This page deals with the steps required to properly configure a dual-boot of one or more newer, “bcd-native” versions of Microsoft Windows.
Dual-Booting Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 with EasyBCD
The new BCD boot system
The instructions for booting into most newer releases of Windows through EasyBCD are exactly identical. Starting with Windows Vista, the NTLDR bootloader was retired and now Windows uses the BOOTMGR bootloader instead, which stores its settings in the new BCD (Boot Configuration Data) file instead of the traditional boot.ini. This new BOOTMGR bootloader can boot directly into versions of Windows that were designed for BCD/BOOTMGR.
As of EasyBCD 2.2, EasyBCD has been verified to fully boot into and work with the following BCD-based systems: Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2008. EasyBCD also supports legacy versions of Windows, with backwards compatibility options for Windows 2000 and XP.
Adding a Windows Vista/7/8 Entry
Adding a Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 entry is a straightforward process, and can be done from any of the supported host operating systems. Assuming you already have a fully-working BCD setup (i.e. EasyBCD runs OK and doesn’t give you any errors on startup):
- Run EasyBCD, go to the “Add New Entry” screen
- Enter the name you’d like to associate with the entry you’re about to create in the “Name” box. For instance, “My Windows 8.1 Installation”
- Select the letter of the drive/partition Windows is installed on from the drop-down menu (e.g. “C:”).
It’s important to note that the Drive Letter must be the one currently visible in My Computer that points to the drive that Vista/7 is installed on. Even if the drive letters change from install to install, use the drive letters as they appear in your current boot. EasyBCD will automatically convert them to the proper drive and partition numbers that can be understood by the Windows bootloader.
- Press the “Add Entry” button, and wait for the notification telling you everything went OK.
- The operating systems list should immediately change to reflect the new changes, and you’re all set.
- Optional: Go to the “Change Settings” page or the “Advanced Options” and customize the options available for this entry.
If you added a Windows Vista/7/8 entry and it fails to boot, you might want to check the following before asking for support.
- Did you specify the correct drive letter?
Make sure you entered the letter for the destination Windows partition as it is currently assigned in the operating system you’re running EasyBCD from. That’s usually the most common reason why Windows won’t boot when added via EasyBCD. To change the drive letter, see the instructions at Changing the Drive Letter or delete the old entry and create a new one.
- Do you get a “Corrupt or Missing File” message on attempting to boot the newly created partition?
Verify that the drive letter specified points to a valid Windows Vista or newer install.