Unlike earlier releases of Windows, Windows 7 uses a pre-operating system boot environment. At the core of this boot environment is the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) data store, which contains boot configuration parameters and controls how the operating system is started. The preboot environment provides a fundamental change in the way computers running Windows 7 are started. If you understand how this preboot environment works, you'll be better prepared to work with and troubleshoot Windows 7 installations. Be sure to read this chapter before you install an earlier version of Windows on a computer running Windows 7.

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