Dual-Booting XP and Vista; XP Errors out on Boot

I am having very similar problem and its not fixed yet.

First here is my system configuration:
- 1 SATA 300GBHDD with 4 partitions
- 2x80GB HDDs on RAID1 with 1 partition
- 1 IDE 160GB HDD with 2 partitions

I initially have Windows XP installed on the 1st partition of 300GB HDD and the 160GB was not connected to the system. Few days ago I decided to try Vista so I added the 160GB to my system and installed Vista on its 1st partition. Installation went fine and I could boot to Vista normally. However, every times my system reboots, it just go directly to VISTA without showing boot menu.

Following guides posted in this thread, here are what I have done:

- Booted into Vista (My computer always booted into Vista anyway)
- Used easyBCD to create an entry for Windows XP and chose drive D (D is 1st partition of 300GB HDD where Window XP is installed), easyBCD switched to C like normally. Saved everything.
- Made changes as susggested to boot.ini like following:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
- Copies all the 3 files from D to C (C is 1st partition of 160GB HDD where Vista is installed).

When my computer rebooted, boot menu showed up and I could boot into Vista without problem. Rebooted computer and chose Windows XP from boot menu without problem too.

However, here is new problem: when I rebooted again, the boot menu no longer appeared and I got the following error:
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll
Please re-install a copy of the above file
Please help me fix this dual boot nightmare. Shame on Microsoft for making dual boot so much trouble. Thank you very much in advance for your help!
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Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Hi Suxipo, Welcome to NeoSmart Technologies.

Since your dual-boot is/was working just fine this isn't an EasyBCD-related problem and as such belongs in this forum.

Anyway, with regards to your problem:
Do you get this message when booting into Vista or XP?
Hi Guru,

Thanks for moving my thread to its appropriate location and your warm welcome.

Maybe I was not very clear when describing my problem. Following your suggestions, I could make the boot menu to show up allowing me to choose which Windows to boot in to.

If I keep choosing Windows Vista to boot from the boot menu, there would be nothing wrong. However, the problem has arised since I chose to boot to Windows XP. Booting to XP is no problem but when my computer rebooted right after that, the boot menu never showed up again and the error message appeared instead.

Actually I was messing with this type of dual boot configuration before but I had different problem. I somehow managed to make boot menu appear but everytime I chose Windows XP to boot and when the computer rebooted again, it would went straight to Windows XP without showing the boot menu. I then I had to use Vista setup DVD to bootsect /NT60 ALL and the computer then went straight to Vista. I was tired of this problem so I re-installed Vista hopefully it would fix the problem. However this time another problem comes up. Tried the bootsect /NT60 ALL thing but it didnt help

Looks like every Windows XP boots, it re-writes bootloader or something

Oh BTW, how to I access my boot.ini to change it? I can't even go to Windows at all now. (never mind this. I could get back to Vista. It was because the Vista HDD was not enabled in BIOS)
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Updated: I forgot I just made a small change to the BIOS which disabled the 160GB HDD. I un-did this change and now the menu is back. Sorry for my noobness :smile:
Booting to Vista is fine but booting to XP gives me that error.

UPDATE: very weird my computer is working normally now after I made few changes:

- Remove all the 3 files from C (on 160GB HDD where Vista is installed)
- Put back original boot.it (that I saved it earlier) to D (320GB HDD where XP is installed)
- Change entry "Windows XP" to associate with partition D manually (by default its always C)

Now it is working well like never had a single problem. So weird.

I will report if there is further problem.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Hey, that's awesome news, Suxipo!

(Nice avatar, btw! :wink:)

I'm glad to hear you got EasyBCD to work with your configuration; and if there's anything else you need, please don't hesitate to ask - make yourself at home!

Don't worry about that BIOS mistake, it happens to the best of us... At least you didn't change the drive order around in the bios then perform a repair installation of Vista on top of Linux like someone *cough* did :tongueout:


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
We'd be honored :smile: