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12 Dec 2010  

Windows 7
BCDEDIT confusion

My old PC could boot into either of two completely independent OS's - Windows XP and Windows 2000. Selection was controlled by the boot.ini file on the XP partition.

Neither OS could see the other. So when I booted into WinXP, XP became my C: drive whereas Win2K had no drive letter assigned. Conversely, when I booted into Win2K, 2K became my C: drive whereas WinXP had no drive letter assigned.

I'd like to replicate this arrangement on my new PC which currently has only Windows 7 installed (but I'd like to add WinXP as a second bootable OS).

As I understand it, Windows 7 no longer uses boot.ini. Instead, it uses a command line utility called bcdedit. However, unless I've missed something, bcdedit cannot boot from a drive unless Windows 7 has allocated it a drive letter. This is a seriously backward step from the old boot.ini philosophy, since it makes it impossible to have two boot OS's completely isolated from each other.

What am I missing here? Surely this isn't true??
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