Where should EasyBCD put XP boot files?


Active Member
I wanted to be able to boot if my first hard drive got clobbered, so I put boot files on the active partition of my second drive.

Stupid Win7 setup had mistakenly put the Win7 boot files there already. (That is the subject of another thread. :smile:) All I needed to do is add the stuff to boot my various XP installations.

I ran EasyBCD and selected the BCD on the second drive. I clicked the buttons to create an XP entry. I could have stopped there, but EasyBCD desperately wanted to create a boot.ini etc., so I let it do that. It saved the boot.ini, ntldr, and ntdetecd.com on the active partition of my first drive, by overwriting the existing files. That did no harm because the files EasyBCD created were good, and I had them backed up anyway.

When editing an alternate BCD, maybe EasyBCD should ask where the XP boot files should be stored, or if not stored with the BCD, ask if the existing files should be overwritten.
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Heya - DB from scratch

Just to let you know there is a slight glitch with the automatic with

When all is perfect; all is not: you need to make sure the drive letters are perfected first before attempting EasyBCD.

My experience with Windows XP and Windows 7 (probably Vista too):
1a. Forget using the same drive when dual booting - I just don't like the idea: period.
1b. Plug XP drive in all by itself and do fresh install plus drivers
2. Unplug XP drive
3. Plug Win 7 drive in all by itself and do fresh install plus drivers
4. MAKE sure you change the drive letters of your drives at this point
My Example (I have 2 partitions each): C/D = Win 7, E/F = Win XP, G = RAID 1, H=DVD, I=BLU-RAY - so force the drive letters to be where they need to go (I needed to since my RAID was not in place yet.)
4. Plug XP drive in
5. Ensure Win 7 drive is the first in line in your BIOS
6. Boot into Win 7 and you'll see your XP drive's letters (they were in E/F, but Win 7 changed my ideal DVD letters, so I changed them back at this point...reboot.)
7. Fire up EasyBCD and follow the automatic instructions, BUT {here is the glitch in automatic} make sure you first change the drive letter when you are about to Add Entry in the Add/Remove Entries section to the drive letter of where XP is at on the Win 7 system (E in my case) THEN put the Type in and Add Entry / Save -- otherwise it defaults to C and will not work.
8. NOW have fun :tongueout:
the reason EasyBCD does not ask, is because that's where MS design insists that the files go.
Disk Management flag "system" means "this is where all the bootfiles go for any version of Windows controlled by a MS boot manager".
When the boot manager runs, thats where it looks.

Robo, there is no "glitch" in EasyBCD.
That option is "greyed" for the reason outlined above. It's to stop users from pointing to the wrong place because they don't understand the MS boot process. The BCD does not point to XP. It points to the XP boot files, (which do the pointing) and MS design says they must be in "system". You have managed to cobble a hybrid boot which will be jumping about finding things in different locations, but there's no guarantee that it will continue to work after future system updates.
Please don't profer it as advice.

What you say is true, but my question then would be "Which partition is the system partition?".

If the BIOS boots from drive 0, then of course the "system" partition will be on drive 0, but if I tell the BIOS to boot from drive 1, or from a flash drive, or from a floppy, then things are different.

If I have the boot files only on drive 0, then if drive 0 gets sick, or the boot files on drive 0 get clobbered, I'm up the creek. By copying the boot files to other bootable devices, I can still run. If only the boot files on drive 0 are clobbered, I can run any OS installed on either drive. If drive 0 gets sick, I can still run the operating systems I have installed on drive 1.
After saying all that, I realize now that I didn't have to do any editing on drive 1. I could have simply copied all the boot files from drive 0 to drive 1. The BCD works the same when booting from either drive. The boot.ini needs to be edited though. rdisk(0) and rdisk(1) must be swapped.
Here are Disk Management screen shots when booted from drive 0 and drive 1.


  • boor_from_drive_0.png
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  • boot_from_drive_1.png
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Yes, in your case you have 2 "system" partitions (i.e. active partitions that contains the boot files), one for each HDD, so when you boot from the XP disk, the "system" flag will show up on the XP disk's active partition, and when you boot from the other disk, the "system" flag will be on the active partition on that HDD.
I too have a hybrid boot, using Grub (in the form of HnS heavily customized) as the boot manager, with independent Windows systems, each including its own boot files. I chain to the integral boot manager as I select each Windows, so each one becomes "system" and "boot" as it starts (but not "active").
Each system though thinks of itself as a single-boot. None of the integral Windows boot files knows of the other systems' existence.
The point being that I'm not using MS boot design (or manager) to multi-boot, but if I were, it would have to conform to the MS design philosophy. (a single "system" partition for all the OSs)
EasyBCD is a tool for manipulating the BCD, so if you're using it (and hence bootmgr) to effect a multi-boot, then MS rules apply. (I don't use Easy to multiboot, just to do cosmetic work on the two independent BCDs which sit on my OSs, each blissfully unaware of the other)
If you switch boot drives in the BIOS, of course things are different, but then that's not really multi-booting in the sense that we're discussing. Within any Windows multi-boot controlled from a single bootmanager, there's only one "system" partition.
Well, it's not very important, but I guess we see things differently.

EasyBCD allows the user to edit a BCD that is not on the "system" partition. When editing such a BCD and EasyBCD generates XP boot files, the user might assume it will store those files on the same parition. If it stores those files on a different partition and overwrites existing files, it might be a good idea to warn the user.
EasyBCD enables the user to seek out the BCD at the request of users (like me), for whom the BCD isn't on the "active" partition. (There aren't many of us). XP auto-configure needs to be on the "system" partition, so if that moves about, I guess you need to be booted into the OS you wish to dual-boot with XP when you use it.
I don't think that CG could locate a putative second "system" partition linked to un unbooted configuration. I would guess the user would have to specify where that's going to be (and know it himself) and that sort of clashes with the evolved philosophy of EasyBCD (greying out options which users have historically consistently got wrong due to their lack of understanding of the MS boot process)
That part of EasyBCD's design came about after literally thousands of posts and replies on the subject, which was incedibly time consuming (and boring) and spawned the "sticky FAQ" thread in an attempt to stem the tide (with limited success - the frequent replacement post now being "Easy won't let me change the drive")
There is a "wishes" forum where you can post suggested design changes or improvemements, but I wouldn't think that returning to a design where the user enters the locations is likely, bearing in mind that for every user like you who might know what he wants and needs, there are another 99 who don't have a clue how the whole business holds together. Possibly an "expert" tab with a "use at your own risk - you might break your system ! " warning.
Use the forum to outline your suggestion(s) to CG.