BCD before boot.ini in multi-boot


Firstly, I'm new to the forums so wanted to say hey to everyone.

My main issue is in a multi-boot scenario (2 harddrives, both with an xp and win 8.1 partition), boot.ini comes before BCD so I can never boot the windows 8.1 drives.

Quick back story:
Originally had 2 harddrives, both xp. One for recording studio, one for work and Internet.
Then partitioned both drives to install windows 8.1 versions of each (each drive has 1 x Xp and 1 x 8.1 papartitions).
This worked fine until yesterday when I resized the partitions to gain more space for the 8.1 sides. Had to rebuild bcd but caused issues booting xp parts. Deleted music xp partition and reinstalled xp.
Now the boot.ini starts up first so I can only choose xp partitions. So no option to boot win 8.1 ones.

How do I sort it so it's back to the way it was? Basically bcd first, with option of older versions of Windows.

Any idea? Thanks in advance :)



Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Hi Paul,
I'd put the 8.1 install disc in and use the advanced option to recover the 8.1 boot or you could wipe the drives and start again... in any event make an backup once you get working as ime xp/ 8.1 dual is going to keep having issues.

p.s you can download the disc as a (free) iso from Microsoft.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
When you install on a Legacy system, the last OS will set the boot system for that OS. In your case, it is set for XP and no longer for Windows 8.

You could try doing as suggested to see if it will bring the system back, but if you have problems, you may want to try the Bootsect.exe command to set the Boot system back to Windows 8. From a recovery command prompt, something like bootsect /NT60 may help.


Getting the XP boot back will depend on what had been changed in the BCD Store.

Hey both of you, thanks for the replies.

The last thing I want to do is format my harddrives as I've spent so much time getting all the studio software sorted. All I want to do is get it to show exactly as it did before I messed it all up haha, which was a blue boot screen with the 2 win 8.1 choices and "older versions of Windows" which resets the pc and boots the boot.ini

I've tried the bootsect advice but still boots the boot.ini first so cannot access the windows 8.1 parts grrrrrrrr


OK, update, now bcd is first so I can boot either of the win 8.1 parts but can't now chose the xp ones.



Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Some folks might suggest you use EasyBCD to get the boot option back.

If you want to check some things, a picture of your Disk Management window might help and you can attach in this forum.

Also a complete listing of your BCD store may help and you can get that by opening an administrative command prompt and typing the following command. Attach the resulting text file, or zip and attach.

bcdedit /enum all > %userprofile%\Desktop\bcdtext.txt

Hey Saltgrass, I've uploaded the text file. No sign of any XP partition(s). LIFE-8 (F) is my default windows 8.1 partition (internet and work etc) and MUSIC-8 (C) is my studio.

I've also uploaded a pic of my disk management. LIFE-XP (E) is my old but still active XP internet and work partition and COLD STORAGE (D) is just a small partition which was my old XP studio but now has a fresh XP 64 bit installation. Quite honestly i'd like to do away with D but i don't want to risk mucking around with partitions anymore haha.



Next exciting episode of "the booting dead"........

I found this:

....and now i have the entry in the BCD that i can click................

......but when it reboots to load this XP partition, it says it can't load it as its missing some files, namely the ntldr



Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
I will have to go back and refresh my memory concerning Windows XP. But the BCD store will have a legacy boot loader which will point to the Active partition. There are three files needed in the active partition, and they are ntldr, boot.ini, and ntdetect.com.

Anyway, the boot loaded will point there and the boot.ini will point to the actual XP partition. I have some examples but need to find them.

Since you do not have the Legacy Boot loader in your BCD store, you will need to use Bcdedit to add it or use EasyBCD.

Last edited:
OK cool, I don't want to buy easybcd as I've just spent a fortune on upgrading software and hardware in my studio.

How do I go about using bcdedit to add the legacy loader please?

Currently I'm trying to use my xp 64 bit cd to access the recovery console so I can try a few things but it doesn't recognise my admin password even though I reinstalled only yesterday and made note of the password I used during install. Aaaaaaaaaaaah haha


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
You might look at this link and check step 7.


EasyBCD is free for Home use, or at least it was.

I haven't manually added an XP entry for years, so I will have to check into doing that if the other options are not acceptable. There is probably a BCDedit tutorial showing how to add the entry. You might check and see if the 3 files needed are in your C: partition, and they may be hidden system files. There are, ntldr, boot.ini, and ntdetect.com. If they are not present, you may have to copy them over yourself and set up the boot.ini.

In the Admin Command prompt, type bcdedit /create /? and check the example for NTLDR.

This assumes you have an install of XP in one of your other partitions. If you have to install XP, you will be back where you started. Normally the older OS is installed first so the Boot can be updated by the newer system.

The basic form of the entry would look something like this.

Windows Legacy OS Loader
identifier {ntldr}
device partition=D:
path \ntldr
description Earlier Version of Windows

Last edited:
Hey saltgrass (and everyone,

Well just as an update and hopefully the epilogue in my annoying story, I've got this windows boot sorted :)

A quick and simple solution was to copy and paste the ntldr and ntdetect.com files to every partition's root folder and bingo :)

Thanks for all you help on this. Much appreciated


This website is not affiliated, owned, or endorsed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a member of the Microsoft Partner Program.