• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Dual boot question

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
I've already got a Windows 10 desktop running, and I've now gotten an SSD to install Windows 7. I disconnected all the drives, ran my disk, installed to the new SSD and it was fine except that it couldn't get a driver for my ethernet port but I assume I can add that later.

Question:
When I went to plug the 10 back in, the computer said there was a bootmgr error. I unplugged the new 7 drive, and made sure during the booting to go to the boot selector in the system to run from the Win10 SSD. So, now I'm back in 10 and everything is fine, but I'ù a bit lost about how exactly to go about introducing the system to the Windows7 SSD so that I can dualboot. Can I get some help to do this properly? I'm afraid of causing some kind of boot error that will cause me to have to reinstall Windows altogether.
 
Last edited:

Ketchup

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2002
14,486
217
106
To do it without extra software, you would want to do it in the opposite order, 7 then 10. At this point, using something like EasyBCD may be an easier option.
 

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
To do it without extra software, you would want to do it in the opposite order, 7 then 10. At this point, using something like EasyBCD may be an easier option.
Oh, I thought you only needed to worry about doing 7 first if both installs were partitions on the same drive. These are two different physical SSDs, do I still need to worry about that?
 

Ketchup

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2002
14,486
217
106
Like I said, I wouldn't even bother changing installs at all since you already have them set up and both drives would need to be in at installation for it to work (Not necessarily two partions in the same drive). Best to just get a boot manager at this point IMO.
 

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
Like I said, I wouldn't even bother changing installs at all since you already have them set up and both drives would need to be in at installation for it to work (Not necessarily two partions in the same drive). Best to just get a boot manager at this point IMO.
Yeah, I wouldn't start again, all I was saying was that I thought it didn't matter which you did first unless you were putting both on the same drive. I don't want them on the same drive anyway. With each on a different drive would you still have done it differently than a boot manager? I just want to know to learn.
 

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
Like I said, I wouldn't even bother changing installs at all since you already have them set up... Best to just get a boot manager at this point IMO.
Ok, but since I haven't done anything with the 7 drive yet, couldn't I redo that installation with the 10 drive plugged in so that the 10 gets the boot info it needs and to get that Windows10 boot loader to come up? Or would that require beginning with a 7 install and then RE-installing 10 all over again? I'm a tiny bit scared of EAsyBCD because it caused the boot problem that made me have to reinstall both Windows again.
Thank you, that's a great link, I must have missed it when I searched.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,430
912
126
Scanning through posts on this and the links offered to other threads, I'll try and keep it simple and avoid mistakes.

I've used EasyBCD at least once for repair, but I can't remember the nature of it. I can absolutely guarantee that downloading Macrium Reflect Free and using it to create a bootable CD repair disc would allow you to fix your problem, whether the OSes are on a single disk (as with my own), or on two separate disks.

The menu option would be "repair boot problems" or something similar. The program should be able to locate the Windows folders for both OSes and identify them in a list. The worst complication you might face is Macrium's initial failure to locate one or both Oses initially, and assigning drive letters in whatever OS is still bootable to boot-system partitions where none had been assigned solves the problem. Eventually, if it requires more than one pass, you can get Macrium to list both OSes and correct the dual-boot menu and boot-record.

Some folks seem to prefer the idea of putting the OSes on separate disks and swapping them out when you want to boot into the different OS as opposed to the current one. I could wonder if this wouldn't require a visit to the BIOS "boot" menu screens to assure the new disk is selected as first in the boot order. Even so, I don't see indications that problems were caused by this approach, but I'd personally prefer using the boot menu whether the OSes are loaded on the same or different disks concurrently connected to the system hardware.

It would also seem to me, when installing the OSes in the less-preferred order (Win 10 before Win 7) that Macrium would also repair that situation. For that reason, I don't see why EasyBCD would not also do the same. Another utility you might try is Mini-Tool, but I think you need to purchase it. Check again to see if there isn't a trial period that would allow you to use it for the intended purpose.

Also, because I'd purchased EaseUS Partition Master, they send me advertisements all the time, and the recent spate of them promotes an ability to repair boot records in this same situation.

Finally, from my personal experience, I would plan and monitor Windows 10 "creators" or feature upgrades carefully, because I had to repair the boot record for both #1703 and #1709 with my Macrium repair disc. I expect to revisit this as a matter of routine again, but it's always possible M$ will fix it.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,365
82
91
Really it all comes down to UEFI boot and which drive the motherboard is using to find the boot information. UEFI stores the boot info on a partition of the disk. This one disk and UEFI configuration will need to know the information of ALL your OS's, otherwise it will not work properly. As others have stated there are tools out there to help configure it correctly.

It is a shame that Windows does not have better tools itself for dealing with UEFI, but I guess their standpoint is that they are the only OS that matters anyway, and thus there is no reason why someone should be dual or multi-booting their systems....
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,430
912
126
Really it all comes down to UEFI boot and which drive the motherboard is using to find the boot information. UEFI stores the boot info on a partition of the disk. This one disk and UEFI configuration will need to know the information of ALL your OS's, otherwise it will not work properly. As others have stated there are tools out there to help configure it correctly.

It is a shame that Windows does not have better tools itself for dealing with UEFI, but I guess their standpoint is that they are the only OS that matters anyway, and thus there is no reason why someone should be dual or multi-booting their systems....
Good point with that.

Somehow I intuitively guessed I'd have trouble with the dual-boot and an NVME M.2 drive if the system wasn't configured as UEFI. I think I was inclined to convert all the MBR partitions to GPT. Now that I think a little harder, the Win 7 and Win 10 had originally been installed on a single MBR SATA SSD. So I must have searched for a few days to find a utility that would make that conversion for me. It was EaseUS Partition Master, but the feature was only included on the purchased license and not the trial version.

It was equally daunting from the beginning just to get Win 7 to install on my Skylake system. I had to slipstream some USB drivers to the install CD with an ASUS utility. Then we set up the initial dual-boot, added the NVME drivers to Win 7 and installed the 960 Pro for both OSes.
 

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
Just wanted to update quickly..
I've now got a fully functioning fresh install of 7 and 10 on separate SSDs and I'd like to not go through the trouble of hitting F12 six times every time I boot to get to my main Windows 10 install. If I just leave it as is, with both drives hooked up in the system, it brings up a note that there is no selected boot device.
I did used to use EasyBCD but then I feel like it was EasyBCD that was involved in the boot error last time that created this whole mess. I mean, clearly something happened when I unplugged the 7 drive one time to hook up a storage drive and that caused everything to go bad. I'd be concerned to use EasyBCD again without understanding its limitations when it comes to unplugging either of the OS drives. Is there another way more native to the computer to dual boot that doesn't involve going to the mobo's internal boot manager every time?
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
29,043
248
106
EZBCD does not Kick in in the BIOS.

If you take out the OS Drive that it is installed on there is NO EZBCD function.


:cool:
 

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
EZBCD does not Kick in in the BIOS.
If you take out the OS Drive that it is installed on there is NO EZBCD function.
:cool:
Right, well when things got messed up with the booting, it wasn't the main 10 that was an issue, it was that the 'secondary' Windows 7 drive refused to boot one day and what I had done (I think) to cause this was run Windows 10 one day with a storage drive plugged in instead of the Win7 drive to copy some things. When I put the 7 drive back in (with a shutdown of course) the 7 never booted again. No one seems able to tell me why that happened but it's that that I'm afraid of happening again if I use EasyBCD again.
 

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
If Win 7 in its on does not boot it might be that the MBR has to be refresh.
:cool:
No, no, it's fine now. But I do have one SSD with Windows 7 and another with Windows 10 and I just need to know what to do to have the choice when I boot without pushing F12 over and over.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,430
912
126
Windows 7 to boot on its own needs MBR.

EZBCD points to the Boot file in C:\Windows\System32 directory so it does not need to deal with MBR.

If Win 7 in its on does not boot it might be that the MBR has to be refresh.

https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/20864-mbr-restore-windows-7-master-boot-record.html


:cool:
Not inclined to stir things up, but I think you are mistaken about Win 7. It may be the case that pre-SP1 requires an MBR partition, but with what was then the new development of UEFI motherboards and BIOS, you could install Win 7 to use a GPT boot disk.
 

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
I feel like I'm a bit lost reading my own thread for answers, so is the consensus that using EasyBCD is the best (or only?) way to get a UI that asks me which ssd to boot from?
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,430
912
126
I feel like I'm a bit lost reading my own thread for answers, so is the consensus that using EasyBCD is the best (or only?) way to get a UI that asks me which ssd to boot from?
Once again, I think you're asking how to repair or create a windows dual-boot menu when there are two versions of Windows on the same or different disks of a system. As I understand it, and if people here had said so, EasyBCD will do that. Macrium Reflect self-booting rescue disk will also do it. It is likely that Mini-Tool will do it.

Which one is "the best" isn't much of a productive question. If any utility will sort out your boot-record for dual booting, it either does or it doesn't.
 

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
Which one is "the best" isn't much of a productive question. If any utility will sort out your boot-record for dual booting, it either does or it doesn't.
Ok, agreed. I suppose what I'm trying to get at is the fact that when my previous EasyBCD setup was damaged, it was because I swapped out one of the C drives for a storage drive temporarily and on reconnecting that C drive again, the computer didn't know what to do for some reason and I ended up having to REinstall Windows on BOTH drives. The boot was screwed on both of them. So what I'm getting at, since nobody was there to see what I did, is whether I ALWAYS have to make sure I never touch those drives again inside my system. But what if I need to rearrange physical space, what if I need to replace one of those C drives with another new drive, I want a method that will be easy to manage so that in the event of a disconnected C drive attached to an EasyBCD setup, I don't lose the ability to run Windows again. Sorry that's wordy but does that make sense? When this problem happened there was nothing EasyBCD could do to help me reset the boot of the drives. THAT's what I'm concerned about.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,430
912
126
Ok. . . I'll suggest this for you, and you can do the leg-work or experimentation so that you know what you're dealing with.

By example, I have my "System reserved," "EFI" and "recovery" stub-partitions/volumes together with a "Win7-Boot" and a "Win10-Boot" volume on the same, 1TB Samsung 960 Pro NVME drive. I have a 2TB SATA SSD split into two volumes providing data space for use by each OS successively. I have another 1TB drive in which files shared by both OSes can be stored. And I want these volumes/partitions backed up so I can restore all or part of them at will.

So I use Macrium Reflect (licensed) for image backup. I use yet another 2TB drive for the full, differential and incremental backup image files for all the other disks. I can then restore -- as I said -- all or one of the OS partition volumes. It is very unlikely now that I can encounter a situation such as you described, because, if I do, I can restore the entire enchilada the way it was the day before.

If you have each of your OSes on its own physical disk, there should not be a problem either.
You would create a bootable CD Macrium Rescue disk. When you boot into the CD, it will find all the images stored on your backup disk, and allow you to restore them -- all or in part -- as you wish.
 

tinpanalley

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2011
1,195
6
81
I've now tried implementing EasyBCD to the current set up. It still needed me to press F12 to select from the boot menu. THEN, when I went into Windows 10, it asked me which to boot into. So, as has been suggested to me here on another thread about a related but different topic, I'm going to go back to the Windows 7, and re-install Windows 10 on the second SSD from there so that Windows 7 sees a new install happening and I get a boot selection when I start the computer. I'm learning that that's the only way this will work.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY