XP machine - no matter what XP boots without ever giving me a menu

hi all,

I have an XP desktop with intel processer (gateway tower). I have XP installed and running and and am trying to get easybcd to 1) and 2) find my grub2 and boot into Ubuntu.

My problem is that easybcd seems to have no affect at all on booting.

I have:

- I have copied the c:\boot folder from my Vista machine to my XP machine
- I have also copied the c:\Windows\boot folder from my Vista machine to my XP machine
- Loaded the Vista bootloader to this XP machine
- erased and then added the menu entries
- refreshed the store
- uninstalled and re-installed easybcd a few times.
- have run out of things to do - the result has always been the same

Until I copied the c:\boot folder the easybcd would always load with an error that I had no data store. I think I was editing a .bcd file that had no affect on booting. However, now easybcd runs without errors and appears to run correctly

Where can I start looking to figure out why easybcd has no affect or why the Vista bootloader does not seem to run.. or why it boots into XP without pausing for me to select an OS.

thanks in advance!

fyi I have used easybcd successfully on my windows Vista laptop to dual-boot /chainload into grub2 Ubuntu 11 so I do have some idea of what to expect..

Mak 2.0

Staff member
EasyBCD cant be used with XP. It is for use with Windows Vista, Windows 7, Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 only. Windows XP does not support the BCD loader. It uses the boot.ini loader which is older. The BCD was only introduced with Windows Vista and is now the primary boot loader for Windows.

So you will have to use GRUB2 in order to be able to select between the 2 OS's and boot them.
Thanks for your response Alex,

Yes I have seen the XP notes, but also in easybcd own FAQ page it states:

"You can follow these steps to install the Vista bootloader on a non-Vista machine — once that's done and working..."

I have also seen other threads that go back and forth... with finally the link back to this idea of putting the Vista loader on XP machines by copying the boot directory.

Easybcd is able to load the system bcd (command in the menu) and apparently do all the other operations but then fails to actually affect change.

Has easybcd suffered a regression and no longer supports/works with this method linked to in the FAQ?



Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
"- Loaded the Vista bootloader to this XP machine"

Do you mean BCD Deployment > Install Vista/7 bootloader > Write MBR ?
"Do you mean BCD Deployment > Install Vista/7 bootloader > Write MBR ?"
Yes, that is what I did. I also added the menu entries, one for XP and the other for Ubuntu. I didn't try having only one menu entry but anyway I have never seen a menu come up during boot - just boots to XP like always.

Mak 2.0

Staff member
So when you copied the Boot folder over, did you have all files shown included system protected files to make sure you got all files?

Next did you follow that step by step instuctions? From what I see, you copied the files, then made changes to the BCD without ever testing if it worked or not. The 4th step is exactly what I am looking at.

Run EasyBCD. When you first start it, it'll tell you what you already know: the Vista bootloader isn't installed! It'll ask if you want to repair it - (obviously) click yes.
I dont see you mention anything about seeing this. Nor do I see you mention that you choose the same drive as your XP drive and let EasyBCD do the repair for you. So did you skip steps or just not mention that you did all this extra stuff that is needed to trick XP into using the BCD? Or did you just copy the files over, already have EasyBCD installed and try to just modify it without every repairing it?

There is so much that has to be done to get the BCD to work on XP. Either you skipped steps or you are not telling us everything you did do. something went wrong in your process and it may not be able to be done.
hi Alex,

thanks for your response. When i was trying to get it to work, I didn't create a step by step log since I didn't anticipate failure... I have stated most or all of what I did but not made a rigorous step-by-step document. I know that would have helped.

regarding this:

Run EasyBCD. When you first start it, it'll tell you what you already know: the Vista bootloader isn't installed! It'll ask if you want to repair it - (obviously) click yes.
Even from the start, I never recieved a message "the Vista bootloader isn't installed" and so I could never allow it to do that repair but the first message I saw started like this.

"The boot configuration data store could not be opened..."

After I copied the boot folders from my Vista machine I stopped seeing that message.

To answer one of your questions, I had to turn on display of system files to see the boot folder so it seems I would also have gotten hidden files but I can certainly investigate or do this again and be very careful all the files are shown.

One thing that puzzled me is that my VISTA machine has a boot folder in two locations


I think the former was hidden or system and the latter was not. I copied both of them.

today I am working on a win7 machine at work and it seems to only have the C:\Windows\Boot folder

Does anyone know the difference between these?

tonight, I might try unwinding everything and starting the steps over again. I think I will start by installing the XP MBR again using easybcd. A fresh start along with a record of what I do may help.

thanks all,



Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
C:\Windows\boot isn't active.
It's where the proto-files reside which setup uses to create the real C:\boot during install.
If you can't see it in W7, then your C: isn't "system", and it's probably in an unlettered boot partition (W7 has a habit of hiding the boot files if you let it do the space allocation during install rather than doing it yourself.)
C:\Windows\boot isn't active
Thank you Terry, that helps. my Win7 machine must have it as you say - more than one shows up when I do a search but...anyway I'm not going to worry about that as it is not related.

Perhaps my problem with copying the boot folder is that my computers are not the same hardware? They are both Intel but the XP machine is around 8 years older and a different brand than the Vista machine. They are both 32-bit.

I should mention that both of my Windows OS are 100% legal and owned by me and being used on their original hardware.

as I stated previously, I am going to try unwinding the process and starting over.
I did get this system to work.

here are roughly the steps I took.

- Used easyBCD to write the XP MBR to the machine
- uninstall easyBCD
- deleted C:\Boot and C:\Windows\Boot folders that I had previously installed
- re-copied the C:\Windows\Boot that I copied from my legal Vista machine (but did not copy the C:\Boot one)

- installed and ran easyBCD 1.7 which gave notice of the bad or missing bcd and asked me to repair it - wizard style
- this repair by easyBCD worked succesfully
- installed VISTA MBR using easyBCD (but maybe it was already there)
- closed easyBCD
- installed 2.1 over the top of 1.7 to complete the tasks.

I think the main point is that the newer versions of easyBCD cancelled the bootloader repair option for XP only systems and so it would require some other trickery to get the VISTA/7 bootloader onto this machine. It was a bit of a trick to pull out the 1.7 version and not everyone will have this available.

thanks for all your help!