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Windows 7: Windows 7 dual-boot upgrade killed XP partition

15 Dec 2009   #1

XP, Windows 7
Windows 7 dual-boot upgrade killed XP partition

No really, bear with me, its not the usual gotchas.

I read about this a bit beforehand, and followed techspot's basic upgrade guide:
Dual Boot Windows 7 with XP/Vista in three easy steps - TechSpot

My boot drive is a 120Gb Samsung spinpoint, previously one whole partition containing XP. This XP wasnt a clean install, it was an upgrade to Windows 98 I think, and this may be the problem. I have a number of other hard disks, 1 PATA and 2 SATA, which I am using for video editing stuff.

I downloaded GParted, shrunk the XP partition to 76Gb and created a new 35Gb partition for Windows 7. A bit small, but I figured once everything was tested out, I could grow out the Windows 7 partition.

This was successful, and I inserted the Windows 7 disk...selected custom install, and installed to my newly created partition.

Windows 7 did its reboots and I filled in the usual bunff to create basic accounts, etc.

Then I rebooted, and was a bit surprised I did not get the dual-boot menu, it went straight into W7. Using F5 and F8 did not provide any further options, specifically the 'Previous version of Windows' one.

Going into W7 Disk manager, i could see the partition was still there. I read other posts of what W7 does (belately) and yes, it had 'hidden' the XP partition. I gave it a drive letter (D:), but W7 saw it as an empty disk!

I downloaded EasyBCD, and it showed only one entry in the bootloader. I tried to add a new entry, using type:"Windows NT/2k/XP/2k3", but the Drive was greyed out; if I selected "Vista/Longhorn" I could then change the drive to D: and then change type back to XP (odd). I then clicked 'Add Entry', but it came back with an error message "EasyBCD could not locate a copy of NTLDR on your hard drive. Please download a copy of NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM from Htpp://(blah blah) and copy them to the drive D:\ in order for your newly-created entry to work.".

Does this mean my XP partition is truly trashed? Is there a way to get back my XP partition?

I am thinking of maybe inserting the XP disk and repairing, maybe it will detect XP and fix it, but if it will blow away both my installations, I might not bother.

Last resort is to use File Scavenger on the dead partition, but when I checked it out in GParted again just now, it said that 3Gb out of the 76Gb had data, could it be that W7 has just not recognised my original XP partition as an XP partition, thought it was its configuration partition, and just overwrote stuff?

Please, any advice gratefully received...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2009   #2
Microsoft MVP


First download the latest version of EasyBCD with automated diagnostics: Attachment 42143 Try again adding XP.

Then post a screenshot of your EasyBCD listings and full Disk Management drive map. Use Snipping Tool in Start Menu, attach files using paper clip in reply box.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Dec 2009   #3

XP, Windows 7
Windows 7 dual-boot upgrade killed XP partition

Hey gregrocker,

Thanks for the quick reply and the link. I downloaded the EasyBCD 2.0 beta and oddly enough, when I first ran it up, it had the XP entry already configured! The 2.0 setup removed the prior one, so I couldn't check what that said; if you want I could reinstall it.

Anyway here is the configuration from EasyBCD attached.

So I rebooted the machine, and selected Windows XP, and got the following (which I kind of expected):

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:
1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.
2. choose your language settings, and then click "Next".
3. Click "Repair your computer".
If you do not have this disc, contact your systems administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.
File: \NTLDR
Status: 0xc000000f
Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.
I have also attached the diskmap as requested. Here D: was my original XP partition, and C: is my now new W7 partition (as W7 likes to do).

I had run File Scavenger to get what I could from the XP partition; thankfully I saved most of my data on separate disks, but silly things like my bookmarks and documents in Documents and Settings which I had been lax about needed to come off. I managed to scavenge most files, although some came back with being overwritten, and some errors on volumes (File Scavenger could see the raw data on disk, but clearly the MBR or whatever was screwed).

So, it DOES look like Windows 7 thought the XP partition was simply empty, and was overwrittable? GParted seems to confirm this by showing 3Gb out of the 76Gb as used, the rest empty. W7 has truly trashed my XP! I could run a repair as it suggests, but I have a 95% feeling that that would truly screw up the W7 data, judging by some other posts here on how W7 handles its partitioning.

Do you agree, or is there something else clever I can do? At a pinch I can survive without the XP, but its a pain to reinstall all the video editing stuff to a workable standard (actually the most annoying thing is that Call of Duty had some problem running, and reset all my stats). I am sure I will find all kinds of stuff over the next few days that I took for granted on XP! Amazing how many tools you collect when you play with video editing...


PS. If the XP is in fact truly screwed, can I use GParted to reclaim some of that 76Gb and give it to the W7 partition? Would that work or would W7 get confused? What would be the minimum W7 needs, I recall seeing somewhere it doesnt need a lot, just a few hundred Mb?

Attached Thumbnails
Windows 7 dual-boot upgrade killed XP partition-diskmap.png  
Attached Images
Windows 7 dual-boot upgrade killed XP partition-easybcd_2.0_beta.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Dec 2009   #4
Microsoft MVP


Windows 7 didn't do anything to your XP partiition. Win7 installed to second partition on DISK0 exactly as you pointed it.

If XP failed to boot up afterwards, it needed to be added using EasyBCD, still does according to the Easy screenshot. But I don't know what is left to add if you have "scavenged" XP as you say. Try it anyway. Use the Add/Remove tab and attempt to add XP to see if it will then start up,.

If not, your options are to reinstall XP to the first partition or run a repair install on the XP which is there (proceed as if to install until CD discovers installation then choose "R" for repair, not the first "R" offered at bootup), then add it to the boot menu using EasyBCD per normal. Or install it to another HD to make it more independent by unplugging Win7 HD while it is being installed. You would then choose which to boot in your BIOS boot order defaults, or by tapping the BIOS Boot Menu F-key given on the first bootup screen.

If you choose the latter, or to abandon XP altogether, we can help you recover the first partition space on DISK0 into Win7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2009   #5

XP, Windows 7

Hi again gregrocker,

Perhaps the debug EasyBCD screen didnt show it, but it HAD added the XP entry. I could select it at bootup (either XP or W7). But, because (I think) W7 thought the partition did not contain a valid Windows OS, it had 'restructured' it to be its own partition info location (all 76 Gb of it!), so the bootloader could not find an NTLDR in that partition. As I said, GParted showed the first 3Gb as used, the rest 'empty', to me, meaning the file structure for that partition had been modified.

What I didnt say before was that Scavenger also found some new files which I assume W7 put there, consistent with DOS-like reformat commands and the like, which I know were not there before. It really does look like W7 thought it was an empty, usable partition. Just for my info, if it DID recognise my XP partition, and it did see the new one I created for it, would it still want to create another small partition for its 'other info'? I hear it likes to create a small partition to hold essential files, but I dont understand the details.

Disk Scavenger doesnt change any data on the source disk, it just tries to get files from a partition even if the MBR is missing. Its a pretty good tool, saved me more than once. The XP data is still there on the disk (whats left of it), scavenging the files was just my insurance. I copied what I found useful to another disk, in case my position was unrecoverable.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2009   #6
Microsoft MVP


Well boot from the XP CD and see if there is an installation to Repair install using the second repair prompt, not the first "R" for repair offered.

Win7 will only write its own MBR into the XP partition to replace the XP one, as I understand it. That might be what you found. It can be repaired/rewritten by running Startup Repair repeatedly from the Win7 DVD repair console.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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