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Windows 7: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop

27 Mar 2019   #31
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 

Okay, will do. Will aim to copy and post up the two other BCD stores which evidently reside in the Recovery and System Reserved partitions. Do we know which one(s) are actually being used to manage the current boot process? Will all three have to be edited?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Mar 2019   #32
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote:
Do we know which one(s) are actually being used
Not until I see the other two.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2019   #33
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 

Okay - thanks for hanging in there... it's late night here now, I think I'll have to take a break and tackle the copying of those other two BCDs tomorrow. Should I push on and edit the BCD you've seen before you check out these other two? Just wondering if after seeing the other two there will need to be further changes (cart before horse situation?).


Take your point about this being child's play. But this is a bit like learning how to ride a bike: the experienced rider can do it easily, even with no hands. The novice wobbles a lot until he gets the hang of it. That's how I feel when asked to use command prompts and to edit BCD!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Mar 2019   #34
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 
identifying and editing BCD files

Next instalment in the saga....

I think (or hope) I have copied and zipped up the other two BCDs. Here they are...

First, the bcd from the Recovery partition (Q:) which I have labelled "bcd-copyQ"

bcd-copyQ.zip

Second, the bcd from the System Reserved partition (which already had the letter D: assigned), so it is labelled "bcd-copyD"

bcd-copyD.zip

I'll be interested to learn what these two reveal - and which is actually being used in the current boot process. Presumably that will help in figuring out what editing needs to be done to all three BCDs?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2019   #35
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

I'll have a look.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2019   #36
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

The boot menu entries you get at startup are not in any of those bcd files. The logical conclusion is a machine malfunction - most likely keyboard.

Key malfunctions are not uncommon on laptops.

Lenovo Thinkpad T430 Keyboard removal - YouTube

How to Change Thinkpad T430 Keyboard - YouTube
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2019   #37
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 

Well that's an unexpected twist in the tale!

I have to say I'm finding it hard to grasp the logic. How can a keyboard or machine fault (physical or hardware malfunction) be responsible for the sequence of screens that appear during the boot-up process?

The only key pressed during the current boot process is the 'Power On' button - which works fine. No other key is touched as the sequence of screens goes from the initial ThinkPad logo, to the weird 'Boot Normally or Restore System Image' screen, to the momentary black screen with green wording, to the 'Win7 starting' splash logo screen. So how might a faulty keyboard be to blame?

As I understand it the boot sequence is - or should be - fairly straightforward. In very simplistic terms, the theory is that after the initial POST stage, the BCD (in the MBR?) then fires up, and passes the action on to the Windows Boot Manager which then activates the boot loader (where there is a single OS) or which (in a dual boot) shows a list of options including the other OS , or diagnostic mode or whatever, from which the user has to choose. That then fires up the relevant bootloader.

So one of the BCDs must be driving the current bootup of this Lenovo laptop. But the original and obvious questions remain. For example:

1. Which of the three BCDs we seem to have found is actually involved in the current boot process?

2. Is it normal to have three BCDs? There is one in the System Reserved (MBR?) partition, which is surely to be expected. There is one in the Win7 OS (C:) partition - why? And there is one in the Recovery partition (is this necessary in order to fire up the Recovery process and restore the system image?).

3. Since we can see that at least one of the BCDs has entries for the Windows Boot Manager and the Windows Boot Loader, why do they apparently not form part of the boot-up sequence?

4. Is there still a need - or any point - in amending that BCD, or either of the others, since it has already been established (in post #23) that there is a problem with the "device locate" entry (which may be taking the process to a specific data location .... where it stops.... thus perhaps preventing the usual onward sequence into bootmgr and bootloader etc??)

5. Are there other entries in any or all of the existing three BCDs which are unorthodox and ought to be changed? Such as (for example (ref post #23 again) the ramdiskSDIdevice setting?

I do apologise for setting this out in what may be imprecise or inexpert terms. But I'm still a profound non-expert, and I'm just trying to be systematic and methodical in attempting to figure out the cause(s) of the unusual boot behaviour.

Surely at least part of the problem has to be about how the MBR/BCD/Boot Manager/Bootloaders are configured?


6. One other point still unexplained. None of the three BCDs apparently has an "entry" which relates to the mysterious/weird/annoying (Boot Normally or Restore System Image) screen which appears during the boot process. Okay. But as noted in my post #29, when I explored the files in the C: partition and the Recovery partition which I could read using a text editor, I found in each of them a menu.lst file which contained exactly the wording, and formatting instructions, which appear in that weird screen. So what is that menu.lst file, and how/why is it activated as part of the bootup sequence?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2019   #38
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote:
1. Which of the three BCDs we seem to have found is actually involved in the current boot process?
The first one you posted which you got by exporting the {current} bcd store

Quote:
2. Is it normal to have three BCDs? There is one in the System Reserved (MBR?) partition, which is surely to be expected. There is one in the Win7 OS (C:) partition - why? And there is one in the Recovery partition (is this necessary in order to fire up the Recovery process and restore the system image?).
Yes, there is nothing strange about having several bcd stores.

The MBR is not "in a partition", it is right at the beginning of the disk.

The bcd store has to be on the partition marked Active, for Bootmgr to find it. That is why there is one on your win7 partition.

OEM's will vary in their recovery options, but it is not uncommon for the recovery process to use the bcd store on the recovery partition.

Quote:
3. Since we can see that at least one of the BCDs has entries for the Windows Boot Manager and the Windows Boot Loader, why do they apparently not form part of the boot-up sequence?
They do, otherwise you would not be able to boot. I would advise you to change the entries in the {current} store using the commands I posted.

Quote:
4. Is there still a need - or any point - in amending that BCD
Yes, I advise you make to changes to the {current } bcd store that is why I posted the commands. I didn't do it it just because I enjoy typing.

Quote:
5. Are there other entries in any or all of the existing three BCDs which are unorthodox and ought to be changed?
If you wish, you can make corrections to the bcd store on the recovery partition, it doesn't seem to point at a bootable wim - which is what it should do. That should allow you the possibility to mark the recovery partition Active, then boot into the recovery process - should the need arise.

But you will need to find the paths to the bootable wim and the boot.sdi file on the recovery partition because they are needed for the bcd entry.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Mar 2019   #39
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 
Still looking for clues

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post

I would advise you to change the entries in the {current} store using the commands I posted....... that is why I posted the commands. I didn't do it it just because I enjoy typing.
Yes sir, will do! Just that I'm a believer in two wise maxims. 'Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted', and the carpenter's approach, 'measure twice, cut once'.

In between forum-posts I've been continuing my efforts at non-destructive exploration: trying to look into, and learn about, the booting arrangements without actually changing (=cutting!) anything.

Belatedly, I realised there was a way, using my digital camera, of capturing exactly what appears on the sequence of screens when I boot up the Lenovo laptop. I attach the sequence of four screenshots which show each and all of the screens that appear. It starts with the ThinkPad logo when I power up...
Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop-lenovo-boot-screen-1-thinkpad-logo.jpg


then comes the "weird and mysterious" screen...


Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop-lenovo-boot-screen-2-boot-restore-image.jpg

and for a fleeting moment, this screen which finally I've been able to capture and read


Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop-lenovo-boot-screen-3-brief-glimpse.jpg

after that, it goes into a familiar starting screen


Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop-lenovo-boot-screen-4-starting-windows.jpg

So I have, finally, been able to capture the screen which flashes up only for a nanosecond (it is the third image, above). I wonder if the info it contains is useful? The image isn't brilliantly sharp, but it looks like the boot is happening from drive=0x00 or maybe 0x80, and partition=0x0 (hidden sectors 0x 800 or maybe 0x600).

Is it significant that that display screen says it is "booting the NTLDR" ? I'm hazy on detail, but I thought that NTLDR was for booting WinXP, and that Vista, Win7 and later had different "architecture" for the boot manager and boot loader.

I'm groping in the dark here - but does this connect in any way with the discovery (see point 6 in my earlier post #37 ) that there are menu.lst text files, which have the text and configuration of that mysterious 'Boot or Restore Image' screen (second image above), in a couple of the partitions on this system. Is the boot process using NTLDR and going to the screen provided by menu.lst, rather than doing what a Win7 BCD/Boot Manager/Boot loader would normally do? Does that explain why (see below) the attempt to edit the BCD seems to have failed?

Do those screen images help with figuring out why the boot process is unusual? At least it shows exactly what I see.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Mar 2019   #40
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 
More exploration and reconnaissance

I have tried one other angle. I have a software tool on a USB called SuperGrub2Disk. It is basically a Linux/Grub tool for booting up installed systems (Windows or Linux) when they won't otherwise boot. It has no editing power. But it can reveal detailed info about the operating systems and boot manager(s) on a computer. So I ran it. It listed all the bootloaders it could find on the computer. I attach an image which shows that list. Basically it confirms what we know: that there are three Windows bootloaders, and one Linux Mint Grub.

Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop-lenovo-supergrub2disk-list-resized.jpg

I thought the location info might means something. I'm not too clever at reading and understanding the hdX, msdosX notation and working out what this actually means in terms of the different partitions, but by clicking on each entry I can look at what comes up as the boot screen display. Here are the results for the Windows boot entries:

hd1, msdos1 - goes directly into Win7 - straight to the Windows splash/logo screen, no boot menus.

hd1, msdos2 - is clearly the recovery partition one. It shows a progress bar "Windows is loading files", then up comes a dire warning screen asking if you really want to delete everything and restore the OS image - see this screenshot!

Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop-lenovo-supergrub2disk-warning-resized.jpg




hd1, msdos3 - brings up (hooray!) a Windows Boot Manager screen (see image below) which offers the choice of Win7 or Linux Mint. This is obviously the BCD/boot manager which EasyBCD has already edited to add Linux Mint; and it is the screen I would have wanted and expected to see all along!

Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop-lenovo-supergrub2disk-win-boot-mgr-resized.jpg

Is hd1, msdos3 the Win7 (C:) partition and hd1, msdos1 the MBR/System Reserved one?

So it seems to me the challenge is to figure out how to ensure that the 'normal' boot process doesn't go to that weird screen with "Boot Normally or Restore Image", but rather goes to, or through, that route which fires up the bootloader on hd1,msdos3 and so offers the dual boot Win7 or Linux Mint options.

Maybe the long-recommended editing of the BCD which I should have done will deliver this?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop




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