Restore Windows 7 bootloader after Windows 8 install

  • JMK

    I have installed Windows 8 onto a partition after Windows 7, and when I turn my PC on, Windows 8 basically loads completely, and then I get the option to choose my OS. If I select Windows 8, I go straight to the lock screen, if I select Windows 7, my computer completely restarts and then boots into 7.

    I want to use the Windows 7 installation DVD to restore the Windows 7 bootloader using the method described by the How To Geek but I am worried that if I do this, Windows 8 won't boot.

    Can anybody advise on whether or not this will work, and if not how can I go back to selecting the OS right after the BIOS loads?

  • Answers
  • Erik Funkenbusch

    Windows 8 requires the Windows 8 bootloader to boot. It's part of the fast boot process.

    There are some theoretical solutions, such as loading grub or system commander to boot either Windows 8 or Windows 7 bootloaders, but there's a lot of work involved there and i'm unsure of whether they work with EFI and GPT setups. Why don't you just set Windows 7 as the default OS and let it boot automatically. It may take a bit longer, but you won't have to do anything to make it boot 7.

    You set 7 as the default in the System Properties -> Advanced Tab -> Startup and Recovery

  • pratnala

    Use EasyBCD. It installs the Windows 7 bootloader. But you'll lose Fast Startup. Rest everything will be fine. Done it on a friend's PC. No problems till now. However, if yours is UEFI boot, then I'm not too sure. This works on a BIOS

  • Alexey Ivanov

    Windows 8 bootloader can load Windows 7, you just need to add the menu for it.

    I restored load to Vista installed on another partition using bcdedit command without using 3rd party tools.

    Listing Current Settings

    Start Command Prompt with Administrative privileges.

    If run bcdedit without parameters it will list your current settings:

    Windows Boot Manager
    identifier              {bootmgr}
    device                  partition=\Device\HarddiskVolume1
    description             Windows Boot Manager
    Windows Boot Loader
    identifier              {current}
    device                  partition=C:
    path                    \Windows\system32\winload.exe
    description             Windows 8

    Creating a Backup

    Making a backup is always a good thing:

    bcdedit /export C:\BCD-Backup

    If something goes wrong, you would be able to recover with

    bcdedit /import C:\BCD-Backup /clean

    Adding Entry for Windows 7

    So now we'll add another entry.

    1. Copy the current settings to a new record:

      bcdedit /copy {current} /d "Windows 7"
      Entry copied successfully to {GUID}.

      Here {GUID} is a place holder for the identifier of the new entry, it consists of numbers and characters. You will copy this GUID and use it in place of {GUID} placeholder in the step 2.

    2. Modify the copied entry to boot from drive D:

      bcdedit /set {GUID} device partition=D:
      bcdedit /set {GUID} osdevice partition=D:

    Now your boot menu should contain two entries for Windows 8 and Windows 7.

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  • Sean W.

    I will be giving my desktop to my brother soon. He is a gamer, so he has no need for a dual-boot Linux install. I can easily remove the Linux partitions and re size the Windows partition, but this will break GRUB, my current boot loader. I would simply use the Windows 7 CD, but I have misplaced it. How can I make Windows boot without the install media?

  • Related Answers
  • Journeyman Geek

    Easybcd can replace grub with bcd (and chainloads grub). You can then delete the partitions as needed. I've also heard good things about visual bcd editor on SU chat, but i've not used it myself.

    As a backup, you can also create a system recovery disk in the windows backup and restore menu. This would be a good time to back up your windows system in case something goes wrong as well! You can use the system recovery disk to fix your bootloader. Microsoft has full instructions with a video here