Windows 8 and EasyBCD

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Mostly Harmless
Staff member
I have just finished posting a rather lengthy write-up on our findings regarding the new Windows 8 bootloader, what's new, how it works, and on EasyBCD's support for Windows 8.

The New Windows 8 Bootmenu/Bootloader The NeoSmart Files

If you have anything to contribute to this topic, or have discovered something in conflict with what we've written, please post a comment on the article (or a reply here) to bring it to our attention!

Nice writeup!

As far as Windows 8, I didn't get to see the new boot manager because I reverted back to a GRUB2 MBR, so now I am curious to see it live.

Anyway, I did break the booting of my Windows 7 and 8 during my process, so I burned the W8CP to a DVD and used it to repair the booting of Windows 7, which is the active and system partition for my various Windows.

Then I used EasyBCD in Windows 7 to add entries for Windows 8 and XP.

However, Windows 8 wouldn't boot winload.exe until I copied the new bootmgr to the root of my system partition (W7).

What happened next? Well, when I chainloaded the Windows system partition from GRUB2 as usual, Windows 8 booted right up without giving me the choice of Windows OS like before with Windows 7.

However, finally copying the (new?) file BOOTNXT from the Windows 8 root to the Windows 7 root gave me the menu for the BCD I had created under Windows 7 using EasyBCD.

I told this story to highlight the BOOTNXT file. I suppose it allows for backward compatibility or whatever.

Well, I don't know if this is new information for you, but there you go. :wink:

Thanks for all of your hard work, and thanks to the whole EasyBCD team, it has made life so much nicer for multi-booting various Windows!

Hey, thanks, breaker. Stick around, it's nice having you here :smile:

I've seen the BOOTNXT file, but haven't had time to analyze it's purpose as of yet (it's rather tiny, btw....) as I've been busy with some other projects.
The winload issue is known from the days of Vista - each time MS releases a new version of Windows, BOOTMGR must be replaced with one that recognizes the checksum of winload.exe as being valid (ostensibly to prevent against certain types of malware, but really to prevent modification of Windows). I'm surprised they haven't fixed it to simply recognize digitally signed binaries from Microsoft.
Hi, I borrowed this information from somewhere else on the web, but it certainly applies here:

  • The new boot menu is actually a win32 GUI program. It's c:\windows\system32\bootim.exe. You can even execute it in normal windows environment. It is equivalent to execute the command “bcdedit /bootsequence {xxxxx}” to set a temporal boot sequence in the next boot and then reboot.

I ran it from inside Windows 8, interesting.... it is called the immersive boot menu.
When you install Windows 8 onto a secondary HDD (not tested primary yet...), after the installation process, boot into your primary. Win8 bootloader appears. Choose Win7. PC resets then boots Win7. (To be honest, I loathe the Win8 bootloader: the reboots). After Win7 shows, do an 'msconfig', and change the boot settings so that Win7 is the default operating system, then set up EasyBCD so you can boot Win8 (as you should have the Win8 entry created by the Win8 setup). After a reboot, the Win7 bootloader will show and then you can boot into Win8 without any security issues. Hope this helps.

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EasyBCD already has "full" UEFI support. It's "full" and not full because it supports Windows in UEFI, but adding non-Windows entries to a UEFI Windows installation is specifically not supported by Microsoft.
. (To be honest, I loathe the Win8 bootloader: the reboots).

Well, better late than never, I guess. :wink:

I don't know if you guys have figured out the reboot or not. In case you haven't, I will explain.

Unless you have disabled hibernate, the shutdown button on Win8 and Win10 doesn't do a classic shutdown. It only shuts down the programs. It hibernates the OS and leaves the partitions in an ungodly mess. If you were to simply boot up another OS installation, it would find the partitions all dirty and run checkdisk on them. This could take hours. This hibernate on shutdown thing is for the fast startup/ fast shutdown thing.

So the bootup system catches that impending disaster, cleans up the mess, then boots up the intended OS.

If you disable hibernate, the mess isn't there, and you will boot up the intended OS the first time. You will lose fast startup, but I rarely shut down my desktop computers so I don't care. I use sleep instead.

I always have multiple hard drives and have Windows installed on more than one, in an independent manner. That way if one drive gets sick, I can boot up from another drive. Unfortunately when Win8 or Win10 are installed, it messes with my existing boot files so all boots go through the "clean up the hibernate mess thing" that exists on one certain drive. So if that drive gets sick, I'm screwed.

I get around that by unplugging all the other drives when I install Win8 or Win10. When I boot up Win8 or Win10 the first time, I make sure I disable hibernate.
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