Vista SP2 problem - followed by EasyBCD failure

Hi folks

I discovered the hard way that Vista SP2 won't complete installing because I use Grub as my boot loader and it's installed in the MBR.

I can happily boot Fedora or Vista, but three times now I have been unable to install the SP and it reverts.

Simple you think, let's re-install the Vista boot loader and then install SP2.

Sadly, the Vista repair process failed because despite the correct AHCI drivers for the ICH7M 82801GBM being on the disk, and supplying them manually in versions 6, 7, 8 and 9 on different occasions (I even checked the PCI vendor and device IDs to be sure) Vista is telling me it can't see any Vista installations at all, but Grub can still boot either the main Vista installation or the recovery partition. Oh and from the command prompt I can look at all of the NTFS partitions on the disk without problems.

I tried to use EasyBCD to restore the Vista boot loader, but it fails telling me that the store import failed because the volume does not contain a recognised file system and to ensure that all drivers are loaded. If the drivers weren't loaded, it couldn't be talking to the disk could it? iaStor.sys is version and is the one that came with the computer when purchased.

I have run chkdsk /f on the Vista installations from the repair DVD command prompt, it tells me there are no filesystem errors.

So, please can someone here help me to get the Vista boot loader re-installed?

There is clearly nothing wrong with the system volume in that I am running Vista right now and it works just fine, but for some reason bcdedit thinks that there is a problem.

Once I've got SP2 installed I'll go back to using Grub and leave this over-complicated Vista boot loader configuration alone (I don't think there is going to be another Vista SP).
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Hi Brian, welcome to NST.
Vista startup repair sometimes has a problem locating the installation to repair when there are multiple HDDs connected (especially if they're a SATA/IDE mix).
If that's your situation, try disconnecting the non-Vista Hdd(s) temporarily while you do the repair, and check that the Vista partition is marked "active" if that's where the boot files are.
Hi Terry

Thanks for the response, it wasn't the problem but it's useful information in any case.

What it turned out to be is that somehow (and I didn't consciously do this) the main Vista partition was not marked active. Grub could boot it, but in that condition it was not possible to get the Vista boot loader configured to do so.

I have spent almost an entire day working on this, Googling for information and having to weed out the chaff and read between the lines. Now that SP2 is finally installed, I'll be putting Grub back in the MBR and upgrading to Fedora 11 as well.

I wish that Microsoft would make things more explanatory as the error messages were extremely non-descriptive of the real problem.

The good news is that I now have EasyBCD installed on my laptop (and will be adding it to my wife's machine) and it appears to make an awkward job much easier.

Still can't see why an SP needs to care about boot managers.....


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Unfortunately both SP1 and SP2 replaced bootmgr (in stage 3 of 3 after the reboot) with an updated module which led to problems for anyone (like me) with a modified boot process. Using grub, as you were, your grub partition would have been active, which would confuse the update into trying to put the new bootmgr in the wrong place. (MS is very egocentric, and assumes that its boot manager is in charge and therefore must be in the "active" partition)
In my case the active partition was not Vista but it was NTFS, so the SP2 completed successfully but broke my boot (which was simple enough to fix).
In your case, if the active partition was an alien format, the SP2 attempt to put the bootmgr there would be doomed to failure.