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Windows 7: Unusual triple boot

10 Apr 2010   #1

Unusual triple boot

I've been wondering recently, if Windows 7 loader is capable of working with several entries for older versions of Windows at the same time. Imagine a situation: there's Win2000 installed on the first partition, XP on the second. While booting, we can choose one of them (via NT Loader). Now, we're installing Windows 7 on the third partition. MBR is rewritten, bootloader asks to choose between Windows 7 and 'Previous versions of Windows'. After going fot the second option, we can see NT Loader menu (to select 2k or XP) again. I was wondering whether it is possible to set the loader of Windows 7 (if so, how to do this; if it helps I can also use GRUB bootloader) to contain all three entries (2000, XP, 7), to, in the end, have only one menu at startup?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Apr 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP


Install Windows 7 last and it will auto-configure the multi-boot menu.

If any OS's are missing, install EasyBCD 2.0 beta in Windows 7 to add them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Apr 2010   #3


That's actually what I have described. I installed these systems in order they're mentioned. Windows 7 loader (first menu) shows options "Windows 7" and "Previous versions of Windows". After choosing "Previous..." I get another screen (second menu, NT Loader from 2k/XP) where I can boot 2000 or XP. My point is to get all of them in only one menu, the menu of Windows 7 Loader.

After I had tried using EasyBCD I got three entries in the 7loader list - Windows 7, XP and 2000 (as I named them). But selecting XP or 2k didn't boot any system, it took me to the second menu (NT Loader, 2k/XP). As I said, I don't want the second screen, I want them all in the first one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Apr 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP


Can you post back a screenshot of your full Disk management drive map and EasyBCD results window?

Use Snipping Tool in Start Menu, attach file using paper clip in Reply Box.

Chances are you'll simply need to Remove one or both legacy OS's in Easy and Add back with correct drive letter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Apr 2010   #5


Here you are.
Sorry for that not everything is in English, I hope everything is clear.

After deleting and iserting again items in EasyBCD (with correct drive letters) in windows 7 loader I got two options leading to the same, second menu. But maybe I did something wrong.

There's also XP's boot.ini:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

Attached Thumbnails
Unusual triple boot-easy1.png   Unusual triple boot-compmgmt.png  
Attached Images
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Apr 2010   #6
Microsoft MVP


Before doing anything, I would save a Windows 7 backup image so you have a path back to where you are now without reinstall.

I cannot translate your Disk Mgmt well, but believe you have System and Active on separate partitions which is complicating correct config of multi-boot.

You can spend days trying to sort out a complicated dual- or multi-boot which is unnecessary because by simply recovering the System Active MBR into Windows 7 you can then use Windows 7 as a much better platform for EasyBCD 2.0 to add the other OS's.

You can do this using the best partition manager for Windows 7 free Partition Wizard CD to mark the current Active partition inactive, mark Windows 7 active, then boot the Windows 7 DVD repair console or Repair CD to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots to write the MBR to Windows 7.

Then use EasyBCD 2.0 to add each OS by its correct type and drive letter. You may be prompted to add boot files, so accept them.

Others may have easier solutions or shortcut commands.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2010   #7


I am loosing faith it can be done.

As you suggested, I marked first and second partition inactive with Partition Wizard, then booted into Windows 7 and added entries with correct drive letters, confirmed installing boot files. But this has lead me to the situation I had described in the beginning - two menus.

I think that, in the end, I will have to give up one of the OSs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2010   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Install Windows 7 last and it will auto-configure the multi-boot menu.

If any OS's are missing, install EasyBCD 2.0 beta in Windows 7 to add them.
Follow gregrocker's advice, & not 1.7.2
use EasyBCD 2.0 Beta Builds - The NeoSmart Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2010   #9


I'm pretty sure I used EasyBCD 2.0, build 93. I think there was already something wrong with 2k & xp bootloaders. As you can see, the disk is quite clean, so I'll try to set everything up once again, it's not a problem. We'll see if it works.

Five minutes ago I came across a tutorial:
THPC: Triple-Boot (install) Windows 7, XP and 2000 on your Windows 7 computer
but it describes how to create the situation I have - two menus. Seeing all three OSs in the list of Windows 7/Vista Loader would be nice.

Nevertheless, thank you for help. I really appreciate your efforts.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2010   #10
Microsoft MVP


If you think something in 200o or XP has become corrupted and want to continue experimenting to achieve a 3-listing Boot Menu, then I'd run a Repair Install on 2000 first, then XP, then Windows 7 which will recreate the process which is normally required to set up a Multi-Boot correctly for the three.

Once you finish the Windows 7 Repair Install, you will know whether a 2- or 3- item Boot Menu is all you are going to get for this config, since it will have repaired and refreshed all of the boot files on each O.S. sequentially in the correct order to establish multi-boot config.

XP Repair Install

However, the expert's tutorial strongly suggests that only a dual Boot Menu is possible with a 2000/XP submenu. If all 3 OS's work from this config then I would leave it unless you feel like experimenting. Be sure to save a Windows 7 Backup image of all 3 OS's on your data drive so you have a path back while experimenting.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Unusual triple boot

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