Vista boots seeminly without any information


I have a running system that works fine, but with a slight bug I'd like to fix. i suspect my problem is slightly technical, so I am not sure if someone will be able to help, but i'll give it a try.

I installed a triple boot ubuntu/XP/Vista (partitions in that order) system on a single hard disk, using the instructions on (

Roughly speaking, the instructions say to do the following
a) install ubuntu, copy MBR/Grub information onto a small file
b) install xp. use the previously created MBR/grub file to create a second choice for boot
c) install vista. vista will overwrite the MBR, and steal the info from XP => triple boot system (from a single boot screen, the vista boot loader screen).

where things get a little messy is when i updated ubuntu to a newer version. It seems ubuntu wrote a new MBR (or at least that's the way i understand it).
So now, Ubuntu is the boot loader. Luckily, GRUB saw the vista partition and added it as a choice. If I choose vista, I go into my previous vista boot loader screen (same choices).
So, it works fine, i just don't like the fact that I have to go through two boot screens (ubuntu, then vista) to go to vista.

Here's what I am worried about: I have no idea where vista gets its boot information from. XP still has its normal boot info (that I can edit from the control panel, for instance). Somehow it seems Vista still takes (at every boot) information from the XP boot.bak file, because if I remove the ubuntu choice from the XP file (not a big deal since grub loads first), it is removed from the vista boot choice. If i put it back in XP, it comes back in the vista boot screen. Second, it just seems that all boot info for vista is actually "gone" (or at least, i can't find it). EasyBCD compains there are no valid entries, VistabootPRO just crashes, and BCDedit won't load either. So I don't even know how vista even is able to boot. I wanted to use EasyBCD to fix these problems, but since I don't know how vista is actually booting now, I am afraid I am going to mess up the system too much.

My idea is to retake the MBR from ubuntu using EasyBCD. But then, what will vista do?
(I actually already tried the "restore MBR" from EasyBCD. didn't do anything)

Any help/input welcome!



Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Hi Theo,

EasyBCD can fix this, here's what you have to do:
Go to the "Diagnostics" screen and select "reset BCD data" and let it do the rest.
Thanks for your answer!

out of curiosity, where does vista get his boot information?
how come vista is able to create a nice boot menu when all boot information is (it seems) gone?




Mostly Harmless
Staff member
It's not gone - it's in the bootloader's registry - BUT - Vista doesn't seem to know it exists. EasyBCD cannot access the bootloader registry directly, it has to go through Vista, so it doesn't see it either.