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Windows 7: Problems booting back to XP

31 Jan 2009   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate, Signature Edition 64bit
Problems booting back to XP

Hey guys I'm pretty new here but have been reading / searching a lot. There is a wealth of information here; thanks for that.
This is going to be a long post so sorry for that.

Here's the problem:
As the title states I can no longer boot into XP on my dual boot setup. I do still get the startup option to "select older version of windows" but when I do so, and attempt to start XP I get a black screen. No errors, or anything. I can't even boot in safe mode (I get a bunch of lines of code that eventually just hang).
My problem is similar to this thread and so, I believe, is the solution.

I'm looking for advise before I start messing with boot files and really jack something up.

Here is a little background:
Been running XP on this machine for 5+years, it was an OEM HP Pavilion. I have since upgraded the hard drive to a 500gb seagate along with the case, power supply, and video card. When I installed the new HD I simply used seagate's software and cloned the existing drive, including the OS. Everything worked fine. I had successfully cloned drives C: (main system) and D: (OEM recovery partition) onto my new drive.
When installing Windows 7 about a month ago I followed this how-to for the most part. However, I was out of DVD's so I simply mounted the image and installed through XP. That being said I have no DVD of either XP or Windows 7 to fall back on should my system stop booting completely.

Ok here when the problem started:
When I partitioned the 500gb drive to install Windows 7 I left quite a bit of space unallocated. I successfully booted between 7 and XP for a few weeks. Then, I assigned a drive letter (S: for storate) to the unallocated space using Windows 7 Disk Management utility. After doing so I was unable to boot back to XP.

This is what I have found so far:
Reading several similar (but different) threads here and googling everything I could think of I thought my XP Boot.ini file may have been pointing to the wrong partition number and not booting properly. However, when I look under the C: partition through explorer there is no Boot.ini file at all.
Name:  Cdrive.JPG
Views: 318
Size:  65.7 KB
I proceed to search the C: drive for said file and have come up with a couple interesting items. Boot.BAK does exist under the C: drive and Boot.ini.backup exists at C:\Windows\pss <-- (this "backup" is dated the same as my installation of Windows 7). These files both contain the same information.
Problems booting back to XP-bootbak.jpg
I believe that XP is now on the 3rd partition when it was the 2nd one prior. Can someone please verify this from the pic below?
Problems booting back to XP-computer-management.jpg

If XP is now the 3rd partition can I simply copy Boot.BAK, change it to Boot.ini and replace partition (2) with partition (3)??

What does the segment "/fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn" mean/do?? I have a good idea, but really just wondering if it needs to be changed.

Thanks guys for any input you may have. This forum is GREAT!

My System SpecsSystem Spec

31 Jan 2009   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64


You may find this useful - boot.ini further down the page - D/L an iso to make a special bootdisc

Simple "ntldr is missing" fix with boot floppy, CD-R, or USB flash

Normally if you had the XP cd you would do this - for info. only

Hope it helps

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2009   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate, Signature Edition 64bit

Thanks for the links SIW2. I did some more reading and decided just to update the boot.ini file and see what happened. Long story made short.... My C: drive (containing xp) was now the 3rd partition (previously 2nd). Correcting the boot.ini file allowed me to boot into xp.

Now I'm just waiting for Windows 7 to go retail so I can ditch the XP all together. Till then I am still sporting my dual boot with XP. My boot time on XP is about 1.5min till it is usable.... It's only about 45 sec on Windows 7. I'll give the "timed boot" option a try and see how close my estimate is.

So here's my final note on this issue: Using Windows 7 to create another partition on my drive modified the order in which the drives were reported and caused XP not to boot without a modification to the boot.ini file. Changed "Partition(2)" to "Partition(3)" solved the problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Feb 2009   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64


Thanks for the update - did you just modify Boot.bak to say partition (3) and rename / make a copy and name it Boot.ini. ?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2009   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate, Signature Edition 64bit

Well...... It turns out there was a boot.ini file on my C: drive after all. I was stumped by the absence of "ntldr" and "" after reading the article you provided. I rechecked my folder settings and it turns out I had set to display "hidden" files but not "protected operating system files" . OOPS, rookie mistake.
Once I turned their display on I was able to modify the existing boot.ini file and reboot. I did not need any other changes.

I did confirm that boot.ini and boot.bak... and for that matter "C:\windows\pss\boot.ini.backup" all had the same information.

The partition location was the only value that I changed.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2009   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate, Signature Edition 64bit

Alright guys... I got a problem. After modifying my boot.ini file I was able to boot into both XP and Windows 7 last night. Today after work I turn on my machine and get the message "Reboot and select proper boot device" or insert proper boot media. Black screen after the initial BIOS screen and it will not go any further.
I am using a 500gb SATA drive that is less than 3mo old. My MB is over 5 years old. Do you think the problem is in the drive or the MB??
I am going to check all my connections, even switch the SATA port and power cable just to see if I can make it work. I'll get back to you on that one.
I did notice something strange yesterday after booting back to Windows 7 from XP. My partitions were no longer named. Specifically the S:\ drive was no longer named "Data Volume" and the F:\ drive was lon longer named "Windows 7" they were only designated by the letter. Strange, but nothing definative.
The BIOS boot options only recognized the DVD drive but not my hard disk.
As a last resort I can I can try booting from my XP recovery disk, get a Windows 7 DVD made, or replace the hard disk with my original XP disk (the one I copied onto the Seagate).

Any advise is appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2009   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64


Odd that should suddenly happen. If you don't get any joy after checking connections etc., You might try booting in with Gparted and see if that reveals anything.

If you haven't used it before, this gives you an idea of what it looks like.

Using GParted to Resize Your Windows Vista Partition :: the How-To Geek

It stops a couple of times as it boots , to ask about monitor, keyboard and language, press enter - the defaults should work fine. GParted: Downloading ...

Hope you get it sorted out

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2009   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate, Signature Edition 64bit

Yeah I used Gparted to partition my hard disk prior to installing Windows 7. I have thought about booting it as well... but didnt know what do do once it booted. Just used it to shrink the primary partition and create another.

Been busy today, will give it a shot tomorrow.


Mr. B
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2009   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Hi Mr. B,

Just to see if gparted can pick up the hd - if so, the connections are probably ok.

Also worth checking for obvious things, like the correct partition is set to Active ( says boot next to it in Linux speak ).

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2009   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate, Signature Edition 64bit

Alright here's the update. I finished troubleshooting and have determined that I have a corrupt hard disk. I checked the power supply, the SATA cable, even tried installing the drive in another machine. It is not seen in the BIOS but appears to be running (can feel slight vibration and warmth).
I checked online and it appears to be a known issue with the Seagate 7200.11 drive I have. Seagate offers a firmware update to correct the issue. But lucky me my disk is dead as a brick. The firmware update would have been nice to know about a month ago.... Now I have to RMA through Seagate and I will lose all my data. Good thing I had most of it backed up Just those files obtained from bittorrent in the last month are gone.
Meanwhile I have my old machine up and running with it's bloated xp service. Well, at least it still boots. I'm downloading the Windows 7 ISO (again) as we speak in anticipation of getting my new drive. I dont think I will put XP on it this time... but who knows.

THanks again
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Problems booting back to XP

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