I had Windows Server 2003 installed on my primary hard drive. I then added a new hard drive and formatted/installed Windows Vista on the new hard drive. The old drive with Windows Server 2003 is still on my system as D: but I don't have the option to boot to it. Is there any way to set it up so that I can choose which OS at boot time?

It looks like the BCDEdit command will do what I want, but figuring out the command line options to give it was too hard so I used EasyBCD instead to add another entry.

Now the problem is I'm getting this error when I try to boot my Windows Server 2003 instance:

Invalid BOOT.INI file
Booting from c:\Windows\ 

My d:\BOOT.INI file contained the following:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003, Enterprise" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptOut

My wild guess was to change disk(0) to disk(1) on both lines, but it resulted in the same error. I'm wondering if its even possible to boot Windows off the D: drive when it was originally installed on C: or if any of my programs will still work..


EasyBCD will make handling this a tad easier (though nowhere near as cool as doing it manually with bcdedit ;)

Here's a Microsoft KB about various bootloader problems with BCD and legacy/boot.ini systems.

  • EasyBCD was a great help, but now I'm hung up getting my boot.ini file re-configured correctly.
    – Luke
    May 7 '09 at 17:05
  • You should probably use BCDEdit or EasyBCD to actually create the boot.ini file as well - for the BCDEdit tool there's an identifier called ntldr or legacy I think which will manage the boot.ini file as well... if EasyBCD won't let you create an XP boot option then manually using BCDEdit and the create argument might work (after some googling ;) May 7 '09 at 17:37
  • Just to clarify, can EasyBCD create boot.ini files?
    – Luke
    May 7 '09 at 18:22
  • Aha, Tools->Legacy Options... is how you edit boot.ini in EasyBCD
    – Luke
    May 7 '09 at 18:27
  • Heh, oi..EasyBCD just runs "notepad X:\boot.ini" for you
    – Luke
    May 7 '09 at 18:28

Not sure if Vista still has this, but in XP you can have to edit C:\boot.ini to add additional operating systems. You can then run msconfig and click the "boot.ini" tab and "Check All Boot Paths".

  • In Windows Vista it looks like they got rid of boot.ini and I need to use BCDEdit.exe instead. I'm trying to figure out the options for BCDEdit now.
    – Luke
    May 6 '09 at 16:53

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