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How does Windows Setup locate Windows installations?

For Windows 2003 and earlier, this was done using boot.ini. How is this done on newer Windows OSes that don't use boot.ini?

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The Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store contains boot configuration parameters and controls how the operating system is started in Microsoft® Windows Vista® and Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 operating systems. These parameters were previously in the Boot.ini file (in BIOS-based operating systems) or in the nonvolatile RAM (NVRAM) entries (in Extensible Firmware Interface–based operating systems). You can use the Bcdedit.exe command-line tool to affect the Windows® code which runs in the pre-operating system environment by adding, deleting, editing, and appending entries in the BCD store. Bcdedit.exe is located in the \Windows\System32 directory of the Windows Vista partition.

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  • since I get "access denied" errors on a running system. I assume bcdedit.exe /enum is what I am looking for? I wish to read the values in the boot store. Not manipulate them.
    – unixman83
    Apr 17 '11 at 2:22
  • I believe that's what you want. Go to Start Menu-All Programs-Accessories,then right-click Command Prompt and select Run As Administrator,because Administrative privileges are required to use BCDEdit to modify BCD. Apr 17 '11 at 2:30

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