Vista/XP Pro Problems...

I've been running XP Pro for years, but I wanted to take a serious look at Vista and I didn't have a spare computer around. I grabbed an extra 40GB drive, installed it, and proceeded to install Vista Build 5600 x64. Install went great, but then I wanted to get back into my XP install.. This is where the problems began...

Unlike what others have reported, I did not have a boot menu with the "Older Windows" option. I looked around my computer in Vista and discovered that my drive letters had been changed, my XP drive is now being called F:, while Vista is, of course, C:. I installed EasyBCD 1.5, added XP for the F: drive, and rebooted. When I tried to boot to XP, I received an error referring to NTLDR not being found in the c:\windows\ folder (I think that's what it was anyhow).

I did my due diligence and researched dual-booting with Vista and XP, and it seems like this could have all been prevented had I done that in the first place. The suggestions that I keep seeing include formatting and naming the new drive a specific drive letter within XP, THEN installing Vista to it.

I have read all of the topics on this forum and tried just about every suggestion to no avail. Here is the current configuration (Everything is taken from within Vista, the only OS I can boot to at the moment):

C: Vista System Partition
D: One of my partitions from my XP install.
E: Another partition from XP.
F: XP System Partition

Addendum: XP Recovery Console shows XP to be installed on F: and Vista to be installed on D:

Here is my current BCD configuration:

Windows Boot Manager
identifier {bootmgr}
device partition=D:
description Windows Boot Manager
locale en-US
inherit {globalsettings}
default {current}
displayorder {current}
toolsdisplayorder {memdiag}
timeout 30

Windows Boot Loader
identifier {current}
device partition=C:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Microsoft Windows Vista
locale en-US
inherit {bootloadersettings}
osdevice partition=C:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {5320412b-72c2-11db-b597-a619d9f4fbf3}
nx OptIn

Windows Legacy OS Loader
identifier {341113db-72e6-11db-b07c-00508d73d6ef}
device partition=F:
path \ntldr
description Windows XP Pro

I wasn't sure why the bootmgr was installed on the D: drive, but then I checked around and found that Vista installs it on the first physical drive in the system (And my D: drive fits that description).

Some extra info:

The D: drive is an IDE 160GB drive on the Primary IDE channel.
The E: & F: drives are SATA drives.
The C: drive is an IDE 40GB drive on the Secondary IDE channel.

Now here's the kicker: I can't get back into XP, even if I use EasyBCD to uninstall the Vista bootloader. That prevented my system from loading at all, and I had to boot to the Vista DVD and use the "Repair Startup" option to get Vista running again.

I've tried using "fixboot" and "fixmbr" on the XP "F:" drive within Recovery Console with no change.

Oh, and here's my boot.ini file from the F: drive as well:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

You know, if Vista just used the boot.ini file, we wouldn't have these problems...

Anyhow, if anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Thanks in advance!


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Have you tried to use EasyBCD to add Windows XP as drive C:\?

I know that's not the drive letter reported, but NTLDR can be a b!tch at times.. try that and let me know what happens.

Once you get to know it, you'll be saying thank god Vista uses BCD and not boot.ini. You see the plethora of options and settings available in EasyBCD? That's just the tip of the BCD-iceberg... The only thing is that BCD is poorly written and breaks easy - that's where EasyBCD comes in.

Anyway, welcome to NeoSmart Technologies, and we'll get you through this!
Thanks for the quick reply :smile:

Yes, I've tried setting EasyBCD to use C: for XP, and when I do that, I get a different error when I try to boot to it. It gives an error code and sends me back to the boot menu. If you need the exact message, let me know and I'll get it for you.
Ok, this is the message I get when EasyBCD has XP set on C:

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem: blah blah blah.

File: \ntldr
Status: 0xc000000f
Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
OK, it seems your missing the required boot files.
Do you have another XP PC you have access to from where you can copy the files you need?


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Copy them to drive C: and then add XP as drive C:
Ok, I copied the files to the C: drive and rebooted, hit the XP, and this is the error that I received:

Invalid BOOT.INI file
Booting from C:\windows\

I believe this is the same message that I was receiving before, when I instructed EasyBCD to use F: as the XP drive.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
oh ok!

right, so undo that. (delete the files you just copied over).

open F:\Boot.ini

change it to
[boot loader] 
[operating systems] 
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
Ok, did that and got the same results.. I tried it with EasyBCD using XP as C:, then as F:, getting the same results as before.

I'm starting to think that my XP drive was permanantly changed to F:... Any ideas?


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
copy these files to D:\ (including the new boot.ini) and add XP as drive D: via EBCD
Well I've got a new error message, at least :tongueout:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe.
Please re-install a copy of the above file.

What I don't get is this: If it can get further while on D: drive, why can't it get this far on the F: drive? It doesn't make sense...


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Because Vista screwed your sytem up, and completely changed the partition order, type, location, and naming schema.

I hope to god this isn't RTM that left your PC looking like that...
D: is now what we call the "boot" device, and as such, it needs to have all these files.

OK, what drive and partition is your most recent/best Windows XP install on?
It's hard to say since it's on a SATA drive.. Windows shows it as Disk 1, (Disk 0 is shown to be the Vista drive) and since there is only one partition on it it must be partition 1 as well... This doesn't seem quite right to me as I know that IDE drives go in a progression from Disk 0 to Disk 3 from Primary Master to Secondary Slave, so I don't see how I can have 2 IDE drives, yet have an SATA drive as Disk 1...

If you know of a better way to determine the drive number please let me know.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
it's so much easier on linux, where ide is hdx and stata would be sdy....

OK, open control panel | admin tools | computer managament | disk management and take a screenshot please :smile:
Thanks for the help and the time you've spent trying to get me fixed, CG. I decided last night to pull the Vista drive out and try to get back to XP, then spent more than four hours trying to repair my XP. Turns out the Windows installation had become corrupted at some point, I couldn't even perform a repair install to get it working again. So, I officially gave up on it, disconnected all my drives, put the Vista drive in, wiped it and installed a fresh XP (This time putting it on an IDE drive as the Primary Master). I'll just reorganize all of my data and in the next few days, I'll properly prepare a new drive to install Vista to.

I apologize for wasting your time and I appreciate all of the help that you gave me. I think if it had just been a configuration problem, your suggestions would have taken care of it. Most likely I corrupted the XP installation when I started following advice that I found elsewhere.

One question that I have, though, if you don't mind... When I do get ready to install Vista on a separate drive, should I install EasyBCD on the XP installation first?

Thanks again,


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
No worries Perihelion, you haven't wasted anyone's time.
Remember, when they told Edison he was wrong 50,000 times; he said "No, I found out 50,000 ways not to do it."

There's a lesson in everything :smile:

You don't have to install EasyBCD on XP before installing Vista.
As a matter of fact, you can't use EasyBCD without having installed Vista yet.

Good luck, Peri! :grinning: