Windows – When does C:\boot exist? Why can a PC boot fine without it? (Win7 Win10)

bootrecoverywindowswindows 10

I have just cloned my Win 10 PC from a 256GB M.2 SATA SSD to a 512GB NVMe SSD, and it of course would not boot immediately after. I have been learning about and trying to restore/rebuild/create a new BCD, that points to the proper new device and paths.
It seems like so far when I bcdedit /import or bcdboot /rebuildbcd , it just concatenates this info onto the existing, bloated, and incorrect BCD entries (Device Not Found, and other errors).

In the end, I'd like to just clear out the whole BCD, as I've made a new one from scratch that I'd like to try. Most instructions I've found on how to do this instruct the user to go to C:\boot\bcd, backup, and erase things. But, that folder doesn't exist on my cloned C: partition.

It also doesn't seem to exist on my (working) Windows 7 laptop, or the (working) Win 10 ultrabook.
I believe the W7 is MBR, while the ultrabook and the old and new W10 PC are all GPT, but I am only just starting to understand NTLDR (<= WinXP) vs BOOTMGR (Vista,7,8,10) and MBR/BIOS vs GPT/UEFI, so I may have missed something.

Why can't I find this folder? Is it supposed to exist? Where else can the active BCD store files physically reside? Were all these instructions just for Win10 MBR, and not GPT? Is that even the difference?

Best Answer

  • When you let Windows create partitions as it wants, it will create a separate boot partition that contains Windows Boot Manager as well as the BCD data store. This partition will not be mounted by default. With GPT, this data resides in the EFI System Partition (ESP), which is of course also a separate partition.

    You can mount the ESP (and probably also the MBR-style boot partition) using the mountvol command-line tool. It requires admin rights, so remember to start Command Prompt as admin.

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