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Help please! restored an image backup and can't dual boot

Last response: in Windows 7
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April 8, 2010 7:45:21 PM

Hi, not sure if this is the right spot for this but it's the best one I found. :) 

I had a dual boot with Windows 7 and Windows XP, installed in that order. Had them working fine until about a week or two ago. 7 was installed on a 1TB Western Digital Black Caviar and XP was on a seperate Seagate drive. Upon startup I got an error saying one of the hard drives failed SMART testing, turned out it was the caviar with too many reallocated sectors. So I started backing everything up while I still could (slow as a turtle too lol) which was copy all the media files (pictures, movies, etc) from the second partition and took an image of drive c with Windows 7 using Acronis True Image Western Digital Edition. Put in an advance RMA for a new drive and waited for it to arrive.

Now I've got the drive and am restoring everything to the new one. Stored files are perfectly in tact and the Windows 7 image restored perfectly fine too. Only problem is with the boot files. When I try to boot into XP it tells me windows failed to start. File: \NTLDR could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt. Anyone have suggestions on how I can get into XP again?

Initially XP wasn't recognized at all but I tried using EasyBCD to add it in which gave me the dual boot screen and the error above when trying XP.

*edit* was thinking, what are the odds I could use recovery console to restore the XP install and use EasyBCD from there to add XP to the boot files? Then restore the Vista boot loader (worked last time with 7 so I'm guessing it'll work now too) and hope everything boots up ok?
April 8, 2010 10:03:54 PM

Alright, so scrap that last idea, I can't figure out how to reaccess XP lol. At this point the only other thing I can think of is put my broken hard drive back in, use its boot files to get into XP, then hot swap the broken drive for the working caviar and use EasyBCD to write the boot files in again. Any suggestions/opinions here? :) 
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April 9, 2010 1:10:51 AM

If both drives were present when you installed XP, then try booting with the XP DVD and run the REPAIR option. See if that lets you boot into XP, but it will not allow to boot into Win 7. If so, then reboot again and boot with the Win 7 DVD and do the same thing, run the REPAIR option. Hopefully, that may fix the boot sector info that allows access to both OS'es.
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April 9, 2010 10:12:57 PM

mikey5802 said:
If both drives were present when you installed XP, then try booting with the XP DVD and run the REPAIR option. See if that lets you boot into XP, but it will not allow to boot into Win 7. If so, then reboot again and boot with the Win 7 DVD and do the same thing, run the REPAIR option. Hopefully, that may fix the boot sector info that allows access to both OS'es.


I can't get XP to boot up with the cd using the repair option. That's why I was thinking to put the old drive back in (I'm assuming the boot files on that drive are in tact), then swap the drives and use EasyBCD through xp to fix 7.
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April 9, 2010 11:25:25 PM

Before I can provide any more help, I need to know your Win 7, XP and DVD drive letters. Once you respond, I can provide some additional instructions to try to fix the ntldr missing or corrupt error. The file can be expanded from it's compressed state in the i386 folder to the drive that has the boot files. I'm presuming that you installed XP first and the drive letter for the XP drive is C:\ and that the Win 7 drive is D:\. Worst case scenario is you may have to reinstall XP, then boot with the Win 7 DVD and run the repair option to get the system to recognize both OS'es.
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April 10, 2010 5:24:12 PM

When I look at My Computer through Win 7 it shows that it's on C, with D being storage, E is for backups, DVD drive is F and XP shows up as G. Disk management shows the 100MB system reserved partition so I'm guessing all my boot files are in there. However, I remember when I could boot into XP all the drive letters got changed around and I think XP made itself drive D with 7 being on C. When I first put the OSes in it was 7 first then XP. Now with restoring the backup I'm not sure which order it qualifies as :S lol. Hope that's enough info (if not feel free to ask again :)  ) and thank you so much for helping! :) 
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April 11, 2010 12:09:20 AM

FYI...When installing more than one OS, it is best to install the oldest OS first. Not doing so can create a myriad of problems. EasyBCD can usually help sort some things out but sometimes stuff happens, as in this case.

Win 7 shows as the C:\ drive because it was the first OS installed and is a PHYSICAL HDD. XP shows up as the G:\ drive because it's an extended partition. The system will always mount PHYSICAL drives before EXTENDED drives.

What we can try to do is manually replace the NTLDR, and ntdetect.com files and modify the boot.ini and hope that it solves the XP booting issue. We'll have to archive these files before we do so.

THIS IS VERY SERIOUS STUFF WE'RE ATTEMPTING SO BE VERY CAREFULL WHEN TYPING THESE COMMANDS. I would also strongly advise to you to backup any important files before you attempt this procedure. I currently don't have Win 7 yet but hopefullly getting it soon, so I don't know if we can extract the necessary files from the Win 7 DVD. Thats why we backup the ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini files. This way, you can restore what was originally there and boot back to Win 7.

You'll need to boot the system into Win 7 and open a command window (search for cmd.exe).

NTLDR, ntdect.com and boot.ini should be in the root directory of the drive with the master boot files (C:\). The compressed file NTLDR.ex_ and ntdetect.com files are in the I386 folder of the XP DVD. Insert the XP DVD and close/exit the screen that opens. We will have to access the DVD from the cmd prompt.

From the cmd prompt (c:\Documents and Settings\???), type cd\ and press ENTER, this will take you to the root of C:\

From c:\, type dir /a press ENTERand you should see the file ntlder and boot.ini and ntdetect.com. Now we have to change the attributes on those files so we can change/edit them.

To see the file attributes, type attrib filename press ENTER

It should return with A SHR c:\filename

(a=archived)

(s=system)
(h=hidden)
(r=read only)

Type Attrib -s -h -r ntldr ENTER (removes the hidden, system and read only attributes).

Repeat the above command for the boot.ini and ntdetect.com files.

Type rename ntlder ntldr.bak ENTER (copies the file to ntldr.bak), then copy boot.ini boot.bak, and copy ntdetect.com ntdetect.bak. Making backup copies here.

Now type cd f: ENTER, then cd \i386 ENTER (prompt should change to f:\i386.

From the F:\i386 prompt, type expand ntldr.ex_ c:\ ENTER and copy ntdetect.com c:\ ENTER

Next, type edit boot.ini ENTER

This is what MY boot.ini looks like, yours will look different b/c I'm using a RAID 0 array. Note how the default= line appears, you'll need to change the partition portion (partition(1) to match what it shows for your XP partition. You'll also have two lines for the [operating systems] portion. Remove the line that specifies Win 7 and then select File Save in the edit boot.ini window.

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

Next, we need to restore the file attributes on ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini. To do so type:

attrib +s +h +r filename for those three files.

This process should restore the XP boot files and let you boot to XP (knock on wood).

Cross your fingers, remove the XP DVD and REBOOT and see if you can boot to XP. If you can, then you'll need to boot with the Win 7 DVD and run the repair option so you can dual boot again.

In the event the excrement comes into contact with the rotary air dispersal unit, boot with the Win 7 DVD and run the repair option, or boot to a cmd prompt, remove the -s -h -r attributes from the three files we changed/modified and copy the backup files back to the original name, and restore the +s +h +r attributes.

If you ever have to reinstall, boot with XP DVD and create TWO partitions, a primary partition and an extended partition and install XP to the extended partition. Once you have XP properly setup, boot with the Win 7 DVD and install to the primary partition.

One of the quirks you can encounter is that when you have a primary and an extended partition, you CANNOT delete the primary partition w/o deleting the extended first, unless there's newer software out there that allows you to do so. If you were to obtain an additional HDD you could install XP to the new drive and Win 7 to whichever drive. Be advised that the boot files will always wind up in the root drive of the first installed OS. EasyBCD can let you easily change your boot device.

Good luck!!
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April 11, 2010 1:12:49 AM

Tried that :(  got stuck at changing ntldr's attributes. command prompt tells me access is denied.
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April 11, 2010 1:19:39 AM

Try booting with the Win 7 DVD and run the repair option, then try changing the attributes again.
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April 11, 2010 1:22:10 AM

Wait... Since this is Win 7 I think you need to right click in the cmd window and select run as administrator. Since I don't have Win 7 yet I forgot about that part...sorry
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April 11, 2010 2:16:43 AM

Running as administrator didn't do it either :S. Ended up finding the beta of EasyBCD 2.0 rather than 1.7.2 which has an option to do what you suggested automatically. Just needed to remove the XP entry the old EasyBCD put in and made a new one with 2.0 and both OSes boot perfectly. :) 

Was pretty sure the one I used before specified it worked with Windows 7 so when I noticed the one I was using said Vista/Longhorn it kinda tipped me off lol.

Thank you a ton for all your help! :)  I can now go write a bunch of zeros to the old drive and ship it off for warranty knowing everything I need is safely removed. :) 
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April 11, 2010 3:30:22 AM

Glad you got it resolved! The procedures I gave you were how we had to do things before dual booting was popular.
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!