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A08 BCD Boot on Windows 7 and 8.1.

George Dorgan By
George Dorgan
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Page no: A08

Page no: T47


Originally taken from German page, Google translated and improved with a new doc on EasyBCD.


Windows 7 has a boot manager with which you can also use multiple operating systems on one computer. You have the option of configuring the boot behavior, specify how long the boot loader to remain appear to make a choice, and can also set the default operating system.

Also, additional operating systems can be integrated. Even if the final boot behavior of Windows 8 not much is known, even in the new Windows version of the boot manager and the board means tool remains bcdedit.exe. You also have the ability to run Windows 8 Developer Preview in a virtual disk, parallel to an already installed Windows.

Unlike an installation in a virtual machine Windows 8 can be accessed here on the complete hardware of the machine, but still does not require repartitioning the hard disk. Again, you can either test the new boot manager of Windows 8 or use the manager of the old system.

Administration with bcdedit

To manage the boot manager in Windows 7 and Windows 10, there is no graphical user interface of Microsoft, but the command-line tool bcdedit.exe.

Run bcdedit as administrator

Pay attention to run bcdedit.com as administrator when you use windows 7.  For that you press CTRL Shift Enter after seaching the file bcdedit.exe


Third Party there are tools like Easy BCD, with which you can make changes in the graphic interface. However, these tools are not yet compatible with the Developer Preview of Windows. 8

To change the description of an operating system in the boot manager, open the Start menu by right-clicking a command prompt with administrator privileges. Enter bcdedit, the command prompt displays the installed operating systems, whose entry in the Boot Manager (description) and the path of the installation. To change the description, best boot its operating system installation.

Then enter the command bcdedit / set {current} description “<Any description>” a. Restart the system the next time, you will see the new name. To change the default operating system boot time, start the productive system and type msconfig in the search box in the Start menu when Windows is started.

Then switch to the Home tab. Here you can adjust the default operating system. In addition, you have here the possibility to modify the duration of the display of the boot menu. These settings are available in the same form also in Windows. 8

But before you make changes to the boot manager of Windows, you should back up this before. Also to use bcdedit at the command prompt. The tool allows you to problems the boot manager and restore. The following commands are available:

  • bcdedit / export <filename> – Creates a backup of the current configuration.
  • bcdedit / import <filename> – Sets the boot manager from a backup created backup.

If you want to customize the order of the operating systems in the boot manager of Windows, you need enter again a command prompt with administrator privileges. Bcdedit and note the value in the entry identifier of the operating system. You can copy the entry to the clipboard when you open the command prompt menu and select Edit / Select.

Highlight the entry identifier and press the (enter) button. To adjust the order, use the following command: bcdedit / displayorder {current} {<identifier of the other system>}

Do you want to copy existing entries, to edit these for example for testing purposes, use the command bcdedit / copy {current} / d “<New name>”. More options bcdedit you get with the /?.


Will not boot your productive system, you also have the option to repair the boot manager on the Repair Your Computer from Windows 7 and Windows 8. For this purpose, start the system with the installation DVD of Windows 7 or Windows 8 and open a command line. Check if the system partially, you can also start by pressing F8 repair options. To repair you start next a command prompt.

The command bootrec / fixmbr You have a great opportunity to save the system. The command writes the master boot record to the beginning of the hard drive. Does not help that, let with bootrec / ScanOs show the operating systems that are not registered in the boot manager. Here you can quickly see if there are systems that recognize the Manager, but has not yet been incorporated.

The command bootrec / rebuildbcd these systems can re-enter in the boot manager. Often helps bootrec / fixboot, if you have installed in parallel with Windows 7/8 yet another operating system such as Windows 7 on the computer. The command creates the boot manager bootmgr new.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 Start of boot partitions that are marked as active. This is not the case, both refuse to start. To the corresponding hard drive to mark it as active. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Start the PC with the installation DVD or, if not possible, by pressing F8 in the Repair Your Computer.

Step 2: Open a command line.

Step 3: Enter diskpart and press.

Step 4: Enter in the DiskPart select disk command context to a 0 to select the first hard drive in the system.

Step 5: Enter next select partition 1.

Step 6: The next command is active.

Step 7: Now you quit Diskpart to exit and restart the computer.

Still does not start the correct boot manager, you start again the computer repair options, the command line and reuse the bootrec options earlier.

Often it happens that in experiments older operating systems such as Windows XP, from the boot menu disappear. To enter them again, use the following commands in a command prompt with administrative privileges:

  1. Bcdedit / create {legacy} / d “Windows XP”
  2. Bcdedit / set {legacy} device boot or bcdedit / set {ntldr} device partition = <drive-letter>
  3. Bcdedit / set {legacy} path ntldr
  4. Bcdedit / displayorder {legacy} / addlast

In Windows 8, the {} legacy option no longer works. In this case, simply use the {ntldr} option in the appropriate commands. The option also works in Windows 7 already. Such configurations, but you can also perform with the tool Easy BCD.



EasyBCD shows the following on our server.

Bootloader George Easy BCDThe boot manager is installed on the “System Reserved” partition (screenshot from Paragon Partition Manager, German edition). This is here partition “F”. A  file in the base directory is called “bootsqm.dat”. It might be the partition file, edited by a BCD editor.
The first boot entry in the BCD tool is the Windows 7 Ultimate installation, the second one is a Windows 8.1. installation. That one is currently the volume 3, hence the partition named “BaseCopy2”.

Drives System Reserved Boot BCD

We miss the Windows 8.1. entry on the SSD drive, the first of the two disk drives. Hence currently Windows 8.1. is booted with BaseCopy2. It is a regularly installed Windows 8.1. system, that we use for resetting Windows 8.1. when the system on the SSD stops working.

But we have a second problem for EasyBCD. It is the missing drive letter. EasyBCD can only add a system, when there is a drive letter. Otherwise we must use the difficult bcdedit command tool.

To overcome the problem, we add a drive letter with Paragon Partition Manager and execute the choice.

Drive Letter for SSD

After a restart of EasyBCD it is possible to add it, the drive letter is there.

SSD Boot with Drive Letter

The entry #3 still shows an unsuccessful attempt.s

Windows 8 on a virtual hard disk

Even if you have installed only one hard drive in your computer, you can easily install Windows 8 Developer Preview. You use the option which has already integrated Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions in, namely the installation of the operating system in a virtual disk that uses your computer’s hardware. All data from Windows 8 are then in the virtual system. During the operation you notice any of it. To do so, follow these steps:

Step 1: Boot your computer with the Windows 8 DVD.

Step 2: Confirm the first installation window the S pracheinstellungen.

Step 3: Once the second window of the Windows 8 installation appears, do not select Install Now, but press the key combination Shift + F10 to open a command prompt.

Step 4: In the next step, enter diskpart.

Step 5: The next steps are that you create on the physical disk in the computer a new virtual disk as a * .vhd file and integrate them into the Windows 8 installation, you just started. Your existing OS installation remain unaffected.

Step 6: First, you create the virtual disk with the command create vdisk file = “d: ​​win8.vhd” maximum = 20,000. By Maximum option to specify the size of the plate. The = see the English keyboard right above the ‘character. Den: see above Shift + E, the “activate with Shift + Ä The is accessible via the # key The letters y and z are reversed…

Step 7: You have entered and confirmed, Windows 8 created the virtual disk. Next, you select the drive with select vdisk file = “d: ​​win8.vhd” from.

Step 8: The Attach vdisk command connects the * .vhd file to the Windows 8 installation you have started.

Mit diesen Befehlen wird eine virtuelle Festplatte für die Installation der Windows 8 Preview erstellt. © Manufacturers / Archive

These commands a virtual hard disk to install the Windows 8 Preview is created.

Did you follow these instructions, close the command prompt and go to the Windows 8 installation, by clicking in the window Install Now. Accept the license agreement and select the Custom option during installation type. On the next page you will see all the disks, the virtual disk that you have created.

You acknowledge their size and the error message when you select this. To install Windows 8 in this disk, select that disk. The message Windows can not be installed to this disk, you can ignore. Then, the Windows 8 installation will start as on a normal hard disk. The data stores the installation wizard directly into the * .vhd file.

The installation wizard replaces the boot manager of Windows 7, Windows 7 binds but equal in the Windows 8 boot manager. Boot your Windows 7, you will see on the C drive or the hard disk where you have created the * .vhd file, the * .vhd file from Windows 8 as a file in the file system. Save this file, you create a full backup of the virtual machine.

Boot against the installed in the * .vhd file Windows 8, you do not see the * .vhd file because it is integrated in the system as a disk. The data of your real Windows 7 installation you will see an additional hard drive, usually with the drive letter D. In this way, you can also exchange data between systems.

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