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Dual Boot Windows 8.1 & 7 But No Boot Options Screen Appearing

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Last response: in Windows 8
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December 1, 2013 8:56:49 PM

So I recently created a new partition on my SSD and installed Windows 8.1 on it from a DVD I made after downloading 8.1 from the Microsoft Store. I shrunk the original partition which is still running Windows 7.

However, the boot options screen which allows you to select your operating system doesn't show up. I'm only able to access either OS by changing the boot priority in BIOS. I literally stumbled on this when I started to freak out that I couldn't access my existing Windows 7 installation.

I have an Asus mobo and when I change the boot priority to P2 (my SSD where both partitions reside) it boots Windows 7 and when I change it to P3 (my DVD drive with no disc in it) it will boot to Windows 8.1. P1 is my HDD which I just store data files on. It's weird that when my DVD drive is selected it boots to 8.1. Would that have something to do with when I changed it to that boot order when initially installing the OS from the DVD?

I'm not that tech savvy, but I'm guessing a boot file is corrupted or not set up properly?

When I go to Startup and Recovery in Win 7, it only shows Win 7 as available as default and when I do the same in Win 8.1, it only shows 8.1 as available, with 30 seconds set for the options screen on boot. But of course there's no options screen present.

I know there is a program called EasyBCD, would this help? I don't want to damage things or make it worse as everything seems to be working aside from that and if worse comes to worse I could live with it. It's just not ideal to have to go into the BIOS every time I want to change OS.

Also, two more questions:

1- My HDD (with all my documents, etc.) shows up in Windows Explorer when I'm in Win 7, but doesn't show up in File Explorer when I'm in Win 8.1. Yet my system reserved partition does. Is there any way to make my HDD visible to my 8.1 partition so I can access those files while in 8.1?

2- I'm running Norton 360 installed in Win 7. Would my computer still be protected when I'm in 8.1? Or would I need to install Norton on that partition as well? I'm currently using Windows defender there. I had hoped you could run all your programs from either OS with a single installation, but I guess you have to reinstall them?

I appreciate any help as I'm stumped!

Thank you!
December 1, 2013 10:44:27 PM

0. Download and install EasyBCD. It will give you an option to restore and re-create boot menu.
1. When you're in Win8.1, and open Disk Manager, how is this partition being shown? May be it's just missing a drive letter.
2. No. Antiviruses do they work while being installed.
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December 2, 2013 2:42:45 PM

Alabalcho said:
0. Download and install EasyBCD. It will give you an option to restore and re-create boot menu.
1. When you're in Win8.1, and open Disk Manager, how is this partition being shown? May be it's just missing a drive letter.
2. No. Antiviruses do they work while being installed.


Thank you for responding, I appreciate it. I solved my first problem. First I tried a repair using my 8.1 install DVD but it couldn't repair anything. I then went into the command prompt and did the bootrec commands as explained in this article http://www.techspot.com/guides/630-windows-8-boot-fix/. Which I believe is pretty much the same thing EasyBCD does.

Regarding the drive not appearing in Windows Explorer in 8.1 - it is present in Disk Manager, there is just no drive letter assigned to it. Would that be the problem? I have read before it's not a good idea to change drive letters - I guess because programs refer to them. I only have My Documents, Music, etc. on that drive, no programs. So would I be ok to just right click it and assign it a letter? Must it be the same letter (D) as it appears in Windows Explorer in Windows 7?

So if any program I want to use in 8.1 has to be reinstalled on that partition if I want access to it, how do drivers work? The same way? Would my 8.1 installation just be using generic Microsoft drivers if I don't install any new ones on it, or would that installation be using my Windows 7 drivers from the original partition?

Thanks!
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December 2, 2013 3:08:41 PM

Go ahead and assign a drive letter to the volume with your documents - you will not break anything neither in Win8.1 nor in Win7. You might have to give yourself rights to access the files and folders, but that's it.

As for applications - you have to install them in both OSes, and for applications with activation (e.g. Microsoft Office) this might be a problem.

As for drivers - with each new Windows version, more and more drivers become "standard" with the installation, so rarely you would need to install drivers. If they are missing - look for drivers corresponding on Windows version. You will need original driver setup program or files to reinstall them. They won't be picked up automatically from your old installation.
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December 3, 2013 10:55:18 AM

Hi Alabalcho. I assigned the drive letter and it now appears in Windows Explorer. I also removed the drive letter from the 100mb system reserved partition to hide that.

And thank you for taking the time to elaborate on my other questions. I had a whole bunch of theory questions like that on how dual booting worked with programs, drivers, etc. before I attempted it. It's nice now to better understand how this all works.
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