How to Repair the Vista Bootloader

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 15, 2006
Updated • May 22, 2013

I encountered a problem after I installed Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux next to my Windows XP operating system on the same PC. Ubuntu and XP were loading fine but Vista was showing an error that it could not load a file which made me think that the bootloader was trying to access Vista on the wrong partition. Vista unfortunately has a new location where the boot information are stored, it is called BCD Store.

I first tried editing the boot.ini but did not find an entry for Vista in there. After searching the Internet for about half an hour I discovered many forum entries where other users described the issue that I faced, and finally a link to a program called Windows Vista Boot Pro, a freeware which displays the boot information in Windows XP, and the option to edit the entries.

The first tab of  Vista Boot Pro displays the boot information that are stored in BCD Store. My previous assumption proved correct because there was no drive assigned to my Vista operating system which was strange. I switched to the Manage Os Entries and created a new entry for Vista with the correct drive letter. I also deleted the old non-working one.

After that I rebooted the machine and was able to load Vista without problems. I hope that everyone who encounters Vista boot problems will find this tool as well. As Borat would put it: It is nice..

Update: Windows Vista Boot Pro is no longer available as a free application. Windows users looking for a free alternative can try Easy BCD, which is free for non-commercial use. The program offers a similar feature set.

You can use the program to repair the Windows bootloader, or modify it so that it is pointing to operating system installations that it did not pick up automatically.

Easy BCD, as the name implies, is really easy to use. Just open the Edit Boot Menu tab on the left sidebar, and you should see all installed operating systems in a list. Here you can modify the menu order and select a default system.  You may also edit existing entries here, or add new entries to the boot manager of the system.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. thunderphenix said on August 25, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Thanks you are saving my life

  2. Salman said on July 19, 2009 at 9:59 am


    its not free

  3. chris bibb said on October 8, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    this resolves my problem by using the force load
    im glad i stumbled upon this

  4. Roger Wilkins said on January 28, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    I found EasyBCD ( and its user manual which do a better job.

    Best instructions on repairing the Vista bootloader.

  5. Thank You 2 said on December 10, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Thank you very much. Saved me hours of… well no I looked around for hours, but this is much quicker!

  6. ThankYou said on February 10, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    thank you very much for this…. it work perfectly and save me having to search for hours

  7. netking said on December 15, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    Another problem, reverting from vista boot loader to xp :

    – put the Vista install DVD in your player (or mount it)

    – Go to windows console : start menu > execute then “cmd” in the console

    – Go to the boot folder on vista’s hd (ie d:\boot\)

    – Enter the following command : bootsect.exe -NT52 All

    You should revert to XP boot loader…

    Hope it’s useful…

  8. Arcan3 said on December 15, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    Great Find.. thanks

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