winload.exe digital signature


This computer has two SSDs, one with Windows 7 installed and one with Windows 10. I use EasyBCD to give me a bootmenu to choose from. EasyBCD has worked flawlessly for years through all my upgrades from Windows XP to 7 to 8 and now 10.

The other day, while using Windows 10 it crashed ("thread stuck in device driver") Upon rebooting and selecting Windows 10 from the bootmenu, I get the error that the digital signature is not recognized for the file winload.exe.

I use the free Macrium Reflect to create occasional System Images, so I used that to restore the Windows 10 installation. I get the same error.

Meanwhile, if I select Windows 7 from the bootmenu, Windows 7 loads fine.

Both hard drives are MBR. The BIOS has CSM enabled and Secure Boot turned off. For some reason, the BIOS only lists the hard drive that is plugged into SATA 1. If I swap the cables, the other hard drive is listed, but not the first one.

If I use the F11 key during boot, I get a BIOS generated bootmenu that shows both drives!

Both drives have the same EasyBCD bootmenu. If I select the Windows 7 drive from the F11 menu, I can boot into Windows 7. If I try to boot into Windows 10 I get the error.

However, if I select the Windows 10 drive from the F11 menu, I can boot into Windows 7 OR Windows 10, both work normally.

I have read through the stickies here, and looked through the forum messages, but don't see a solution for this problem.

I did follow the steps to use EasyBCD to "reset the BCD configuration", and also tried "Re-create / repair boot files" on both drives.

I've re-written the BCD more times than I can remember, and have also tried the "Change boot drive" option. I have changed it from the Windows 7 drive to the Windows 10 drive and back again, with no effect.

I still get the error about the winload.exe digital signature not recognized when I boot the Windows 7 drive and try to load Windows 10.

Booting with the Windows 10 drive I can still load either one.

I've read through some of the other posts here, and people seem to think that booting from the Windows 7 drive and selecting Windows 10 doesn't work because Windows 7 doesn't "know" about Windows 10. I've had similar problems when trying to use the Microsoft dual boot menu, but I thought EasyBCD could get around that.

Any ideas?



ASRock FM2A88M Extreme 4+ motherboard, not Overclocked or Tweaked
AMD A10-7850k
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64 bit on a Crucial BX100 250 GB SSD
Windows 10 Pro 64 bit on a Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB SSD
Last edited:


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You cannot boot a newer version of Windows from an older.
Each new version has a bootmgr module which is fully backwards compatible with all earlier iterations of Winload, hence W10 will boot Vista/7/8/8.1/10.
Windows 7 only knows about itself and Vista. They're the only versions of Winload it will recognize as genuine, all other newer versions have unrecognized digital signatures and it will refuse to load them.
Always multi-boot from the latest version of Windows you own.
A "normal" installation of Windows with a pre-existing older version in existence will solve this problem for you by replacing the older version of bootmgr on the "active" partition, with the level from the newer OS, but if you do independent installs in isolation, it's your responsibliity to make sure that the newest version is the one in charge of the boot.
Hi Terry,

I think I read one of your responses to another person where you told them the same thing. I knew that Windows could not do this, but for some reason I thought that EasyBCD had a way around it.

As I mentioned, I've used EasyBCD many times over the years as I upgraded my computers. I knew (as an example) that if I installed Windows 7 first, then installed a later version, say Windows 10, that Windows would create a boot menu automatically. However, if I install Win 10 first, then Win 7, I did not get the menu, so I used EasyBCD to create one.

I was assuming that EasyBCD used something like Grub or some other boot utility, but now I see it worked because I was keeping the boot drive the same (the later version). In all these years, I never happened to run across a situation where the boot drive got changed to the older version of Windows.

So, thanks for responding .. .I learned something !

- john


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
If, for some reason, you'd prefer to boot from the W7 drive (e.g. W7 on a fast SSD, W10 on an old HDD), you can replicate what a later installation of W10 would do itself and simply drag the W10 (bigger) version of bootmgr across into the W7 drive's root (after first renaming the existing (smaller) copy to bootmgr7 or something else in case you want to revert).

Today I've been emailing a person who asked for help using EasyBCD to setup a dual boot between Windows 8.1 and 10. His "boot drive" is set to the Windows 8.1 partition, and he can choose either OS to boot into from the bootmenu.

Why does it work for him? Is the digital signature on the Win 8 winload.exe file the same as the Win 10 one, perhaps? I told him he had to make his boot drive the Win 10 partition (as we discussed), but that's not so in his case.

In his case, he had Win 8.1 installed on one drive in the computer. He installed a second hard drive and restored a Macrium Reflect image of Windows 10 to it. He installed EasyBCD to the Win 8.1 drive and it works. I can see how it would work if he had installed Win 10 from an install disk ( like you said, it would replace the bootmgr file with a newer one) but he did not do that. So why does it work?



Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Check the versions of both BOOTMGR files, perhaps? Did he use EasyRE at any point?