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Win7 + WinXP = Corrupt Boot File


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#1 Neil B.

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 12:11 AM

I got Windows 7 the other day. My current system had WinXP loaded on it, and I figured I would just leave it on there and install Win7 on my other hard drive. So, I made a Duel Boot. One of my HDD's has WinXP on it, and the other has Win7. Both are Western Digital drives.

So I finish the Win7 installation and enjoy the brand spankin new operating system Microsoft is shoving down our throats. After a while, it starts to grow on me. In fact I begin to love it, much more than XP. I load my air card drivers (cell phone internet source, you might say), get the net up and running and install VIPRE anti-virus software, FireFox, and transfer some of my music from my drive with XP over to my drive with Win7.

After I installed VIPRE, I of course had to reboot, and I did. Win7 reloaded and everything was peachy. So then, I decide Im going to set up my home network so my parents can access the internet through our router (of which we were using with WinXP prior to 7.) So I do all the configuring through Win7 as I would WinXP; I go to internet options, apply internet sharing, etc etc. But for some reason, my parents XP machine wouldnt get the internet from my Win7 machine. It would connect to the router, and it appeared to be getting a good internet connection, however, no browser would actually display a Webpage. So naturally, I reboot my parents laptop and try again. No luck. Then I decide that maybe my computer needs a refresh so I reboot it as well....

This is when I get the all too familiar error message: "NTLDR is missing - Please reboot."

Now I know what your thinking... "This guy is an idiot, he doesnt know how to repair/install windows" right? Well, your wrong, in fact I do quite a few troubleshooting things to figure it out, but to no avail. So this is where I tell you all what Ive done and maybe you can tell me something else that I havent already tried.

So here it is, a complete list of my troubleshooting process:
1: I unplug all Flash Drives, and Optical Drives. (I have no FDD's)
2: I unplug my HDD with XP (thought there might be issues there.)
3: I unplug my HDD with 7, still get the error.
4: I repair/install windows (no good, and by the way there isnt really a repair option, so I went down the list and tried everything.)
5: I turn to BleepingComputer for all my computer needs because Im baffled.

So, there are only 3 reasons why this could have happened. Either my HDD has a bad sector (it doesnt, I scanned it for errors using UBCD), my copy of windows has a bad boot file on the disc, or during installation the boot file got corrupted. Or it might possibly be driver issues, since 7 appears to be using the drivers from my XP installation, and XP is 32bit and 7 is 64bit.

Even with both drives plugged in I get the error. It is only when my Win7 HDD is plugged in that I get the infamous error message. And keep in mind, this message appears AFTER the BIOS screen and BEFORE the windows selection screen.

So, I think my boot.ini file is bad. Would anyone agree? Either that, or XP hates 7 for stealing its spotlight.

If anyone can find a flaw in my troubleshooting, or has any advice for me that can lead to a fix, please reply. Right now I am reinstalling Win7 back on my HDD, and am going to try it again, but Im pretty sure I will get the same errors. (And yes, Im keeping the Dual Boot.)

Thank you all for reading, and thanks in advance for your helpful tech awesomeness.
-Neil

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#2 Neil B.

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 12:24 AM

This just in:

Apparently Win7 does not use the NTLDR system loader that XP does. Maybe there is a conflict there?

#3 ThunderZ

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 12:37 AM

You have XP on one hdd and Win7 on another totally separate hdd? Not a true dual-boot.

When you mention no repairing Windows, which one? XP or 7.

When you say no repair option, you tried booting from the CD, bypassing the first repair option to when the partition with the OS installed is recognized and you are asked if you want to format\install or repair?

#4 Neil B.

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 12:47 AM

Yes the OS's are on two separate HDD's and yes they are a dual boot. Why wouldnt they be -LOL

I repaired Win7.

No, I did not know how to repair it I guess.

UPDATE:

On the first try, of reinstalling Win7, It rebooted and I got the same error. However, when I reinstalled a second time, I unplugged my HDD with XP, and it rebooted, loaded and perfeormed perfectly.

So turns out I didnt need bleepingcomputer after, all I just needed to research more. Oh, well at least now someone else who has this probelm knows why it has happend and how to fix it.

Apparently, XP doesnt recognize Win7's boot loader when in a dual boot and WinXP will cause Win7 to completely crash.

Only fix, done Dual boot with WinXP. You will have to unplug Win7 everytime you want to load WinXP and visa versa (if you use my method of a dual boot anyway). Ive also been seeing reports of people having this same issue with dual boots on the same HDD with separate partitions. The fix there is to have XP on your primary partition, so that it doesnt have to look for 7's boot loader.

Thanks for the help ThunderZ but I think I have figured it out on my own.

#5 ThunderZ

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 11:41 AM

Just an FYI. A true dual-boot is usually considered when both OS`s are on the same hard drive.

#6 Cavillas

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 02:37 PM

Cant you change the boot sequence before you reach windows and choose which hard drive to boot from. I have the option with pressing the F10 key to alter my boot drive to any a vailable.

#7 ThunderZ

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 02:50 PM

If you have multiple operating systems each installed on separate hard drives then that is the only way I know it will work.

#8 czhang

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 03:07 PM

I tried dual booting Ubuntu with Vista or 7 Beta on the same hard drive before. At first it worked fine, but after some Windows Updates, the bootloader (or GRUB) was messed up, and I could not start/load the computer at all. I spent quite some time messing around trying to fix the problem. Finally I installed Windows OSs on one hard drive, and Ubuntu on another drive, and only one hard drive was plugged in during the installation process. After the installation processes were finished, I plugged both hard drives in. Now I normally boot into Windows systems. But if I want to boot into Ubuntu, I can (and have to) change the BIOS setup to choose a different hard drive to boot first.




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