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}

Published: Sunday, January 16th, 2011 Last Modified: January 16, 2011