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Windows 7: What is default location for BCD on a dual disk system?

28 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7
What is default location for BCD on a dual disk system?

If I were to install Win 7 on a clean dual hard drive system, where would the BCD be located?

I think I can recall one case where Win 7 went onto a single drive system (where BCD can only be on C) only to find BCD moved to D drive when a second drive was plugged in.

These kinds of issues can bring a backup / restore strategy to it's knees. I've had a case where I could restore everything but the BCD, may as well have had no backup because the restored image could not be booted!

Can the BCD be bolted down to a specific drive? Or, is there a smarter way to handle the BCD from a backup perspective?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jul 2012   #2


It will reside on the System Active boot partition. If you install to a blank HD or delete all partitions during install, it will be on the 100mb System Reserved partition. This is rarely a problem.

Unplug all other HD's during any install or repair operation.

If you pre-partition the HD using a manager like Partition Wizard, installer cannot create the 100mb boot partition so the System Active boot files will reside on C.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jul 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

The bootmgr and BCD can reside on any disk or partition.

1. If you make a clean install with a single clean disk, it will be in the system partition.

2. If you make a clean install on a multi disk system, it ends up on the disk with the lowest port number.

3. If you make a double boot installation, it will end up on the active partition of the already existing OS.

4. If you buy an OEM system, it may be on the recovery partition (e.g. on some Dell systems).

5. etc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Jul 2012   #4

Windows 7 x64

I suppose to say it another way, the boot files will be placed on the drive listed as primary in the bios. The OS will go wherever you specify.

Gregrocker's suggestion to remove all other drives, eliminates the possibility of confusion. If you are forced to leave both drives connected, the second install's boot info will be incorporated with the first, unless you change the drive order in the bios.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jul 2012   #5

Windows 7

Thanks all. I think I have that now. However, I remain confused with regards backups. Does Windows backup and restore include the boot files / BCD in a system image regardless of where they are located?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jul 2012   #6
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

Windows imaging does also image the partition with the bootmgr (and any other partition that may contain system files - e.g. if you moved the pagefile or program files to another disk). If it is the 100MB partition, no problem. But if due to bad luck your bootmgr resides on a 500GB partition that contains a lot of data, that partition will also be imaged in full - and eventually restored.

So you really want to know from the outset what you are doing - or use a more sensible imaging tool like free Macrium where you can control things yourself.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 What is default location for BCD on a dual disk system?

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