I recently asked this question about how I couldn't get Windows 7 installed on my system.

Since then it turns out my system is not compatible, however whenever I boot my machine the installer tries to run. There is a small window of time where I can use the arrow keys to navigate from system install to earlier version of windows

Can someone tell me how to cancel the install that is trying to run so that my system boots normally into my original windows install?

Edit 1, I have even removed the hard drive the new install was using, but to no avail. Edit 2, The earlier version of windows is XP

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    So I can assume you're old Windows can still be booted? (And which version would that be?) – Tobias Plutat Jan 20 '11 at 11:58
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    @Tobias, yes I can still boot into the earlier version of windows which is XP – Alan Whitelaw Jan 20 '11 at 12:00

Be warned: These may make matters worse, especially if there is still a multi-boot in place.

Using a Windows XP CD

If you have an Windows XP boot CD, you can run the recovery console and use fixboot and/or fixmbr to solve your problem.

This page has more information about the Windows XP recovery console.

Finally, this eHow article describes the whole process.

Using a Windows 7 DVD

If you have a Windows 7 DVD, you may be able to restore the XP boot loader directly from Windows with the following command (run as an administrator):

[DVD Drive Letter]:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt52 ALL /force

Note that I have only tried the procedure with the Windows XP CD-ROM myself, so I cannot guarantee that this last approach works.

  • This hasn't work and has infact stopped me being able to access the earlier version of windows that was previously working. `Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <WIndos root>\system32\hal.dll – Alan Whitelaw Jan 24 '11 at 18:01
  • Ouch. Perhaps the boot loader incorrectly tries to boot from the (former) Windows 7 partition/disk? In that case, would it be possible to remove that partition/disk and try this procedure again? – oKtosiTe Jan 24 '11 at 20:12
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    Now resolved by running chkdsk -r from the recovery console. – Alan Whitelaw Jan 26 '11 at 17:45
  • Very glad to hear it. @Alan – oKtosiTe Jan 26 '11 at 21:48

EDIT: Discussion in the comment thread showed that this is incorrect because the Bootloader that should be modified here has in fact been put there by Windows 7 setup. So MBRFix/FixMBR it is.

What's happening here is that Windows 7 setup is still registered in the Windows boot manager on your startup partition (that's the one Windows XP is on).

You'll need to delete Windows 7 setup from the Bootmanager list on your hard drive. There's an excellent article on Microsoft Support about this: How to edit the Boot.ini file in Windows XP You should be seeing two entries there: one for your Windows XP, and one for the Windows 7 installer. Remove the latter, and you should be fine from then on.

  • Windows 7 does not use boot.ini but BCDedit. – oKtosiTe Jan 20 '11 at 12:09
  • Yes, but he needs to do that in Windows XP. (See the comment thread for the question) – Tobias Plutat Jan 20 '11 at 12:12
  • Editing boot.ini will not have any effect on the Vista/7 boot loader, which is what displays "Earlier version of Windows" in the first place. – oKtosiTe Jan 20 '11 at 12:14
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    Dammit, you're right. The "earlier version of Windows" thing should have tipped me off that this is the W7 bootloader. – Tobias Plutat Jan 20 '11 at 12:15
  • I could have easily missed that myself. :-) – oKtosiTe Jan 20 '11 at 12:24

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