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Windows 7: Lost boot loader / bcd entirely

06 Jul 2010   #1

Lost boot loader / bcd entirely

Hi Guys,

I've routinely dual booted Linux and Windows over the years, but yesterday I hit a bit of a snag. I had Win7 and Vista both installed on a single hard disk. Since it had been awhile since I had booted Vista I decided to delete the partition and install Linux there. What I did not realize is that when I installed 7 it left the BCD on the Vista partition. So, when I installed Linux I effectively blew away my Windows boot loader.

I've tried a hundred things at this point without much luck, including the "nuclear holocaust" / manual rebuild of BCD from:

Recovering the Vista Bootloader from the DVD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

A few questions / thoughts from my google searches:

* Is there anything needed in /boot other than the BCD?

* I am wondering if the "active" / "boot" partition flag is causing me trouble. When I was trying to rebuild the BCD manually using bcdedit i was getting errors that the partition was not flagged active. I tried to use diskpart to flag it active but it said that the partition type was not valid for the active flag? I was able to set it active using the Linux gparted partition manager, but I can't understand why diskpart would not flag it.

* Is it possible to have your \boot on a different partition then \Windows? The recovery console is mapping C: to my "applications" drive and D: to my "system" drive which contains \Windows. I was wondering if I need to put \boot on C: instead of D:

Thanks for help / answers to any of these questions, i'm at wits end with this thing!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2010   #2


If you are keeping Linux you should use GRUB to manage the Dual Boot.

If not, the procedure to repair or recover the System MBR into WIn7 is to mark it active, boot the Win7 DVD Repair console or Repair CD, click through to Recovery Tools list to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots.

All bootrec and bootsect commands are automated in Win7 Startup Repair as well as dozens of tests.

Partition - Mark as Active
Startup Repair
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2010   #3


Thanks Greg. The big issue I had was diskpart not being able to mark the partition as Active. I just read somewhere that this is likely caused by the partition being logical and not primary. I am going to try to convert the partition to primary and try the automated recovery again.

GRUB doesn't even detect the Windows Install for some reason, not sure if this is because the boot files are missing from that Windows partition. I'm going to see if I can get Windows to boot first and if I get that far try GRUB again...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Jul 2010   #4


Use free Partition Wizard bootable CD to Modify>Convert to Primary the Win7 partition, Modify> mark as Active.

Then run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots until Win7 starts.

Keep in mind that GRUB will interfere with Win7 install or repair and sometimes must be cleaned off its partition or the HD. PW CD can handle either of these tasks. Rightclick on partition to Wipe Partition or click Disk tab to Wipe HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2010   #5


Thanks again.

Making the partition primary now allows the Windows recovery CD to find the install in its correct location, previously it couldn't find it at all. After I did that I ran the recovery twice and botht imes it said it fixed something. However, I am still unable to boot (BIOS gives me a disk read error press ctrl + alt + del) and now the recovery tool says it found nothing wrong. Strangely it also said that i last booted succesfully a few hours ago which doesn't make much sense...

I was going to try removing GRUB from the Linux partition but it sounds like the wipe command you mentioned will completely wipe out the partition?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2010   #6


Did you mark Win7 active after converting it to Primary? Use the PW CD.

Then back into the Win7 DVD, click through to Recovery tools list to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots. Ignore any distracting messages as it needs to go through all of is legion of tests, then try repairing, then write the MBR.

As I am not a Linux guy, I cannot advise you any more than that it corrupts Win7 installs and must be cleaned from its partition or the HD to overcome it in most cases. However there are issues discussed here that might help you sort it better:
Fixed Windows - But Now Grub is Gone?
Where to install ubuntu in my system?

If you dont' want to wipe Linux then you might consider saving it as an image with free Macrium Reflect or Paragon 10 apps, then wipe the partition, try again recovering the System MBR into Win7, then reimage or reinstall Linux and try first to add it to a Dual Boot using the new Linux tab on EasyBCD 2.0 beta Add/Remove utility, or use GRUB.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Lost boot loader / bcd entirely

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