Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have recently completely formatted my computer's hard drive and installed a copy of Windows 7 on it to play with. However, because it has been a bit buggy on my system, I decided to reinstall my copy of XP on a second hard drive for day to day work and keep the Windows 7 install on my other hard drive to play with. When I installed XP I could no longer get to my Windows 7 operating system. Once XP boots up I can browser to the hard drive that 7 is installed on and all of the files are still there. Is there a way to correct the boot loader to let me choose whether to boot up in XP or 7? I have done this before and all of my options were automatically available, but I must have messed something up here.

Thanks in advance!

share|improve this question

Put in the DVD for Windows 7 and go to the support tools when setup starts, there should be a tool that auto scans for problems and should re create a boot.ini file that will allow you to multi boot.

otherwise, look in to manually editing the bootloaded list, I cannot really give further help as I do not know your hard drive / partition structure.

I found this page which looks interesting and you may want to read - Windows 7 and Vista share a lot in common

share|improve this answer
I doubt Windows 7 integrates itself into a legacy bootloader. The more likely scenario would be that Windows 7 clobbers the Windows XP boot loader and allows Windows XP to boot through that one. – Joey Aug 22 '09 at 8:50
... Windows XP is older than 7... but even when you try to dual boot with Vista you get the same problems. Windows XP does not "understand" the new vista/7 bootloader and will cause problems if installed after. By doing my method of using the Windows 7 CD, it will repair and replace the boot sector / loader and should allow both OS's to co exist (if from scratch, you would install Vista/7 after XP) – William Hilsum Aug 22 '09 at 9:11

The problem you've encountered is fairly common. Windows XP does not know of Windows Vista or Windows 7 so when you install XP it will overwrite the bootloader with it's own.

To fix this you need to boot from your Windows 7 and re-install the Windows 7 bootloader to be able to boot both systems.

Here's a step by step guide on how you do this.

share|improve this answer

Pär Björklund and Wil have great answers but I am lazy.

Lazy method, install Easy bcd in XP, use it to get it dual booting again.

Once installed and running in XP, go to the Add New Entry button, in the upper pane Windows Tab, choose W7 from the drop down, then hit the Add button. leave the drive setting alone.

Done, reboot


enter image description here


If you wish to change which OS is at the top of the bootloader list and will load first, go to the Edit Boot Menu section, highlight the entry and use the up down button to arrange, you can even change the text of what shows on the boot menu, highlight the entry and hit rename, be sure to hit the save settings button when done.


enter image description here

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.