Can't boot Vista from Windows 8.1


New Member
I have an HP 110-a04 desktop computer with Windows 8.1 and two USB hard drives taken from former computers.

First USB drive: SATA 1 terrabyte with three partitions: F: contains a corupt version of XP that I am going to get repaired later. G. and H. contain data.
Second USB drive: SATA 320 (+/-) gigabyte with two partitions: I: contains windows Vista Business.
J: is 6.1 GB former recovery partion now containing data.

I currently have it configured with EasyBCD for a dual boot, the default is Windows 8.1 and I: Vista as the sectond option. Vista will not load, I get the standard Windows failed to start etc. File: \Windows System32\winload.exe. etc. Status:0x000359 etc.

I don't think Windows 8.1 has Fast Start. I cannot find any reference to it in Power Options. Cold boot and Restart both take over 1 minute to boot . Windows Vista worked fine in the old computer and seems to be still in order. Winload.exe appears to be in order on partion I: Can't figure out the problem!

Also If I attempt to reload or repair XP on a separate computer will it load the present F: as C: without touching the data in present G: and H:? I can't afford to lose this.
it is always a huge risk to pull an internal disk out of a computer and stick it in a USB dock or holder and expect it to work the same way it would if it was still attached to the SATA controller. Most of the time you can still read the partitions. Sometimes you can still boot off them. But not always. I think you are playing with absolute fire here and your seconds away from that XP partition disappearing forever.

You need to go find the original computer that the XP partition was created on, stick the disk back in it, repair the XP partition, get your data off it, then once the disk is safe then you can play with USB-to SATA external docks and the like.

Windows 8.1 has fast start. Control Panel, Power Options, Choose what the power button does, then SCROLL DOWN to Shutdown Settings. Turn on Fast Startup, it's right there.

Microsoft engineered that particular dialog so that the window is exactly the size to show everything other than the Shutdown settings - unless you scroll down. The idea being is if you aren't clever enough to scroll down then they want you fast booting because your probably ignorant enough to actually listen to the Microsoft fanboys who say 4GB of ram is all that anyone ever needs for Windows 8. I also think there might have been the hope that Linux newbies would not see that setting, not set it, then completely scotch their disk when they attempted to load Linux dual boot, thereby blaming Linux and never touching Linux again. Or something.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Your old OSs were configured during installation with the drivers for, and the hardware map of the old PC.
It's unlikely that the chip-sets on your new mobo are even vaguely compatible with the drivers on the old OS, and hence any attempt to boot them, even from inside the new case is unlikely to succeed.
Windows also contains code to prevent any attempt to boot from an external device. MS don't like the idea of device-independent OSs circumventing EULA.
If you have retail versions of XP and Vista, you will need to reinstall them on the new PC (XP will allow "repair" install, Vista might let you do an "in-place upgrade")
If however these old OSs both came pre-installed on an old PC, the licence will be OEM (tied irrevocably to the original h/w) and the supplied "recovery" media won't have a universal set of drivers, just those for the original PC.
MS will also decline to activate the OS on new h/w with an OEM OS.
Thank you for the good advice, I only know enough about computers to be dangerous! It would appear that my only option is to obtain a retail version of vista or (preferably) XP, partition the 1 terabyte internal hard disk and do it that way. However the new computer uses an Intel Core i3-4230^2b processor and 64 bit performance. I need to run 32 bit software that refuses to operate at 64 bit. Will the Vista or XP actually run at 32 bit under these conditions?

Also I scrolled and searched every bit of Power Options and still could not find a reference to Fast Start. I did obtain a batch file thru Windows help called Turn off Fast Start and ran it. Boot time is still much the same. File attached:
@echo off

:: Created by: Shawn Brink
:: Tutorial:

:: To turn off Fast Startup
REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Power" /V HiberbootEnabled /T REG_dWORD /D 0 /F

Will appreciate any advice!


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
will tell you how to find fast start.
There's no problem running 32 bit programs (or OSs) on a 64 bit PC.
You will lose the ability to run 16 bit programs, but those are antediluvian so unlikely to be encountered, though some legacy 32 bit programs do use a 16 bit installer.
You can usually circumvent that by installing them on a 32 bit PC and copying the installed program across to the new PC (they're usually too old to use the registry, so this generally works)