Post by Paul Post by JBI
I've been using a Win 7/ XP dual boot configuration with each OS on
a different hard drive. I select at boot up which OS to go into.
Now, one drive has gone bad (unable to read/ write). I removed it,
but now I get a message about selecting proper drive to boot or
insert a boot disk at startup. I tried reselecting the remaining
drive in the BIOS and the boot up menu and I still get the same
message. This is for my drive with XP that I used singly for years
before I reconfigured to dual boot. My guess is that when I added
the drive with Win 7 on it, I must have placed the dual boot
program on there also. How can I now get the XP drive to boot the
way it used to by itself? Thanks.
The first questions are physical.
I don't need to ask any questions, if your two drives are SATA.
If the two drives are IDE, they could be sharing a cable,
they could be master/slave/cable_select. If you remove
a drive from a two-drive cable setup, you *may* need to
correct the jumpers.
Please indicate whether you need info on how to set up
IDE drives. IDE is the "wide ribbon cable" thing. SATA
by comparison, is the narrow red one, with only seven contacts
on the data cable.
Always unplug *all* the other hard drives before installing an OS.
Then, the OS install can only "damage" the disk you think it's
So if your intention was to have a Win7 disk, completely
independent of the WinXP disk, you'd unplug the WinXP disk
before installing Win7.
Now, later, if you wanted a "dual boot menu" in your Windows 7,
only one BIOS boot disk setting, you would then use "EasyBCD" to
add the second OS. You would point the BIOS to the Win7 drive
(with dual boot BCD entries), and either OS could be launched
If the Win7 drive dies, yes, the BCD on its drive is lost.
But the boot.ini on the WinXP C: drive was never removed, and
In fact, I'm having trouble imaging how this happened, as
it's really pretty hard to foul up that setup. It would hav
taken the Windows 7 install putting System Reserved on the
WinXP drive, to ruin it. That's about the only way I know
of to ruin it.
OK, let's discuss fixing it.
You will always need some sort of tools to do the fixes with.
A WinXP installer CD is one possible tool, and it has a couple
of things that are harder to find elsewhere.
| <-- MBR -------->| <---------------- C: -------------------->|
| Boot | Partition | Partition boot.ini rest of WinXP C: |
| Code | Table | Boot Record |
^ ^ ^ ^
| | | |
"fixmbr" | "fixboot" "more C:\boot.ini"
Set (to read this file)
For "fixmbr" and "Fixboot", you'll need your WinXP installer CD.
Find the recipe for getting into repair mode. You will be prompted
for the administrator password. The target partitions are numbered.
You'll be typing "1" to select the only partition with winXP on it,
then entering the Administrator password.
Once there, you run "fixmbr" to repair the tiny fraction
of a sector of boot code on the MBR.
You enter "fixboot" to repair the PBR, where the PBR is
as much as 1536 bytes of information or so. It'll probably
ask to confirm that you want that on C: .
The "diskpart" one, looks pretty easy.
list disk # only one disk called disk 0
select disk 0 # select the only disk in the menu
list partition # The partition size is your hint of
select partition 1 # My first partition is WinXP
detail partition # How you find out stuff, with
Type : 07
Hidden : No
Active : No <=== Oops, OK, we need to fix this
Active # This makes the currently selected
# the active one
detail partition # now we check it again
Type : 07
Hidden : No
Active : Yes <=== OK, C: is ready to boot (or close
exit # All done
To edit the boot.ini is going to be more of a challenge.
I would avoid the following section entirely, and just
try and boot the WinXP drive after the above have been
applied. If it still won't boot, you can work on it.
Editing the boot.ini really should not be necessary at all,
first of all.
The "ARC" should point at the partition we were working on
in the diskpart step. You can see my boot.ini is pointed at
Disk 0 and Partition 1, just like diskpart.
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP
Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn /PAE
C:\ = "WINXPNEW 1TB drive"
To access boot.ini , I'm not being offered an editor on my
and at least review the text to see it's sane.
It's generally not recommended to use things like "bootcfg"
or other automations of that type. If you had some customization,
it might remove it. Best practice is to save a copy of your
existing file for later, if you do want to experiment.
copy boot.ini boot.ini.bak
Now you can mess around if you want.
You may be able to slave the WinXP drive to another
Windows machine, and work on the boot.ini there. Just
remember boot.ini has "Hidden" and "System" attributes, which
may require the usage of "attrib" command to modify
and de-fuse. Attrib can be used to temporarily turn off
attributes, making further access or listing possible.
The above answer assumes the Win7 drive is the one that died,
and the WinXP drive remains. Make sure the IDE jumpers are set
properly, before going to all the trouble of booting the WinXP
installer CD. It boots pretty slow and is annoying. I use
"fixboot" all the time here, when "housecleaning" my WinXP partition
and am now very familiar with the lengthy boot. And yes, my other
drives are unplugged while I work on it :-) Then, the login
prompt only has 1 partition on offer, so I cannot go wrong.
working normally, so not sure what to do next.
By the way, it is the XP drive that went bad and not the Win 7 drive.
way and run some recommended tests.
card as next possible suspect, assuming this drive *really is* ok.