Dual boot Vista32 XP64

So I'm trying to dual boot Vista Ultimate 32 on my C: partition of my drive, and Xp pro 64 on a second partition of the same drive, the E: partition. Vista is installed, XP won't finish installing. XP runs it's setup, formats the partition, copies files, then reboots and... failed to load operating system, neither vista nor XP.

I did some searching online, found that to get Vista to boot again I needed to fire up the Vista CD, go into repair console, use the diskpart utility to set the C: partition to the "active" partition. Did that, vista boots fine. Tried that on XP's E: partition, can't do it because of it's type, a "logical" partition.

Once back in Vista, I installed easyBCD, and created a boot entry for my infant half-installed XP. Can boot just fine into Vista, but with XP I get "0x00000f ntldr not found." To finish the installation, I should just need to boot into XP on the E: partition.

Thanks in advance for any help. I read some old forum posts on these forums of people with similar problems, but a) I'm too dense to really understand what needed to be done, and b) the link to the files is dead because the post is 2 years old.
Cant boot to WinXP, NTLDR not present - The NeoSmart Forums

Thanks again

Mak 2.0

Staff member
The problem lies with your XP Partition. XP needs a primary partition to install. Not a Logical. So XP will never finish till you change that logical drive to a primary drive.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You can boot XP in a logical partition, but the boot files can't be in there because it can never be marked "active".
You need to follow the instructions in the wiki XP troubleshooter (sorry can't give the link at the moment because the wiki is unreachable) to copy the 3 XP boot files into the Vista root and edit boot.ini to point back at the XP partition.
You will not however be able to use HnS to protect your Vista restore points from XP, because the architecture of HnS (using makeactive commands) cannot deal with XP in a logical partition.
Thanks for the responses

My drive is a 320 gig.
Right now it shows me having my primary partition C: (150 GB) and then an extended partition (150GB) and logical partition (150GB). I don't know a whole lot about partitions, but I guess the extended partition is divided into just the one logical.

So if I understand you right.. I need to either make a primary partition to install XP on (which I don't know how to do) or copy some files to someplace on the vista partition (which I also don't know how to do).

So any help with how to do this, whichever way, I don't care, would be greatly appreciated.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
The wiki's back now, so read about the 3 files you need to copy. They are in the root of your XP partition (i.e. on the XP partition but not in a folder - e.g. E:\boot.ini) If you can't see them go into folder options and make hidden files and system files visible, and untick the "hide extensions for known filetypes"
Then just copy them (drag and drop in explorer or copy/paste) directly into the Vista partition. When you can see them there, edit C:\boot.ini to point to the XP partition (both lines where rdisk and partition appear) You can see what the boot.ini parameters mean here.
Any problems can be seen described, (with fixes) here.
Well, I realized that Vista's partition manager was able to make a primary parition. Why vista can do it, and XP's install disk made a logical that it can't boot off of, I don't know.

But I made a primary partition to install XP on, and with that and the information on the wiki, I should be able to get things working (if I get a few minutes to spare to get it done)

Thanks for all the help!


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
If you've gone to the trouble of reinstalling XP on a primary partition, you'll now also be able to use Vista Hide 'n Seek (HnS), to protect your Vista system restore points from being destroyed each time you boot XP.
It has an additional benefit for a novice dual-booter, that it will automatically set up the dual boot for you, doing all of the putting XP's files in the right place and editing boot.ini for you, completely automatically.
Well I got a little time and took another crack at this. I tried to install XP 64 on my new primary partition, setup copied files, rebooted... error loading operating system. I used the vista repair console on the Vista CD, and set my XP partition to active. Rebooted, got MBR is missing. Used XP CD to do fixboot and fixMBR, rebooted, got NTLDR is missing. Obviously I'm not going about this right.

Reading the wiki, it says:
"Once Windows XP setup has finished, it'll automatically boot you into the newly installed copy of Windows XP "
It isn't. And I'm not succeeding in getting XP to properly finish it's installation. I assume I need to do this before I restore vista as the primary partition and install HnS (or easyBCD) to fix my dual boot.

I went ahead and restored my Vista partition to active, used the vista CD startup problems repair, and restored myself to booting into Vista normally, since I am stuck again on installing XP.

Any ideas what I need to do here?

Thanks again, sorry for being so... dumb about this :tongueout:
Last edited:


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You shouldn't have set XP active. "active" is the flag that tells the MBR which partition contains the boot files.
You just pointed the MBR to where they're not.
When you install XP after Vista, XP overwrites the Vista IPL in the MBR with its own, which is when you boot straight into XP (which can't boot Vista), and why you then need to repair the boot from the Vista DVD, to put the original bootmgr back in control.
The trouble you're having is the failure to get XP successfully installed, which is what we need to diagnose and fix.
Is your CD/DVD drive set before the HDD(s) in the BIOS boot sequence ? If you boot from CD by use of a function key option, when setup tries to reboot, it incorrectly reboots from HDD instead of CD and the install will fail.
Alright, I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner, it's been a tough week.

Yes, I have my CD drive set as first boot device, over the hard drive in my bios.
Yes my motherboard uses the "press any key to boot from CD" thing.

After XP setup copies files and reboots, if I DON'T press any key to boot off CD, "Error to load operating system" neither vista nor XP works till I re-set vista's partition as active.
If I DO press any key to boot from CD, it just starts setup over, not continues it.

So is that "press any key" message what's messing me up? Do I just need to make the hard drive the primary boot device after setup copies it's files?


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
No you shouldn't "hit any key" after the 1st time. As you found, it'll just start over again from the beginning. It should carry on automatically.
What's the exact message it gives when XP fails to install?
I suppose your hardware is all 64 bit ? It's not that you're trying to install an x64 system on unsuitable kit ?


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Do you have an old HDD you can try a clean install of x64 XP on ?
Or any other way to verify that the Installation CD is OK ?
That message is singularly unhelpful. The only things I can think of are a) faulty CD, b) dodgy HDD space you're installing into (too small ?). Did you do a full format of the new partition space ?
I haven't attempted a whole install on another HD, but I've used this CD before (I used to dual boot Xp 32 and XP 64) and since then, it's only been stored in it's case. It loads fine, runs the repair utilities fine, copies setup files fine... most likely the CD is okay.

I did do a full partition on the new space, and it's 150GB.

It just seems that the CD is not loading the proper boot files to the right place, or for whatever reason the new OS it's creating is unable to boot so it can finish installing.