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[ SOLVED ] Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop

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Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« on: February 22, 2019, 10:22:56 AM »
 

br1anstorm

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[warning and disclaimer:  this post is more about Win7 and Lenovo laptops than about Linux Lite. But as a member of both Linux Lite and Linux Mint forums, and user of both distros, I'm hoping that someone here might be able to shed light on a slightly odd problem I have encountered].
 I have a spare - second-hand, refurbished - Lenovo T430 laptop which came with a clean (re)install of Win7.  I decided to set it up to dual boot with Linux.  But in the slightly untypical way that I already have dual-boots on my main (Samsung) laptop and my desktop computer, I wanted to use EasyBCD to modify the Windows bootloader to point to the Linux Grub option, rather than having GRUB replace and take over the Windows MBR bootloader.
 
It should work fine.  But in this instance it didn't. I think the problem lies in the way the Windows MBR was configured.  But I don't know how to diagnose and investigate.
 
 If anyone can offer advice, I'd welcome it.  Here are the clues:
 
 1) When Win7 alone was on the computer, I noticed that on initial boot up the Windows boot menu-screen flashed up very briefly with two options - 'Boot to Windows', or 'Restore the Original Windows Image'.  The latter choice came with a warning note at the bottom of the menu screen that this would erase all existing data.  In any case the delay default must be about 2 secs, because it then boots up by default into Win7.  Comment:  I have other computers with Win7 installed, and I have never seen this menu appear on booting any of them;
 
 2) when I looked at the partitioning using GParted, I noticed that there were already three primary partitions on the hard drive:  100MB System Reserved, 13GB Recovery, and the main Win7 partition (which I shrank to make room for Linux);
 
 3) while running the Linux installer (i was actually aiming to install Mint), I noticed that on the screen offering the usual options (install alongside, replace, or 'something else'), the installer reported that there were "multiple OSs already on the system". Comment: I thought that a bit odd, but assumed that maybe it was seeing the existing Recovery partition as containing a duplicate, or image, of the Win7 OS.  I went ahead anyway with 'Something Else', installed Mint into appropriate partitions, put its Grub on to [/], and completed the install without any issues;
 
 4) the next step (as those who use EasyBCD will know) is to boot back into Win7, open EasyBCD, and add the Linux distro - telling EasyBCD where to find the Grub.  After a reboot, that should work - as it does perfectly well on my other computers.  Normally, the Windows boot menu comes up, offering Win7 or Linux.  Choosing the latter takes you on to the Grub screen, from which you boot into your Linux distro.  Simple....normally!
 
 5) this however did not happen.  On reboot, the first screen fleetingly offered was as at (1):  the same Windows boot menu for 2 secs, offering only Boot Windows Normally, or Restore Original Windows Image.  No sign of Linux, and no way to boot into it.
 
 I'd like to know why EasyBCD evidently didn't manage to modify the MBR to link to the Grub and enable me to boot into it.  (The EasyBCD forum is not very active - I get no response there).

  I'm wondering if the Win7 Recovery arrangements are part of a Lenovo configuration which has already modified the MBR (or BCD) to offer a System Restore Image.   Has anyone else encountered this? 
 
 Can I go into a Live session and go looking at the Windows boot files?  If so, what should I look for?
 
 I know I could abandon all this and go the traditional route of dual boot with Grub replacing the Windows bootloader in the MBR.  But I'm worried that the MBR may already have been modified, and I am puzzled that the installer appears to see multiple systems on the computer already.  So I hesitate to try to install Linux and have Grub take over the boot process completely.  Also I hate unsolved problems......I'd like to know why I get this current boot menu, before I try to set up something else.
Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 06:32:38 PM by br1anstorm
 


Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2019, 02:28:26 PM »
 

firenice03

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@br1anstorm

I may have come across something similar.. I can test but may be a bit..

Although my set up maybe a lil different...

Boot into the BIOS.. There will be a "boot" section - kinda like a boot order - but you can choose between Windows Manager and Ubuntu (how my LL is listed). My setup is UEFI enabled, so this could be something

If I use Windows - Windows doesn't care about LL, but if Ubuntu is my default, LL Grub will report both. :)
As you can guess.. I leave it set to Ubuntu :)

Give that a look and when I can I'll try to double check the field/tab names...
Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 02:30:21 PM by firenice03
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Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2019, 02:54:58 PM »
 

trinidad

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Couple of things to investigate:
Is Windows booting from the media channel?
Has your refurbisher left some old signatures on the disk?

TC
All opinions expressed and all advice given by Trinidad Cruz on this forum are his responsibility alone and do not necessarily reflect the views or methods of the developers of Linux Lite. He is a citizen of the United States where it is acceptable to occasionally be uninformed and inept as long as you pay your taxes.
 

Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2019, 07:14:57 PM »
 

firenice03

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I checked.. The screenshots below are to what I was thinking...
Its an UEFI set up.. You can get to via BIOS or F10 at boot (on mine) to change/set order.
If Windows is set, that's all you get is Windows - No prompt for other..
If Ubuntu is set - I receive the typical Grub as shown (with Windows) - if this isn't changed you won't see LL..
Windows is on its own and LL actually runs on a SD Card, so its, its own disk but LL bootloader is on the LL partition..








**** UPDATE:
I looked a bit at EasyBCD - and found this, not sure how you configured but this may help??



On my Winders box, I modified BCD via bcdedit command to allow for 2 boot loaders - 1 w/ HyperV support and 1 without (VMWare/Virtual Box can't run with HyperV installed) - It yields similar results as the video, a screen with options of how to boot.

Another set up: EasyBCD and Ubuntu..
https://www.groovypost.com/howto/dual-boot-windows-10-linux/

Hope it helps..
Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 07:31:03 PM by firenice03
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Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2019, 07:51:13 AM »
 

br1anstorm

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Thanks for those replies.   I'll try to cover all the angles raised....

First, I have to say that while trinidad's comments may be useful, I confess they are 'way above my head.  Sorry.  I have no idea what 'the media channel' is, or where to find it.... and I wouldn't know where to look for any 'leftover signatures on the disk', or how to recognise them if they were there!

Next, a bit more about the current setup on the problematic laptop.  I have looked into the BIOS and in particular at the 'Startup' configuration.  Regret I can't post a screenshot, as I'm using a different computer.  Under the Boot details, it lists "UEFI/Legacy Boot".  The setting shows [Both], and under "Boot Priority" it shows [Legacy First].   Also in the main page of the BIOS it says that UEFI Secure Boot is [Off]

So I am assuming that the installed Windows 7 OS is installed in Legacy mode, and that the partitioning and configuration of the hard drive is GPT, not UEFI.  I have never used a machine with UEFI and have no experience of UEFI and Windows 10 settings.

If it's relevant, F12 at startup reveals the Boot Options menu which has three listings:  ATAPI CD0 (the DVD-RW drive), ATA HDD0 (the internal hard disk), and PCI LAN (which I presume to be some sort of network option).  There is nothing in that Boot Options menus which says "Windows Boot Manager", and certainly nothing saying Linux or Ubuntu or similar!

Consequently I'm not sure how far the examples outlined by firenice03 apply to my situation. As I understand it, I do not have a UEFI setup.  In terms of the bootloader(s), I believe that the Windows7 bootloader is still in place where you would expect it to be, in the MBR.  I have gone through the entire process of installing Linux (Mint...).  I used the 'something else' option precisely in order to avoid messing with the MBR, and I placed the Grub bootloader in the root (/) partition along with the Linux OS.

So right now, the Windows bootloader (in the MBR) cannot "see" Grub or Linux at all.  From my successful experience on other machines, this is where EasyBCD plays its part.  As shown in the links posted by firenice03, the final step in the dual-boot setting-up process using EasyBCD is to boot into Windows, go into EasyBCD, and add the Linux OS, specifying the partition in which it, and its Grub, are located.  EasyBCD then works its magic and automatically edits the existing BCD to tell the Windows bootloader where to find the other OS.

Normally this works like a charm, and it is how I have dual boot set up on my other computer(s).  But in this case, it isn't happening.  EasyBCD lists the Linux Mint OS, so appears to have done its job.  But on start up the Windows boot screen which should be the very first screen to show, offering the options of Win7 or Linux, does not appear.  Instead I am still getting the original and unusual Windows Boot Menu, with its choice of 'Boot into Windows' or 'Restore System Image' (and wipe existing disk).  So I have no way of even getting the Grub screen to show up, never mind booting into the Linux OS.

So I'm still baffled.  My interpretation of the evidence is that either the Lenovo Recovery setup, or maybe the refurbisher-reinstall of Windows 7, has somehow modified the Windows boot process and/or the BCD, so as to launch the Boot menu with that 'Restore System Image' choice before the boot process goes any further;  and that somehow this modification has prevented EasyBCD from editing the BCD, or is preventing the (edited) BCD from operating as it should.

If that's true (and I cannot prove it....) then I'd like to know how to undo or work around that, so that instead of only having the choice of booting into Win7 or Restoring Image, I get to a boot menu screen (either the Win7 MBR one, or Grub) which sees and offers both Win7 and Linux.

I suppose I could delete/remove the partition on which I have installed Linux Mint and start the process over again, this time choosing to install "alongside" the existing Win7 OS.  This would in effect put Grub into the MBR, replacing the Windows bootloader, and would not require anything to be done using EasyBCD.

 The uncertainty with that is - what will the installer, or Linux's Grub do about the System Recovery partition?  Will it see that - or the image within it - as another OS?  We already know that the installer believes there are "multiple" OSs already on the computer.  Would I have to delete/remove the Lenovo System Recovery partition before trying to install Linux?

I really don't know what to do next. I don't want to "lose" the Win7 installation as I don't have a Win7 disk for a reinstall.  Ideally I don't want to mess with the Lenovo Recovery setup, just in case I ever need it.  But I really would like to have Linux (Mint or Lite) also installed as a dual boot!
Any further thoughts would be welcome!
 

Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2019, 09:49:20 AM »
 

firenice03

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Don't know much about EasyBCD - but as you described/stated its doing what it does and should be done...
Have you tried manually viewing the BCD and possibly changing the order/setting defaults???

Have a look here:
https://marcofranssen.nl/switch-between-hyper-v-and-virtualbox-on-windows/

About 1/2 - 3/4 down, using /enum to view if Linux is in the list, then can set as default etc... *Open command prompt as administrator..

If anything you can confirm if Linux has been added... Sorry I haven't done much with BCD :(
Maybe another thing to check, is that in Windows "Fastboot"/"Fast StartUp" is disabled.. ?? ... https://lifehacker.com/enable-this-setting-to-make-windows-10-boot-up-faster-1743697169
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Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2019, 05:00:50 PM »
 

br1anstorm

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Thanks for hanging in there with me, firenice03.
On your second point - about Fastboot - my understanding is that this is part of Windows10, but is not a feature of Win7.  I have seen how it works, and read various websites including the Lifehacker one, as my wife has a Win10 laptop. As far as I can tell it does not exist on this 'problematic' Lenovo laptop whose only (visible!) OS is Win7.

I can't claim to be an expert on EasyBCD although it works successfully on the dual boot arrangement I have on my regular daily laptop.  Unfortunately the EasyBCD support website and forum offer little help.  In a nutshell, it is a program, with a GUI, which does what would otherwise only be possible by using the bcdedit command prompt in a Windows terminal.  This is what the other article - marcofranssen - to which you linked describes (although the stuff about hyper-V and virtual box is all gobbledegook to me).

However, the fact that I have EasyBCD on this problematic laptop does mean that I can indeed look at the configuration of the BCD in the way that article describes, without having to go into the terminal, make backups, and all that stuff.

So..... I went and had a look.  This is what I found
Quote
Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier              {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device                  locate=custom:12000002
description             Windows Boot Manager
locale                  en-US
inherit                 {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
default                 {a6ea9bab-24b4-11e9-8e96-f82fa8e876d9}
resumeobject            {06f87eb3-4038-11e0-aecc-c1f066e6c02a}
displayorder            {06f87eb4-4038-11e0-aecc-c1f066e6c02a}
                        {a6ea9bab-24b4-11e9-8e96-f82fa8e876d9}
toolsdisplayorder       {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout                 20
displaybootmenu         Yes

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier              {06f87eb4-4038-11e0-aecc-c1f066e6c02a}
device                  locate=custom:12000002
path                    \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description             Windows 7
locale                  en-US
inherit                 {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
osdevice                locate=custom:22000002
systemroot              \Windows
resumeobject            {06f87eb3-4038-11e0-aecc-c1f066e6c02a}
nx                      OptIn

Real-mode Boot Sector
---------------------
identifier              {a6ea9bab-24b4-11e9-8e96-f82fa8e876d9}
device                  partition=C:
path                    \NST\AutoNeoGrub0.mbr
description             Linux Mint
locale                  en-US
custom:250000c2         0

Unfortunately I do not understand, and cannot interpret, this information.  I wonder if anyone else can explain what it says about the current boot arrangements?

One interesting point is that it does differ, in some respects, from the equivalent BCD info on my main laptop (which boots quite happily, using EasyBCD, into either Win7 or Linux).  The main difference(s) appear to be in the line about "device".  On this problematic Lenovo computer (above) it says
Quote
locate=custom:12000002
in both the Windows Boot Manager and the Windows Boot Loader, and
Quote
partition=C:
in the Real-mode Boot Sector - whatever that is, but it evidently relates to Linux Mint!

On my other - normal - dual boot computer, the equivalent BCD entries in the "device" line are, in the Windows Boot Manager
Quote
partition=\Device\HarddiskVolume1
, and in the Windows Boot Loader
Quote
partition=C:
.  The entry in the real-mode Boot Sector for the Linux OS is also
Quote
partition=C:

I could try and guess what this signifies:  that in the problematic Lenovo computer the Windows boot arrangements are somehow in a "custom" location or configuration.  But maybe someone who understands BCD and BCD editing can offer a more detailed explanation?
 

Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2019, 10:28:24 PM »
 

firenice03

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Maybe worth something... Perhaps something was missed/overlooked..
The BCD looks like its been added... But did you deploy/activate this BCD??? Not sure if that's the right wording...

Looking at the following for reference:
https://www.iceflatline.com/2009/09/how-to-dual-boot-windows-7-and-linux-using-bcdedit/
https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/257048-dual-boot-windows-7-linux.html

Specifically the 2nd link... You add the Linux OS to BCD, adding the boot entry... Then write the bootloader to Win7 ...... Part D step 1 and 2... Step 3 sets default - maybe try setting ubuntu as default??

Reaching here....
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Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2019, 04:58:04 PM »
 

br1anstorm

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Once again, thanks for taking time to rack your brains and do research on this, firenice03.

I think that we may be inching slowly towards....if not a solution, then at least an explanation or diagnosis of the problem.  My appeals for help in the EasyBCD forum have resulted in some possible additional elements in the jigsaw puzzle.

It is now clear that the BCD on this Lenovo computer has been modified as part of the Lenovo OEM and Recovery setup.  As noted in my previous post, the "device" line in both the Windows Boot Manager details and in the Windows Boot Loader details has the entry
Quote
locate=custom:12000002
, whereas the equivalent entries in the BCD on my properly dual-booting main computer have entries which say
Quote
partition=\Device\HarddiskVolume1
and
Quote
partition=C:
.

These customised entries are - we suspect - related to the Lenovo Recovery setup and they cause the boot process to offer up the first screen I see, which has the 'Boot to Windows' or 'Restore System Image' choice.

The BCD has in fact also been modified further (by me, using EasyBCD) to include also the section headed Real-mode Boot Sector in which there is a reference to the Linux Mint OS and Grub.

However, here's the crunch.  The "device-locate" customisation in the Windows Boot Manager and Loader, which still kicks in at the first stage in the booting process, is a direction down a path to a particular file.  And as outlined on this website http://www.mistyrebootfiles.altervista.org/documents/BCDEdit/files/device_locate.htm
Quote
"..... In multiboot environments the locate device may not load the desired operating system as the scanning process will stop as soon as the first path\file is found...."
.

So it would appear that because Lenovo (as part of its OEM setup) has tweaked the Windows Boot Manager to go to, or via, the file or screen which offers the Restore System Image option (which is in the separate dedicated Recovery partition), it then stops, giving only the choice to boot into Windows or restore an image.  It  does not go onward to the stage within the BCD boot process where EasyBCD has set up the linkage to Linux and its Grub.

This analysis is confirmed by the second of the websites (the sevenforums one) to which you linked.  In the big warning box that precedes the instructions on how to set up dual boot by manually editing the BCD, it says this:
Quote
Please take careful note : If you currently........
  • Require access to OEM installation recovery functionality,
then you cannot use the methods outlined in this tutorial, and should not proceed any further.
 
 The reasons for this are that this dual-boot technique requires you to delete the 100MB System Reserved partition. Without this partition.......the Recovery functions employed by OEM's accessed during Windows boot, will no longer work.

So.... in effect I can only have a dual boot setup on this Lenovo laptop if I get rid of the Lenovo Recovery partition and re-edit the BCD (somehow!) to remove the current device-locate entry and put in whatever ought to be the normal configuration. Once I have done that, I can add other OSs into a dual or even multiple-boot setup either manually, as described in the iceflatline and sevenforums websites, or (more easily) by using EasyBCD to do the necessary editing.

As I said, we may have got closer to a diagnosis/explanation.  But I'm not totally sure yet that I can see an achievable solution.  In a way, I am slightly reluctant to lose the Lenovo Recovery facility entirely - I might need it one day!   But it does seem that unless I can find a workaround for that, I cannot set up a dual boot arrangement either by editing the BCD manually or by using EasyBCD. 

Which leaves me with a different choice.  Either to leave this machine with Win7 only and give up the dual boot idea;  or more radically,to burn my bridges:  ditch Windows7 off this computer totally and install only Linux (Mint, Lite, or whatever else!).

I'll lie down in a darkened room to think about it (and maybe wait to see if anyone comes up with other suggestions......) .


 

Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2019, 08:29:06 PM »
 

firenice03

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or.. ?? .. Set the Windows boot manager back to a normal/semi-normal and let grub manage the boot..??... Still leave grub on the LL partition leaving Windows alone on its own..
When Grub boots - Windows is an option within, where it would boot the OS, what I don't know is if the entire Windows Boot Manager options are displayed.... Any which you would still have Windows and Image/Restore available.. Worst case remove grub..??..??


More ideas to run thru your mind...
Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 08:32:46 PM by firenice03
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Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2019, 06:31:53 PM »
 

br1anstorm

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I owe firenice03 in particular - and anybody else reading this thread - an update report on this problem.

I'm pleased to say it is solved..... thought I still don't know the specific cause of the original problem!

Long story short - since the issue was clearly either a Win7 problem or something to do with Lenovo and its recovery setup, I sought help from those directions.  The Lenovo forums were pretty useless.  But I got a lot of advice from "sevenforums" , a comprehensive site unconnected with Microsoft.

Much of that advice involved exploring the BCD using the terminal, or 'command prompts' in Windows.  I harvested a lot of information (like there were three BCDs on the system...).  But none of the suggested solutions worked:  many commands simply produced error messages.  It proved effectively impossible to edit the BCD using the bcdedit range of commands.


I had been fighting shy of trying any of the "automatic" boot-repair programmes, figuring that they might make the situation worse.  But when the various attempts to modify or restore the BCD to 'normal' via Win7 got nowhere, I eventually decided to try the tools and options within the EasyBCD program.

And what joy!  Simply choosing the "Repair BCD" option in EasyBCD magically put everything right. It amended the customised entries in the Boot Manager and Boot Loader, did away with the peculiar "Boot Normally or Restore Image" screen, and on reboot resulted in a perfectly normal bootup process with the familiar sequence of screens and the ability to boot smoothly into either Win7 or Linux.

I still don't know what was wrong with the BCD or who modified it and why.  But suffice to say that I now have a perfectly normal dual-boot setup working as it should;  and my respect for EasyBCD (which I use to dual/multiboot all of my computers) has grown considerably.

So all's well that ends well - and thanks again to those who joined in the discussion here.
 

Re: Dual boot with Win7 - problem with boot menus on Lenovo laptop
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2019, 11:44:11 PM »
 

firenice03

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Good to hear its resolved :)
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