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Windows 7: Earlier Version of Windows - edit sub menu

11 Mar 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Earlier Version of Windows - edit sub menu

I have a minimal installation of Windows XP here, since I had to install it before I could "upgrade" to Windows 7. In addition, I have partitions which contain an exact copy of my old Win2K and WinXP installations (using Paragon Hard Disk Manager).

The OS Selections menu on boot up shows both "Windows 7" and "Earlier Version of Windows", but only Windows 7 shows in EasyBCD or msconfig when running on Windows 7. If I select "Earlier Version of Windows" I get another sub menu with my minimal WinXP, then 4 identical selections of "Microsoft WinXP", and finally one for the old Win2K and WinXP in their individual partitions. The first 5 boot successfully into my minimal WinXP. Neither of the last 2 will boot successfully, though I was hoping to eventually enable them using EasyBCD.

I tried running msconfig in WinXP. This does show the full set of secondary selections, but there is no option to remove any of the entries there. I cannot find a boot.ini file in any partition on the HDD. Where is this secondary selection menu hiding, and how do I get rid of the things there that are not functional?

Thanks for your help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Mar 2011   #2
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello Sherry0, welcome to Seven Forums!

Before we make any specific recommendations will you please post a snip/screen-shot of the entire disk management drive map with a full description as to which drive/partition is which, so we can see what you actually have going.

In the Windows start menu right click computer and click manage, in the left pane of the "Computer Management" window that opens click disk management and post a snip of that.

How to Upload and Post a Screenshot and File in Seven Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I use the computer for a variety of different activities, and prefer to segregate files/applications on separate partitions.

Y: is the original minimal WinXP on partition 1
C: is my current Win7 OS drive on partition 2
D:, E:, K: (partitions 3, 4, 5) are dedicated work partitions
U: (partition 6) is an archive of programs and data from the old computer
W: (partition 7) is the archive of my old, old computer's Win2K
X: (partition 8) is the archive of my old computer's WinXP.
There's currently some unallocated space between partitions 7 & 8 which will be merged into partition 8 so I can boot into WinXP with enough head space to occasionally run tests which require a native OS there.

I'm not exactly sure why the last two partitions will not boot. They should be clones of the original OS partitions from the old computer's HDD. I was planning to try to use the WinXP install media to run a repair on partition 8 to try to get it into bootable state. And if that works, do the same with the original install media for Win2K.

I'd like to get the boot manager issues fixed up before I do any additional configuration, but again, there does not seem to be a boot.ini file in sight, and msconfig on WinXP will not let me delete entries, or even rename them. It only lets me move them up/down in the list.


Attached Thumbnails
Earlier Version of Windows - edit sub menu-cm_partitions.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Mar 2011   #4
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello Sherry.

You have so much going on, let's do this to see how it sorts out.

The boot repair utility is automated in Windows 7 now so the first thing to do is see if Windows 7 will repair the boot situation on its own.

First as outlined in Option One of this tutorial at the link below, assuming you have a Windows 7 installation disk or a created repair disk mark the Windows 7 partition as Active then run the 3 separate startup repairs with the separate restarts to write the system boot files to the Windows 7 partition.

Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times

BTW you don't have to actually have an earlier version of Windows installed to do a clean install of Windows 7, you just have to own it.

Do a Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version

Be sure to post back here with an update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I did the Startup Repair as suggested (3 times, even though it reported no problems after the first time). That removed the "Earlier Version of Windows" option from the main boot menu. Since I really don't need/want that, and it seems I would not have had the installation problems I had if I had done the initial install without checking the "Automatically activate Windows when I'm online", I removed my minimal WinXP install partition and made sure everything would reboot into Win7.

Then I removed and re-copied the WinXP partition from my old hard drive using Paragon's Hard Drive Manager, making sure the X: partition was a primary partition. It's now partition 2 on HDD 0. This reported scanning the drive for versions of Windows, and updating the partition letters in the system hive on HDD 0, partitions 0, 1 and 7. I wish I knew exactly where these "system hives" are located, but the result of this operation was the creation of a new entry in the main boot menu, with a secondary selection menu of
Windows XP on W:
Windows XP on X:
(Of course, it really is Windows 2000 on W:, and Windows XP on X:)

Note that I also copied and ntldr into the root of the X: partition, based on other things I have read about dual-boot issues. Unfortunately, selecting either of these secondary options results in a black screen with text complaining that the following file is missing or corrupt.
System root \System32\ntoskrnl.exe
In fact, the file does exist in that location on both the Win2K and WinXP partitions.

Then I tried using EasyBCD to add another selection to the main boot menu. The details from that utility now show the following:

There are a total of 3 entries listed in the bootloader.

Default: Microsoft Windows 7
Timeout: 10 seconds
EasyBCD Boot Device: C:\

Entry #1
Name: Microsoft Windows 7
BCD ID: {current}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

Entry #2
Name: Other Windows OS (scanned)
BCD ID: {873b7d02-4e8b-11e0-8a02-20cf307ed7e2}
Drive: X:\
Bootloader Path: \ntldr

Entry #3
Name: Windows XP (ezBCD)
BCD ID: {873b7d03-4e8b-11e0-8a02-20cf307ed7e2}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \NST\easyldr2

Unfortunately selecting this new option in the main boot menu does not boot WinXP either. This time what I get is the WinXP welcome screen for a few seconds, followed by the equivalent of a reset which results in the computer starting over from POST.

I don't need to boot Win2K, but I do need access to a native WinXP. I would rather not have the boot process dependent on EasyBCD tools. It seems I need to somehow edit these "system hives" but I have no idea how. Does bcdedit itself have access to these?

Thanks for your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2011   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Hi Sherry,

The system hive is in Windows\System32\Config.

I don't recommend digging around in there.

If we can see a new Disk Management screenie showing your present situation - we may be able to advise how to get a 7/xp dual boot going.

This bcd xp entry should be pointing at the system partition.

Name: Windows XP (ezBCD)

I assume you have named your system partition X from the earlier screenie.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2011   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

If by "pointing at the system partition", you mean the Win7 system partition - that is still C:. It's the same general approach -
C: = Win7 system installation
X: = prior WinXP system installation (for dual-boot)
D:, E:, K: = segregated work
U: = archive old programs/data
W: = archive old Win2K installation
I've dropped the unnecessary Y: = minimal WinXP install, and both C: and X: are primary partitions.

I would rather not have my boot sequence permanently bound to EasyBCD. I prefer to get the EasyBCD programs (\NST\easyldr2) out of the mix, and I assume I will need to use the bcdedit command line to do this, which is fine as long as I understand what the commands are doing. Since the Paragon HDM seems to fish for Windows installations every time it alters the hard drive, it's looking like I will need to do the fixup any time I need to re-partition things again.

I'm still a little confused about how this all fits together. Seems it's still NTLDR doing the work for prior Windows systems, but there is no longer any boot.ini to hold the metadata. Can bcdedit, running from Win7, update the system hive which contains the secondary menu of prior windows versions, or is there something I will need to do from WinXP (assuming I can eventually get it to boot)?

In addition, the warning about needing to change the Registry as a workaround to avoid losing restore points when WinXP boots makes the dual-boot scenario seem fragile at best. Perhaps I should plan to keep the old WinXP box around and just use it (with the original OS installed) as my occasional test platform.

Guess I have to ask if Win7/WinXP dual-boot is really worth the trouble or risk?

I really appreciate the help.

Attached Thumbnails
Earlier Version of Windows - edit sub menu-cm_partitions_2.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2011   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Hi Sherry,

All your boot files need to be on C:

bootmgr and boot folder ( for win 7 ) are there already.

ntldr, and boot .ini ( for xp ) also need to be on C.

The boot.ini entry needs to point at XP

like this:

Extract the zip and copy all 3 files directly onto c: - overwrite if prompted.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

To set up the bcd entry, open an elevated command prompt, and type, or copy and paste (press enter after each line )

bcdedit /delete {ntldr} /f

bcdedit /create {ntldr} -d "Windows XP"

bcdedit /set {ntldr} device boot

bcdedit /set {ntldr} path \ntldr

bcdedit /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2011   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

OK, that explains a bit more about how this fits together. I can remove EasyBCD now since boot no longer depends on it.

I still can't get WinXP to successfully boot, though. It still seems to do a reset right after displaying the welcome screen. I can get it to boot into Safe Mode from the selections presented as a result of the Windows failure, but there is no keyboard or mouse after Windows starts. Safe Mode with logging seems to get stuck while loading drivers, so I have to conclude that there's a big enough difference in hardware between the old and new machines that the drivers in the old WinXP installation are not good enough.

I guess I'll just keep the old Dell 8100 around as a test machine with a minimal WinXP installed there. Simpler all around and no risk of damaging my Win7 when booting WinXP.

Thanks very much for your assistance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Earlier Version of Windows - edit sub menu

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