Dual boot XP/Vista stopped working


Last night I had dual boot working just fine with XP on C and Vista on D. The Vista bootloader prompt came up each time I restarted the system and I could pick either one to load the OSes. Both worked fine.

This morning, no bootloader prompt comes up when I start the system. The system just boots directly into XP. The Vista drive is still there on D:.

EasyBCD shows the correct entries for both OSes in the menu, and I've tried all the combinations of restoring the Vista bootloader, but no luck. I tried "Reinstall the Vista Bootloader", then "Reset BCD storage", and then "Recreate missing deleted boot files". With no change in any case.

Thoughts on what happened or what to do at this point?

I would rather avoid booting from the Vista DVD since I have this fear that Vista will somehow wipe out my XP setup in the process of reinstalling its bootloader. My XP partition is more important to me, hence my fear.
What OS was installed first? What's the boot drive (the one with the BOOT folder)? And which partition is set as active at the moment?

Welcome to NST, btw!
XP was installed first.

The boot drive is the C: drive.

And according to the XP disk management util, it looks like the C drive is marked as Active (since that option is greyed out when I select that partition).
Don't worry, running a repair with the Vista DVD won't harm your XP. Vista is written to recognize the existence of legacy windows and automatically set up a dual boot. Even if you do a full Vista Install, it'll do the same as long as you don't tell it to overwrite the XP partition.
Thanks. I thought this might be suggested. The instructions on the page said only to use if you can't boot into any version of windows. Since I can boot XP, I thought I might not need to do this.

I was hoping there would be some troubleshooting steps that didn't involve using the Vista DVD, since I have to assume that when I run this it will remove my option to load XP and I'll first have to boot into Vista then go back and reconfigure the XP menu option in the hopes that no damage was done to the XP loading process. Am I correct?


Hi Terry -- yes, I would have thought booting with the Vista DVD wouldn't harm XP, but when I first re-partitioned my drive for dual boot and loaded Vista on the new "D" partition -- Vista installed o.k. but it also wiped the entire C drive. I had to restore XP back to the C partition from an Acronis backup.

I'm sure I didn't select the C drive for install or format, so I don't know what happened. Hence my hesitation.
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If it's any consolation, the steps in the guide involving booting from the DVD do not access the disk partitioner nor do they touch the partition table.....
I came to this forum last year to acquire the fabled EasyBCD, which I heard about from here
whose instructions I followed to create my dual boot.
They also have full instructions for the mirror situation
and as you will see, no matter what the order of the two OS installations, you have to end with booting the Vista DVD to create or repair the bootloader.
I can't understand how your XP ended up missing. I haven't tried it with Vista/XP, but on previous installs of windows over an earlier version, I'm sure I remember an "are you really sure you want to overwrite xxx ?" type of message, so I don't know how it could have done this !
Certainly my installation went exactly as the example. Though I didn't follow slavishly where I had alternatives. (like paragon partition manager)
Well, I booted from the Vista DVD and did the "Startup Repair" option, but no change. The system still just boots to XP.

I even confirmed the output on the Startup Repair -- there's a link that appears on the bottom of the page. It *looked* like it wrote a bootloader record with a single entry to boot Vista on my D: drive -- which would have meant that had it worked I would have needed to go into Vista first to create a new bootloader option for XP. But, when I rebooted I just got XP again.

Its almost as if the XP partition and bootloader are now protected and can't be modified or overwritten. Is it possible that my norton antivirus is not permitting a write to happen, or something like that?

What next? Thanks.
Obviously I'm not privy to the MS repair logic, but they do state that you might need to run repair more than once, so maybe they only fix one thing at a time then stop.
(As a matter of fact I did have to run it twice myself now that I recall)
Give it a second chance
Thanks Terry -- you were correct. Running the automated repair twice worked and restored the correct dual- boot prompt with both XP and Vista shown. Everything is now working the same as it was last night.

I'll hope that tomorrow it stays this way! Thanks again.
Glad it worked for you too - Weird process isn't it ?
Now you can use the reliable EasyBCD to tidy up the names to whatever you like, reduce the timeout etc.