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I recently installed Windows 7 in a triple boot setup alongside XP and Linux. When I was finished and was in the process of restoring the bootloader for Linux I discovered something strange about what Windows 7 had done. I discovered that Windows 7 had not installed a bootloader to it's own partition, and instead had instead set up a bootloader on the pre-existing XP partition that offers a choice between 7 and XP.

This behaviour has been noticed by others.

Now my booting is slightly odd. I have GRUB on the MBR which lets me choose between Linux and Windows. When I select Windows I have Grub boot to the XP partition where I get the 2nd choice between 7 and XP.

Why doesn't the Windows 7 installer put the Windows 7 bootloader on the Windows 7 partition like all previous MS OSs?


This is now going to be a real problem for me, as I now want to wipe the XP partition and install something else there (probably another non-MS OS).

How can I move the bootloader for Windows 7 onto the Windows 7 partition, thus making it bootable and allowing me to safely wipe the XP partition?

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Hm, I realise I should have posted this to superuser.com instead. I'll try to figure out how to move it... –  pauldoo May 1 '10 at 15:51
    
@pauldoo: we are already voting to migrate it. It only needs 4 more votes. –  voyager May 1 '10 at 15:53
    
How do I join in the vote? –  pauldoo May 1 '10 at 15:54
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You need over 3000. Don't worry, it will be fairly fast. –  voyager May 1 '10 at 15:55
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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 1 '10 at 16:13

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have struggled this and the best solution I have come up with is http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-next-generation.htm

This has worked like great and makes a lot of these multi-boot issues go away. If you just need to move the boot loader the site has a article explaining how to do this (does not require their product): http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/category.php?id=61 This is probably what you want: http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=324

Using this, BootITNG and their image product I was able to setup independent installations of Ubuntu, Vista and Win7. This makes restoring one OS mush easier but the information on moving the boot manager is very helpful on it's own.

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This looks promising, I'll try what they suggest (minus all the bits specific to their product). –  pauldoo May 3 '10 at 8:20
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If you have the luxury, you could wipe everything and start from scratch. That you'll be able to install everything to its proper partition easely, without risks of losing anything.

I generally just install on different disks, to avoid this problem completely.

Why doesn't the Windows 7 installer put the Windows 7 bootloader on the Windows 7 partition like all previous MS OSs?

All versions of Windows would install to the MBR is possible, on different versions it was default, in others you had to choose it specifically. Windows 7, Vista, XP and 2000 (AFAIK), when installed alongside another Windows version would install directly to the MBR, so you could boot to both OSes from its bootloader.

You might be able to solve this using both the Win XP and 7 recovery utilities on the Install Disk, just be careful, as this will wipe out GRUB, and you'll have to recover that from a Linux Live CD.


You might use this to move Windows bootloader from the MBR to a partition, but I haven't tested, you might corrupt that whole partition, and there be dragons.

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I think you have missed the point. The question is not about restoring the Windows MBR so I can boot into XP or 7. The question is about making the Windows 7 partition itself bootable. The Windows 7 installer did not do this. –  pauldoo May 3 '10 at 8:22
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Well, you could go ahead and get rid of the XP instillation and just add Windows 7 to your GRUB bootloader. Here's a thread about someone who wants to add Windows 7 to grub. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1036547 Let me know if it works out.

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The whole point is that Grub can't boot directly to Windows 7 because Windows 7 has not installed a bootloader for itself on its own partition. I cannot simply get rid of the XP partition currently because it's needed by Win7. –  pauldoo May 3 '10 at 8:18
    
Whoops, guess I was a bit confused about that. My Mistake. –  Daisetsu May 4 '10 at 17:05
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