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How To: Modify BCD using bcdedit when install XP after Vista

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How To: Modify BCD using bcdedit when install XP after Vista

Postby Grav!ty » Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:55 am

How to modify BCD when installing a previous version of Windows onto a computer running Windows Vista


Installing an earlier operating system like Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 on ones system after Windows Vista has been installed results in one being unable to boot into Vista.

The processes below enable one to recover the ability to boot into Windows Vista in the instance where Windows Vista was installed on the system drive and the boot system files [Boot (folder), bootmgr, Boot.BAK and BOOTSECT.BAK], have not been damaged or removed.


1. To install a previous version of Windows onto a computer running Windows Vista (Post-Beta 2)

With Windows Vista Beta 2 as well as in Windows Vista Build 5456, the only command one needs to run is:

bootsect /NT60 ALL

(Copy bootsect.exe from the boot folder of your Windows Vista DVD and paste it into your Windows XP Windows\system32 folder)

This pulls all Windows operating systems into the Windows Vista boot menu.


2. To install a previous version of Windows onto a computer running Windows Vista (Pre-Beta 2)

1. Install the previous version of Windows.

2. Log on to the older operating system and restore the latest boot manager by running the following command from the run dialogue box (fixntfs.exe will be in the \boot directory of the active partition which is usually C:\ Drive).

C:\boot\fixntfs /lh

3. Create a BCD (Boot Configuration Data) entry for the older operating system by specifying the following.

bcdedit.exe is located in the \Windows\System32 directory of the Windows Vista partition. To access bcdedit.exe from within Windows XP you need to use the Command Prompt (DOS Window) and point to bcdedit.exe.

Description is the description of the new entry for the older operating system.

bcdedit /create {legacy} /d
Last edited by Grav!ty on Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:41 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Postby kd1966 » Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:03 am

I have a question............ now that I'm running two builds of Vista (Soon to be 3), I want to edit the boot menu to reflect the builds instead of just saying "Microsoft Windows", which is actually one of the Vista builds. Can I do this from XP? Or would it be better edited in Vista (I can go to either build).
I know that the bcdedit program is in the \boot directory, which is why I'm "wondering" if this can be done in XP

EDIT: Ok, now that I've checked THAT off........... :whistle I cannot do this in XP as I don't actually have the bcdedit executable accessible, which I presume I can copy to XP...... from Vista??
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Postby Grav!ty » Fri Apr 14, 2006 5:48 am

You can copy bcdedit.exe to your Windows\Sytem32 folder in XP and then run the command prompt and make changes from there. Its a good idea actually because then you don't have to deal with user account control.

I keep a copy of bcdedit.exe as a backup (with some other Vista system files and all the XP system files - the ones that sit on the root of your system drive as well as the folder named boot) on an external drive so that I can sort boot problems out.

Currently I boot 7 OS's on my test rig of which 4 are flavours of Vista and have renamed the Vista ones to names like "Windows Vista Build 5308 X64" so that I know what I want to boot into. I also renamed the "Legacy" boot menu line so that it is descriptive of the 3 OS's that it houses.

By default Vista adds the most recently installed Vista OS to the top of the "Microsoft Windows" list and the most recently installed OS also becomes the default one that will be booted to if you don't make a manual selection. that can be changed too.
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Postby JabbaPapa » Fri Jul 07, 2006 10:45 am

There's a great Knowledge Base article on XP/Vista dual booting issues HERE:

Windows Vista no longer starts after you install an earlier version of the Windows operating system in a dual-boot configuration

It seems like the syntax for some of these commands may have changed in Vista Beta 2, for example {ntldr} instead of {legacy}

Hopefully this is tied down now, it's getting confusing to see them doing so much fiddling about with the syntax of these basic commands ... :confused
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Postby Grav!ty » Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:09 am

Hey thats good to know they are now providing this sort of information as a mainstream KB article. Thank you JabbaPapa ^*^

You are quite right about the identifiers having changed for the Windows Legacy OS Loader, from {legacy} to {ntldr}.

Also, the best command to run to pull the XP boot menu into the Vista bootloader is now bootsect.exe /NT60 All

I'll give the top of the thread a good make over once I've given it more thought
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Postby kd1966 » Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:32 pm

When I was messing with the bootsect.exe commands/switches yesterday, it took me nearly an hour to get the "context" correct on several swithches........ and I did have to use the /force switch, which it SAID was successful, but didn't actually help my situation.
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Postby Grav!ty » Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:17 pm

Top of the thread updated after testing the commands in Windows Beta 2 and Windows Vista build 5456
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Postby alitos » Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:33 am

Hi. I had XP and Vista on the same hd, on different partitions. I removed Vista by deleting everything on the partition. I can boot to XP now, but I cannot get to the advanced options when booting (such as Safe Mode etc.). How can I restore these options? I now have Windows Boot Manager left from the Vista install. I also have done editing with bcdedit so that the XP boots as default. Could the advanced boot options be restored with bcdedit?
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Postby Grav!ty » Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:39 am

Hi alitos. From what you say you only have XP installed on your system now after removing Windows Vista and should still be able to get the advanced options menu by pressing the F8 key repeatedly during startup.

Perhpas I'm not understanding your question fully. Do you still have the "Earlier versions of Windows" boot menu entry?
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Postby alitos » Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:13 am

Yes I still have that entry. I also have entry for Vista, but selecting it gives an error screen. With the Vista entry selected, Windows Boot Manager gives an option below to press F8 for advanced options. This text doesn't appear when I have Earlier version entry selected. Pressing F8 before the WBM loads or when the Earlier version entry is selected doesn't seem to do anything.
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