBCD could not find this second entry automatically.

boot.ini of drive C: contains the following:

######
[boot loader]
timeout=20
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Windows XP on D:\" /fastdetect
######

So starting the XP-OS actually starts Vista in the beginning and redirects booting then to drive "D:". Therefore both loaders are present on drive C: ...
That's also the reason for the restore point issues, I guess.

I wonder why Microsoft did it like this, because undependend systems would have it's own restore point area and no application problems, as the drive letter is always C:
And a bootmanager could handle that trouble-free...
 

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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
"system" in Windows is "where the boot files are".
The MS boot architecture is to keep the boot files together, for all the systems in a multi-boot.
This is because the MBR goes to the "active" partition to find the bootloader, and the bootloader expects to find everything else there.
You can't keep the boot information for each system on it's own partition, because of the logical paradox. How can the controlling bootloader go to the XP partition for the XP loader until it knows where XP is.
EasyBCD's BCD entry points to the "system" drive for XP because it has to. (there are copies of everything it needs there. Those copies contain the information about location, not the BCD entry.
99% of all problems reported with EasyBCD1 were because the user had "corrected" the "mistake" made by EasyBCD about the XP drive "and it doesn't work !".
That's why EasyBCD 2 had "automatic configuration" coded in, which removes the option to "correct" it. (though they still go "advanced" and try even now)
Even if you use the manual entry (EasyLDR), you'll see that though you might point to X: and Y: for your XP systems, the BCD still says C: for both, because the true location information comes further down the data chain.
 
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#13
"system" in Windows is "where the boot files are".
The MS boot architecture is to keep the boot files together, for all the systems in a multi-boot.
This is because the MBR goes to the "active" partition to find the bootloader, and the bootloader expects to find everything else there.
You can't keep the boot information for each system on it's own partition, because of the logical paradox. How can the controlling bootloader go to the XP partition for the XP loader until it knows where XP is.
EasyBCD's BCD entry points to the "system" drive for XP because it has to. (there are copies of everything it needs there. Those copies contain the information about location, not the BCD entry.
99% of all problems reported with EasyBCD1 were because the user had "corrected" the "mistake" made by EasyBCD about the XP drive "and it doesn't work !".
That's why EasyBCD 2 had "automatic configuration" coded in, which removes the option to "correct" it. (though they still go "advanced" and try even now)
Even if you use the manual entry (EasyLDR), you'll see that though you might point to X: and Y: for your XP systems, the BCD still says C: for both, because the true location information comes further down the data chain.
So glad I joined this forum to find out information like this. So are you saying that when we are mounting these drives in X,Y, Z etc. that we are basically creating fake drives that are rooted within our main unit?

I am noob beyond belief, but feel like I am doing pretty well for a high school kid...
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#15
Hi Spoonbender,

I'm not sure I understand your question about fake drives. Each PC has physical disks and these disks have physical partitions.
Each partition is a "volume" in Windows-speak, and each volume is assigned an address so Windows can access it. These addresses are the drive letters.

These drive letters are for the copy of Windows you are in. They're not actually in any way hard-coded on the disk or in the partition. So when you boot into a different OS, it's entirely possible for them to be shuffled into a different order.
 
#16
Have on other older PC several partitions. One of them ist WinXP, the others are Win98. I have a boot-loader (BootMagic) which came with PartitionMagic. Here the change of operating systems work perfectly.

The actual started partition has always drive letter "C" (the partition manager shows this as "active" partition). The inactive partitions are hidden and can only be shown with a partition manager. So drives named with x or y or whatever drive letter cannot be bootable, they are only logic partitions which can be accessed from the current OS... However, the partiton manager can make this hidden partitions visible to the current OS.
In this case also a partition containing a OS gets a drive letter, e.g. x or y. ...But this is very dangerous, you could mess the bootable partition and it wouldn't start anymore. This ist NOT standard...!!! But also in this case if a visible bootable partition is chosen, this partition will be shown after start with drive letter "C"...

The only case where the active OS drive letter is not "C" is from my point of view the dual-boot option, see earlier. On my new computer I have Vista on the first partiton of the first drive, the dual-boot WinXP partition is on logic drive letter "D". After starting WinXP the drive letter of the System is "K", which is very uncommon. But everything works perfectly except of applications which need "C" mandatory... Dangerous is, that the other OS-partition can be seen from teh respective started systems and you have to take precautions not to mess the not-started systems, e.g. to hide the drive letter in the drive management...

Frankly, I haven't understood completely why this is like this... Because dual boot is a strange option, it seems to be better to install WinXP independently on a separate partition and handle everything with a decent boot manager.

If this all also effects my initial question, i dont know. But afaik there are boot managers which can manage ALL BS (Win7, Vista, WinXP, WinNT, 2000, Win98 and predecessors, even DOS-Systems. I guess all boot information of all systems are stored in the boot area of the first disk drive irrespective where the OS are, and if chosen any system, the correct boot info is stored in the area which ist necessary to boot the desired partition (which is hidden). This hidden partition becomes active and gets drive letter "C"....

Anyways, EasyBCD works quite fine and can also handle the strange Vista-/WinXP relationship...

Regards, Wolfgang
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#17
Wolfgang.
It doesn't matter what one OS calls another system's partitions. They are not related in any way.
The letters are nothing to do with the boot manager in use.
When your PC is turned off, there are no letters.
Letters only exist in the mind of the booted system (entries in its registry), and since each OS has its own registry, each one has its own map of letters.
Since XP, the OS can retain its map of letters to physical devices/partitions, between successive boots (if you hard-code letters in Disk Management), but in previous Windows (9x) the letters are always dynamically allocated as you boot, which caused terrible problems when adding a new HDD, hence the change of design in XP.
 
#18
...You are totally right...

I just wanted to make spoonbender aware of it, that the drive letters have nothing to do with the respective partitions...

Each OS has it's own allocated set of drive letters, and the user can change them, if he likes... But "C" will always stay "C", except for the cases I mentioned... So from different OS's point of view the same drive can have a different drive letters.

And using a partition manager, also here the drive letters can be allocated to partitions (user chosen)
Usually the partition manager only knows e.g.:

Drive 1, 1st, 2nd, 3rd partition, unallocated disc space; Drive 2, 1st..... and so on

The drive letters are allocated by OS where the PM was started from....

Right?

Wolfgang
 
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