How to change the default boot OS (to Windows XP, Vista or Ubuntu)

If you want to change the default boot OS to Windows XP, Vista or Ubuntu, you don’t really need to know much. Let’s take a closer look at bcdedit, which accepts a few commands to set the default boot OS.

Change default Boot OS

I’m running Windows 7 on my PC and Windows XP + Ubuntu on my laptop. Now, let’s say I’d install Windows 7 on my laptop as well, then I could use bcdedit to change the default boot OS to Windows 7.

For starters, let’s take a look at bcdedit.

1. Step Open an elevated command prompt
2. Step Enter bcdedit
3. Step Something similar to this should appear on your screen:

Windows Boot Manager Settings

Listed under Windows Boot Manager you will see the entry “default” ,which is exactly what we want to modify – the default boot OS!

Now, let’s assume you have several operating systems installed, then you have to take a closer look at the identifier of each OS.

Change Default Boot OS Command

You can use the command bcdedit /default {identifier} to change the default operating system.

What Is The Boot Identifier?

Take a closer look at the Windows Boot Loader identifier – listed under Windows Boot Loader:
Windows Boot Loader Indentifier

It says {current} – this WILL be different if you have also installed Vista. It could look similar to {d846a017-6391-11df-9f11-dd9db719a8ef}. The Windows XP identifier will be {ntldr}.

Examples – Change Default Boot OS to Vista or XP

Important: The Vista example below will not work on your system, because your identifier will be different, you need to enter bcdedit into an elevated command prompt and take a look at YOUR identifier (ID), listed under Windows Boot Loader (it is not {bootmgr}).

Windows Vista: bcdedit /default {d846a017-6391-11df-9f11-dd9db719a8ef}
Windows XP: bcdedit /default {ntldr}

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- Cheers!

Written by:
Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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3 Responses to How to change the default boot OS (to Windows XP, Vista or Ubuntu)

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    john said:

    Mine its showing as “The boot sector cannot be Opened. Access Denied”
    Can you help me out here
    I had fedora Linux installed in D drive and win7 in C … after installing win 7 in C the fedora just disappeared
    How can i find it?

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    john, can you even start Windows 7? I would try to run chkdsk on the disk and run /fixmbr

    Fix Master Boot Record

    If that doesn’t work you should do some further research at or a dedicated Fedora forum. I installed Ubuntu after installing Windows XP and Ubuntu even installed a boot manager for me.

  3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    andi said:

    I open the cmd task and write the command and show this sentences

    “The boot configuration data store could not be opened.
    Access is denied.”

    what happen ????

    can you tell me ???

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