Dual Boot Vista+XP on 2 HDD

J.Lo

New Member
#1
Hey guys,
I am new to this forum, and I had a quick search and couldnt really find the thread relating to my problem, so Ive decided to open a thread about this, there were alot of similiar threads but none that pinpoints my current situation(or problem). Apologies if someone had already asked this question before

I currently have 2 physical HDD on my PC. Ive installed vista on C:/ and decided to dual boot with XP
My PC already recognised the 2 HDDs as C and D

I then proceed to dual boot with XP tonight and followed this website's instruction on how to do it:
http://apcmag.com/how_to_dual_boot_vista_and_xp_with_vista_installed_first__the_stepbystep_guide.htm

The website instruction basically said to chose the next alphabet letter down from C to partition as C is already in use. In my case, it would be E because D is the second HDD, and I want XP to be on the C HDD.
I proceed with the instruction, but when I hit the BCD part, on my screen I cannot select XP under the Add New Entries part. I only had Windows Vista and on the "drives:" section i can basically see C, D, F and BOOT.
I format the partitioned part of XP and reinstalled but the same occured again.

If I reboot now, do i automatically boot into Vista, because at the end of the instruction I am supposed to be able to select with OS i can boot into, but guessing I had the problem with selecting the entries earlier, I dont think that would happen

Does anyone know where the problem is? and if so how i can solve it?

Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi J.Lo, welcome to NST.
If you want your XP to be E, and it's installing as F, that's probably because your optical drive is already using E. You could reletter the DVD drive first to leave E unused, but bear in mind that any software installed from it will already be in the registry somewhere with an E:\ key which might make it difficult if it sometimes needs the installation disk to me remounted. (Not usual in these days of huge disks, but applies to some older legacy software)
When you add a new entry with EasyBCD use BOOT as your location (you're telling it where to find the boot files, not where XP is (boot.ini points to XP)) The XP boot files need to be copied to the active partition (probably Vista - but check in dsk mgmt)
Read all about it in the wiki
http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Windows+XP
 

J.Lo

New Member
#3
Thanks for the reply Terry60
I dont mind which letter XP is installed at (well, does it matter?). So i might just stick with what I have right now
According to your post Terry60, I need to find out where XP's boot.ini file is before I can fully add a new entry?? Or should EasyBCD alrady know where that is. (i am assuming I need to locate :shame: )

Also, in order to boot XP regardless whether it is dual boot, or on its own, the system should have the boot.ini file right?
If I dont, is that normal? because I can follow the link and try rebuild it, but i was wondering if its normal thats all


So right now, I just want to clarify about my problem
What i need to do is recover/rebuild boot.ini somehow and let EasyBCD to locate it/or me direct it.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
If you have separate disks for Vista and XP, you always have the option to boot XP solo if the Vista disk breaks, so leaving an untouched boot.ini is a good idea.
But if your XP is a second partition on the Vista disk, you're always going to be booting it through Vista's bootmgr, and the XP files must be in the same partition root as the Vista files. (On my system they're all on XP). That partition is the one where Vista placed its boot files, and the way to know which it is, is to check the "active" flag for the HDD in question (in dsk mgmt).
If Vista chose to install its boot files into XPs partition, you obviously don't need to make any copy of XPs files, but you might need to copy them across if Vista is active.
Read the troubleshooter link inside the link I gave you before, and you'll see all the errors you're likely to see if you haven't set it up correctly. (and how to fix them)

Have a look at
http://www.multibooters.co.uk/multiboot.html
for a good, illustrated explanation of the process if you're still unsure of what it is you're attempting to do.
 
Last edited:

J.Lo

New Member
#5
hmm, but my problem at the moment is I cant find a boot.ini file in either c,d or f drive. That was i was wondering if it is normal I cant find it after installing

I might start from scratch again and format everything and install XP first and see what happens

edit: i think i might know why, I might have accidentally partitioned the wrong physical HDD. instead of partitioning the primary hdd as instructed, i might have done it on the other one. hmmmmmmmm this is getting confusing and outlook not so good
 
Last edited:

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
Go to folder options and untick the 2 hidden and system files options. (all the boot files are hidden, so you won't see them until you do)
You don't need to format and start again.
I did it the same way as you. Problems are trivial and easily fixed.
 

J.Lo

New Member
#7
Go to folder options and untick the 2 hidden and system files options. (all the boot files are hidden, so you won't see them until you do)
You don't need to format and start again.
I did it the same way as you. Problems are trivial and easily fixed.
ooh, either I am doing something very wrong or boot.ini doesnt exist :wtf: lol

i ticked "show hidden files and folders" and unticked "hide protected operating system files (recommended)" and i still cannot find boot.ini

I google abit on how to locate boot.ini files and all i get is , click start>run and enter
c:\boot.ini

big blah at the moment


edit: quick q, is it possible, that either hdd has the boot.ini file in it???
 
Last edited:

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
If your XP finished installing, there should be a F:\boot.ini on the disk which you'll copy to the active partition.
You don't have "don't show known filetypes" ticked too do you ?
If so boot.ini will just show as boot. (I really don't understand why MS, do that - who doesn't want to know what the full name of the file is ?)
 

J.Lo

New Member
#9
If your XP finished installing, there should be a F:\boot.ini on the disk which you'll copy to the active partition.
You don't have "don't show known filetypes" ticked too do you ?
If so boot.ini will just show as boot. (I really don't understand why MS, do that - who doesn't want to know what the full name of the file is ?)
LOL i feel like an ultra noob, damn vista
I can see the boot folder, but i still cant find boot.ini


I have ticked "show hidden files and folders", and unticked "hide extensions for known file type" and "hide protected OS files"
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
When you installed XP after Vista, it would have overwritten Vista's boot with its own and Vista (though still there) would have been unbootable until you booted the Vista DVD and repaired the Vista boot.

Did you do all that ? If so there must be a boot.ini on the system somewhere (try search for "boot" and see how many things come up).

If you never had to repair the Vista boot, then XP couldn't have completed installing, which would explain why you can't find some of it.
 
#11
I had to repair, which is supposed to be the good part
but i searched for both drives and i can only find boot folder, not boot.ini

weird thing is, one of my drives has more folders than the other hmmmm

btw, I used my dell reinstallation xp cd to do this, does it make a difference?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#12
LOL i feel like an ultra noob, damn vista
I can see the boot folder, but i still cant find boot.ini

I have ticked "show hidden files and folders", and unticked "hide extensions for known file type" and "hide protected OS files"
boot.ini is a file and not a folder, so choosing to show file extensions doesn't make a difference because you know it won't have a Folder as an icon. It well not be in the boot folder. It well be in the root folder of the drive. The root folder is the first folder you access when you select a drive in My Computer. Think of it as the top-level container for a partition's contents. Boot.ini can be on either XP's or Vista's partitions, depending on the order you installed the OSes. Most of the time, it is Vistas.

For further information, please check out XP - NeoSmart Technologies wiki for step by step instructions on how to setup a dual-boot.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#13
When you finished installing XP, before you repaired Vista's boot, did you boot XP ?
Did it work ? If so there must be a boot.ini somewhere.
In this attached snapshot, you'll see all of the files and folders (highlighted) which should be on your "active " partition.
You'll see that, for me, that happens to be my XP partition, but it might be (probably is) Vista for you. Check in disk management which of your partitions is active, and see how many of these highlighted entries appear in it.
 
Last edited: