can only boot into vista w/ install cd, otherwise XP

Could somebody point me in the right direction? I never see the vista boot menu despite that I first installed XP and then installed vista. Both are installed in primary partitions. Vista is in C:, XP is in E:

In fact, if I don't have the vista cd in my drive when I boot up, I automatically boot into XP. If I have the vista cd in the drive, i boot into vista.

Also, I tried running EasyBCD - I can't seem to find the option to add a windows nt/2k/xp entry for the E: drive. I can toggle the type to Windows XP, but then the drive field is grayed out (so it's permanently on C:smile:. Does any of this make sense?

didn't work

I used EasyBCD to help create an entry for XP (it selected drive C:smile: -btw, my Vista partition is on drive C. When I got to the boot menu, and select XP, i get a "windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause."

Does this make sense?


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
As it says in the documentation, the letter picked by EasyBCD is not that of the XP drive, rather that of the boot drive.

Did you clone this XP partition from another PC?
did not clone - installed from XP install CD

So I istalled XP from CD b/f i installed Vista

Why does the computer automatically boot into XP when I don't have the Vista CD in the drive? Does that tell us anything?


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Yes - that the Vista bootloader is not installed to the MBR for some reason.

EasyBCD -> Bootloader Management -> Reinstall Vista Bootloader -> Write MBR.
wrote the MBR - still booted into XP

Just used EasyBCD to write the MBR, but still just booted into XP w/out the Vista install CD. Any other ideas.?


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Please do EasyBCD | Diagnostics | Copy Debug Data then paste the contents of the clipboard here in a reply.
here's the debug data - THX

Windows Boot Manager
identifier              {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
device                  partition=D:
description             Windows Boot Manager
locale                  en-US
inherit                 {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
default                 {b9227aec-ac5f-11dc-bd8b-d97396dd043a}
resumeobject            {b9227aed-ac5f-11dc-bd8b-d97396dd043a}
displayorder            {b9227aec-ac5f-11dc-bd8b-d97396dd043a}
toolsdisplayorder       {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout                 30
Windows Boot Loader
identifier              {b9227aec-ac5f-11dc-bd8b-d97396dd043a}
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            {b9227aed-ac5f-11dc-bd8b-d97396dd043a}
nx                      OptIn
Real-mode Boot Sector
identifier              {1a0f9956-ad21-11dc-8ddd-00508db52e70}
device                  partition=D:
path                    \NTLDR
description             Windows XP
vista booting experiences

I have been working with vista booting issues for a couple of months now.

I have figured out that vista does a lot to make sure that it boots vista from a "legal' install. I think this maybe why they've gone to this bcd file.

I have learned what I have learned in tyring to solve this problem.

I have a laptop with vendor installed vista.
I installed the dixml freeware utility to do a full image backup of my c: drive to an external usb attached drive.
I wanted to test the restorablility of this backup (without ruining my original c: drive), so I restored the backup to partition 1 on a usb attached drive.

Now I can't boot off this usb drive.

I believe microsoft is blocking the reboot because the guid
(item in your post...identifier {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795} )
does not match what it should on the usb drive.

So when the above poster questioned whether this was a clone of another install, they were asking a very pertinent question.

I have found all kinds of info on the web about the bcd file. I can't get microsoft utilities to rewrite the usb attached file. IMHO It is typical microsoft protecting their turf against piracy and hurting the legal guys.

I have not worked with the neosmart bcd editor yet. I just became aware of it maybe helping me today.

Mak 2.0

Staff member
There is a possibility that you just cant boot from the USB device period. Have you checked you BIOS to make sure that the USB Device is first and that your PC/Laptop can even boot from a USB Device?

I knwo that my PC is not even capable of booting off a USB at all. I can remove all my CD/DVD and HDD settings and the USB devices still wont boot. It sometimes isnt even related to Windwos at all. It is a BIOS and PC issue.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Hi lsattle, welcome to NeoSmart Technologies.

EasyBCD should be able to open the BCD file from your USB drive (File | Open BCD Store) just fine - perhaps it will help you with what you need.

However, Microsoft has explicitly removed the ability to install Windows Vista to a removable (USB) drive by marking them as read-only during setup, so I have no idea if it'll work work afterwards.

As to your specific problem - in EasyBCD you should be able to set the drive for that entry as "BOOT" which refers to the drive you booted from. Provided you boot from the USB drive as well, that should do the trick.
usb booting

Regarding Makaveli213 posting about booting from usb. My pc is less than 1 year old. I am able to boot off usb (can boot a memory stick with windows vista pe loaded on it). That is not the issue.

I will say that microsoft has gone way over board here. I took my internal c: drive and attached it to a usb sata external controller and tried to boot my laptop that way. (trying to prove to myselft that vista would boot off usb). Note, I was leary of doing this for a month or 2. I was paranoid (rightly).

This ruined my mbr on my drive making it unbootable when I put it back in the pc.

Thank the Lord, I didn't try this till after seeing and downloading programs available on the web to repair my mbr of my main c: drive (I usb booted windows vista pe and ran the repair). Then my system would boot again off the c:


Thanks for your response Computer Guru

Maybe I am trying something that will never fly. This weekend I plan to use dixml to restore an xp machine and try to usb boot that.

If I had to confidance that my dixml backup was restorable, I would test a restore to my main c: drive.

That is, I would need to remove my c: drive an usb attach it on another machine. I would need to run the dixml restore to the usb drive, then remount the usb drive in my laptop and boot.

However since I am paranoid that the dixml backup / restore will fail I have been avoiding using my real c: drive to restore to.

I should just buy a sata laptop drive and usb restore to it. Then try to "fix" the bcd file with the right GUID, then mount the new drive in the laptop and try to boot.

I was trying to avoid the purchase by doing this all on my 250gig 3.5 inch external usb drive that has 2 partitions. partition 2 has my backups and I've been restoring to partition 1.
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Mak 2.0

Staff member
It doesnt matter how old the PC is. My PC is just over a year old and it cant boot from a USB. It all comes down to the mother board and BIOS if your PC cant. Yours can while mine cant. While they are no more than 6 months apart. So you see it doesnt matter about how old they are.

Just like my wife's laptop. Less than 6 months old yet i have not tried to boot it from USB. Who knows if it can.

But like Guru said, Vista cant work off a USB unless you really hack it. I thought that was the case i just wasnt sure. I didnt want to jump the gun and say that it wouldnt work off of a USB for sure. But i haev hear stories of people who have done it. Just took a lot of work to get it there.
Makaveli213, I am not a windows professional, ( I work with databases mostly on unix ). Booting off usb seems quite new to the field.

From your knowledge in this area, I am sure you've taken a peek at the pc setup screens to see if usb is disabled. I thought I would ask. On the other hand I've just remembered what / how I've seen this work.

On my machine, if a usb device is plugged in, the setup will show the usb as a possibility and allow you to hit enter on that line.

If no usb device is plugged in, I don't believe the option is showed.

I believe that any disk plugged in will activate this, I don't think it has to contain windows.


Do any of you pro's in this area know of an easy way to get the GUID for a device.

I was thinking I would have to "illegally" install vista on my usb p1. (which from what you guys are saying may not be possible).

Then I could retrieve the bcd info (using bcdedit /store f:\boot\bcd /enum all ) and trash the illegal install.

Then I could restore my real image to p1, run bcdedit or preferably the neosmart bcd editor and slam in the "proper" GUID for the usb attached 3 1/2 drive.

Then try to boot off the usb p1.

But if there is an easy way to get the guid than an "illegal" install I could jump right to there.
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Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Let me just make sure of what you're trying to do:
You just want to install and boot Vista from a USB drive - no more, no less?

Mak 2.0

Staff member

Yes i have checked my setup and many others. My laptop has a USB device in it at all times (Used as a REady Boost Device) which is not recognized at the boot startup. That is why i said it dependson your PC. My desktop i know cant boot from USB cause i have physically tried it. Back before i knew how to add my SATA drivers to my XP setup. I tried to use a USB device like a floopy and it didnt work.

I think there are 2 boundries you are trying to overcome wiht Vista on a USB. The first is teh fact that Vista wont install to a USB. then comes the fact of trying to boot off of it. To be brutally honest i think you would be better off trying to get XP working from a USB device than Vista. At least XP you can isntall to a USB (Or flash device for that matter) and run from it. while Vista is limited to a hard drive. At least this would remove the first issue you are having.

The boot would then depend on the PC you were using. If it is your home PC well then you should be able to set it up. It imght be a little more difficult but it should be able to be done.

I think the major hrudle will be getting Vista on a USB device. Even during the setup i dotn think you can even choose a USB device. So trying to "illegally" install it to a USB device might not even work.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
As Mak said, you cannot choose a USD drive as the target of an installation during Windows Vista setup.

If it's possible to get this work, you'll have to either
a) Hack the USB drivers on the Vista DVD to not be read-only. (virtually impossible to do)
b) Install Vista to a normal drive then copy the data over to the external, and modify the BCD data to load it from there.

In case b, you'd be best off doing it in multiple stages:
1) Install Vista to a normal drive
2) Copy the normal drive's info to the external (clone the partition with Disk Director, preferably)
3) Boot from the normal drive into the external drive's Vista
4) Set up the boot files on the external drive
5) Boot from the external drive.
was any one able to figure what was wrong from the above diagnostics data?

why i boot directly into xp unless i have the vista cd in the drive


Mak 2.0

Staff member