[Download] Vista Hide 'n Seek BETA


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
uman, the intention is to add tooltips that appear on hover, which will contain more info, and perhaps a right-click menu, too.

geoffp, your problem sounds similar to uman's...

For both of you: do you have UAC enabled?


New, UAC-compatible version uploaded... Hope it helps:
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:smile: Many thanks - yes, I did have UAC enabled. Just shows how little I use Vista at the moment!

Will give the new UAC compatible version a try next week , and will report back.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
That's good to know - explains away an hour of head-banging-against-wall frustration at that error :smile:


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Finally decided not to sit on the fence waiting for everyone else to debug this for me, and gave it a whirl today.
Everything appeared to work fine - till I tried the updated boot process.

First problem - both my Vista(C and E) and XP systems(D and H) have 2 partitions (system and user software segregated) and there's a shared data partition(F), and a backup/pagefile 2nd disk with a single partition (G).

When I told HnS that C&E were Vista, D&H were XP (others unspecified) It assumed that there were two separate XP systems and gave me a boot entry for both. Then, selecting D produced a "\system32\ntoskrnl.exe invalid or missing" boot failure.

Twice through your boot menu then once through Vista's got me back safely to Vista where I reran HnS and took out the XP User partition, (not a problem - I actually execute some legacy software from there on Vista without installing it, so technically it could be called shared anyway) reducing the boot menu to a straight V/X two way choice, but the boot (via iReboot each time) still produced the same error message and failure.

Thinking iReboot might be confused, I stopped it and only started it up after HnS had completed and tried again. This time I got Hal.dll missing and still no boot into XP.

Eventually gave up and removed HnS, but still couldn't boot into XP until I'd manually renamed boot.ini.hns back to boot.ini on D:\.
I notice now that whereas before D was my boot disk and also active whichever system was IPL'd, now D is still active under Vista, but C is now boot, and I've still got boot files all over the place (and HnS files) despite supposedly removing it.
This is mostly cosmetic since both systems are working again, but I wonder if the 2 hidden Vista disks are confusing the issue (I need to hide both to protect the restore points).
If so you'll need a couple of other options in the HnS loop - Vista (bootable) ,Vista (other), XP (bootable), XP (other), Shared.
CG-- yeah, I also have UAC-enabled. I've downloaded the new file and will try later this week. Re: tooltips-- that makes sense-- makes the info available but doesn't clutter the UI.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Yep, my thoughts exactly.

I'd appreciate if any future bug reports would also include the layout/configuration of your filesystems, please.

Namely: Available disks & their partitions, what partitions Vista(s) and XP(s) are installed to, the active partition on each disk, and the boot partition in your setup.

Vista HnS needs to be told where actual, distinct operating systems are installed. So if you have a Vista install and an XP install, you would select the partitions that they reside on only (basically, it'll create an entry for each XP install you select).

Here's how a working HnS configuration would look for a drive layout like this:
Drive one: Vista (active, boot), XP
Drive two: XP, Vista, Data partition

You would select the two Vistas and the two XPs in HnS, and it would do its work..
Upon rebooting:

HnS menu:
....Windows Vista
....Windows XP 1
....Windows XP 2

Selecting either of the XP entries will boot into their corresponding OS. The XP partition you've booted into will be active, other XP partitions will be visible, all Vista partitions will be hidden.

Selecting the Vista entry will show the Vista bootmgr/bcd menu with two Vista entries:

...Windows Vista 1
...Windows Vista 2

Selecting either will get you into the corresponding Vista entry, all partitions will be visible, disk layout will be normal, active partition will be the usual.


My test setup is
Disk 1: Vista, XP
Disk 2: XP, Data


Also, Terry, I'm looking into the un-renamed boot.ini.hns issue.

NTLDR and NTDETECT are left on all XP drives for safety reasons during the beta, so that particular part is expected.
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
I guessed that HnS was assuming I had 2 Vistas and 2 XPs from the fact that I've now got NTLDR and NTDETECT on my C,D,E and H drives ( My 500Gb SATA main disk is MBR/C/D/H/(E/F) ) (the brackets denoting logical drives in an extended partition) (strange order because I left the space for a Linux boot, but subsequently used it as XP's user software partition)

Somehow I need HnS to be able to hide a partition for Vista without assuming it also contains a bootable system. I've always configured my systems from W95 onwards with the OS in its own minimum size partition, and all my user software installed in a completely separate partition to keep the OS partition from getting messy, and allowing defrag of the 3rd party (frequently transient) software space without bothering the system.
I was very disappointed when XP and Vista stopped being able to move the "My ........." folders the way 98 and ME had done and started to load up the system space with temporary junk and User/Terry/ files that I would prefer to keep in my own space and under my housekeeping regime/ naming system, but that's another story.
But the net result is that I've got Vista system restore active on C and E (it needs to be able to uninstall 3rd party apps if they clag the system - as they are prone to do with Vista sadly), so I have to let HnS know to hide E but not make it bootable, to achieve the following effect as presently on my system.

# NeoSmart NeoGrub Bootloader Configuration File
# This is the NeoGrub menu.lst file, and should be located at C:\\menu.lst
# Please see the EasyBCD Documentation for information on how to create/modify entries
# EasyBCD Documentation Home - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki
default 0
timeout 10
title Hide Vista - Boot XP
# Optionally repeat the above entry for all the Vista drives
chainloader (hd0,1)/ntldr # SET THIS TO THE BOOT PARTITION
# Optional section
# If you include this section, you will see a second bootloader menu!
title Unhide Vista - Then Boot it
unhide (hd0,0) # SET THIS TO THE VISTA DRIVE
# Optionally repeat the above entry for all the Vista drives


Mostly Harmless
Staff member

HnS will hide but not add an entry for all drives set as "Vista"
It will add an entry for all drives set as "XP"

So if you set the User App Drive as Vista you should be good to go :smile:

Thanks for posting your NeoGrub menu, btw.
Glad I waited! Have a disk structure quite similar to Terry 60. As seen by Vista it looks like this:

Disk 0 (Partitioned to Vista NTFS standard):
C: Primary - Vista (System, Boot, Active, Crash Dump)
D: Primary - Vista User Applications
E:tongueout:rimary - User Data
F: Logical - Leisure Applications
G: Logical - User MultiMedia files
H: Logical - User Workspace

Disk 1 (Partitioned to WindowsXP NTFS standard by GParted)
P: Primary - System Page file (Page file, Active)
R: Primary - Backup
V: Primary - User Video files

Disk 2 (Partitioned to WindowsXP NTFS standard)
[FONT=&quot]L: Primary - WindowsXP Boot (Active)
M: Logical - WindowsXP User Applications
N: Logical - User Data
O: Logical - User Workspace

I need to ensure that the first two Vista drives in italics are hidden when WindowsXP is booted. All of the User Data/Workspace/Multimedia areas are potentially shared between Vista and XP, though at this stage there are some duplications. The rather odd structure results from the XP and Vista installation having been made at different times on different physical drives (each was disconnected when the other was installed). NeoGrub complains a little about the Vista style partitioning, but seems to manage anyway.

Before I try again, what would be the recommended Vista and XP allocations in HnS? Or should I wait a little longer before making any further attempt?



Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
I have tried C/E set to Vista, D set to XP, everything else unspecified. But XP failed to boot as described earlier.
My system is (was) unusual in that D was boot and active even when Vista was IPL'd which is why I had the problem last year which brought me consult you with my first post and to which the previous neogrub menu was the fix.
Since HnS failed to work for me and was removed, D is still active but C is now boot when Vista is IPL'd. Is the problem some confusion between HnS and my Neogrub menu ? You'll note I've got chainloader (hd0,1) (ie D:\), whereas HnS has presumably assumed C:\ since that's where my boot is now since it ran.
It causes no problems sans HnS because of the plethora of NTLDRs etc scattered about.
Perhaps that's why HnS failed to rename boot.ini too. ?
I see that my query was effectively answered whilst I was assembling my last post. So tried again, and was much impressed the whole process. Marked all the Vista drives to be hidden as Vista, and identified the single WindowsXP boot drive, made Vista the default in EasyBCD and reduced timeout to zero.
By and large everything worked well, but some points emerged. It really doesn't like the Vista partition table structure, so a page of warnings is flashed up on every boot - but everything still appears to work. First boot into XP paused with a warning about not finding/missing boot.ini, but this not repeated on subsequent boots. In a fit of over excitement I had also marked drive F: as Vista, since this was to be used for further user application software of a 'leisure' nature (ie games) - but of course, it was a logical drive on an extended partition so all three drives F: G: and H: are now hidden from XP!
The minor problems I can live with - so I am keeping the configuration. Any advice on how to 'unhide' G: and H: would be appreciated.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Well, I'd undo the process by running HnS in Vista once more, then re-do it, but this time not select the partitions for hiding.


OK, found a particularly nasty oversight in HnS that was probably responsible for all the previous cases where HnS would claim it had succeeded, but not work.

Please note: If you use HnS, use the entries it creates in *its own* menu to boot into XP - esp. if you're using NeoGrub to boot into XP from the Vista boot menu.

For best results: after running HnS, remove all XP entries in EasyBCD (NeoGrub ones too).

(uploading the build now)


OK, all done.

Grab it here: The NeoSmart Forums

Previously I didn't understand what has hapenning when it failed and there was (admittedly) a lot of guess work going on. However, I think I finally understand what has been going on wrong. It also explains Terry's issue with the active partition as well.

So, the changelog:
* Active Partition problem fixed.
* System won't boot after removing HnS fixed.
* No/Invalid/Missing boot.ini error fixed.
* Leftover NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM, Boot.ini.HnS, XP.%no%.HnS files fixed.

This is the first build I'm pretty confident of.... Happy testing!
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
So I should run HnS
Delete XP entry from Easy BCD
Delete d:\NST\menu.list ?
Then Boot

What about iReboot
Will it get confused or is it 100% compatible with HnS ?


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
iReboot will only list entries that appear in EasyBCD.

There is no need to actually delete the XP entry in EasyBCD if you're only testing HnS. The presence of \NST\menu.lst is *not* a problem. Just don't use the XP entry in the Vista boot menu to boot XP.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
For those interested, here's my test setup. I made a point of mixing drives and primary/logical partitions.



Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Ah I see. That was my problem then. I was using iReboot, which would have picked the EasyBCD XP entry (I could see it was from the name I gave it, but didn't appreciate that it would cause problems).

I'll give this a whirl later on when the TV is off.

Just a thought. If I delete the XP entry, how can I continue to use IReboot to switch between systems ? It'll have only the one option, won't it ?


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Yes - only the Vista entry.

So, no, you wouldn't be able to use iReboot *at the moment*

I'll have to push out a new version with support for HnS...


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Almost there Guru, - almost.
All appeared to work OK and booted up into XP, but my TV auto-start failed.
Clicked on Explorer to find out why, and it also failed.
Used Disk Manager and found that Instead of hiding C and E as asked, HnS had hidden C and the extended partition containing E and F.
This seems to be the same problem as Geoff found.
I made exactly the same error when I was setting up the neogrub menu last year, (see earlier post) when I set (0,3) in my hide list failing to count the invisible unnamed extended partition when I was trying to hide E and ending up with E and F hidden. Fixed as you see by (0,4).
Are you too forgetting to count it when calculating logical drive numbers ?

Couldn't run like that, so booted back into Vista and tried to remove HnS, which went into a stage 4 CPU loop (54%) and refused to be terminated with dire warnings about damaging the system. (during removing extra boot file phase)
Crossed all available digits and killed it with task manager.
No damage done but still 4 lots of Ntldr etc on various drives.
Presently status quo ante except that iReboot is now latest version.
Hey all,
I'm having trouble with a particular scenario and was wondering if maybe someone could help me out.

I've downloaded HnS Beta and EasyBCD and the Vista bootloader is currently untouched.

My scenario is thus:
(hd0,0) - Windows Vista
(hd0,1) - Windows XP
(hd0,2) - HP Recovery Drive (No operating system)

I also plan to further split the Windows Vista partition to include a shared data partition, but this is not a problem since I wish it to appear in both OS's.

Now, I'm rather new to this advanced dual-booting XP and Vista business, however I still didn't hesitate to mess around with EasyBCD and NeoGrub, to rather disastrous results (meaning pretty much i couldn't boot either operating system at all and had to restore my laptop using HP's Restore Disk and then restore my Complete PC Backup I had made earlier.)

I wish to confirm that Vista HnS will do the following:
1. Allow me to boot both Vista and XP every time I boot the computer, from one easy menu
2. Hide the Vista AND Recovery partitions from XP
3. Not have to unhide the Vista and Recovery partitions every time I wish to boot Vista

All the business of NTDETECT and ntldr is also rather confusing. Could you please advise me on exactly where these files should go in order to achieve the aims above ?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: Never mind, I went out on a limb and used it anyway and it produced perfect results for all of the aims above. Great work !
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Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Thanks Terry!

You're spot-on; as you can see in my test rig, I only have one extended partition that contains only one logical partition... Hiding the extended partition hid my only logical partition and I assumed all was well.

So, here's a new logical-partition-aware build...... I'm not going to dare hope this does the trick though.

TheBressman: just run UI.exe, set the HP partition and the Vista partitions as "Vista" and the XP as "XP" and hit continue.


* Correctly number individual logical partitions on each drive.
* Fixed the high CPU usage at stage 4

Download: Build 35