Unable to install XP following install of W7

#1
I have three disks in total - 2 x HDD and 1 x SSD.

Following advice kindly received
Two copies of W7 32 - problems - The NeoSmart Forums
I successfully installed two copies of W7 32 bit, one to the SSD and the second to one of the HDD's.
They worked OK and EasyBCD gave me the choice of booting from either.

I decided to install a copy of XPPro to the remaining HDD.
I created partitions on the third HDD and formatted to NTFS, using W7 of course.
I did a full format to the first partition.
In EasyBCD I deleted the entry for the second W7 leaving only the one entry for the SSD.

I disconnected both drives with W7 on, leaving only the partitioned and fromatted third - 'blank' HDD - to install XPPro to the first partition.
The installation failed with a standard message referring to possible disk configuration problems etc.

Using Acronis Disk Director I re-formatted the first partition, as Primary, to NTFS and again the installation failed.
I deleted all partitions and it still failed.

I re-connected the SSD and decided to delete the 'entry' for W7 on the SSD.
The prompt suggested if I proceeded I would not be able to boot the PC so I left the entry in place.

I'm not sure if this is really EasyBCD related or more basic considerations relating to installing XPPro.
I've installed it OK in the past but in a more standard scenario ie only one OS.

I'm running out of ideas - any advice appreciated.

Edits:
Is it literally the case that removing the only entry in EasyBCD means the PC will not boot at all.
Presumably uninstalling EasyBCD will return everything to a 'conventional' state and booting from an Active partition will proceed as normal.

I've just successfully installed to a Virtual Machine so the CD appears to be OK.
The CD is slipstreamed with SP2.

Apart from the GPU there are no cards installed.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
The BCD is the WIndows Boot Configuration Data repository.
EasyBCD is just an app that helps you create and manipulate entries in a Microsoft Data Base.
If you remove the entries from it (with EasyBCD or by any other means), there is no way for the system to boot.
If you delete the entries from it and uninstall the best tool available for updating it you are doubly stuffed.
 
#3
Thanks Terry - I think.
If I understand you correctly once you've installed EasyBCD you're stuck with it ?.
I must have missed that when researching EasyBCD
I'm sure I saw reference to un-installing it somewhere on the Forum.
Not a lot of point in doing so if you can't boot into an operating system thereafter and have to re-install an OS.

In the meantime the main issue is that I can't install XP.
Is there any advice you can offer as to why I can't install XP with only one HDD present.
Is there anything EasyBCD could have done which could cause this ?.
It installs to a Virtual Machine OK but that's a bit limiting.

I could try removing the HDD and attempt to install XP using a PC which has XP on it now.
Is that any more likely to succeed with only the 'new' HDD present and then swap it back to the new PC ?.
Thinking about it that won't help too much because all the components are different so presumably it won't be happy unless I could attempt some sort of 'repair'.
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
You CAN uninstall EasyBCD, but you should NOT remove all the entries as part of EasyBCD's uninstallation if you wish to no longer use it, as than your system well become unbootable. Its just a configuration app, not the actual application/bootloader that handles booting your computer.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#5
I think you'd better read the first link in the sticky about how booting works.
As I thought I'd made clear (unsuccessfully obviously) EasyBCD is just an app. It is not the bootloader.
Whether you have it installed on your system or not is completely irrelevant to the booting and running of the system. The Microsoft boot manager boots your system(s) using a BCD as its data repository which tells it the type and location of each system, and which boot loader to use.
EasyBCD is a tool which enables you to add, alter or delete entries in that data base. It doesn't take any further part in the actual booting of the system. If you use it to delete all the entries which Windows needs to locate the systems it's trying to boot, the boot cannot succeed.
It's like using Regclean to delete the contents of your registry and expecting the OS to continue working. The presence of Regclean (or not) is irrelevant to the running of the system. It's what you do with it that counts

Nothing you did to W7's BCD with EasyBCD (or anything else) affects your ability to install XP.
Check whether your BIOS HDD configuration is giving you problems
http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=444831
 
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#6
I thought it must be possible to un-install - Thanks for the info.
I've started checking out the links in your sig.
Unfortunately the more I read I begin to suffer from overload.

Installing Windows XP after Windows 7 or Windows Vista
Some interesting references:

If you're installing Windows XP to a separate physical drive, do not disconnect the Windows Vista or Windows 7 drive, nor change the drive boot order in the BIOS. This will not help and will make it terribly difficult to get your dual-boot working again!.................If you're installing Windows XP to a SATA drive, make sure you hit F6 to load the SATA drives
My CD is streamlined with SP2 and installed OK to an earlier PC with SATA HDD's so I assume that shouldn't be a problem.
If my problem is not the SATA drivers I'm not certain leaving the other HDD's in situ will necessarily help but I could try it.

Let Windows XP setup finish. It will reboot several times - do not interrupt it
With EasyBCD already installed and one of the W7 installations set as the default how can I stop it booting into W7 each time.
Is it desirable in my situation to un-install EasyBCD and re-install after, hopefully, I get XP up and running.

Then I really get a bit lost:

Windows XP Drive Option
As of EasyBCD 1.7+, you won't be able to select the drive that your Windows XP entry points to. This is because EasyBCD will automatically search for NTLDR, the Windows XP bootloader, and pick the right drive for you. For more information, read the main Windows XP page.
Does this mean I can't select to boot from XP using EasyBCD, in which case can I do so by selecting it from the Boot option in BIOS.
Presumably I will still be able to use EasyBCD to boot from either of the W7 installations.

Apologies for all the queries.

Edit: I missed your reply before posting the above Tony - thank you.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#7
If you're having problems with the XP install booting back into W7, it's because you haven't got your BIOS boot sequence correct.
Put CD/DVD before HDD otherwise setup cannot continue with the install from the CD.

That advice NOT to disconnect other HDDs dates from a time when manually configuring the XP boot was fraught with difficulties, so letting MS do it for you was preferable. Easy 2's auto-configuration features make that advice redundant, and In my opinion you should always disconnect other systems if you can, especially when W7 is in the mix because it's so unpredictable about where it (almost randomly) decides to place its boot files.
 
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Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#8
The thing to check is this. In your BIOS see how the SATA Drives are being recognized. While you may have successfully installed it to other systems using SATA Drives, they could have been in IDE Mode, which XP can recognize. But XP wont recognize SATA Drives in ACHI Mode. For that you will have to go to the manufacturer's website and get those specific drivers and use the F6 to install 3rd party driver option to install those drivers during install.
 
#9
Many thanks to you guys for all the help, patience and tolerance.
My only excuse is rapidly advancing old age.

I repeatedly tried using F6 and a USB FDD, which surprisingly worked OK during installation, but wasn't able to install XP.
Eventually I just specified the one file for ICH10R - ACHI SATA - to a slipstream CD along with SP3 and it worked.


I had deleted the first partition earlier, leaving the following partitions in place to try and easily limit/determine the size of the XP OS partition.
Unfortunately XP has allocated the Drive Letter 'I' for the OS, first partition, followed by 'C' etc.
It's not critical and I suspect I may be stuck with this.

Is there a safe and easy way to get the XP OS partition to come up as 'C' when booting XP.
Everything comes up in correctly in sequence when booting from W7 which is more critical for me.

Now that I know it works, I could tinker from within W7 and possibly re-install XP thereafter.
Could I delete all partitions on ths drive and then restrict the size of the new install leaving the remaining unallocated space for further partitions.

I haven't persevered with EasyBCD with this OS yet since I'm hoping to sort out the Drive Letter issue first.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
If you install XP from another Windows system, or even if it can see another Windows, it will install as something other than C. (another reason why imo you should disconnect everything else during the install). Whatever it sees itself as, is set in stone unless you can find an app to alter successfully every one of the thousands of registry entries referencing the nonC address.
There's no problem with running XP as notC (mine is D) as long as the XP install cannot see another Windows which it calls C. (If there is a C:\program Files\common files then several 3rd party apps (Adobe are particular culprits) will get the install scrambled between 2 different OSs with unpredictable (but undesirable) results.
Fortunately, because of the necessity to prevent XP seeing Vista or W7, you will presumably be running the linked hack which will make C invisible to XP anyway.
 
#11
I wasn't aware of the issue with Restore but to be honest I've never used it and relied on creating back-ups with Acronis.
I was tempted to do so with W7 because it could be useful and more certain to retain alignment on the SSD so I'll have a few more reads of the item you linked to.
If Restore Points had started disappearing that would certainly have confused me.
The more you dabble the more complexities seem to arise.

When I installed XP I only had the one HDD present but it was partitioned which I assume allowed XP to do it's own thing.
Strangely, to me, it created several empty folders/files on another partition.

I decided to play safe and using the XP CD I deleted all the partitions and created a new one for the OS and obviously avoided the Drive Letter issue.
I'll only be using it for apps that aren't happy in W7 and/or are too 'big' for VMWare so hopefully I can avoid too many issues if any.

So far all is well so I'll read up again on setting up EasyBCD if possible to include XP.

I now have three drives each with an OS on the first partition - 2 x W7 32 and 1 x XPPro.
If I may ask, and I have tried to research this, if I restore a backup to any one of the three OS partitions, how is EasyBCD affected.

I asume EasyBCD writes the same info to the bootloader on each drive and presumably restoring a back-up will overwrite the bootloader for that drive.
Presumably this will normally not be a problem provided the drive still has the OS present which it expects.
I assume there would only be a potential problem if there was no OS present.

Or have I totoally misunderstood how this works.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
EasyBCD just configures the BCD. It takes no active part in the boot. Restoring an old image to a partition would only have an effect on the multi-boot, if that partition is "system" (where the BCD is) and the BCD has been updated by you since you took the backup. In that case, you'd have to re-do whatever it was you did before the restore undid it.
Have a read of the first link in the sticky thread if you want to know how a multi-boot functions.
 
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#13
Thank you again.

From within XP I installed Net 2 Framework SP1 and then installed EasyBCD.
On running EasyBCD I got an error message

The boot cobfiguration data store could not be opened.
The system cannot find the file specified.
I booted from W7, and for better or worse, in EasyBCD on the Bootloader Setup page selected 'install the Windows Vista/7 bootloader to the MBR' and then 'write MBR' having selected the XP partition.
I then added an entry for XP leaving the 'automatic' box checked.
I can boot into the two W7 installations but on selecting the XP there is a very quick message which I can't read followed by a black screen.

On checking:

This means that NTLDR was found, but NTDETECT.COM wasn't. Grab it here.
On checking the XP installation has both NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM present.
Any adice welcomed.

If it helps:

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 {3db4588c-d71b-11df-a86c-aa0278571708}
resumeobject {3db45886-d71b-11df-a86c-aa0278571708}
displayorder {3db4588c-d71b-11df-a86c-aa0278571708}
{3db4588d-d71b-11df-a86c-aa0278571708}
{3db4588e-d71b-11df-a86c-aa0278571708}
toolsdisplayorder {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout 2
displaybootmenu Yes

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {3db4588c-d71b-11df-a86c-aa0278571708}
device partition=C:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description W7 32 SSD
locale en-US
osdevice partition=C:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {cfed66b6-f32d-11df-9689-806e6f6e6963}

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {3db4588d-d71b-11df-a86c-aa0278571708}
device partition=F:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description W7 32 HDD
locale en-US
osdevice partition=F:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {89105eab-f3df-11df-b205-806e6f6e6963}

Real-mode Boot Sector
---------------------
identifier {3db4588e-d71b-11df-a86c-aa0278571708}
device partition=C:
path \NST\ntldr
description XPPro HDD
Edit: Per Disk Management
Disk 0 - SSD - with C as first partition - W7
Disk 1 - HDD - with F as first partition - W7
Disk 2 - HDD - with L as first partition - XP

I seem to have two boot.ini files on my system ie:

HDD - Drive Letter F: W7 32 HDD

; This boot.ini was automatically generated by NeoSmart Technologies' BootGrabber.exe
; Use EasyBCD from Download EasyBCD 2.0.2 - NeoSmart Technologies to manage your bootloader

[boot loader]
timeout=15
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP on L:\" /fastdetect
HDD - Drive Letter L: XPpro

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#14
You didn't need to try and run EasyBCD from XP. Best just to stay in your default OS and add dual boot entries from there.
EasyBCD looks for the BCD on the active partition. Since you did boot XP and thats not where the BCD is, you just needed to point it to your default W7. You didn't need to reboot into W7
Once you'd booted back to W7 you didn't need to install the Vista/7 bootloader. That's what you're already using. (that's for use if you've overwritten the Vista/7 boot by installing XP onto the same HDD, and regressed the boot.). And what do you mean "having selected the XP partition" ? The MBR isn't part of any partition. You don't select where to put it.
I hope you didn't use the other option on that page "create bootable external media" which is for setting up bootable flashdrives etc. not for use on any internal system device.
If you did use that, and clicked the "install BCD" button, that might be responsible for your inability to subsequently boot XP.
All you needed to do with EasyBCD for a simple windows dual boot was use the "add new entry" page and steer well clear of "advanced" "repair" or "bootloader" options which are there for experienced users with a good knowledge of exactly what they need to do.
Can you still boot XP via the BIOS, or is it damaged now ?
If it won't boot directly by selection from the BIOS, you'll need to do a "repair install" of XP to fix its boot again (with W7s safely out of harm's way so that they don't need subsequent repair too)
 
#15
You didn't need to try and run EasyBCD from XP. Best just to stay in your default OS and add dual boot entries from there.
EasyBCD looks for the BCD on the active partition. Since you did boot XP and thats not where the BCD is, you just needed to point it to your default W7. You didn't need to reboot into W7
Once you'd booted back to W7 you didn't need to install the Vista/7 bootloader. That's what you're already using. (that's for use if you've overwritten the Vista/7 boot by installing XP onto the same HDD, and regressed the boot.).
I obviously misunderstood some guidance notes which refer to 'Installing Windows XP after Windows 7 or Windows Vista' and then create a dual boot set-up:
...go to the "Bootloader Setup" page, and select "Install the Windows Vista/7 bootloader to the MBR" then "Write MBR"....
Since I already had a dual boot system set up and I was trying to add a further OS I obviously followed them too literally.


And what do you mean "having selected the XP partition" ? The MBR isn't part of any partition. You don't select where to put it.
I hope you didn't use the other option on that page "create bootable external media" which is for setting up bootable flashdrives etc. not for use on any internal system device.
If you did use that, and clicked the "install BCD" button, that might be responsible for your inability to subsequently boot XP.
All you needed to do with EasyBCD for a simple windows dual boot was use the "add new entry" page and steer well clear of "advanced" "repair" or "bootloader" options which are there for experienced users with a good knowledge of exactly what they need to do.
I selected the XP partition, unnecessarily since it refers to bootable media and not the operation I undertook, which was per the above guidance.
I asume it therefore had no influence on the operation since it doesn't apply to it.


Can you still boot XP via the BIOS, or is it damaged now ?
If it won't boot directly by selection from the BIOS, you'll need to do a "repair install" of XP to fix its boot again (with W7s safely out of harm's way so that they don't need subsequent repair too)
I have three entries in the Multi boot menu.
I can boot into either W7 OS.
The third entry - XP fails.
I can boot into XP using F8 and selecting the drive in the BIOS.

I believe you should only have one boot.ini on the system and I have two.
Niether of them look very much like the following which looks quite logical, even to me.

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003" /fastdetect
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#16
You have 2 boot.inis because XP has one (naturally) created in its own partition during install.
That one cannot be used to boot XP in a dual boot, unles the XP partition is also the "system" partition containing the boot files for all the Windows OSs.
If you're dual booting from another partition, a duplicate of all the XP boot files have to be made in the "system" partition and the copy of boot.ini modified to point to the location of the XP partition.
That used to be a manual task with EasyBCD 1, but the auto-configure does it for you in Easy2.
There should be copies of NTLDR, ntdetect.com and boot.ini in your C drive in the NST folder, according to your earlier post.
Did you by any chance, add an XP entry while you were booted from the HDD W7 ?
Delete the XP entry (edit boot menu), and add it again (add new entry) whilst booted into your SSD OS.
http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Windows+XP
explains how EasyBCD XP dual boot works.
 
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#17
Drive C - SSD W7 - NST folder the only file present is ntldr. The file ntdetet.com is present in the root.
Drive F - HDD W7 - boot.ini in the root.
Drive L - XPPro - ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini are present in the root - as confirmed previously.

I'm as certain as I can be that I added an entry for XP whilst in C SSD W7.
Prior to installing XP, I used C SSD W7 most of the time and the desktop is intentionally different from HDD W7.
I've just checked and I didn't install EasyBCD to HDD W7.

I'll repeat the exercise as you recommend and hope for the best.
Either way I'm conscious of taking up a lot of your time and effort.
I promise I have read the page to which you refer, and a good many others, and obviously still haven't absorbed fully what it's all about.
Certain aspects seem clear but others less so.
By way of an excuse relating to my confusion over two boot.ini files I was recalling this:

Troubleshooting Windows XP - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

Troubleshooting Various Windows XP Dual-Boot Problems
General Troubleshooting Guidelines

1. Make sure EasyBCD's Windows XP entry points to the "system" drive and that it has NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM, BOOT.INI in the root directory. You can grab those files here.
2. Quadruple-check your BOOT.INI [operating systems] list. Make sure the default entry matches one of the entries in the [operating systems] list. Make sure rdisk(x)partition(y) points to the right partition that Windows XP is installed to.
3. Make sure you only have one copy of NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM, and BOOT.INI on your system. Having multiple copies leads to lots of confusion as to which files you should edit and check.
4. Make sure you selected "Windows XP" from the drop-down menu in EasyBCD's Add/Remove Entries section when you added XP to the Vista bootloader. If you kept it at the default option ("Windows Vista/Longhorn Server"), Windows XP will never boot.
I read system as in PC and only one copy as literally only one file of a given name present.
It can be very difficult to word something which is totally unambiguous, at least to everybody.
I'm easily confused at times, but not for lack of effort, so no offence intended to the author.

I will persevere to a limited extent but since I can boot into all three OS's I will if necessary settle for what I have and stop taking up your time.
Many thanks for your effort and patience, it is much appreciated.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#18
That advice about multiple copies is another hang-over from the days when it all had to be done manually, and doesn't apply with EasyBCD 2. The "confusion" was always in the mind of the user. The OS couldn't care less how many redundant copies exist.
There shouldn't be XP boot files in your HDD W7, if you never tried adding an entry from there.
To be honest, I'm not sure exactly what gets put in the root, and what in the NST folder, since CG only invented the NST custom NTLDR business in very recent builds, and the last time I added an XP entry pre-dates that by years. From what you say, it would seem that only NTLDR is in there and the others stay in the root, but that still leaves the problem of why your boot.ini is on the wrong W7.
You could just copy it across to the SSD root which should fix the problem, but it would be helpful if you could delete it and delete/add the BCD entry again from the SSD just to verify that it gets written to the wrong W7 consistently.
In that case copy boot.ini across and report it as a bug. CG does extensive testing of new builds obviously, but he can't replicate every conceivable hardware/OS configuration, and maybe bootgrabber (the auto-config module which locates XP in your PC) has a problem with a SSD/HDD mix.
 
#19
Prior to your last post, from within C W7 SSD, I deleted the XP entry and then added it again.
The files in question in C W7 SSD and F W7 HDD were all overwritten at that time.
The files in L XPPro were unchanged.

I have now copied the boot.ini file from F W7 HDD to C W7 SSD and all three options in the boot menu function as intended.

Thank you.