I'm trying to help a friend out with an urgent issue he is having.

  1. He has two Windows 7 installations when he was starting up his computer so the bootloader menu was making him select an OS every time he restarted. One installation is functional and the other is not. He wanted to make it so that he did not have to select the correct OS every time he booted up.

  2. He chose the wrong (non-functional) operating system in the windows settings and set the time to select an operating system int he bootloader menu to 0 seconds.

  3. Now, his computer attempts to boot into a non-working operating system and he has no way of selecting the correct operating system so that he can fix his mistake.

What can he do to get into the functional OS so that he can fix his mistake?

Thanks so much.

4 Answers 4


You could use a recovery CD to log on to the Windows installation via the command line and use bcdedit.exe to modify the Windows 7 boot parameters. Flags for use with BCDEdit can be found at: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc709667(v=ws.10).aspx

  • He doesn't have a recovery CD (arggg). Any third-party tools that he could boot from and use to get into the correct OS?
    – Eric
    Oct 8, 2012 at 14:59
  • If you have access to a computer to download third party tools then you can create a recovery CD provided it is also Windows 7 32-bit (or download it). You also could try the Windows install disc.
    – Mike
    Oct 8, 2012 at 15:13
  • %systemroot%\system32\recdisc.exe
    – Mike
    Oct 8, 2012 at 15:13

This might help you atleast in changing the bootloader timeout. Can he obtain Windows 7 bootable DVD somehow? If yes then follow the steps below to change timeout value.

  1. Boot from Windows 7 DVD.
  2. Choose Recovery Wizard option.
  3. When Recovery Wizard starts, DO NOT do anything with it.
  4. Press SHIFT+F10.
  5. A Command window will popup. From there change to C:.
  6. Type "bcdedit /timeout 30" (without quotes) and hit Enter.
  7. Exit Recovery Wizard and reboot the system. You will be able to get boot menu back.

NOTE: If Windows 7 DVD boot menu doesn't show "Recovery Wizard" option and boots directly to Windows setup, dont worry. When first window of Windows setup comes up (The one with "Install Now" button), start directly from Step 4 mentioned above and continue. :)


Depending on his motherboard he may be able to choose the option in the BIOS (not likely as this isn't a widely adopted feature)

Also, try spamming F8 on boot and see if you can drop into the selector. The timer may be set to zero, but you still might be able to edge into it by sending interrupts.

  • Thanks for the answer but it doesn't look like there are any valid BIOS options, and F8 isn't interrupting :( Anything else you can think of?
    – Eric
    Oct 8, 2012 at 14:54
  • Does he have two partitions that have windows installed on them? How did the problem start with multiple entries? If its a separate bogus partition, you could live boot into something and delete the errant partition, forcing WBM to default to the correct partition. IDK if this is your problem though. Oct 8, 2012 at 15:16

Try booting into Ubuntu installed on an external drive (e.g. USB). Then, run

sudo update-grub

(https://www.google.com/search?q=update-grub). Reboot and select the correct os from grub.

(Assuming you actually installed to a USB drive with the installer, not a Live USB creator, and that you use grub on the bootable usb.) Mileage may vary.

  • 2
    The OP makes no mention of using a Linux boot loader. -1 Oct 14, 2012 at 5:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .