xp/vista/7 - boot.ini/ntldr issue

#1
Please excuse any transgession as this is my first post here.

I have a system with two hdds, the second of which is used only for backups. Tne main 320gb sata drive is in 4 partitions XP Pro SP3, Vista HP and Windows 7; the fourth partition holds data only. I have 2gb of RAM.

The system was working fine - originally I had a dual boot system with XP & Vista with bcdedit set up for me with no probs - I added 7 with no probs.

However XP had a problem in that notwithstanding all the usual tricks to speed it up, it wouldn't load in less than 4 mins - so I decided to rebuild. Great in now boots in less than a minute.

The problem i anticipate is that somehow XP was loaded into partition E and changed my Data partition to C: and has loaded boot.ini, ntldr etc onto the C: (data) drive - they are not present on the E drive - however XP boots fine (the windows folder is on E: )

Running bcd edit it initally reports:

Partition C: Earlier Version of Windows
Partition G: Windows 7
Partition C (again!): Windows XP
Partition F: Vista

Doesn't mention the E drive where XP\windows is resident - C: only holds data folders and the boot/ntdlr files (note D: is the second hdd with only restrospect backup folders).

Boot.ini looks as follows:

[boot loader]
timeout=1
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

My worry is that if I start messing with this I will get myself into a huge pickle - Any one had and resolved a similar problem to this?

Thanks in anticipation....
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi Rob, welcome to NST.
What's the problem ?
Is everything booting OK ?
A Windows multi-boot will always have the boot files of every system residing in one place. That's generally the partition of the 1st OS to be installed, but if you've been busy reinstalling, cloning, repairing, deleting, reallocating or whatever, it could be just about anywhere. W7 throws another complication into the mix in that it might create a "secret" boot partition.
In all cases, the partition marked "system" in disk management is the one where all the boot files for each system will be.
As long as everything works and there's no pressing reason to move them, leave well alone.
 
#3
Thank you for yr welcome..

My problem? Well at the moment I do not have the option to boot into Vista/7 due to the last re-install of XP. bcdedit is referring to XP being on the C partition whereas it is actually on E: Hence I am wary of editing the bootloader as I am not sure which partition it should refer to if I install the bootloader? Also what is the "earlier version of Windows" it is referring to?

I just don't want to make things worse - in fact I would prefer to scratch the vista/7 partitions and start over than have to re-install XP again which at the moment is my main working system.

Advice much appreciated, thank you.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
OK, the standard problem of installing XP after Longhorn. You've reverted the MBR IPL to look for NTLDR as the boot manager/loader and it's incapable of the forward compatible task of booting either Vista or W7.
You need to repair the boot process to put whichever of the Longhorn systems you desire to be back in control.
Read point 3 and follow the repair instructions in point 4 of the sticky thread.
Either Vista or W7 will boot all 3 OSs. For "Vista" in the sticky text you can also read "W7". They're functionally identical in their boot process.


Addendum:


As to disk letters, they're an internal construct of the running OS (just entries in its registry) and are not physically present on the hardware at all. Your reinstall of XP now seems to think of itself as C. It won't have changed whatever Vista or W7 call it when they're running.
How are you running BCDedit from XP ? Do you mean EasyBCD ?

A screenshot of your disk management and a post of the contents of the debug mode EasyBCD view setting screen would help to make things clearer so we don't give you any bad advice based on poor information.
 
Last edited:
#5
Thank you thats great....

I have attached a screen image of the disk management page as well as the easybcd debug page - just to clarify boot.ini & Ntldr files are both in the Data partition, not in the XP partition. Just 3 os loaded XP pro, vista hp, & 7.

Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device partition=C:
description Windows Boot Manager
locale en-US
inherit {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
default {d70ab2df-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
resumeobject {d70ab2de-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
displayorder {466f5a88-0af2-4f76-9038-095b170dc21c}
{d70ab2df-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
{d70ab2db-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
{d70ab2dd-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
toolsdisplayorder {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout 30
Windows Legacy OS Loader
------------------------
identifier {466f5a88-0af2-4f76-9038-095b170dc21c}
device partition=C:
path \ntldr
description Earlier Version of Windows
Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {d70ab2df-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
device partition=G:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Windows 7
locale en-US
inherit {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
recoverysequence {d70ab2e0-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
recoveryenabled Yes
osdevice partition=G:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {d70ab2de-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
nx OptIn
Real-mode Boot Sector
---------------------
identifier {d70ab2db-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
device partition=C:
path \NTLDR
description Microsoft Windows XP
Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {d70ab2dd-ca89-11dd-8756-c26f05df5c6e}
device partition=F:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Vista Home Premium
osdevice partition=F:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {0a6d2b1d-ca4a-11dd-9c2e-806e6f6e6963}
 

Attachments

#6
Ok, so open up EasyBCD in XP. Go to the "Change Settings" page, and select the "Earlier version of Windows" entry. In the Drive: drop-down menu, point it at BOOT or C (either one should be fine since they are the same).
Next, boot from the Win 7 or Vista dvd, select "Repair my computer", and run Startup Repair 2-3 times to fix the issue.
Then you will be able to boot into all three.
 
Last edited:

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#7
You can delete the "previous version" entry and just leave the XP.
The data partition is now also your "system" partition, containing all the boot files for each of the Windows systems you've installed.
There's no problem with it being there.
When you run the "startup repair" as described in the wiki link from sticky point 4, and by Jake, the systems should all boot OK.
You don't need to change the disk letters in any of the BCD entries. The XP entry pointing to C is correct . That's where the boot files are - in the "system" partition, and that's what you point to. (D is just a backup disk Jake)
When you boot either of the Longhorn Windows, don't be surprised to see the letter assignments for the partitions different to what XP sees. EasyBCD displays the letters as seen by the system you run it in, (there aren't any letters in the BCD, just UIDs, but Easy displays them for your convenience)
 
#8
You can delete the "previous version" entry and just leave the XP.
The data partition is now also your "system" partition, containing all the boot files for each of the Windows systems you've installed.
There's no problem with it being there.
When you run the "startup repair" as described in the wiki link from sticky point 4, and by Jake, the systems should all boot OK.
You don't need to change the disk letters in any of the BCD entries. The XP entry pointing to C is correct . That's where the boot files are - in the "system" partition, and that's what you point to. (D is just a backup disk Jake)
When you boot either of the Longhorn Windows, don't be surprised to see the letter assignments for the partitions different to what XP sees. EasyBCD displays the letters as seen by the system you run it in, (there aren't any letters in the BCD, just UIDs, but Easy displays them for your convenience)
Oh, right...:S Sorry.
I guess I misread. I saw the "system" partition, but in my mind, I guess it registered with the D: drive letter instead of C. Oops.

Jake
 
#9
Gentlemen. Thank you again for your help and interest.

Took action as suggetsed by Terry and all worked fine - there was one glitch in that Windows 7 did not boot without some issue. Not sure what it was, but initially it said it couldn't boot, would I like to allow it to try and repair itself. I okayed this, it whirled around for 5 mins before it said it couldn't self repair. I booted into Windows 7 again and it booted up fine. Not sure what the issue was, but safe to say it worked in the end.

Many thanks guys, saved me potentially a lot of sole searching.

:grinning::grinning:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
Glad to have helped.