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  • Need BCD fix for Multi-disk/Multi-boot system

    Posted on Thandal Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 8.1 Questions: Win 8.1 (and Win 8) Need BCD fix for Multi-disk/Multi-boot system

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      • #487936
        AskWoody Lounger


        1. Want to make the Win8 disk the default “System and Boot” disk so that a system image can be created that DOES NOT include the Win7 disk. Currently, since the the Win7 disk is the “System and Boot” disk, Windows (and third-party) system imaging applications need/want to include BOTH disks when I try to make an image of the Win8 one.

        2. Want to make WinXP selectable from the boot menu when needed, instead of having to change the boot order in the BIOS then change it back for “normal” operations.


        Older HP Pavilion tower with (3) physical HDDs.
        – CPU Intel Core2Quad 2.4GHz
        – RAM 8GB
        – Motherboard Asus IPIBL-LB
        – HDDs Seagate 1TB 7200 rpm

        Different OS installed on each drive as follows:

        SATA Interface0: Win7/64-bit. This is the original “System and Boot” disk of the machine.

        SATA Interface1: Win8/64-bit. Add recently with a clean install from DVD, and currently the default on start-up. This is the one I would prefer to be the main “System and Boot” disk.

        SATA Interface2: WinXP/32-bit. Kept for legacy programs that cannot run on Win7 or later.

        Two of thedisks have multiple partitions, but the OS is installed on the first partiton of each.

        All (3) disks will start-up the system correctly when set in the BIOS as the first boot drive (or when the others are physically disconnected from the system.)

        All (3) OS choices appear on the (current) boot menu as follows:

        Windows 8 Pro (Default)
        Windows 7 Home Premium
        Legacy Windows Version

        I can select either Win8 or Win7 during boot and the system will start-up successfully. But choosing the “Legacy Windows Version” fails with the message “Cannot locate ntldr.cmd”. (Copy of the BCD file at the end of post.)


        I thought I had understood how to address the WinXP boot problem by setting the paramerters in the BCD to point to the ntldr.cmd file in right folder (C:Windows) on the right partition (Part:0) on the right disk, (Disk2). This didn’t work, and in fact I had to create a slightly different boot instruction line on the WinXP disk itself to get it to boot at all. (When that drive is the first in the boot order, WinXP sees as being on Drive:0)

        When I encountered that difficulty, I realized that my understanding of the BCD wasn’t adequate to the task and decided to ask the Wise Wizards of the Windows Secrets Lounge. I’m hoping they can wave their wands and make some magic happen!

        Current BCD File:

        Since I can’t seem to upload a 92KB .png, (nothing happens after clicking the “Upload” button) and the “From URL” method returns an “invalid url” error message, here’s a link to the annotated screenshot of my BCD and Disk Manager:

      • #1376269
        AskWoody MVP

        For starters, the “system” disk is merely the disk where the BCD Store is located, the boot files used to boot your choice from the boot menu. Its location does not determine the default OS, the BCD Store does that.

        Second, the ntldr that Windows XP uses to boot is on the root of C:. The path is simply “ntldr” (without the quotes).

        To simplify things, download the free version of EasyBCD and change your path for XP and your default OS. Make a backup first, just to be on the safe side.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      • #1377367
        AskWoody Lounger

        Thanks for the link! I used EasyBCD to edit the “ntldr” path, but still no joy.

        Regarding the first of my two issues, I know that the “System” disk information is simply the info about how to get the boot process going (including disk/partition/file paths). But I’m not sure how to cleanly get that info onto what is now the Win8 disk connected to SATA:1, instead of the Win7 disk on SATA:0.

        In other words, “How do I move the BCD Store to a new location, and what further edits (if any) are neeed to get things working correctly?

        The reason for doing so when “nothing seems to be broken” is that any “System Image” I try to create (using the built-in MS tool, or a good 3rd-party one) wants to (needs to?) include the “System” disk. So with the current configuration, creating a Win8 “System Image” requires imaging BOTH drives!

        The WinXP issue is really just my mild OCD kicking in. (“I will get this computer to behave!”)

        Hope to hear more ideas about how I can resolve this.

        Thanks again!

      • #1377492
        AskWoody Lounger

        Open a command prompt as administrator and enter:

        bcdboot C:Windows /s D: where C is the partition the store is currently on and D is the partition you want to move it to.

        Explanation here:


      • #2290720
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        As you have an MBR BIOS you have to let the machine do things in the order it wants.

        1. Look for an active disk with a boot sector on disk 0, 1, 2, etc. Disk 0 is the first SATA disk, i.e. W7, so it boots from there.
        2. Boot from the boot sector.
        3. Boot according to the registry details, which have disk number, driver etc embedded.

        To change this you first need to make a different disk active, making the existing disk not active.
        Note: don’t swap the disks around, you won’t be able to boot at all – see 3 above.

        Once you have made the W8 disk active you may need to adjust the registry to set the boot parameters.
        I’ve not tried this but Lazesoft have a free home version of their recovery software that may help fixing the boot files after you change the disks.

        Adding the other disks as bootable should be possible with EasyBCD.

        cheers, Paul

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