Edit Windows 8 BCD (Boot Configuration Data)
Starting with Vista, BCD replaces the settings in boot.ini. BCD is a wonderfully descriptive acronym for Boot Configuration Data, more importantly, it gives you control of what should happen when your Windows 8 computer starts. This page explains the boot data and how, with care, you can edit the settings.
Understanding the Boot Configuration Settings
- Getting Started with Windows 8 BCDEdit
- Windows 8 BCDEdit Switches
- Editing Your Windows 8 BCD Settings
- Windows 8 BCDBoot – Boot File Repair Tool
- See More on Windows 8 Boot
What You Can Do with BCDEdit
- Change the default boot settings on multiboot computers.
- Adjust the timeout.
- Alter the descriptions of boot menu items.
The first point is that we need a vehicle such as CMD or PowerShell to run BCDEdit commands. Remember that BCD is the data store, whereas BCDEdit is the utility for manipulating the settings.
Trap: Before launching CMD or PowerShell ISE, remember to right-click and select, ‘Run as administrator’.
The second point is that before we make boot configuration changes, let us list the settings so that we can understand the syntax, and appreciate the scope of the configuration data.
At the command prompt, or in PowerShell ISE type plain:
Windows Boot Manager
description Windows Boot Manager
Windows Boot Loader
description Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Urgent, Important – Backup BCDEdit
My third point is now that you have had a look at BCDEdit, I strongly recommend you take precautions and backup or export the original settings. Be aware this is not like editing an ordinary text file such as boot.ini.
Tip: I prefer to use PowerShell ISE rather than CMD to run these commands; the reason being it’s much easier to edit the commands and keep track of changes. Remember to ‘Run as administrator’.
bcdedit /export C:\GuyBCD1
Note 1: You can give the backup file an legal name, I just incorporate ‘Guy’ so that I can recognise my work.
Note 2: If you need to restore this date replace -export with -import.
Note 3: The debate rages as to whether we should use a -dash or / backslash. Feel free to change to a backslash if you prefer.
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BCDEdit – 3rd Party Program Recommendation
The truth is that I have struggled with the built-in BCDEdit. The good news is I have tried and tested this Visual BCD Editor for Windows 7 and 8. With this 3rd party utility you can edit every bit of BCD. Also, it can automatically create Windows loaders, and even make a one click dual-boot repair.
Assuming you are able to boot normally, you can discover more about Windows 8 boot configuration by typing: bcdedit -? Note that the underlying executable is stored in the %systemroot%\system32 folder, but as this location is in the Path cmd or PowerShell ISE find this file without trouble.
I like to research the commands with:
BCDEdit /? Topics