Windows 7 / Getting Started

How to Create an Entry for Another Operating System

You can use BCDEdit to create an entry for an operating system other than Windows 7. You may need to add boot entries to the BCD registry file if you want to be able to load different operating systems on a single computer. Although Windows automatically creates boot entries for existing operating systems when installed, you might need to add a boot entry manually if you install another operating system after Windows 7 or if you want to load an operating system from a newly attached hard disk.

By default, the BCD registry file contains an entry called {ntldr} that is configured to start an older version of Windows from your C:\ partition. If you have only one older operating system and Earlier Version Of Windows does not currently appear on the computer's boot menu, you can use this existing entry to start the older operating system. To do this, call BCDEdit /set to configure the boot volume. Then add the entry to the Windows Boot Manager operating system menu by calling the BCDEdit /displayorder command. The following code demonstrates how to do this.

REM Modify the following line to identify the other OS' partition
REM The following line could also be, "bcdedit /set {ntldr} device boot"
bcdedit /set {ntldr} device partition=C:

REM The following line makes the entry bootable by adding it to the menu
bcdedit /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast

You can verify that the new entry will appear on the boot menu by running the command bcdedit /enum ACTIVE and looking for the Windows Legacy OS Loader entry.

If you need to be able to choose from multiple older Windows operating systems, you should choose the {ntldr} entry from the boot menu. The Windows Boot Manager will then pass control to Ntldr, which will display a menu based on the Boot.ini file that you can use to choose from all Windows operating systems.

If you want to create an entry for a non-Microsoft operating system, you can either create an entry using the bcdedit /create command, or you can copy the existing {ntldr} entry and update it for the operating system. To base a new entry on {ntldr}, copy the entry, update the boot loader path, and then add it to the boot menu by running these commands.

bcdedit /copy {ntldr} /d "Other operating system (or other description)"

REM The previous command will display a new GUID that identifies the copy.
REM Use the GUID in the following command, and modify the partition identifier as needed.
bcdedit /set {NEW-GUID} device partition=C:

Note Don't retype the GUID by hand-you're likely to make a mistake. Instead, copy it to the Clipboard as follows: Click the command menu in the upper-left corner of the command prompt window, click Edit, and then click Mark. Select the GUID text (including the brackets) and then press Enter on your keyboard. To paste the GUID to the command prompt, click the command menu, click Edit, and then click Paste.

Now run the following command to identify the operating system's boot loader.

REM Replace the last parameter with the boot loader filename
bcdedit /set {NEW-GUID} path \boot-loader

If {ntldr} was not part of the boot menu when you copied it, you also need to run the following command to add the copied entry to the boot menu.

bcdedit /displayorder {NEW-GUID} /addlast

Additionally, you might need to configure the operating system's own boot loader.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Configuring Startup and Troubleshooting Startup Issues
  2. What is New with Windows Startup
  3. Boot Configuration Data
  4. BCD Stores
  5. System Recovery
  6. Windows Boot Performance Diagnostics
  7. Understanding the Startup Process
  8. Power-on Self Test Phase
  9. Initial Startup Phase
  10. Initial Startup Phase for BIOS Computers
  11. Initial Startup Phase for EFI Computers
  12. Windows Boot Manager Phase
  13. Windows Boot Loader Phase
  14. Kernel Loading Phase
  15. Control Sets
  16. Values for the Start Registry Entry
  17. Value Descriptions for Type Entries
  18. Other Registry Entries in the Servicename Subkeys
  19. Session Manager
  20. Logon Phase
  21. Important Startup Files
  22. How to Configure Startup Settings
  23. How to Use the Startup And Recovery Dialog Box
  24. How to Use the System Configuration Tool
  25. How to Use BCDEdit
  26. How to Interpret BCDEdit Output
  27. How to Back Up and Restore Settings
  28. How to Change the Default Operating System Entry
  29. How to Change the Boot Menu Time-Out
  30. How to Change the Order of Boot Manager Menu Items
  31. How to Create an Entry for Another Operating System
  32. How to Remove a Boot Entry
  33. How to View and Update Global Debugger Settings
  34. How to Remove the Windows 7 Boot Loader
  35. How to Configure a User Account to Automatically Log On
  36. How to Disable the Windows Startup Sound
  37. How to Speed Up the Startup Process
  38. The Process of Troubleshooting Startup
  39. Startup Troubleshooting Before the Starting Windows Logo Appears
  40. How to Start the System Recovery Tools
  41. How to Run Startup Repair
  42. How to Use BootRec.exe
  43. How to Diagnose Hardware Problems
  44. How to Use System Restore
  45. How to Manually Repair the Boot Sector
  46. How to Manually Update the BCD Registry File
  47. How to Manually Replace Files
  48. How to Reinstall Windows
  49. Startup Troubleshooting After the Starting Windows Logo Appears
  50. How to Restore the Last Known Good Configuration
  51. How to Enable Boot Logging
  52. How to Start in Safe Mode
  53. How to Identify Failing Drivers and Services
  54. How to Analyze Startup Problems in Safe Mode
  55. Event Viewer (Eventvwr.msc)
  56. System Information
  57. Error Reporting Service
  58. How to Use Device Manager to View or Change Resources
  59. How to Analyze Boot Logs
  60. How to Roll Back Drivers
  61. How to Temporarily Disable a Service
  62. Troubleshooting Startup Problems After Logon
  63. How to Temporarily Disable Startup Applications and Processes
  64. How to Disable Startup Applications Using the Shift Key
  65. How to Disable Startup Programs Using the System Configuration Utility
  66. How to Disable Startup Applications Configured Using Group Policy or Logon Scripts
  67. How to Permanently Disable Startup Applications and Processes
  68. Manually Remove the Entry