How do I control Windows 8's access to the boot menu?

I've set up my PC to dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 but 8 seems worse than previous versions in its cavalier attitude to rewriting the boot menu (BCD). On several occasions, it seems to have rewritten the boot selection to boot Windows 8 rather than the default of Windows 7 - it doesn't even stop and ask!. Is there an option to tell Windows to ask before changing the boot sequence? I am fed up with using EasyBCD to fix things!
 

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Last updated March 24, 2018 Views 1,347 Applies to:

Are you sure that EasyBCD can fix Windows 8 boot menu ?

Please tell us how you achieve this with EasyBCD..

 

I want to set Windows 8 graphical boot menu but EasyBCD forces old text style boot menu whatever I try - is this a bug ?

 

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I'm quite happy with the text menu, After all, you only see it for a few seconds so I don't really see the point in having a graphical boot menu. In fact, I'd prefer it if Windows gave me a bit more information rather than hiding everything in (or behind) 'pretty' graphical interfaces.

Regarding my problem, it seems that when Windows 8 "encounters a problem" (without saying what it is), it then "attempts to fix it" by making itself the default boot menu option and suppressing the prompt so there's no time to choose another option. Hitting F8 during POST will bring up the text menu, but I'd still like to know if there's some way to tell Windows 8 not to do this as it doesn't do anything to fix a startup problem.

Of course, what I'd really like is for Windows to be a bit more helpful about what the error is and what it's doing in "attempting to fix it". But  can't see Microsoft being that helpful! 

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Hitting F8 during POST will bring up the text menu


Really?   I thought that had been engineered out of the W8 Boot experience.   Are you using UEFI?   Apparently it has more control than BIOS users get?   E.g. UEFI users seem to be able to do stuff that usually requires bcdedit or your third-party tool.

 

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I also found that once Windows 8 has booted up, clicking Restart from the 'power button' on the login page with SHIFT held down will boot into the graphical startup options menu where I can check the startup settings. It's also available under the advanced part of the settings app.

 

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What annoys me is that after almost every windows update or if I run Windows 7 for a while I get almost the same sequence when Windows 8 goes to restart.

 

1. PC attempts to restart going straight to Windows 8 boot (Windows  8 icon)

2. "Your PC ran into a problem..." either PROCESS1_INITIALIZATION_FAILED or IO1_INITIALIZATION_FAILED - rarely KERNEL_INPAGE_ERROT.

3. PC reboots. Sometimes offers the text startup menu; since I'm trying to get back to Windows 8 I select that.

4. "Your PC ran into a problem..." as before.

5. PC reboots. If given a choice, I select windows 8.

6. PC displays Goldfish icon that was used with the Consumer Preview, then puts the blue Windows icon on top of it. Displays "Diagnosing your PC"

7. Displays "Attempting repairs" - this can take up to half an hour!

8. PC reboots, briefly displays Windows icon, then displays a blue screen offering to do a system restore. I choose not to do this.

9. I finally get the graphics startup options menu and choose "Boot another operating system"

10. The choices are Windows 7 or Windows 8 so I choose Windows 8.

11. Windows 8 boots, apparently normally. After login, it asks if I want to send details of the problem to Microsoft, so I do.

 

What I'd like is more detailed information of what it's looking at when it's "Diagnosing your PC" and what it's trying to do when "Attempting repairs".

 

My dual boot set up has Windows 7 on disk 0 and Windows 8 on disk 1. When Windows 8 installed it apparently failed to set up the boot menu (which I fixed with EasyBCD). Of course, what I can't tell is whether Windows 8 wrote a boot record to disk 1 and 'sometimes' uses that boot code and hence gets confused.

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Hi Derek,

If you would tell if your Win7 and Win8 installations are UEFI/GPT or BIOS/MBR I could point to some documents on Windows boot sequence and other topics so you would have a better understanding what is going on until OS is up and running.

 

Usually Windows boots from first hard disk - boot related files for Vista and later are:

1. boot manager (\bootmgr)

2. \boot folder with BCD inside

 

In a Win 8/Win 7 dual-boot setup it is always Windows 8 bootmgr which is in control.

Windows 7 boot manager cannot boot Windows 8.

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Hi Derek,

If you would tell if your Win7 and Win8 installations are UEFI/GPT or BIOS/MBR


Maybe ask about his EasyBCD too...

 

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8-system/not-working-refresh-your-pc-without-affecting-your/c8338f32-d184-4a8c-a3e2-26db54f98976?msgId=44673ca5-e8d8-4f4a-9769-cfbb4e2b253d

 

<quote>

Avoid using EasyBCD v2.2, hopefully they will update the utility to work correctly with Windows 8 BCD store.  Just use the built in BCDEdit feature of either Windows 7 or 8 to switch between graphical or legacy boot modes.  I caused my own problem by using a third party utility.
</quote>

 

 

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This is a BIOS/MBR setup. I'm not sure the PC supports UEFI.

If you look at my profile you'll see I've worked in IT for nearly 30 years so have a pretty good understanding of how he boot sequence used to work. The trouble I find with Windows 8 is that in continues the Microsoft trend of hiding information. What I'd like to see is a log of information regarding the boot up which records the point at which it fails and I'd rather not have to analyze a dump file to get it.

If you can point me at the right documents I'd be interested in taking a look.

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As mentioned, I'm using BIOS/MBR (legacy) so this problem shouldn't affect me.


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I am afraid there are no Microsoft documents regarding boot and startup you would not know being so long in IT.

On boot problems I always used boot logging to show last module loaded.

 

It seems that in Windows 8 Microsoft has implemented automatic repairs of startup errors.

There are other paths to go - you boot recovery DVD/USB and do manual fixing.

 

Usually last installed software is the cause of problems if you have not altered system registries or system files.

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