I had two Vista versions on my PC and I deleted one and now I cannot boot my other vista 64x Enterprise anymore.

I have tried the bcd instructions to repair the boot loader, however I cannot get it to work, as bootsect.exe is missing.

Does anyone know how I can fix my boot manager?

Does it matter that my Vista partition is not a primary partition?

IF it does, any way to change it without formatting?


Do you have a separate boot partition and system partitions?

bootmgr and the boot folder containing the BCD need to be on the active partition; whatever that is. Only a Primary partition can be active, and you have have up to 4 primary partitions.

Looks like you'll have to put the bootmgr and BCD on the recovery partition and mark it active. If you boot the Windows CD that came with your computer, right after it's done booting you can push Ctrl+F8 and you'll get a command prompt.

From there open diskpart and run a list vol, note which volume number is currently active and the number of the Recovery partition. Run sel vol # (where # is the number you noted for the Recovery volume). Run act then exit.

Now should should be able to run bootrec /fixboot followed by bootrec /rebuildbcd and be good to go.

If something goes horribly wrong (unlikely), you'll have to find someone who can delve into it more, be sure to tell them about these changes, and the information you noted from above.

Edit 2: (oops)
Open the command prompt in the Windows Setup again, run cp X:\bootmgr $: where the '$' is the Recovery drive letter (disk part will tell you again if you forgot; it's probably 'C' though).

  • 2 Primary: Dell Utility, Recovery (not OS I'm using now) Extended partition with MediaDirect Partition and Vista Enterprise Partition I'm trying to boot – Tony The Lion Jul 21 '10 at 17:43
  • Thanks for that! Now it says bootmgr is missing? Any idea? – Tony The Lion Jul 21 '10 at 18:20
  • @Tony, see edit #2. Forgot something the first time... – Chris S Jul 21 '10 at 18:32
  • no bootmgr found on X – Tony The Lion Jul 21 '10 at 18:37

What is the exact error you get? If it is with BCD problems, I expect you see a very unfriendly BSOD. What is says exactly might help. Also, if you can boot from the Windows install disk as mentioned by @Chris S, you can copy and paste the log if you can get to a command prompt (I honestly forget how since we use WinPE, which runs on the same base anyway; you can make your own if you have the installer disk I believe with WAIK). Just find out what the path is to your busted partition (the recovery/PE environment usually is intelligent about auto-mapping, so I assume it will be C: and the actual "partition" of the boot CD will be a ramdisk on X: by default). From the command prompt, do this and then post the text file of the output here:

bcdedit /store "%DRIVE%\boot\bcd" > "%USBDRIVE%\bcdoutput.log"

I am pretty positive it will be C:, so something like this (and make sure the USB drive is correct):

bcdedit /store "C:\boot\bcd" > "F:\exampledrive-so-check-bcdoutput.log"

If you do it without /store, it will just give you the boot info for the CD, so that is useless. Make sure you use that. If you post that info here, I might have a better idea of how to help you. This happens a lot in my labs, so sorry it turned bad for you.

@Chris S has a pretty solid answer, and that would be my first instinct.

  • BOOTMGR is MISSING. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart. Is what I get now when I attempt a boot. After having done what ChrisS said. – Tony The Lion Jul 21 '10 at 18:30

OK. I was going to make this a comment, but it was already getting too long too fit halfway through. Before proceeding, I would be morally remiss if I did not say the obvious: BACKUP YOUR FILES BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE. When I do this, it works, but I also do it on lab machines where no consequential data is lost. I have warned you now, please do not make your situation worse unless completely desperate.

So, Chris S did a good job explaining the boot part. The utility we use with little more fine-grained control (and hence the ability to f*** your system up for you is bootsect. To my understanding, it is included in the installation disk for Vista and 7. I could be wrong, but you will find out soon enough. So, here is how it works.

  1. You really need to know something about your drives in your computer: How many are there? Were both operating systems installed to different partitions on same disk? Different disks? This might explain part of the problem. I assume you installed on at least different partitions, maybe different disks, and all boot config data was stored on partition, same disk or not, that you deleted. Bottom line: you need to know the drive letter of the partition you want to recover, AFAIK, and be able to confirm it. You should be able to open an explorer window (I think), by typing explorer into that prompt. If not, check with mountvol at the command prompt to see a list of each disk and the assigned letter. So if explorer does not work, you can go through directories with the dir command on the command prompt. Ask if you do not know what I mean.

  2. When you find the right drive, do dir /ash %DRIVEHERE%\ (again my guess is dir C:\ unless your system is bizarre) to find the necessary hidden system directory and the bootloader itself. You should see something like this if it were functioning correctly.

12/22/2009 07:06 PM Boot

07/13/2009 09:38 PM 383,562 bootmgr

If these are not present, you should just double check with dir C:\Boot and dir C:\bootmgr and ensure part of the return is File Not Found. Most likely is you are missing both of these, and what Chris mentioned did not get both where they need to be, maybe just misconfigured them. If they do exist, I would copy them or rename them (move C:\bootmgr bootmgr.arc and move C:\Boot Boot.arc just to be safe.)

  1. If you made it this far, here is where the fun begins. Copy all the boot directory over from the install disk.

    REM # Again, C: might not be right, it depends on what you found out above. X: is going most certainly be correct.

    xcopy /y /e /h X:\bootmgr C:\

    xcopy /y /i /e /h X:\Boot*.* C:\Boot

  2. Update the boot sector code.

    REM # After a bunch of output showing all the files in there new location do the following.

    REM # The command below will reset the bootcode on the disk itself and forcibly. MAKE


    bootsect /nt60 C: /force

  3. Reconfigure the BCD store, paying attention to drive letter.

    REM # You might have to now reset the BCD store. Again, lots of fun to be had, but only nasty if you do not do it to the write partition. Here it is

    bcdedit /store C:\boot\bcd /set {memdiag} device partition=C:

    bcdedit /store c:\boot\bcd /set {ntldr} device partition=C:

    bcdedit /store c:\boot\bcd /set {default} device partition=C:

    bcdedit /store c:\boot\bcd /set {default} osdevice partition=C:

    bcdedit /store c:\boot\bcd /set {bootmgr} osdevice partition=C:

    bcdedit /store c:\boot\bcd /set {bootmgr} device partition=C:

  4. Reboot.

    REM # This will reboot the installer environment

    wpeutil reboot

Now I know of a Windows recovery disk that uses a modified image much like the install disk that automated this stuff, but I believe only Enterprise customers with certain CAL arrangements get that. It is referred to as WinRE. Now, that being said, I am not sure if it is just a GUI of what I propose, or Chris S proposed. I hope this helps. I learned this from toying around with a lot of broken Windows computers when starting with Vista. YMMV, but I hope this will steer you in the right direction.

  • 1
    Apparently I missed you mentioned fixing it with the above. Hilarious. Cannot believe I wasted time typing that. Almost want to mod myself down. – songei2f Jul 21 '10 at 20:32

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