Another Vista/XP dual boot problem


Active Member
I have read through every post here concerning dual booting Vista and XP to try and solve my problem but unfortunately without success. Also my problem seems slightly different to others (it does to my inexperienced brain anyway)
My system originally consisted of XP on a SATA raid setup. This started playing up so I decided to install a new SATA hdd and stick Vista on that and gradually backup from XP (when it was working).
After installing my new HDD and Vista my XP installation seemed to work fine, so it was probably a dodgy connection. So I set about trying to get my system to dual boot which after a lot of tears and swearing I finally managed it, this worked fine for about 3 months until a friend came to me with his broken PC. We both thought the hdd was broke so I plugged it into my system to see if I could salvage anything, lo and behold Vista fixed it, we put it back into my friends PC and everything was hunky dory until I switched mine on.
You guessed it, Vista would not load but XP did, I was getting a winload.exe error. After playing around and seeking advice from everywhere I finally managed to get Vista to work again and I thought I`d cracked it, but for some reason XP refused to boot. This is where I am now and have been for about 2 weeks. It was only today that I noticed that for some reason my XP installation had been changed from being on my H: partition to F: so I thought, no wonder, the MBR thinks its on H: when now its on F:
I asked for help on PC Answers forum and someone directed me here, so I downloaded Easybcd and changed the XP drive to F: and restarted after checking that ntldr, and boot.ini were in the root of the F drive.
I couldn`t believe it when XP started to load, but my joy was short lived when it hung on the blue screen with the XP logo and what looks to me like the sun in the top left corner. I waited at least 5 minutes on each occasion but nothing happened.
I have copied my ntldr,, and boot.ini files to the root of my Vista (C) drive but this has not helped. My boot.ini file is below

;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /FASTDETECT /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN

I have changed the rdisk entry from (0) to (1) to see if that works but still nothing.

I don`t think this is anything to do with the problem but I also have an IDE drive (G) installed. This has been there from day 1 and is used just for backup.
When I boot into Vista I can see everything on my XP drive so at least I can backup if I have to.
My 2 raid drives are partitioned into 3, these are F:, I:, and J:
I have tried, but Windows Vista won`t let me, to change XP on F: to H: again from within the Computer Management console. Is it possible to force Windows to do this in the hope that will cure the problem.
If it helps Disk 0 is my raid setup with 3 partitions F:, I: and J: Disk 1 is my IDE drive G:
and Disk 2 is my Vista drive split into 2 partitions C: and K:
Apologies for being a bit long winded
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Hi Dave, welcome to NST.
Can you post a screenshot of your Vista disk management output, so we can see where everything is and how it's all flagged, and copy and paste the "debug mode" output from EasyBCD "view settings".

Did you change which HDD is plugged to which SATA or IDE channel/port when you were swapping your drives and your friend's.
That would explain why letters changed if you had let the booted OSs default to their own letter scheme, instead of explicitly allocating them yourself. (If you letter them yourself, they'll be registered and will be recognized if they move, otherwise they'll just get the next letter in sequence as you boot, which will be OK until something moves) This would also explain why the boot changed unless you changed the BIOS to reflect a different connection sequence.
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Thanks Terry
I probably did switch things around on my mobo but I`m sure everything went back where it should. My mobo is an Abit ic7 max3 with 2 channels of SATA via the South Bridge, this is where my raid is connected with 2 120Gb drives. I may have switched these does it matter?
My Vista drive is connected to 1 of 4 channels of SATA via Silicon Image PCI chip this has not moved.
I haven`t touched the BIOS as I had so much trouble originally setting it all up that I left well alone there.
I haven`t explicitly allocated drive letters myself because I don`t know how to.
Disk management screenshot, is this what you mean? There is 1.5mb unallocated space because I deleted this as it was allocated driveH: and I naively thought that I could simply rename my XP partition from F: to H: but Windows won`t let me.


And my debug screen is below

Windows Boot Manager
identifier {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device unknown
path \bootmgr
description Windows Boot Manager
locale en-US
inherit {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
default {3610a7fc-14db-11dd-b1ac-ea74e0b37a33}
displayorder {466f5a88-0af2-4f76-9038-095b170dc21c}
toolsdisplayorder {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout 3
Windows Legacy OS Loader
identifier {466f5a88-0af2-4f76-9038-095b170dc21c}
device partition=F:
path \ntldr
description Earlier Version of Windows
Windows Boot Loader
identifier {3610a7fc-14db-11dd-b1ac-ea74e0b37a33}
device partition=C:
path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description Microsoft Windows Vista
locale en-US
inherit {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
osdevice partition=C:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {3610a7fd-14db-11dd-b1ac-ea74e0b37a33}
nx OptIn
detecthal Yes
Don't worry about what Vista is calling XP. It shouldn't have any effect unless you installed something on the XP partition from Vista, and I assume you wouldn't have had any reason to do something that unusual.
You appear to be booting from the XP partition (you should see Vista's boot folder and bootmgr in the root) so that's where the boot.ini which gives NTLDR the location of XP will be too.
It presumably is correctly pointing at rdisk(0) partition(1) which is why you are getting into XP, albeit not entirely successfully.
The fact that you are getting into XP shows that it's not a dual boot problem, but an XP problem.
Normally I'd advise a repair install of XP, but since you have a RAID array, and I have no experience of that, I'll leave it to someone else with the relevant knowledge to advise whether there's something else you need to do before resorting to that. (if you do a repair install of XP, it will of course overwrite the Vista boot again and you'd need to repair that boot too, subsequently)
One thing you can try which is non-destructive and entirely reversible, would be to set the Vista HDD before the XP in your BIOS, to force a boot from the Vista drive's active partition rather than XP's
If there's no bootmgr or boot folder on C, it will of course fail; but if there are copies in both places, then you'll be booting from C and the XP boot files on there will be the ones locating XP, and may have a different outcome when they try starting XP.
If it doesn't work, you only need to go back in the BIOS and switch the order back again.
If you're not entirely sure how all this dual booting works, I recommend a few minutes spent reading
which has some good graphics explaining the chaining involved.
I can`t get into XP I can only boot into Vista. The XP boot stops half way through at the blue screen with the XP logo and just hangs there. I`ll have a look at the link you posted, and play around with the BIOS, although I am reluctant to do that because of all the problems I had initially.
I`ll have to try later as I have to go out, but thanks again for spending the time.


Ok. I`ve had a good look at the link to multibooters and I`m afraid for the most part it goes over my head.
You`re right about the Boot folder and bootmgr, there are copies on the XP partition as well as the C: drive (Vista).
I investigated the BIOS and made a few alterations to see what would happen.
I have an entry entitled First Boot Device and this is set to HDD and then there is an menu entitled Hard Disc Boot Priority. In there I have:-

1) Bootable Add-in device
2) ch2.s Samsung HA250JC (on which is Vista)

If I swap these around, when booting, I get "Invalid Partition Table" and booting stops. Swap them back again and everything is back to square one.

In the Bootable Add-in device menu I have 3 options:-

PCI Slot Device
OnChip SATA Raid (which is what it`s set to now)
Onboard SATA (If I switch to this it boots straight into Vista without giving me a boot choice menu ie Vista or XP as it does now).

I can`t see any other options which may be relevant

So, as there is a Boot folder and bootmgr on the C: drive is it possible that these are corrupt or incorrect. I have just noticed a tab in Easybcd in the Manage Bootloader section that says Write MBR. If I clicked on this would it not do what it says and fix the MBR of the C: drive (Please say yes)
If I did repair or reinstall XP is it a big job to repair the boot for Vista and get it all working again.
Is my best option to get what I can off my XP drive and Backup drives of my Raid setup and format them both as individual backup drives and just run Vista, bearing in mind that before Vista I had resigned myself to losing everything on XP anyway.
I`ve just thought of 2 more questions. Could I not copy the Boot folder and bootmgr from the XP drive and copy them to the C: (Vista) drive if the PC is booting ok from the XP drive, thats if Windows will let me. Also if I format or remove the XP Raid drives will that stop Vista from working.
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A repair of the Vista boot is handled automatically for you when you select "repair my computer" then "repair startup" after booting from the Vista DVD. It's very easy (though you generally need to do it at least twice, which occasionally causes confusion).
Before you do anything else, it might be worth waiting for someone with some RAID experience to chip in, because I have no idea what complication that is adding. (For all I know, it might be totally responsible for your problem)
Ok I`ll hang on a bit. As long as I can boot into Vista I can make do and in the mean time I`ll start backing things up.
Thanks Terry


If I were to boot up to the Windows XP cd and run the recovery console, then type fixmbr or fixboot would that fix things or make it worse.
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Your boot appears to be working, but XP is not starting, so fixing the boot won't help. (besides which, fixing the XP boot will overwrite the Vista boot, and mean you've got to fix that again !)
Thought you would say that, just clutching at straws really


It seems to me that the problems are caused by the Xp partition somehow being renamed as F: when it always was H: or am I barking totally up the wrong tree, again.
Is there any way to force Windows (from Vista) to let me change it back again to H:
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When you're booting XP, it doesn't know (or care) what Vista calls it, though if it too (were it running) has suffered an internal change of ID, that would be a problem, and unlike Vista, XP doesn't get far enough to let you do a registry zap the way Vista does.
If that indeed is your problem, then changing the letter in Vista won't help. You need to get back to the status quo ante, when it was called H.
What used to be F:\ ?
Why isn't it there anymore ?
If you can temporarily disconnect the XP drive, put back the device that used to be F:\, permanently assign F:\ to it in disk management, then reconnect your XP disk, maybe your problems will all go away.
(Or you could do the same, but just plug in a flash drive, name it F:\ then put your XP disk back and see what happens.)
Well, XP is now back on H: again but guess what you were right and I was wrong but what do I know. It still hangs half way through booting up. I think it`s time to draw a line under this and move on.
I realized that the flash-drive idea was nonsense after I'd posted, because that only works once you get into XP and set it as F:\ there too.(which is of course impossible), but you don't say what you tried.
Do you remember what used to be f:\ and why it isn't anymore ?
I'm sure the solution is going to be getting your physical connections back as they were before this started happening, so that the default lettering reverts to what it was.
You shouldn't lose anything by shuffling the channel/port connections around a bit to see what happens as the configuration changes.
(As long as you make a careful note of where you are now, you can at least get back to a working Vista)


Looking at your screenshot again, I see that the opticals are E and U. Did they used to be E and F ?.
Maybe when you were swapping drives around you reversed the order that the optical and HDD drives were in on one of your sata or ide channels ?
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I didn`t use a flash drive. I swapped the GAMES partition on the Vista drive from K: to F: then plugged the XP Raid drives back in and the XP partition became H: again. This messes up my shared network drives but I can sort that out later.
The opticals are now D: and E:, thats just a bad screenshot, from what I can remember they were E: and F: but I`m not exactly sure
H: became my Windows partition because when I installed XP (about 2 years ago) I had a card reader installed and didn`t know at the time that it claimed the first 4 drive letters c: d: e: f:, (or so I was told) my IDE IBM drive became G: and so XP became H:, the 3 other partitions on the Raid setup became I: J: K: I`m confusing myself now because I don`t ever remember optical drives being L: and M:
To install Vista, which is about 4 months ago now, I`m sure I disconnected everything but my optical drives and Raid setup so that Vista became C:
I thought the MBR only applied to drives with Windows installations on and not simple backup or optical drives.
After installing Vista would the GAMES partition have become D: and then optical drives E: and F:, IBM IDE drive G: and then the Raid setup H:, I:, J: K: and then the card reader at the end. If I put all of that back the way it was would that help?
I`m 99% certain that all drives are now back plugged in where they were originally.
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Hi Dave, welcome to NST.

Stick your XP CD in the drive, boot from it, and perform a repair installation of Windows XP (also known as an "in-place upgrade"):
How to perform an in-place upgrade of Windows XP

That should fix XP and get it to boot. Make sure you have a floppy with your RAID drivers on it handy, you'll need to hit F6 when XP setup is loading to get it to see your RAID setup (unless it's an SP2 CD).

Once you're in XP, use EasyBCD to reinstall the Vista bootloader and restart - you should have a working dual-boot.
Don`t think that`s worked either. The XP repair has been stuck on "Installing Devices" now for about 5 hours with "Setup will complete in approximately: 33 minutes" lasting the same 5 hours. Does that mean I`ve lost everything or will I be able to at least repair Vista in any way at all. I`ll leave it on overnight just in case.
This is sounding more and more like a corrupt filesystem or bad hard drive...

As for your question - I was under the impression Windows Vista was working?
It was. But after leaving it all night it was still stuck on the "Setup will complete after 33 minutes" screen, so I just restarted and it booted straight into XP and carried on where it left off stuck at 33 minutes.
Vista is still there somewhere I presume but it seems that the system was originally booting from the XP partition (Post #4) and now I don`t get the boot menu, it goes straight to XP and gets stuck installing.


I`ve just disconnected the Raid setup with XP and Vista boots up fine. But I could really do with XP as well because I have some emails that I want and there is some software that I think will only work with XP ie Quicken 2002 for one
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dave, try installing XP to a different drive or a partition on the Vista one - it seems there's something wrong with the RAID setup XP is on.
You`re not going to believe this (or maybe you will), but I cleaned the XP disc despite it being almost spotless and I now have a working installation of XP.
I am now trying to get Easybcd working in XP but I need .net framework but I`m having trouble downloading it, connection seems very slow.
Once this is sorted what do I have to do with Easybcd to get my dual boot working again.
Dave, you have 2 choices. follow the advice in the wiki or let the Vista DVD repair the Vista boot for you by booting it and selecting "repair my computer" / "repair startup" (probably 2 times - as many as it takes till Vista comes up unaided again)