Dual booting nightmare: XP & 7, flashed BIOS, XP fried, and Win 7 "boot error":
Ok, I'll try and be clear and succinct, but I APOLOGIZE in advance for the super length here! Here's the essential "backstory" of what was/is going on, and where I am right now:
Had an XP machine for 4 years; two months ago, I bought and added in another HD. At reboot, I put in my Win 7 64 Ultimate disc, and installed 7 to the new HD; so I've been dual-booting for 2 months now, with the classic black & white dual-boot screen at startup:
"Which operating system do you want to use:
Older version of Windows
So I've been gaming exclusively on the 7 HD, playing SupCom 2 via Steam. In one week, it BSOD'd four times, so I sent my minidumps to another forum, and I was told the crashes were due to two things: video driver, and hardware. So I un/re-installed the video driver, and then, using the Asus AutoUpdate (I have an AMD cpu/ASUS mobo), I flashed my BIOS to the latest. Win 7 was totally fine, and I believe it fixed all the errors, played my game, and turned if off.
The next morning I needed some files on XP, and that's when I saw the crap had hit the fan. I chose "earlier version of Windows", and it simply BSOD immediatley; and I've not been able to get back in since. So, of course, I tried to fix it on my own. I searched online, and the first thing I did was put the XP disc in, and hit R for Repair right away; this brought me to the black and white screen. The problem was, it showed that I had two HD's, and it listed them just like this:
I chose C:, totally assuming it was my XP HD. Then, at the C:COMMAND> line, I typed in "FIXBOOT" (minus the quotes), as that was what I read. Well, that really seemed to bork things up. After reboot, instead of getting the "Which OS do you want" choice screen, I only got the "Windows cannot boot, do you want Safe Mode, Safe Mode w/Networking", etc. etc. screen. So I then unplugged my 7 HD, put in the XP disc again, tried to Repair Reinstall over the XP, and that didn't work either.
So finally, I plugged my 7 HD back in, put in the Win 7 disc, booted from DVD (and yes, both my HD's are where they should be in BIOS; XP is SATA 1, and 7 is SATA 2), and did the Win 7 Repair Startup option. That got me right back into Win 7, as if there was never a problem at all. This was yesterday morning. So I then spent the entire day migrating my backed up XP data from an external HD onto my 7 HD, and putting it all in the correct folders, and then backing all that up again to the same external HD (to be super safe, haha), and then last evening, I finally needed to re-boot.
And that brings me to my current problem/state of affairs. At reboot, or normal boot-up, I now come to a black and white screen with roughly the words "Boot error, please insert disc and hit Enter." So essentially, it again does not bring me to the "which OS do you want screen", just this new screen. So, I put in the Win 7 disc, and did a hard reboot. As expected, after reboot, the next words to come up were "Hit any key to boot from CD or DVD...", but to test things, I hit NO KEY. I let it pass. Guess what? The two choices screen came up! "Earlier version of Windows, or Windows 7". Very perplexed, I chose Win 7, and it boots up no problem. So, to test it out again, I took out the 7 DVD, and rebooted. Wham, same problem black and white screen: "Boot error, please insert disc and hit Enter". So I did, but this time I DID hit a key, went into 7 setup, and tried the "Win 7 repair startup" option, and rebooted w/out the disc and tried it again; again, SAME "boot error" message! But when I put the Win 7 disc in, hard reboot, let it come back up, display the "Hit any key to boot from DVD" and I SKIP THIS (hitting no key), it then goes to the "correct" screen of offering me two choices. I hit Win 7 every time, and it boots up fine. (whew).
So, I essentially have two very important, very specific questions. They are;
1. How can I first get Win 7 under control, and fix this boot up error? Do I need to keep doing the Win 7 Repair Startup about four, five, six more times, or what? Or do I need to use EasyBCD? And if so, HOW do I use that program, as I've never used it before?
2. Once I do get Win 7 startup fixed, and under control, it's quite clear that my XP HD is fried beyond repair, so I would like to erase it, and just use it as extra storage. So my second question is: because I am currently dual-booting, and went through XP (XP being first, added a second HD put 7 onto that), HOW or WHAT do I do to make the Win 7 HD the only OS in my machine, and have it look only for itselt, and not two OS's, at boot up?
I know this is extremely long, and I'm very sorry for that, but I hope this helps anyone and everyone who is looking at this. What should I do? Thank you all very much in advance. Best, Dave.
Boot problems are always fun, I've got a laptop running Linux, 7, and OSX and that took a while to fix the boot mess, but I can say GRUB FTW.
My best guess as to what is going on is that your system is looking at the wrong drive when trying to boot Windows w/o DVD. When you use the DVD, your system for some reason looks at the correct hard-drive with the correct MBR to boot normally.
To fix it these are the steps I would take.
1. Nuke the XP drive, delete the volume and then reinitialize and format. Use 7's Disk Management program for this.
2. Unplug the XP drive.
3. If 7 will start normally, then enter msconfig.exe and remove XP as a boot option.
4. If 7 will not start, run the repair boot problem options from the DVD
5. Plug the formerly XP drive back in.
6. If you can't boot, go into BIOS and change the order of boot devices
I also run a dual boot of Windows 7 and XP. Sounds to me like you fubared your MBR when you tried to repair XP and selected the wrong drive. You see Windows 7 will assign itself to the C: drive always.
A quick solution (well I hope this solves it), is to use EasyBCD as you mentioned.
1) Download and Install it. Don't bother with TweakVI.
2) Start the program and select the Add/Remove Entries tab. Make sure you have Windows 7 and Windows XP listed. (You can even change the names of your installs here if you like. Ie Windows 7 to New POS)
3) Select the Manage Bootloader tab and click on Write MBR. That will repair it.
4) Reboot and test it out.
I hope this helps. I would also like to add. I am like you. I always try to fix my PC problems by working with the problem and trying not to end up formatting my system. But it sure does make me happy when I do end up doing it and everything works like a charm again. If you do break down and give up, I'd say to move your new HD to Sata1 and put 7 on it, and XP on the old one in Sata2. As a matter of face, you may be able to do that now. test it out for fun! :)
The easiest way to dual boot XP/Windows 7 is to use separate hard disks, and use the bios boot menu to switch between them.
The advantage with this systems is that you leave your XP install entirely alone, so you can easily just remove an entire hard drive and still boot into the other OS.
To do this, put in a new hard drive, and disable/unplug the XP one. Install Windows 7 on the new hard disk, then re-connect the old one. You can then use the boot order option in the bios to specify if your PC boots XP or Windows 7.
On my PC pressing F8 on boot brings up a boot menu, so I can select the other hard disk to boot into the other OS.
You can map the drives so that all your files are accessible to each OS.
Coldy, need your help; can you download EasyBCD v2 Beta, build 100, to help me?
First, just so you know: I've posted a very lengthy post to the NeoSmart forums (makers of EasyBCD, of which I already have downloaded and installed), to see if they can help me.
Second: please insert the loudest, most angriest Homer Simpson "D'OH!!!!" right here. I KNEW that I borked/screwed up when I went into the XP Repair command line, and chose the C drive!!! I mean, it was an honest mistake; my two choices were exactly: "1. C:WINDOWS, and 2. D:Windows". They looked just like that; I chose C, which now is clear it was almost certainly the 7 drive. So when I told it to "FIXBOOT", well, that clearly bonked the 7 MBR. D'OH.
However, I need your help. Your suggestion to use EasyBCD is very valid; I've been doing that. But there is a new build which I mention above: EasyBCD v.2, beta, build 100, and some of the buttons and options you speak of are a bit changed or moved around, I think. Can you download and install that to have a look and get more of a reference?
Here's what I did w/that. First, I went to the BCD Backup/Repair button (called the Diagnostics button in earlier versions, I believe), and chose "Re-create/repair boot files", and then "Perform Action". It said it was successful, but upon reboot, I still got the "Disk boot error, insert disc and hit enter" message.
Next, I went to the Edit Boot Menu button, and actually DELETED the option of XP. So now, there is literally only one OS to choose from - Windows 7. And when I currently boot successfully from the Win 7 DVD (because the DVD has it's own MBR, allowing me to do this), I simply go right into Win 7; there is no longer the "which OS do you want to choose" screen - so we know that EasyBCD is at least working successfully in that capacity. After I deleted the XP choice, I lastly went to the Bootloader Setup button, and under the "MBR Configuration Options", I chose the radio button "Install the Windows Vista/7 bootloader", and then hit the "Write MBR" button. Again, no dice - w/my DVD out, I am still greeted with the same "Disk boot error" message.
So - before I nuke, and then attempt to reload the image of 7 I made w/Acronis Home last night - any other ideas? Or am I just not using the proper steps in EasyBCD?
Even if you had chosen the right Hard disk when you were running the Windows XP tool, it probably would still have messed everything up. Windows 7 uses a different boot manager to XP, and I'm not sure its possible to boot it using the XP one.
But fortunately, chances are you can fix this completely using the Windows 7 DVD. It also has tools for repairing the MBR, boot loader, etc, but it is done slightly differently to XP, so a lot of people don't know how.
Boot up the Windows 7 DVD, go to Repair Your Computer, and choose Command Prompt. Then, do the following steps:
1) run the comand "BootRec /fixmbr". This will replace the MBR with a Windows 7-compatible one (which is needed to boot 7).
2) then run "BootRec /FixBoot". This will rewrite the system's boot sector. This is needed because Windows XP uses Windows NT Loader to boot, whereas newer versions of Windows (Vista and 7) use the Windows Boot Manager.
3) Finally, run "BootRec /RebuildBCD", to rebuild the BCD store. This should detect both Windows 7 and XP, and add them to the list. (You can run "BootRec /ScanOS" afterwards, to check if XP is included in the list of bootable operating systems).
Once you've done that, reboot, and everything should be OK. Its solved a lot of problems I've had dual booting 7 and Linux.
Second - I just tried everything you wrote, in the Command line, in that order. It absolutely did not work. In fact, after the BootRec /RebuildBCD command, it came up as "0". After that, I tried the BootRec /ScanOS, and it came up as "0" as well.
For sh*ts n giggles, I rebooted anyway, taking my DVD out, and got what I was expecting: "Disk boot failure, insert disc and press enter."
I rebooted again, using the DVD, and am able to come into Windows again (which now says "Win 7 (recovered)" in my EasyBCD display.
Any other thoughts? :)
Well you basically did what I suggested with the beta version and didn't hit the jackpot.
So since I see that you've mentioned that you have a backup of both your XP and 7 installs, you might as well just do a restore of Win7 with one drive installed, then hook up the other drive and restore XP as well.
I still say to do a clean install of both OS the proper way.
Ah, that's unfortunate. ScanOS (and rebuild BCD as well, if theres no problems) return 0 if they're successful, so thats a good thing, but I guess your problem is a bit more complicated than it appeas. Judging by that error message, it looks like it might be an idea to check in the BIOS to ensure it is actually booting the Windows 7 drive. and not the XP one. (It's not impossible something's switched them round without you realising, even if they were in the right order before) If it is, and you still get that error, then I'm stumped. Coldy's right, it probably is easiest at this point to just reinstall Windows.
EDIT: You could also try running these commands at the command line, but I don't think it'll help, since your PC doesn't seem to even be reaching the bootloader. No harm in trying if you want though:
bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup
attrib bcd -s -h -r
ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old
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