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Clean up multi boot


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I run an XP / openSUSE multiboot on my pc. For a time I also had the trial version of Windows 7.

The grub boot loader defaults to Windows, here I am prompted to choose between Windows 7 and XP. How do I remove this reference to Windows 7? It is not listed in boot.ini?

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Important: Do not use this tutorial if your dualboot system is Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

1.Boot up and log on to Windows XP desktop.

2.Insert the Windows Vista or Windows 7 DVD installation disc into CD-ROM or DVD-ROM optical drive.

Alternatively, mount the Windows 7 or Windows Vista DVD ISO image on any virtual drive.

3.Run Command Prompt, or click directly to Start menu -> Run command.

4.In the command prompt or the Run text box, issue the following command and hit Enter:

[DVD Drive Letter]:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt52 ALL /force

For example,

If the DVD drive path is D:, then enter the following:

D:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt52 ALL /force

The step will remove the boot menu to select operating system to start.

5.Remove the DVD disc and restart the computer.

6.The computer will boot up with Windows XP installation partition.

7.Manually remove files and folders of Windows Vista or Windows 7, including Windows, Program Files and Users folder. If you’re installing to separate partition, just format the partition to clean it instantly (with FDisk, Disk Manager of Computer Management or third party partition management software such as Partition Magic or EASEUS Partition Manager).

8.On the root system folder of Windows XP, delete Boot.BAK and BootSect.BAK. The two files are remnant backup leftover files of previously installed Windows Vista or Windows 7 bootloader, but no longer useful for Windows XP only system.

Tip: NT52 is the MBR (Master Boot Record) used by Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, while Windows Vista uses NT6. So if you’re uninstall Windows 7 in Vista/7 dual boot system, change the NT52 in the command to NT60.

Fast Shortcut: It’s also possible to format the Windows Vista or Windows 7 partition straight away, and then start the computer with Windows XP Setup CD to repair the system partition, or run the “bootsect /nt52 c:” command above from the \boot\ folder of leftover OS immediately to repair the boot partition.

Tip: When startup repair the boot record after removing an installed operating system from dual-boot or multi-boot system, always use the highest version of Windows installation DVD/CD to perform the repair. For example, in a tri-boot PC with Windows XP, Vista and 7, after uninstalling Windows 7, use Windows Vista to repair the system. If the PC is restored and reverted back to Windows XP, then use the Windows XP setup CD.

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Based on your question, I think it's a grub issue and not something to change in Windows. If you have Windows XP and Suse Linux installed and want to keep both of those and only want those to show up in grub, you'll need to edit the grub bootloader. This file is usually in:


Make sure you make a backup first! Also, make sure you have a rescue live CD on hand just in case you screw something up. As far as I know, you can just edit this file and remove the Windows 7 entry. In all honesty, you may get better results to your question on a Linux forum as there are few people here that deal with it.

Hope this helps slightly. Cheers. :)

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Fixed the problem, well sort of:

Last Sunday I could not boot - not even in fail safe mode. After making a new install of XP, the original install boots fine again.

Had to make a new install of opensuse anyway. It kept giving me a kernel error. A corrupted boot sector?

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  • 2 weeks later...

This definately is not a Linux issue. I have removed the drive with the new XP installation, but when booting I am still prompted with two XPs.

Can anyone advice me on removing the extra XP from the MBR - or any other trick that will solve the problem?

(I have not reinstalled OpenSUSE yet)

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Just to be clear, this case of multiple-XPs (or 7s that-aren't-there-anymore) is at the Windows boot selection screen, right? Initially, you went through the Grub menu (which defaulted to WinXP?) and then the Windows boot selection menu offered you 2 OSs. Now after reinstalling WinXP, it's overwritten Grub, so you go right to the Windows boot selection menu and it offers you two XPs.

Have I got that straight?

I've seen similar behaviour after several slightly messy installs. I've never had any success removing the duplicate/phantom XP entries, so instead I usually set the correct one as default and reduce the menu timeout to zero. IIRC, you don't need to mess around with bootcfg and boot.ini to do this; there's a panel to do it all somewhere behind the right-click menu on the My Computer icon. (I can't remember where; I'm on my Ubuntu netbook right now so I'll post back later once I've had a look at XP.)

OT: Now go reinstall OpenSUSE, mkay? It rocks. :D

- Gache

Edit: My Computer -> right-click/context menu -> Properties -> Advanced tab -> Startup and Recovery section -> Settings. Pick your default OS and reduce "Time to display list of operating systems" to 0.

Yes, I know it's really just a GUI on the front of boot.ini, but it works for me when extra XP instances just won't go away.

Edited by Gache
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Gache - you are correct.

I have removed the extra XP from boot.ini - should have thought of that. But why on earth did Windows 7 not appear in boont.ini also? When I was running all three OSs boot.ini only listed XP?

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