"Transferring" BCD entries when deleting a corrupted OS


Hi everyone,

I'm writing out of tribute, really, to how well EasyBCD has worked. I have never once, in over a year, had the BCD settings break. This is my favorite piece of software in Windows. Thanks, Guru, and everyone, for making this possible!

I'm also writing more out of nervousness than out of reasoned thought. Please humor me! I'll keep it short.

I have a dual boot setup. As I just mentioned, it's been ages since I touched EasyBCD, so I'd forgotten where the settings were stored. I am going to have to wipe out both OSes, but want to do it one at a time. So I need to make sure I'm not going to lose functionality. Here are the questions:

I have EasyBCD installed in both OSes.

For the sake of argument, let's say I no longer trusted the OS where the BCD entry is "probably" stored, and I don't want to boot into it. But I am also not positive where the BCD entry is.

1. First, how do I "find" the BCD store from within the BCD interface? The only locations I see are for where the BCD entry will be "restored from." It's probably right in front of my eyes, but if it isn't, maybe it's worth changing the GUI to list it. (BTW, it's always going to be on the boot partition, correct? Or can whatever is bootstrapping look for the BCD entry on a partition other than the boot partition?)

2. Can you "transfer" the BCD entry to another partition without making problems for yourself? Is it as simple as booting into the alternate OS, installing EasyBCD there (assuming they're both Windows), and then making a new BCD store on that partition? Is BCD smart enough to find the old entry and put it out of its misery? :wink:

Thanks! Again, these are just reassurances before I get myself into a mess. I have ben pulling late nights trying unsuccessfully to fix a horked Windows Update situation, looking for signs of malware, and so on, so I'm a little bit :O.


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Hey aka, nice to hear from you again.

Can you tell us what you're trying to accomplish? I see that you're detailing the steps you'd like to try out to make it work, but there most likely is an easier way to get to the end goal you have in mind.

What OSes are you removing, and what OSes will you be installing in their place?

The problem is that one PC can only have one BCD store. So the whole "copying" issue isn't as simple as one would like.... and that's why it'd be helpful to know what you're trying to get at before we give any advice out :smile:
Hi Guru,

Thanks for the help with this.

So, I have two OSes.

The HDD's boot partition has Vista x64 installed. The alternate OS is Server 08 x64. That is also the boot priority. Relatively simple setup -- no longer the 4 OSes I was considering last year! I'm just going to assume that the BCD store is on the boot partition, unless you tell me that "yes, it could be on a non-boot partition."

The Vista setup has gone bad. There is no evidence of viruses or rootkits, but Windows Update has not been updating since July, and everything I've tried on that front has failed -- reinstalling the WU client, wiping out the SoftwareDistribution store, bla bla bla. It's time to reinstall this one.

I want to wipe out the Server partition for the time being so that I have a place to build a new installation image for Vista. (Too complicated to free up any other partition at the moment.)

I'm trying to make sure I'm not going to trap myself by wiping out the Server partition. I figured I could just search for the BCD file to find it, but I was wondering why I wasn't seeing its location in the EasyBCD interface, and I'm a little too fried right now to double-check everything as diligently as I could otherwise -- long night of troubleshooting. The question about "transferring" the BCD store was only going to matter if it turned out that I actually could have placed the BCD store on a non-boot partition, in which case I shouldn't wipe out the Server partition until I know what I'm doing on the BCD front.

Incidentally, here are three questions outside the realm of BCD -- but I know that you'd have a good sense of the answer:

1. I have WSBS 2008 on an ISO. Have you seen that installed on a multiboot setup? I'd like to test it out for a while.

2. I'm trying to figure out whether the TechNet ISO I have is the latest slipstreamed Vista SP1 build, and whether it's safe to use it. I've heard some people are reporting problems with the "bug-checked" TechNet ISO, but for financial reasons I let my account lapse -- until goodies like Windows 7 are RTMed -- and I can't go back and find out which ISO build they were talking about, and whether that's the one I've got on file. Bummer if it were -- I'd have to go way back to the pre-SP1 "Upgrade" disc for a clean install (which you can do, as you probably know). I can tell you that the ISO I have is the one mentioned at this link, and the hash checks out fine:

3. Short of TechNet, is there anyplace one can access the Windows 7 beta and key, and is it stable yet? (MS never replied through the beta testers' site.)

4. Final question, about slipstreaming.

I always wanted to give the WAIK a try, but I'm not much of a script kitty, especially with XML, so I'd shied away. There was Windows Update Integrator, but the forum is in German. WUI seems by far the easiest slipstreaming solution -- less fishy than vLite and capable of adding in both SP1 and drivers, believe it or not. Turns out there's finally a nice English walkthrough: http://apcmag.com/how_to_slipstream_vista_sp1_into_your_vista_install_dvd.htm

What you get at the end is an installation ISO. (Actually, I wish they'd just let you build the ISO, rather than burn it. I want to do a USB installation.) What would be nice is to safely slipstream some basic app installations into the WIM as well, like Office. But I've heard there are a variety of risks in all the "abstraction" and "generalization" (huh?) that's done in any WIM-building process.

I know that there's the Office Customization Tool, here

But nowhere am I finding a basic overview of whether OCT only works with Microsoft Deployment (MDT), whether it'll work with WAIK (if I master it), or whether there is a simpler alternative for someone who is just looking to slipstream app installations into a single workstation WIM. (Is that so wrong?) On the download page for OCT, nothing mentions MDT, but around all slipstreaming issues there are invariably mentions of Group Policy, Administrative Templates, bla bla bla, and a half dozen esoteric file formats. ("We're strictly acronyms here," Microsoft seems to be saying.) This is just crushingly opaque for someone who is not immersed in that world. Is there a short answer to my question about "the way apps can be slipstreamed into a WIM"? If there isn't, just say "no," or even better, have some fun with me -- "no" plus a bunch of made up reasons. Or, the best possible reply, write a blog post about it! (Do you have any idea how many legions of fans you would attract?)

Thanks a million billion!

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I want to wipe out the Server partition for the time being so that I have a place to build a new installation image for Vista. (Too complicated to free up any other partition at the moment.)

I'm trying to make sure I'm not going to trap myself by wiping out the Server partition.

Okay first you say you need to wipe out the server partition and than in the next statement you say you do not...

The truth of the matter here is that if you installed Vista first Server 08 will have respected the current BCD store and simply added an entry for itself rather than moving or creating a new store and adding Vista to it. The trick here is that you said you wanted to wipe out only one OS at a time, but wiping out the Vista partition well make Server 08 non-bootable.

If Server 08 is perfectly fine and you want to keep it, what I would do is delete/reformat Vista's partition and re-install. I'm not sure Vista though would pick up on the unbootable server 08 during the install though due to the lack of a BCD store if you reformatted Vista's partition, so you might want to delete/reformat Vista's partition, and than do a startup repair on server 08 and verify it is booting correctly before re-installing Vista.
In what sense are you using "boot" a.k.a. ? - English or Microsoftese ?
The "boot" flag in Vista disk management you'll see against your Vista partition, means "this is the running (booted) OS"
The Vista boot files (bootmgr and the BCD (inside the folder called boot)) will actually be located on the partitition marked with the "system" flag.
"system" in MSese means "where the files necessary for booting the system are located"
In an all Windows environment there will only be one "system" partition, but MS acknowledges the existence of other OSs (which, having their own boot files will also be marked "system") so it also has the "active" flag.
"active" is used by the MBR IPL to locate the "system" partition which contains the main (controlling) boot files.
In an all Windows environment "system" and "active" will be the same partition.
(of course these can be duplicated on any other HDDs. What determines which "active" "system" partition will control the boot for a multiple HDD, multiple OS system will be the BIOS boot sequence.)
In what sense are you using "boot" a.k.a. ? - English or Microsoftese ?

:lol: lol

Unfortunately, I only speak the vernacular (MSFTese), not the lingua franca (C / UNIX) -- and even that just at the Berlitz level.

Thanks for explaining that boot / system / active confusion I always had!

Kairozamorro, I think I just didn't elaborate enough for it to come through. The Vista partition has to go, yes, but it can't go until I have some "scratch" space where I can build a new OS image. My old Vista is too heavily customized, and it will take more time and space than I have to transfer my data off of it. Right now, my only scratch space is on the Server partition. I'm going to try to do a WIM image (5 GB+ with drivers, or thereabouts, no?). But if I get hung up with those steps, I'm just going to have to install a new Vista over the Server partition and recapture the image -- then delete the old Vista partition.

K, thanks for explaining the BCD store thing. Actually, what I did wasn't what you'd expect. I started out installing Server first, and then adding Vista later. It turns out that I'm seeing a BCD store on Server, but NOT on Vista.

So, what now? I'm actually still scratching my head. It's late, I'm fried today, and I didn't quite figure out how your logic would apply if the opposite were the case: The BCD store is on Server, not Vista, and Server is the partition I need to wave goodbye to. So, how do I make sure I can boot into Vista without being able to read the BCD store on the Server partition?


Do you have enough room to copy over your files to servers partition while keeping server? If server was installed first and the bcd store is there than you should still be able to boot server even without Vista's partition (though you'll have a broken entry still pointing to it). Delete/reformat vistas partition after copying and than begin working on Vista so in the meantime you have at least one OS up and running like you wanted.
Ok, we'll see if I can find the space. I appreciate you being fans of Server!

Just for the sake of clarification, I think down the road, I am still looking for guidance on this contingency:

I can't expect to hang on to Server forever.

If I simply decide at some point to install OVER Server (overwriting the old BCD store) ... then will I be able to reinstall EasyBCD onto that fresh OS partition, and from there, re-create the boot menu link to whatever older OS I have on my second partition that doesn't have the BCD store?


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Ahhh. Great. Duly noted and much appreciated. Thanks for the replies and help, everyguys!

I feel ... dumber ... and ... happier!

Who needs smarts when you've got ... DA FORUMZ!