Trying to recover MBR on a Windows 7 netbook I tried to install XP with a WUBI Ubunt

Hello I am trying to install Windows XP on a Windows 7 netbook that also has a WUBI installation of Ubuntu. So I basically want it to be triple boot. I've been following this guide Dual Boot Your Pre-Installed Windows 7 Computer with XP - How-To Geek where I came to your utility Easy BCD. I've been running into big problems, however. I got as far as installing XP however there doesn't seem to have been any Master Boot Record created as I have to continue booting from the USB drive accessing a 4th partition - in "debug mode" on my hard drive (among a selection of 8 different potential partitians). It would have been nice if .net 2.0 framework had come bundled with the EasyBCD2.2 (or at least a warning that it would be required) since EasyBCD requires that and when one just loads XP many of the drivers are missing, including the Ethernet/LAN driver. Anyway, so yet another problem I am facing is that as soon as I start EasyBCD I am getting an "Error Opening BCD Registry"
"The boot configuration data store could not be opened. The system cannot find message text for message number 0x%1 in the message file %2. Would you manually like to load a BCD registry for EasyBCD to manage? Please note that EasyBCD requires the Windows Vista/7 bootloader, and will not work in XP-only environments."
This is incredibly inconvenient since I can ONLY work in XP at the moment since the boot loader is gone! The tutorial I am following points to EasyBCD 2.0 and I can only find 2.2 to download. What do I do next?


In addition to the above problems I am following the guide shown here Installing XP After Vista or 7 - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki and everything appears to work until I get to this point:
"Once that's done, head on to the "Add New Entry" page and select "Windows NT/2k/XP/2003" from the drop-down list, give it a name, then press "Add Entry" to finish."
when I am unable to perform the tasks because the options are grayed out.
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
"the bootloader is gone.." ??
If you mean that XP has overwritten the MBR IPL and is looking for NTLDR instead of bootmgr, that doesn't mean that your W7 boot files aren't there, just that the MBR doesn't know to look for them.
If you tell EasyBCD the whereabouts of the BCD when it asks (x:\boot\BCD where x= whatever was "system" when you were booting W7) you should be able to carry on and put the MBR back into the proper state for W7.
The W7 boot files are super-hidden, so you will need folder options set like this to find them
There is no E:\boot folder in either where the Windows 7 files are Local Disk (E:smile: or where the XP files are XP (D:smile:, HOWEVER, there is one in SYSTEM RESERVED (C:smile:. I found the BCD. Thanks. EasyBCD was able to "load"\read it.

The BCD looks like this:
There are a total of 2 entries listed in the bootloader.
Path: C:\Boot\BCD

Default: Windows 7
Timeout: 10 seconds
Boot Drive: C:\

Entry #1
Name: Windows 7
BCD ID: {default}
Drive: E:\
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

Entry #2
Name: Ubuntu
BCD ID: {2ffba4ca-4672-11e1-8fea-bb6834571b31}
Drive: E:\
Bootloader Path: \ubuntu\winboot\wubildr.mbr
detailed view:
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 {2ffba4c7-4672-11e1-8fea-bb6834571b31}
resumeobject {2ffba4c6-4672-11e1-8fea-bb6834571b31}
displayorder {2ffba4c7-4672-11e1-8fea-bb6834571b31}
toolsdisplayorder {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout 10

Windows Boot Loader
identifier {2ffba4c7-4672-11e1-8fea-bb6834571b31}
device partition=E:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Windows 7
locale en-US
inherit {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
recoverysequence {2ffba4c8-4672-11e1-8fea-bb6834571b31}
recoveryenabled Yes
osdevice partition=E:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {2ffba4c6-4672-11e1-8fea-bb6834571b31}
nx OptIn

Real-mode Boot Sector
identifier {2ffba4ca-4672-11e1-8fea-bb6834571b31}
device partition=E:
path \ubuntu\winboot\wubildr.mbr
description Ubuntu
I followed the guide here again Installing XP After Vista or 7 - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki
and something seemed to happen when I clicked "Write MBR" to get the EasyBCD bootloader back." but when it came to adding a new Entry I received an error. I rebooted and still the machine would not boot on its own. Had to use the Flash drive again. By the way I had to change the SATA mode in the BIOS to IDE in order to load XP without BSOD. Windows 7 was originally booting using AHCI mode. In windows XP disk manager it shows the XP partition as the boot partition.

How do I get it to boot all three: 7, Ubuntu, and XP from Windows Boot Manager?
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Annoyingly, that's standard for W7/8 to install its boot files into a small "System Reserved" labelled partition, and that's the way most pre-installed systems come, and the way that W7/8 will install itself if you, the self-builder, allow setup to allocate its own space.
The only way to stop it is to allocate the space yourself and format the partition in advance, then set it active (and make sure that no other "active" partitions are visible on other HDDs) Then it will put the boot files in with the rest of the OS.
The reason why MS try to force you into wasting one of your precious primaries is afaik, to enable you to encrypt the whole OS partition with bitlocker, leaving the boot files still bootable. If you don't want to encrypt your OS, you don't need a separate partition.
The AHCI problem is another matter
HOWTO: enable AHCI mode after installing Windows

btw boot isn't boot in Disk Management
Disk Management flags have the following meanings

"boot" = "this is the system you're running"
"system" = "this is where I found the boot files for the currently running system"
"active" (on the first HDD in the BIOS boot sequence) = "this is where I started the search for the boot files"
"active" (on subsequent HDDs in the BIOS boot sequence) ="this is where I will look if I don't find something in the MBR on the first HDD"

and XP doesn't list all the flags, it uses one to imply another. Vista/7/8 are explicit.
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So how do I get back to loading Windows 7 again? Should I set Local Disk as "Active" to begin with? (I also have a first partition that says "PQSERVICE Healthy (Unknown Partition)" not assigned to any drive letter which doesn't seem accessible)

When I try to boot the computer without the USB Flash drive in (containing the Windows XP files) I immediately get an error saying:
Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem. Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware.
Please check the windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information.
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Can you post a screenshot of your Disk Management.
(the sticky will help if you need it)
The "PQSERVICE Healthy (Unknown Partition)" was always there, ie. OEM BTW. I should have mentioned before that I used WintoFlash to install the XP installation disk onto the the USB flash drive. So it is probably the default WintoFlash MBR that I am seeing when I boot the computer from the flash drive.



Following the directions in your sticky I started at this page. Recovering the Windows Bootloader with EasyBCD - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

I followed Type 1: of this tutorial and used EasyBCD using BCD deployment tab to write an MBR to the first 3 partitions. I also set the Local Disk (E
in Windows Disk management to active. When rebooting without the USB flash drive I got a different error. "BOOTMGR is missing Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart."

On Type 2 while using Easy BCD I received the message The BCD has been successfully reset. All entries have been erased! Important: You must add at least one entry or else your PC will not boot!"

Great, I am not getting the message the tutorial said I would get. Still getting the same error on reboot and now Ubuntu is missing from the BCD. Good thing I backed it up.

When I got to Type 3. EasyBCD indicated, "This option is only available on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. The tutorial says "Boot into a working copy of Windows".

Then there was this page. Installing XP After Vista or 7 - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

I've already done all this.

Please help.

I do not mind Copying files manually. I have a friend I can borrow an external CD/DVD drive from. Is EasyBCD useless in my situation?
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You'll need to put AHCI back the way it was when you got the PC if you want W7 to boot again, then you can repair the W7 boot to undo the regression which installing XP caused.
You can't successfully dual-boot systems which were installed in different modes. You'll need to follow the advice in those links to get XP to play nicely with the way that W7 came supplied,
Thanks Terry, (I like scones too) I tried switching back to AHCI in the bios then booting to any of the partitions listed in the boot.ini. Partition 3 seemed to do something but then just hung there with a blank screen, no errors, that's the one 7 is on. I am booted into partition 4 right now running XP and typing with you from a fully functioning XP install except for the fact I have to boot it from USB drive.

How do I repair the W7 boot if I can not load XP? If I am in AHCI then I get BSOD when I try to load XP.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
When you say "any of the partitions in boot.ini ", you don't mean you are trying to boot W7 from the XP NTLDR I hope ?
What exactly is on your USB drive ?
Is it the W7 installation media ?
From the size and free-space listed on your screenshot it doesn't seem so.
Any way, from XP you should be able to follow the instructions
Recovering the Windows Bootloader with EasyBCD - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki
to put the W7 boot manager back in control now that you know how to point EasyBCD to the BCD location.
The boot.ini that is on the USB flash drive. I made the flash drive using WintoFlash and put the XPsp2 installation CD on it.
That's all that is on it. W7 is on the computer and the installation media for W7 is in the partition labeled PQService which can only be accessed during startup. (which is why I am not panicking) I do not want to use that yet because it wipes my entire installation and backs up my files in a single folder. I have a lot of time invested into it so I want to continue forward with this process and try to make it triple boot.

you don't mean you are trying to boot W7 from the XP NTLDR
Yes I guess that is what must be happening.

Recovering the Windows Bootloader with EasyBCD - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki
to put the W7 boot manager back in control now that you know how to point EasyBCD to the BCD location.
Please read above. October 17th, 2012, 05:35 PM
I have already tried all this (and then some) following the link in your original sticky. EasyBCD is not working as the instructions say it should.

I am heading over to a friends today to pick up an external CD/DVD ROM so I can attempt to use a W7 repair disk. Unfortunately it was made using a 64bit computer but my netbook is 32 bit.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You don't seem to have followed the instructions correctly.
Note that it says not to use the top section (for creating bootable external media), but your quote "writing the MBR to the first 3 partitions" seems to imply that you were doing just that, since there is only one MBR on a HDD and it's not in any partition.
Just select "install Vista/7 bootloader" and Write MBR in the bottom section, and try booting with the flashdrive removed.
Note that it says not to use the top section (for creating bootable external media), but your quote "writing the MBR to the first 3 partitions" seems to imply that you were doing just that
I did not use the top section of "for creating bootable external media" beyond selecting the drop down menu for the partition W7 is on just to be secure that EasyBCD doesn't try to write anything to the wrong partition. I mistakenly thought that was what the "write MBR" was being written to, but now you tell me it wasn't, it wouldn't make a difference what partition I selected because I didn't click on "install BCD." Trust me, after all the time invested I do not want to screw this up so I am doing everything carefully.
It does not seem to write anything, however. When I do click on "Write MBR" there is a progress meter, "EasyBCD is applying the selected action" that reaches about 1/3rd of the way before blanking out.

So I have tried several times to "Write MBR" after selecting "install windows vista/7 to the MBR" under "MBR configuration options" and rebooted receiving the error message:"BOOTMGR is missing Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart."

I also followed the instructions type 2: "Select "Reset BCD Configuration" then "Perform Action" to begin recovery. You may see a dialog like the one below asking you for your boot drive - pick the letter of your Windows Vista drive, then hit OK to continue."

There was no dialog.

Type 3 says it doesn't even work in WinXP.

EasyBCD is not performing the actions as per the instructions or whatever actions it is taking per the instructions is not making a difference on my booting.
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Going back to your post #8.
You moved the active flag. Is it back where it should be on the "system reserved" partition with the boot files.
I did that now and windows 7 started normally including w/ubuntu in the Windows Boot Manager. *much relief* Thank you. Now, is it impossible to have a dual boot config if XP requires IDE and W7 requires AHCI inorder to boot without BSOD, without having to enter the BIOS and switch back and forth?


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Those AHCI links I gave you in post #4 should help.
It's not something I've ever had to do, so they're definitely a better source of relevant information than I am, but if you have any trouble, a search through the boards here should throw up threads of users who've had the same problem previously, and you can always resurrect one of those old threads and beg assistance from someone with personal experience of solving the problem.
Ok Thank you very much (and for your patience) you've been very helpful. I used EasyBCD to write the Xp directions into the BCD with all 3 OSes showing up in the manager and it is nice to not have to boot off the USB drive even if I have to still toggle AHCI/IDE.
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Coming back years later here I was able to install the AHCI drivers on my netbook and the registry updates to get them to work. Scroll down to where I posted Efraim's reg file.

However, now I am having a similar problem with my Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit laptop. This time I am not trying to install XP as a dual boot. Somehow microsoft corrupted the partitions with their updates that were snuck onto my computer when I left automatic update on and the firewall off. Not being patient enough to let them finish installing when I shut down my computer I did a force shut down thinking it wouldn't cause any problems. Anyway I attempted to do a reformat but the recovery system could not install into the main large boot partition. I had forgotten to uninstall the wubi installation of Ubuntu and wonder if that has anything to do with it? It appears it tried to install files to the 100mb. Using a boot linux Disk Utility shows that the Recovery partition is "clean" while the 100mb primary partition and the 640gb main partition are "not clean" and all the files are still there. Running the SMART disk Self Check extended scan showed the drive to be healthy so it isn't a hardware problem. I recall in the past I was able to manipulate the partitions and change them to "active" etc. but I was working from within Windows XP. I unable to boot at this time so do not know how to do it. Does anyone have any idea what happened and how to fix it? Thanks
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