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Windows 7: Triple boot setup (Linux, Win7, WinXP); XP reports NTLDR missing

01 May 2014   #1

LMDE, Win7 x64
Triple boot setup (Linux, Win7, WinXP); XP reports NTLDR missing

After considerable tinkering I've managed to properly partition and install three operating systems in my netbook - Linux Mint Debian Edition, which I use normally; Windows 7, which I use when I need some Windows-specific application that is unavailable in Linux; and Windows XP, which I use (disconnected from the Internet) to interface with some old hardware that has no drivers available for 7 and won't work properly in virtualization.

The last round of tinkering resulted in me finally configuring grub2 properly, so I can now select and boot all three partitions. However, while LMDE and 7 run fine, trying to boot XP results in a "NTLDR is missing" error.

How do I fix this while leaving the rest of the boot procedure untouched? I've tried Googling and applied the found solutions, but they all rewrite the MBR. I can then easily restore grub2, but I lose the ability to boot 7. And if I then restore boot ability to 7 (from the install disc) and re-restore grub2, I again lose XP.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2014   #2
Microsoft MVP


This is a Windows forum. We pioneered many of the fixes for Win7, which may not apply here since you are asking about GRUB.

In a typical XP-Win7 Dual boot where Win7 is installed second the Win7 installer only updates the boot files on XP to boot Win7. Then to add Linux what works best is here: Dual boot Ubuntu-Win7

Normally to re-establish a failed Windows boot menu what works best is to Mark Win7 Partition Active then run Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times. This moves the System flag and boot files to Win7 or its' System Reserved partition so the more modern OS is booting the system, and the multi-faceted repair checks and fixes many other parameters.

You can then install EasyBCD to add XP to a Dual Boot. EasyBCD (click Download - no Name or Email required)

However since you're relying on GRUB it may require a Linux solution and not Windows, unless you want to add the Linux distro per Dual boot Ubuntu-Win7.

Another method is here to Dual Boot - Windows 7 and Linux - Windows 7 Forums whose author may be able to help you better if contacted through the comments section.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2014   #3

Linux Debian 7.7.0 64 bits

My system
3 SATA hard drives

My system hard drives and partitioning:
SCSI3 sda 82.0GB Windows XP
#1 primary 81.9GB Bootable ntfs
SCSI4 sdb 82.3GB Windows 7
#1 primary 82.3GB ntfs
SCSI5 sdc 160.0GB Debian 7.7.0
#1 primary 10.0GB ext4 /
#5 logical 6.0GB swap swap
#6 logical 144.0GB ext4 /home

Installation process:
1.- Install Win XP first
2.- then install Win 7. Select the [EMS enabled] booting option at the beginning of the installation
3.- finally install GNU/Linux. When asked for the installation of GRUB in the MBR (Master Boot Record) say yes.

During booting Grub will ask for Debian 7.7.0 Wheezy or for Windows 7 (NO Windows XP option is shown), if you select the WinDogs option, the Windows bootloader will be charged and will let you choose between Win 7 or Win XP

Enjoy with GNU/Linux!
... or suffer with the other guys...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

15 Nov 2014   #4

LMDE, Win7 x64

This is a bit of a necropost, but just in case someone stumbles upon this and has the same problem, I found a bunch of boot files in the root of the Win7 install that looked more old-school than I expected (autoexec.bat and such). I moved them over to the XP partition's root directory and that caused XP to boot again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Nov 2014   #5
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

LOL - that's a good one. Have to know how to help yourself. Congratulations. None of us would have guessed that this is the solution.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Triple boot setup (Linux, Win7, WinXP); XP reports NTLDR missing

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