Help! Can't multi-boot two loads of Windows 7 (very strange)

Did I goof up somewhere? I can't get two copies of Win7 to co-exist on my PC. And the way the problem happens seems really... odd.

What I'm doing doesn't seem that complicated. I'm setting up my system drive with 3 operating systems:

1) Windows 7 64 bit (for home use)
2) Win XP (for legacy programs)
3) Windows 7 64 bit (for work use) that order on the hard drive. Rather than using Windows own boot manager, I'm using the open source GAG boot
manager (which, like lots of third party boot managers, runs before any OS loads so you can pick which OS to run - and then hides the other OS's and their entire partitions until you reboot.) I've done this sort of thing with multiple WinXP loads before, no issues. In fact, this very hard disk used to have three WinXp loads on it (in position 1 and 3 above). I formatted those partitions and replaced them with the Win7 loads, which is when the problem started.

Everything worked fine until I added the SECOND load of Win 7 (third on the hard drive, as above). It installs properly, but when I try to run it, it hangs on the "Starting Windows..." screen (and the spinning windows logo just stays spinning infinitely).

Oddly, if I then immediately reboot and run the FIRST load of Windows 7 (which was hidden, worked fine before, and lives on its own separate partition), I get a screen right away saying a problem happened last time I ran it! Which isn't true - the problem happened when I just ran the SECOND load of Windows 7, not the first! Remember, these Win7 loads are totally separate. But for some reason, it thinks there was a problem. It even asks me if I want to enter repair mode. Spooky...

Anyway, I do NOT choose to repair and instead just say "run normally". And everything then boots fine. (Of course!) And sure enough, if I shut down and simply choose to run that same first load of Win7 a second time, it again works with no problems reported. BUT... if I then proceed to run the SECOND load of Windows 7, it again hangs on the "Starting Windows..." screen, and - you guessed it - if then try to run the FIRST copy of Win7, it will again report it had a problem last time it was loaded. Which starts the whole thing over again....

What gives? Any ideas? Frankly, it's driving me nuts. Got 6 hours into this at this point.

4 answers Last reply
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  1. Do you use the same key code for both win 7 which will not work if it is an OEM upgrade version? Also the boot loader for win 7 is probably on the XP drive if it is an upgrade. you could download Easybcd 2.0 when you have windows 7 running. This will give you optitions to boot your system.
  2. Thanks for the replay, almartin. No, it's not an OEM or upgrade version of Windows 7, so key code thing shouldn't be a problem (I assume).

    I did try EasyBCD on the working Windows 7 partition. Doesn't seem to be of any help. This is all it shows:


    There is one entry in the Windows bootloader.

    Default: Windows 7
    Timeout: 30 seconds
    EasyBCD Boot Device: C:\

    Entry #1
    Name: Windows 7
    BCD ID: {current}
    Drive: C:\
    Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe


    .....which makes sense, as the third-party boot utility I'm using (GAG Boot) hides all other partitions from the loading OS at boot time, so there's no evidence of either the WinXP partition or the other (non-working) Windows 7 partition. . This is important to me, as I'll be using one of the Windows 7 partitions for work stuff and I don't want any chance of viruses, etc. In fact, that's what so weird about this - how could booting a non-working Windows 7 load cause a completely different (and hidden) Windows 7 load to report a problem?

    Any other ideas?
  3. Well I wiped the hard drive and did over from scratch - XP, Win7, Win7, in that order. It worked. All's well that ends well...
  4. Oh, and thanks for the ideas/help everyone!
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