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Windows 7: Creating a multiboot (both Windows 7)

06 Feb 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
Creating a multiboot (both Windows 7)

Hi. Following advice from this forum I moved my bootmgr to the C drive from the System Reserved partition, using EasyBCD. Total disaster - Windows now takes four minutes to boot instead of 20 seconds or so - even though I have moved the bootmgr back to the System Reserved partition. Even when I restore an image I made of the O/S before I made the change, the boot time remains ridiculously long.

I have spent days Googling this, trying to create boot traces and the like (no success so far - they fail 'waiting for prefetcher') and I am into the horrible cycle of troubleshooting, not the original problem, but why my troubleshooting steps aren't working! I could scream...

Well, given that that wouldn't help matters, before I do a full Windows repair, or finally a complete reinstall, I would try adding another Windows 7 (x64) to the same physical disc (an SSD), different partition, to check that a clean installation boots normally. If it doesn't then I presumably have hardware problems - although this seems unlikely as the problem started when I moved the bootmgr, so for now I am sticking with it being a software problem.

Could someone please advise the best way of creating a multiboot - both Windows 7 x64? I have done this years ago, creating an Windows XP/Millennium dual boot, but obviously things have moved on. I could temporarily delete the data from my 'X' partition (see screenshot below) - I have all the folders backed up - and install the 2nd. instance of Windows 7 there?

How does Windows 7 work when you boot with two O/Ss? With no boot.ini file, are you presented with a similar screen to XP at startup, with a choice of O/S?

Any help appreciated - I don't want to make a bad situation worse - and I certainly don't want to reinstall my primary O/S only to discover boot times are still very slow. Need to do a test like this first..



Attached Thumbnails
Creating a multiboot (both Windows 7)-discs.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


I would not advise anyone to move the System boot files from System Reserved to C. We are asked about this frequently but I don't think it is worth the trouble since the 100mb is negligible and harmless.

I see you are waiting for Cluberti to guide you on the boot trace which he authored. He travels a lot for his job with MS so I would wait until he replies as he can usually pinpoint these causes directly since he is the leading expert in the world on it.

If you want to dual boot as an experiment shrink an existing partition in Disk Mgmt or install to an existing partition once you move the data off, then boot the installer and create a partition there and/or format it using Custom drive options as shown in this tutorial: Clean Install Windows 7

The installer will autoconfigure a Dual Boot menu.

You may also have boot sector corruption which is remedied by wiping the HD with Diskpart Clean command before reinstall: SSD - HDD Optimize for Windows Reinstallation
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

Thanks for the replies and help - much appreciated.

I moved the bootmgr for ease of backup when using Macrium, which won't back up the system reserved partition - it was suggested to me here by a 'senior' member. He was advising as best he could, I know, but the trouble this has caused me I wouldn't like to go into here - hours and hours of Googling the problem, jumping from one forum to another, troubleshooting the troubleshooting (boot trace not working etc.) - it's turned into a bit of a nightmare.

Well, I should first try wiping my C drive and System reserved partitions with Diskpart (can I select two partitions to wipe? Or do I have to do one, then the other - will that cause problems?) as you suggest and then reinstalling my Windows7 image backup (made before the problems appeared). It is odd to me that restoring the image doesn't bring back normal boot times, so that's the next thing I will try. And yes, maybe after that I should wait for Cluberti to reply - after all, I can at least boot, and once at the desktop the PC operates normally.

If I do reinstall Windows, either as a multiboot experiment, or last resort, wipe my principal Windows 7 installation and start from scratch, maybe I would be better putting it onto one of my SATA drives. Not sure if my choosing SSDs was a good idea now? What do you think?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Feb 2012   #4

Windows 7 64-bit

One other tip when creating multiboot. Boot into your existing 7 installation like normal. Insert your windows install disc in your optical drive and run it from WITHIN your existing 7 installation. This will allow the two installations to 'know' about each other. DO NOT boot from from the install disc to do your second install. Doing it this way makes each installation unaware of the other and you will not be presented with a menu to choose which one to run when you boot.

I would suggest using EasyBCD from NeoSmart technologies to rename one of the instances in the bootloader so you can easily distinguish them on the bootloader menu.

Good luck
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2012   #5
Microsoft MVP


Reports are consistent that choosing SSD is always a good choice which boosts performance.

Diskpart Clean command wipes the entire HD at once and is not partition-specific. Partiton Wizard CD can wipe a partition, but it's the boot sector which may need cleaning so I'd use Clean command. Clean All only concerns itself with overwriting data securely so it is unretrievable.

If you have an image which worked fine before and reapply it after wiping the HD then it should solve the issue unless it is hardware-related. We do hear about faulty new SSD's periodically. But since this arose after removing the 100mb SysReserved partition it points to some kind of boot sector or other corruption.

Try SFC -SCANNOW Command.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

Did the SFC /Scannow yesterday - it found no problems. Yes, I doubt it is hardware related too, given that the problem started as soon as I moved the bootmgr.

I'll try diskpart and reloading my image first and report back. If I need a multiboot to test further, I'll do as you suggest spleener...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2012   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

I am at a loss. I used the diskpart clean command and then checked that the whole disk had been wiped. Then I reinstalled the Windows 7 image - but still booting takes for ever.

I guess I should try wiping the disc again and reinstalling Windows afresh from the DVD. If that doesn't work, I can try installing Windows 7 on one of the SATA drives instead.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2012   #8
Microsoft MVP


I would work through these troubleshooting steps to check the logs, utilize System Resources, test the hardware and other steps leading up to Clean Reinstall.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2012   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

Fortunately a repair install (as if an upgrade from Vista) fixed the problem - booting is now back to under 30". Thanks all for the input,

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Creating a multiboot (both Windows 7)

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