Dual Boot XP/Vista fails in XP following Image Restore


Hi, I recently had to repair my dual boot system because Vista would not boot. I managed to repair the Vista boot using an image restore then running Vista Repair disk to restore the boot sector, following the image restore.

The computer now produces the Vista Boot manager screen and offers me Vista and "Earlier Operating System" (i.e. XP).

When I select XP I get a blank screen, so that boot failed, though Vista has succeeded.

I reinstalled XP to get the XP boot back. I then replaced the XP install with an image of XP from my backup drive so as not to have reinstall all my programmes.

This worked and then I re-ran the Vista Repair disk to get the dual boot back.

I did get the dual boot back, but again XP has reverted to showing me a blank screen, so still cannot boot in to XP. Was restore of the XP image something to do with this?

I then installed EasyBCD 2.0 in to Vista. I took the advice of checking for ntdetect.com and ntldr in the root of my boot drive. But these were not missing. I did however replace them with the files from this site. With the different versions of these two files in place, I still get the blank screen on booting in to XP.

So, now I am well and truly stuck.

So my system works like this:

I have a large terabyte drive partitioned as follows:

Data drive labelled in Vista Disk Manager as D: System, Active, Primary.
Vista drive labelled in Vista Disk Manager as C: Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Logical Drive
XP drive labelled in Vista Disk Manager as E: Logical Drive

I believe the booting of the machine is managed on D:\ data drive as all the files to do with booting are in the boot of D (though I am confused as to why Vista C:\ drive is labelled as "Boot"):

I'd be so grateful for any help/advice! I feel I've tried everything and I'm going round in circles now!
In MS-speak (Disk Management flags)
"boot" = The system that's running.
"system" = Where all the boot files are
You cannot boot from a logical drive (logicals cannot be "active", and the MBR looks for the "active" primary partition), hence the placement of your boot files on the only primary.

DId you delete the XP entry from the BCD and let EasyBCD auto-configure it when re-added ?
Hi Terry, thanks for the clarification. I am at least learning a lot from this situation. To answer your question, yes I did try deleting the XP entry and letting EasyBCD rebuild. This "appeared" to work. What happened is that XP did "boot" successfully, it seemed, after making that change. But then the booting sequence only got as far as the Splash screen for XP. But no further. This led me to wonder the following: could it be that the image I had restored to the hard drive for XP had been corrupted in some way? I went back and looked at the image in Acronis in my Vista install and Aronis indeed reported the XP image to be corrupted, which is probably why the "boot" failed to complete, though it was now being triggered correctly thanks to BCD. Well, that's my theory anyway.
Then the can of worms continued to open. I tried putting my Vista install to "sleep" and it seemed to be taking ages. Suddenly the computer spontaneously rebooted. I had to switch off. On swithching back on, the Vista system is too is once again refusing to boot as well, so now I am right back to where I was last Friday, nearly a full week ago.
I have to say I have been wondering about buying a MAC!
Seriously, I think the Vista system failed because that image was also corrupt. I am now losing faith rapidly in restoring images, as a way of restoring systems.
I guess I am now faced with an entirely clean start, which means a long weekend installing complex amounts of software.
Acronis can bodge the MBR so that when Windows is dead you can conveniently boot into the Acronis Secure Zone. This is a sort of dual boot manager that is different from EasyBCD

Is it possible that two different Dual Boot facilities might "get out of whack" ?

Acronis involvement

Hi Alan, I have Acronis True Image 11. I am aware that Acronis also has a disk management programme which does things with Boot management but I'm not running that (I think it's called OS Chooser).
Also, I have not installed Acronis Secure Zone, so I don't think Acronis is actually doing anything with the boot sector as a consequence. It does take a copy of the boot sector whenever it does an image of a partition, and offers to let you restore it when you restore the partition. So far I've been saying "no, don't restore" to that question!
Try "startup repair" from the Vista DVD (3 times) to get your Vista back before resorting to a reinstall, but as you speculated, the partial success with EasyBCD shows that the boot process was good, but the XP image wasn't.
You can try a "repair install" on the XP image before reinstalling it from scratch, but that will necessitate another Vista "startup repair" because any type of XP install will regress the MBR again.
If you do end up reinstalling, keep your partitions primary unless you need more than 4. Then keep the OSs primary and put the data in logicals. It avoids confusion.
Dual Boot on Logical partitions

Hi Terry, I find it interesting that you recommend two primaries. My two OS's (XP and Vista) are, as you have probably gathered on two logicals as part of an extended partition. I notice that the XP install programme, from all those years ago, warns against this explicitly, but the Vista install programme does not raise any objections (I installed Vista after XP).

Well, anyway, I am now wondering...Is there hard evidence that having the installs on two logicals is a bad idea? Is it the case that booting in to XP, then booting back in to Vista, can lead to problems with the Vista install, say? I have been getting "bad block" errors on my Vista install for ages now, and, having pursued with Western Digital and so on, and run the Western Digital Diagnostic programme, there is no evidence of true physical damage on the drive. So I've been wondering if somehow booting in to XP then going back in to Vista, somehow destabilises the Vista install if both on logicals on the same extended partition. Any thoughts on this?
No, there's no problem installing Windows (XP SP1/2 ? onwards) on a logical drive or anywhere on the HDD (9x had to be the 1st primary).
But the MBR restrictions still apply. (boot files on "active" primary), so the OS becomes separated from its own boot files, which isn't a problem to MS who designed it, but causes confusion (and possible problems) to inexperienced dual-booters, who don't realize it. It's also a possible problem for 3rd party boot managers like grub4dos (used in HnS, which I use in a custom version) which use "makeactive" commands ( a logical can't be active, so the code fails if the OS isn't primary).
It's just simpler and subject to less error/confusion if you keep OSs primary if you have the option. If you're going to multi-boot 5+ OSs on one HDD, then something has to be logical, in which case I'd advise keeping the controlling Windows system primary.
Linux, unlike Windows, can boot from a logical, so is a good candidate for logical status, and in my experience even tries to make itself logical if left to its own devices.
The only problem I know of between running XP v Vista/7 is nothing to do with primary/logical status, but is a forward compatiblity problem where XP destroys Vista/7 restore points.
You should be using this MS hack to prevent it. For some people (me included) the hack didn't work, so HnS was written as a better alternative solution to Neogrub.
Went "not so well"!

Hi Terry, or in words, I'm afraid the weekend's computer shenanigans went really badly. I managed to follow the plan as far as getting XP to get the stage of the boot where it displays a pale blue logo type screen and the cursor (which is moveable). Alas the boot hung at that stage. This was after transferring a clean, non-corrupt, XP image to the XP partition, having verified the image first in Acronis, and it did get a clean bill of health.
The only thing I am now wondering is that there could be some internal confusion over drive letters when the XP partition boots, but I have no evidence to support this, as can't get at any XP boot logs.
Meanwhile, the Vista partition has become unstable all of its own accorded, and has developed a habit of displaying random BSODs and then rebooting the PC. So, overall, I think I may have to reinstall completely, i.e. the whole lot. I am also considering going for a "quieter life" and doing an XP/XP dual boot instead. I have a separate XP partition for my music recording, which is the whole purpose for this whole project. Best wishes, Paul