| By Fred Langa |
When changing Windows 7 and Vista boot controls, don’t look for the ‘boot.ini’ file, familiar to Win XP users.
In Vista and Win7, Microsoft eliminated boot.ini and replaced it with the more-powerful Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store, tripping up a reader trying to track down a dual-boot problem.
Removing a false dual-boot option in Windows 7
Reader Michael Flitterman has run afoul of another area where Win7 differs significantly from XP.
- “Ever since installing Win7, my system now always starts up with a screen asking what OS I want to use, and both of the choices are Win7. Left alone, it times out in 30 seconds and then boots to my Win7 system. How can I remove this? I have looked for a boot.mgr or boot.ini file all over my system and can’t find it.”
For more information, see MS’s Win7 article, “What happened to the boot.ini file?” As you check that and other MS resources on the BCD, you’ll see an editing problem in Microsoft’s documentation: it variously refers to the BCD as a file, a Registry, and a store. Don’t let the inconsistent nomenclature be a problem: it all refers to the same data.
Whatever you call it, the BCD is where you’ll find your boot information, Michael. That’s what you must edit in order to change which operating system opens by default and how long the OS choice list appears at startup.
Both Win7 and Vista offer multiple ways to edit the BCD. But in the above-referenced article, Microsoft recommends the following method. (I’ll use Win7’s nomenclature for Michael, but Vista’s is similar.)
- Using an Admin-level account, open the Control Panel, click System and Security, and then System. In the left pane, click Advanced system settings.
- In the Advanced system settings tab, click the Advanced tab; then, under Startup and Recovery, click Settings.
- Under System startup, pick the default operating system and enter the number of seconds the system displays the available OS list. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. Windows 7 and Vista provide a simple control to manage basic settings in the Boot Configuration Data system. Use the BCDedit tool (shown below) for more control.
Windows 7 and Vista also include a more-powerful, command line–driven utility, BCDedit.exe. Its less friendly than the System startup box but gives you complete control over the BCD settings. (See Figure 2.)