Windows 7/ Win XP Dual Boot


Hi all.

From my posts' title, I'm trying to use EasyBCD to do a dual boot with the beta version of Win 7 and Win XP Pro, SP3. And, I'm having no luck.

I've been posting at another"tech" message board on the 'Net and getting some good info and suggestions, and then I realized that there was a message board here at, so, I thought I'd go to the source. :grinning:

So here's the lowdown:

This dual boot I'm attempting is not on one hard drive. I have two hard drives hooked into my motherboard, and, they both happen to be of the same make/ model/ and type: Western Digital 320GB SATA HDD.

I have the beta version of Win 7 on one of these SATA drives, and on the other, I have Win XP Pro, SP3 (and on the drive that has XP Pro, I have that drive partitioned and formatted into a "C" and "D" drive).

I did all the prep work before launching EasyBCD; I copied the boot.ini, NTDETECT, and the NTLDR files to the root (C) drive of my Win 7 installation.

When I first attempted to dual boot using the EasyBCD software, I would get to the booting process after my BIOS flash screen to the "choose OS" screen. I'd choose Windows XP, but then I'd get an error message saying the "NTLDR" file was not found (or corrupt). From some searching, I found out that that error message was quite common, and I found out that in the EasyBCD program that I had it "pointing" in the wrong spot. I changed that and things got a little better......but not totally!!! :??

Now when I got to the "choose OS" screen and I'd select Win XP, I didn't get the NTLDR file not found error.......but............what would happen is that after I selected Win XP and I thought that it was about to boot into it.......instead my system would just cycle back around, back to my BIOS flash screen, and then there's the "choose OS" screen again.....and so now I'm in Win 7, and that's where I'm typing this from.

From some info I got on another "tech" support forum, someone there suggested that I may not have proper "rights", like an "Administrator" type of thing, so that may be why this is not working. The thing is, on my Win XP and Win 7 installations, I AM the sole user and Administrator; there are no other user accounts and I have full Administrator capabilities. Still, this person at the tech support forum I was at showed me some "hidden" things which can show that you may not have full "rights".

Anyway.............does this possibly have something to do with editing the "boot.ini" file? Right now I have my two hard drives connected to my motherboard so that the Win 7 drive is the drive that the system boots to (and, that's where the EasyBCD program is installed to).

Let me show you a screen shot of my system drives:

The "C" drive is where Win 7 is installed. Do you see where it says "C [E:]"? That's the drive where Win XP is (and the "D [F:]" is the other partition I mentioned that I split the Win XP installation into).

Do I perhaps have the EasyBCD program pointing in the wrong direction? In the EasyBCD program, for Entries 1 & 2, I have both pointing at "Drive: C". Entry #1 is Win 7, and Entry #2 is Win XP.

Right now since I can't get this dual boot thing to work, I have the side of my computer case disconnected so I have easy access to it. If I want to get back to using something on my Win XP installation, I have to shut down my system, unplug, and then switch the SATA cables, and then power back on, etc. This can get tedious. I'd rather close everything back up.....if i could only get this dual boot program to work :tongueout:

I've given a lot of detail does anybody have any suggestions of what I should try next.......point me in the right direction?

Thanks for any info.
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Hi Pez...welcome to NST.
Get EasyBCD 2.0 Beta, delete the existing XP entry you have in the Add/Remove Entries section, and add a new entry to boot XP, making sure to select the ".../NT/XP" option in the Type menu of the Windows tab, and to hit Yes when you get to the prompt asking you if you want EasyBCD to automatically configure boot.ini for you.
Now reboot, and test. If its working, fine, but if its not, it means you failed to copy over "ntdetect" and "ntldr" into the root of the partition that is "system" as shown from Disk Management. Since you're using Win 7, that will most likely be a 200 MB partition that the setup automatically creates at installation of Win 7, but not necessarily. Check Disk Management to see which partition is "system", and whichever partition that is, copy over the aforementioned boot files into the root of that partition. And then it should work perfectly fine. :wink: FYI, you may have to assign the 200 MB partition a drive letter, before you will be able to copy the files over...

Cheers, and let us know if you have any more problems.

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Hi Coolname007; thanks for the quick reply!!

I downloaded EasyBCD 2.0 like you said, removed the previous version, and installed 2.0.

Then I checked Disk Management, and you were correct: Win 7 created a 200MB partition automatically and it did not have a drive letter, it was "blank". So, I assigned it a letter; I chose "B".

But the thing is, when I went to look for this "B" that I created............I can't find it. I can "see" it now in Disk Management; its Status is listed as "Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition) / Capacity: 200MB".

But in Win 7, if I click on Start / Computer.........."B" is not there, just my drives of "C", "C[E:], & "D[F:]. Where's the "B" I created? Do I have to reboot for this to take effect? Because you also stated that I need to copy the NTDETECT, NTLDR, and boot.ini files in "B", correct? How can I do this if I can't "find" the "B" I created?

Just want to make sure here so I don't screw something up :S

Please let me know about this system partition of "B". It sounds like from what you've told me so far that I'm getting close.....very close to getting this dual boot thing to work!!!

Yes, you will need to reboot before the partition becomes visible in "Computer", with the "B" drive letter. :smile: And then once you're able to access it, you simply copy over the XP boot files into the root of that partition, follow the other steps I mentioned, and it should work perfectly fine. :wink:

W7 creates that boot partition if you allow it to do its own thing into an empty space. If you'd pre-formatted the partition for W7 and just pointed the install setup program at it, all of the W7 boot would have installed into C: along with the rest of the system.
You failed to do the vital first task when debugging a broken dual-boot, mentioned in step 3 of the sticky. Find out where "system" is.
Coolname007 & Terry60:

Thanks for all your info!!! :grinning:

I got it up & working. I got the computer to "see" the "B" drive I created, and then I let the 2.0 version of EasyBCD write to that boot.ini file. It's lookin' good :smile:

And Terry60.......I didn't know about Win 7 doing its "own thing" with that empty space. There've been times in the past where I have pre-formatted drives, but this time, I let Win 7 do its thing.

But.........dual boot's working now!! Now I can re-attach the side to my computer case and not have to constantly switch SATA cable connectors. :??

Thanks again, all.
I'm told it's to allow W7 Ultimate to use bit-locker encryption on the C: disk without making the boot inaccessible. Not a feature I intend to make use of, so I'm happy to have it include its BCD etc in with the rest.
Glad everything's OK now. Happy dual booting.
Don't want to spoil your day, but have a read of this (for Vista read W7 in your case)