This a quick post regarding Windows Vista new boot tool, BCDedit.exe aka Boot Configuration Data Store Editor which replaces boot.ini.

I’ll post more here, shortly, but there are very few resources on the web that address this, at the moment. One of the best pieces we’ve seen is this site in Spanish (here it is in English thanks to Google’s Automatic Translation). [Having screwed up a Vista dual boot ourselves, see more about bcdedit in Extreme Tech’s article, MSDN’s article, and a thread on Neowin.net]

BCDEDIT was discussed in Microsoft’s November 21 Betachat, the highlights, and the full transcript, of which we posted. Here is the actual exchange:

Dean Frost [MS] (Expert): Q: [125] How will the new boot loader in vista handle dual boot situations with XP and 2003 server? will the underlying NTloader and boot.ini change for those 2 OS’s as well to work better with Vista?
A: I’m going to steal a quote from the newsgroups from Vinnie Flynt, as he said it quite well. “Multiple boot menus. First one is for BCD store compliant entries. There will be one legacy. When you click that, it shows all the entries in the boot.ini. Currently, it also shows a Vista entry. That is because we are in a transition period and you are seeing the last dependency on boot.ini. 5231 is still writing an entry to the boot.ini for Vista. Beta2 should not have an entry for Vista in the boot.ini. You shouldn’t see a duplication of cases where you only have 1 boot.ini entry, we will just default to that when you select the legacy entry.The bcdedit is the IT tool for modifying the entries and should be available whether you are in XP, W2k3, or Vista. It is just a matter of finding the binary in the Vista %Windir%\system32 directory and then pointing it to the \boot\bcd.”

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Ok. So what do we know? BCDedit takes over for boot.cnf and boot.ini. After the 5231 build, and when the it’s finally released in March 07, boot.ini is gone. Microsoft created BCDedit because “With the development of new firmware models (for example, the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)), an extensible and interoperable interface was required to abstract the underlying firmware. This new design provides the foundation for a variety of new features in Windows Vista (for example, the Startup Repair tool and Multi-User Install shortcuts).”

Does this mean dual-booters need to learn new tricks? yup.

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