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Windows 7: I have Dual Boot problems (Win 7 & XP)

13 Jun 2009   #1

Windows 7 RC
I have Dual Boot problems (Win 7 & XP)

I have one hard drive. It's divided in 4 partitions (I did 3, Windows did 1). First I installed Win 7 RC 64-bit, which ended up on partition 2 as Windows created a 100 MB System Reserved as partition 1. Then I installed Win 7 64-bit again on the third partition. I managed to use BCDEDIT to change boot order and names of the two OS's. Everything worked fine.

Then I installed Windows XP 32-bit on the last partition. When booting, I could no longer choose the Windows 7 installation. I saw that Windows XP now had copied a boot.ini file to the C:\ drive (now the System Reserve Drive in XP). I tried to fiddle with that file bit to no avail. I then renamed the file so Win wouldn't see it, and rebooted, in hopes that the lack of boot.ini would trigger Win 7 boot system instead.

Well, I was wrong (you can laugh). Now when I boot it says "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll. Please re-install a copy of that above file.

If someone could help me get back, I would greatly appreciate it.

Things I'm thinking:
Maybe delete the XP partition in the Win 7 install menu, but I'm thinking XP may have put more files on the C:\ drive that needs to be removed anyway.

Run repair from the Win 7 install DVD?

Run a DOS prompt so I can rename boot.ini again so I at least can get back into XP and go from there. How do you start a DOS prompt? I have Win XP and Win 7 install DVDs.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2009   #2
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

First off you came to the right place namely the Se7enforums!

The problem from the start is trying to edit the boot loader for the older version of Windows in order to see the newer version load as well. It won't work!

If you had originally installed XP on the first primary and later 7 on one of the others the new 7 boot loader would have seen XP as the "previous version of Windows" option when first starting up. Fortunately there is a way to see the 7 boot entries restored and add XP into the 7 boot loader the way it is. Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

Method #2 is the one you want to review there along with downloading the free BCD editing tool from the link included in the tutorial. That will get things corrected for you rather fast if done correctly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2009   #3

Windows 7 RC

Thanks Night Hawk for you quick reply. I had already found that tutorial. However, I can't boot to any OS because I renamed the boot.ini file to boot.ini.old. I only get the error message as in my last post.

What can I do to get XP to boot, so that I may follow the steps in Method 2 that you gave me. Can I somehow get in to a command prompt and change the name back to boot.ini? Or do you have a better suggestion?

Also, what would happen if I simply deleted the XP partition (partition 4)? I'm however afraid that the XP installation has already contaminated the System Reserved partition (partition 1) as it put boot.ini there and possibly other files as well.

What cause of action should I take if I simply want the Windows 7 boot loader to load instead of the XP one?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 Jun 2009   #4

Windows 7 RC

Also, what would happen to Windows 7 if I reformatted partition 1, the 100 MB System Reserved partition (as XP put boot.ini etc. here)? Would Win 7 recreate it or would it cause Windows 7 not to work?

If I reformatted this partition and the XP partition, just leaving my two Windows 7 partitions, would Windows 7 boot then as before?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2009   #5
The Cool Guy

Windows 8 x64

Why don't you start everything from scratch? (Backup your important files first) First boot into the XP cd and re-format all your partitions, and install XP on 1 of the partitions. Then boot into the 7 dvd and install it on the other partition. Simple as it can be.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2009   #6
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

The first step now even if you hadn't renamed the boot.ini file is to boot from the 7 dvd you burned if you used that method to install 7 from the start. Right when reaching the Install Now screen with the button seen there when booted from the dvd look down below that for the repair tools.

When clicking on that the 7 installer will search for any 7 installations and list those. From there you click the next button and look at the top of the next screen to select the startup repair option. That will rewrite the 7 mbr entries.

Once 7 boots up normally again you can simply rename the boot.ini back and copy it to the root of C. You'll need to do that anyways in order to use the EasyBCD tool in order to add the new XP entry into the boot options for 7.

Your other option would invlove nuking the first two primaries with a drive tool like GParted live to see one single larger primary created for 7 and not even touching the XP primary. A new clean install of 7 would automatically see XP added into the 7 loader. From there you simply rename the boot.ini back the way it should be before trying to boot into XP again.

To go one step further provided you first back anything you want from the drive would be nuking all but the first primary C and then proceed to reformat that one as well as creating a brand new second primary this time for 7. You first install XP according to method #1 onto the first now larger C primary followed by seeing 7 go on last.

With both seeing fresh installs you can then rename the "previous versions of Windows" entry in the 7 boot menu to Windows XP Home or Pro or simply Windows XP once the EasyBCD tool is on. To preserve the new boot screen for 7 however you wouldn't install the EasyBCD tool since that wouldn't be needed already seeing XP added into the boot loader but download the BCD editor tool for the 64bit Vista that will work on the 64bit RC as well.

Since I couldn't relocate the site that carried both the 32bit and 64bit versions of the BCD Editor I uploaded the 64bit to a free file sharing host. - Free hosting for ALL your files -S

The screenshots for the 32bit version however still show how that works. System Tools - BCD Editor

Once 7 is up and running you simply double click on the BCD Editor file itself. Once you highlight the preversion version entry click on the "set description" button to rename that to Windows XP. Meanwhile I'll test the link here to see how that went.

You have to enter whatever characters are seen in the small box and then click the download button. Ignore the ads and other lame stuff on the page once you get there!

Attached Images
I have Dual Boot problems (Win 7 &amp; XP)-bcd64-download.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2009   #7

Windows 7 64bit Ultimate Build 7268.0.090701-1900

While not disagreeing with anything Night Hawk says above, (very useful, and true)... I always opt for the simplest solution:

I hope you kept your XP installation in tact, I se you may have deleted it. After installing the DownLevel OS (XP), you can get Win7 back on the OS boot list by simply running Win7 Setup, and launching the repair consol. This will automatically setup dual/tri booting for all configured OS's installed.

Hope this helps, and let us know how it's going.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2009   #8

Windows 7 RC

Thank guys, the repair trick worked and I got my two Win 7 installations back. However, the XP install, which I did not delete, does not show up in the boot list.

I can't find a way to access and rename the boot.ini file. When I installed XP, the boot.ini was put on partition 1, the 100 MB System Reserved partition, which XP saw as C:\. I have not found a way to access this partition from within Win 7. "Explore" is grayed out when I right-click on that partition in Disk Management. I've also tried to pull up a command prompt, but the System Reserve Partition doesn't seem to have been assigned a drive letter in Win 7, as it had in Win XP.

Any ideas where to go from here?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2009   #9
Peter Rudolf

XP-prof & windows7 & suse

copy from your xp this three to the seven-bootpartition: ntldr & & boot.ini
i.e.: xp on first part.:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="XP (Partition 1)"

then download "EasyBCD 1.7.2" , install and add .... easy by doing

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2009   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Hi Don,

If you assign a drive letter to the System partition , you should be able to access boot.ini.

Try rt click it in Disk Management an assign the next available drive letter.

Or open an elevated cmd and type:

C:\Windows\system32>DISKPART {enter}


Disk 0 is now the selected disk.


Partition 1 is now the selected partition.



leaving Diskpart...

Close cmd prompt

You will probably find it says something like this:

;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows 7 boot options.
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Windows XP" /FASTDETECT /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN

There is one here if you need it :

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 I have Dual Boot problems (Win 7 & XP)

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