Solved Edit boot.ini to include 2nd drive with win7

June 21, 2013 at 08:34:21
Specs: Windows XP & Win 7, 4Gigs
I would like to edit the boot.ini file to give me an option to boot to a 2nd hard drive with Win 7. Both drives are SATA drives. Drive 1 has XP with NTFS and Drive 2 has Win 7.

Here is what the boot.ini looks like now:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

I was thinking of adding this:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows 7" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
But that threw up a hall.dll error.
The active partition on the 2nd drive is the 100mb system reserved partition, which is partition 1.
Right now I can hit F11 during post - on this board - and choose the drive to boot to and it boots to either drive (one with XP or the 2nd with Win 7) perfectly. Just wondering if this can be done in the boot.ini or not.

Thanks for your help.

See More: Edit boot.ini to include 2nd drive with win7

June 21, 2013 at 08:56:19
✔ Best Answer
Windows 7 doesn't use boot.ini so what you are trying won't work. But it should be easy to do what you want; download the free application EasyBCD (Google it) and use it to set up a boot menu. For the easiest setup you should set the Windows 7 disk as the boot disk in your BIOS.

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June 21, 2013 at 08:58:16
The partition number should point to the partition that contains the \Windows folder.

Even then I don't think it will work as you are trying to boot Windows 7 with Windows XP boot files and that is never going to work.

The thing to do is to reinstall Windows 7 and let the system replace the Windows XP boot files with Windows 7 boot files which can boot both Windows XP and Windows 7.


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June 21, 2013 at 08:58:19
Your computer BIOS probably has that option already. Watch the pre-Windows screens to see if there is an option. On my motherboard I can tap F11 and get a list of all bootable devices currently connected to the motherboard.

IMO this is preferable because you are not relying on Windows at all. If you need to perform a re-install or repair to either hard drive the boot loader will be broken.

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June 21, 2013 at 09:08:39
I'm amazed at the answers to this!

Reinstall Windows just to set up a boot menu? - come on!

And the OP already talked about the F11 route and wanting something simpler.

EasyBCD makes this so simple; a nice boot menu with no reinstallation needed. I've been using it for years to manage a system booting Windows 7 (and now Windows 8 too), Windows XP 64, and two flavours of Linux.

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June 21, 2013 at 10:52:57
Reinstall Windows just to set up a boot menu? - come on!

Without recourse to third party applications it is the only way to do it. Not quite so ridiculous of you understand how the MS boot system works.


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June 21, 2013 at 11:06:26
IJack - im with you on this Im going to try the BCD option. Haven't used that utility yet. Will give it a shot and repost. Great suggestion.

Othehill - thanks but as I mentioned im already doing that now.

Stuart - Im not reinstalling any os on anything. So that's not an option. These are 2 perfectly fine drives and os's independently.

Right now I can boot to either one through boot option menu via F11. If the machine was mine that would be fine. But its for a client and I want to make it as simple as possible for her.

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June 21, 2013 at 11:25:42
Without recourse to third party applications it is the only way to do it.

Now, if you are going to give advice on such a subject then you really ought to know that that just isn't true. EasyBCD is essentially just a front-end to bcdedit, which is built in to Windows 7. You could create the boot menu, no reinstallation, using Microsoft's tools. EasyBCD just makes it easier. (And it makes it a lot easier when you start bringing Linux and the like into the mix.)

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June 21, 2013 at 11:59:47
How is that any easier than F11?

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June 21, 2013 at 23:16:00
1. It is what the OP requested.
2. It involves just one keypress rather than two or more.
3. That keypress doesn't have to be done at a particular time. Catching the boot menu, or the BIOS configuration menu, can be quite difficult as you have to press the key at just the right time. The BCD menu can be displayed for 5 seconds, 30 seconds, indefinitely - whatever you choose - before booting a default.
4. The displayed menu can be meaningful - a list of Operating Systems rather than an anonymous list of disk drives.
5. The menu allows you to choose partitions rather than just disks.
6. What have the Romans ever done for us?

I see little point in giving a "solution" that merely repeats what the OP says they are already doing.

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June 22, 2013 at 06:15:38
IJack is correct.

Othehill- Its easier because for my none techie client she gets the 2 choices clearly spelled out for her for a period of time. Windows XP or Windows 7. All she has to do is choose one. Or just wait a bit even.
If she has to press F11, then she has to remember the following:
1. She needs to remember its the F11 key - just a random key with no meaning to her, and there is no message to remind her its the F11 key.
2. She has to keep tapping that key, and oh yeh she has a small window of opportunity or get ready for frustration, she just missed it and now it's booting to the default. Damn, reboot.
3. Now here comes the super geek part - use the arrrow key down to one of 4 alpha numerical mumbo jumbo choices- HL-HL255DVDVDRW or something like that, or ST315000AS or another ST31500AS, or USBHDD1000. To us, these choices are very simple and spelled out, well, almost. Now which of those 2 Seagate drives had XP and which had Win7? Guessing time, because the names can't be changed and they both look identical. Guess we'll have to go by memory. If its been a long time we might not remember.

So that's why its easier for our non techie end users to just choose a clearly spelled out OS rather than remembering all our techie choices. Like I said, to us its like english, to them its a foreign language.

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