I have a system with Windows 7 and Windows XP, and today I have installed the Windows 8 Developer Preview into a spare partition (that I leave for a few months without any important data there). When booting from a bootable device and doing the installation, I format it so that it's a clean and fresh partition. The installing process finished, and now I have a boot screen with Windows 8 Developer Preview and Windows 7.

My Windows XP boot entry simply disappeared. So, I have used EasyBCD to modify the boot loader and reactivated the Windows XP boot entry from the system, and it displays Windows XP there. After I did that, I restarted my PC.

The only thing left is Windows 7 and my dear old Windows XP; as now Windows 8 Developer Preview disappeared from the boot menu. EasyBCD can't detect it anymore - a few times I logged into Windows 7 and tried to run it afterward. Please note that all versions are installed on separate partitions.

How do I get the Windows 8 Developer Preview boot menu back and get it to also list Windows 7 and Windows XP?

  • You installed a Developer Preview of Windows 8 alongside Windows 7 and Windows XP? That's just a disaster waiting to happen.
    – qJake
    Sep 16, 2011 at 17:40
  • 1
    @SpikeX: Why is that so? They are perfectly separated and the boot loader of the latter are backwards compatible. So, you can have as much different operating systems running as you want... Sep 16, 2011 at 17:46
  • 1
    @SpikeX: > your reply is pointless to being written. Better you don't reply. Not a serious problem or disaster here. The problem is just I only boot from 1 of groups: **Windows Developer Preview** (8) and **Windows 7** OR **Windows 7** and **Windows XP** And anytime regular repairing one of groups above, the others will fail. I just want 3 those Windows multiboot availabe at the same time. Is it illogical question? No, I think it's a valid question.
    – Edward
    Sep 16, 2011 at 17:52
  • It's Developer preview doesn't automatically mean it doesn't support dual/multiboot or so on... and actually it does support dual Windows 7 & and 8 Preview at the same time. So why not further OS version (XP will no longer get official support from MS)?... I can't ensure this certain case in current time so I ask here. Nothing wrong with my question.
    – Edward
    Sep 16, 2011 at 17:52
  • @user98110: I'm running Windows 8 Developer Preview from a VHD, perhaps an alternative option if my answer doesn't work? But the BCD should still support Windows XP, as I know people that use Windows XP and Windows 8 Developer Preview side-by-side... Sep 16, 2011 at 17:59

5 Answers 5


Get the Windows 8 Developer Preview boot menu back.

  1. Start from the Windows 8 Developer Preview installation medium.

  2. Optionally, choose your keyboard settings.

  3. Hit SHIFT+F10 to enter the command prompt.

  4. Execute bootrec /fixmbr to update the main boot record just to be sure, partitions will remain.

  5. Execute bootrec /fixboot to update the boot sector of the system partition.

  6. Execute bootrec /scanos to add known OSes to the boot configuration data.

Get it to list Windows XP.

  1. Execute bootrec /rebuildbcd, this will rebuild the boot configuration data.

  2. If that doesn't work, reboot and use bcdedit from Windows 8 Developer Preview like this:

    bcdedit /create {ntldr} /d "Windows XP"
    bcdedit /set {ntldr} device partition=X:
    bcdedit /set {ntldr} path \ntldr
    bcdedit /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast

    Please note that you need to right click the Command Prompt tile, then click on advanced in the lower right corner and then click on Run As Administrator. Replace X: by your XP partition.

    This is native unlike EasyBCD, so the chance is higher that it would work more properly...

Good luck!

  • Thanks Tom. Your anwser looks right and suppose to be correct solution but in my system it always return a error message that can't perform last command "bootrec /rebuildbcd" property. That said already use by another. And I manage do get back the XP in boot list by use EasyBCD manually add and removed some entries back & forth... and finally it works but I'm not sure what exactly wrong at the beginning.
    – Edward
    Sep 29, 2011 at 11:07
  • @user98110: What error message? However, fine to hear you have it resolved... Sep 29, 2011 at 16:28
  • Hi Tom, I've lost my possibility to boot into my windows7 OS after a fresh install of Win8 on another drive. The W7 installation seems healthy, but the pc directely boots in w8. I've done exactely as your 2nd tip (except for the bootrec part because w8 says that it doesn't know bootrec at all), using D: as my w7 partition (on w8 the w7 drive it's now called D). the W7 tile is shown at boot time but won't boot: a black screen says that "windows failed to start. A recent hardware..." then File:\ntldr status: 0xc000000f the app or os couldn't be loaded because a required file is missing or cont..
    – pomarc
    Sep 7, 2012 at 17:46
  • still me... I've done a bit of googling and it seems that for windows7 I shouldn't use path \ntlr but path \windows\system32\winload.exe I've done it but the same error remains. if I do a bcdedit /enum I have identifier {ntldr} device partition=D: path \windows\system32\winload.exe description Windows 7
    – pomarc
    Sep 7, 2012 at 18:38
  • solved, using easybcd. here is the new entry in the bcd store Windows Boot Loader ------------------- identifier {f2c0537e-f95b-11e1-a3b8-dbfdf97ca61f} device partition=D: path \Windows\system32\winload.exe description Microsoft Windows 7 locale en-US osdevice partition=D: systemroot \Windows resumeobject {872cfc4e-f91f-11e1-ac73-806e6f6e6963} maybe the osdevice or systemroot values should've been specified. thanks.
    – pomarc
    Sep 7, 2012 at 19:29

Here is perfect solution to get back your Windows XP/7 when you install Windows 8.

Check this blog entry: How To Install & Dual Boot Windows 8 With Windows XP & Windows 7

  • Navigate to My Computer from system Explore or Desktop
  • Then at the top menu bar click on “System Properties”
  • On next windows select “Advanced System Settings”
  • It will popup you new windows ,from which you need to click on “Advance” tab then click setting for “Start-up & recovery ”
  • Now in default OS select “Earlier Version of Windows ” Now click on ok and restart your PC
  • Now you should have option to load windows XP prior to Windows 8 Start ,Enjoy all windows platform
  • @Diogo Please replace shortened (e.g. goo.gl) links with their expanded URL while you're at it. Thanks!
    – slhck
    Mar 9, 2012 at 13:02

I had the problem of seeing the Windows 7 boot menu instead of the Windows 8 boot menu. I was able to boot into Windows 8, but I did not see the graphical Windows 8 boot loader.

I used the bcdboot command in an elevated command prompt to reload the Windows 8 bootloader files and now all is OK.


bcdboot c:\windows /s c:

To display Windows XP entry in Windows 8 Developer Preview boot menu you have just to enable 'DisplayBootMenu' element in {bootmgr}. A complete Windows BCD Editor can be downlaoded here - Visual BCD Editor.

After installing and starting the tool it displays the {bootmgr} elements by default. Look if 'DisplayBootMenu' element is present. If not click on 'New' button and create it selecting 'Boot Manager' and 'DisplayBootMenu' in the comboboxes. Confirm. Set the value of 'DisplayBootMenu' to true.

This will cause the boot menu to be displayed in the normal Windows 7 style. To bring back the 'Metro' style look delete element 'DisplayBootMenu'.

Without an editor, open the command prompt and paste:

bcdedit /set {bootmgr} DisplayBootMenu true
  • What kind of comment is this ? And what kind of information does it bring to the user ?
    – snayob
    Sep 29, 2011 at 15:18
  • Explanation: Visual BCD from the first date of its publishing back in sep. 2010 had all the mentioned abilities implemented ! Windows 7 or Windows 8 does not matter as the format and definitions of BCD elements is for 95% or more the same.
    – snayob
    Dec 17, 2011 at 12:42
  • DisplayBootMenu will not show Win8 loader configuration neither will enable previous os to boot.
    – kagali-san
    Apr 18, 2012 at 3:44
  • For a more detailed explanation on subject see windows7boot.blogspot.com hope this helps less advanced users and downvoters ;)
    – snayob
    Nov 30, 2012 at 20:38

If you want to list both Windows (Windows XP And Windows 8) follow these steps:

  1. Download EasyBCD.
  2. Install it and open it. It's front page gives all information of your sequence of loading OSs.
  3. Now edit as required.
  • 2
    You've to notice that my question post long time ago. That time EasyBCD didn't support Windows 8 Developer Preview. As I mentioned above, I did use EasyBCD and it's not in main UI page. If it as easy as that, then this question doesn't even exist. Look at the question creation time, man (over 4 months ago, a few days after win8 preview spread around web).
    – Edward
    Feb 3, 2012 at 13:15

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