Dualbooting working, but system feels unstable

GDH

New Member
#1
Hi,

I'm fairly new to this dualbooting, although I have been contemplating doing it for years. I have upgraded a year ago from an aging Pentium III to a brand new laptop with a subrosa dual core chip, sata 250 gb hd, dedicated graphics card, 2gb ram and Vista Ultimate.

I have had a couple of goes at setting up the dual booting. First attempt was to install Ubuntu - Gutsy Gibbon. Made a mistake and ended up putting on active partition and not on free space. so re-installed Vista and wiped Ubuntu.

Then my only compatible printer with Vista broke, so decided would install Windows XP Home as 2nd dual boot. Made the mistake of not making the second parttion a primary one. So wiped XP off and made the 2nd partition primary. Before installing XP again, thought I would install a clean version of Vista again. But whenever I tried, it kept refusing to extraxct the files - so i left well alone.

Installed XP to 2nd partition, which was now primary but not active, which was succesful. Easybcd found the loader files, which are actually sitting on the Vista partition and now have adual boot system. XP Home SR1 was installed, followed by beta SP3 to try and avoid the endless downloads to get XP u to date.

But it does not feel very stable. Previously had installed Nero when I had XP on a logical partition, can get it to install but it won't install the major update now. Also trying to install Office 2000. This installs, but can't get the updates to apply. I have office 2007 on the Vista partition. Also, use Virgin/Blueyonder PCguard, which I can install on multiple pc's as I have a high level of subscription, but whenever, I boot from 1 os to another, it needs to resubscibe, which is a pain.

Any answers to the Vista reinstall issue and the ones above gratefully received.

Once I feel the system is stable, will probably then move onto triple booting by installing Hardy Heron, which I really like the look of on Live CD.

Thanks
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#2
So Vista will not install? The DVD does nothing? I suggest using GParted.

SourceForge.net: Files

Get version 0.3.3 LiveCD and formatting the Vista partition. Then try to install again.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#3
GDH, welcome to the forum.
You say that your systems don't seem stable, and quote some instances of 3rd party software behaving strangely.
Can you tell us what letters each of your systems calls itself and the other system. Is one of them booted as something other than C:\ and seeing the other system as C:\ ?
If this is the case then 3rd party software might well be installed across systems, and interfere with the same software on the other system, causing unpredictable results.
 

GDH

New Member
#4
Thanks Terry

I checked the drive letters for Vista & Xp & found the following:

In Vista:

Vista was C:\ & XP was D:

In XP:

Vista was C:\ but XP was E:\

So in Vista, changed XP to E:\ as it was not possible to change XP to D:\ in XP

Several test reboots later, the strange behaviour on Pc Guard has not happened. Haven't tested the other issues yet, but from the evidence of PcGuard this would have appeared to have solved the problem.

Thank you very much for your response which seems to have put me onto the right trail to sort out the issue.

Gareth
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#5
Hi Gareth.
It doesn't really matter what Vista calls the XP disk, though I'm rather surprised it let you change it anyway. Did you use disk mgmt ? Normally it won't rename anything with a system, boot, page or active tag.

Check the Vista program files/common files for software you've installed on XP and check whether there are date/time stamps which indicate that some of it is on the wrong disk. (especially the stuff behaving strangely)

It's not a good idea to let XP see Vista anyway, (you know about the restore point problem I trust) and especially if Vista is XP's C:\ disk.

You can probably fix all your problems by using Vista Hide 'n Seek (HnS) to hide Vista from XP, and once hidden, all the software on XP that's put stuff on the wrong system will fail, so you'll know for sure that that's your problem. Unfortunately, the software probably won't uninstall with C:\ invisible, so you'll need to take HnS off when you've got your list, boot XP again, uninstall everything dodgy, run HnS again, and then reinstall your software when XP can't see Vista.

That's the state I'm in (Vista C, and XP D, seen from both sides) with Vista able to see XP but XP not seeing Vista, and I don't have any problems.

HnS can be downloaded from the sticky thread in "Ideas and Wishlists", and though it's in Beta, it's very late Beta and works fine in most cases, and is not dangerous to the integrity of your system, if you do hit any problems. You can be one of the test team and protect your system at the same time.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
Second thoughts. An easier way to find if your XP software has partially installed on Vista.

Run/regedit (on XP). Find "C:\" and hit PF3 repeatedly. Make a note of any software that has registered files on the wrong disk, then uninstall them all and reinstall after hiding Vista with HnS.
 

GDH

New Member
#7
Thanks Terry

Will do as you suggest.

Have heard about the system restore points problem when dualbooting with XP, although not sure I fully undersatnd it!

Just one thing about the partitions

In Vista, my XP partition does not show as active, but only as a Primary partition.

In XP, my XP partiton shows as boot, with the Vista partition as the system.

Should I be marking the XP partition in Vista as Active?

I used the manage function in both Os's to check.

I do have Gparted Paragon Harddisk Manager 8.5(boot disk) available to to manage partitions. Partitions and dualbooting are a new area for me and I am learning by reading everything I can!

Thanks

Gareth
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
I don't know why your Vista system doesn't see the XP as "boot", (that's how you were able to rename it) but as long as it's working, don't play around with it. Don't mark it active, the system will stop booting !
Here's the description of the various tags pasted from Vista Help, which will explain why not.

System partitions and boot partitions are names for partitions or volumes on a hard disk that Windows uses when starting. These technical terms are only important if you have more than one operating system installed on your computer (often called a dual-boot or multiboot configuration).
The system partition contains the hardware-related files that tell a computer where to look to start Windows. A boot partition is a partition that contains the Windows operating system files, which are located in the Windows file folder. Usually, these are the same partition, especially if you have only one operating system installed on your computer. If you have a multiboot computer, you will have more than one boot partition. An additional term, the active partition, describes which system partition (and thus which operating system) your computer uses to start.
When you turn on your computer, it uses information stored on the system partition to start up. There is only one system partition on a Windows-based computer, even if you have different versions of Windows installed on the same computer. However, non-Windows operating systems use different system files. In a multiboot computer using a non-Windows operating system, its system files are located on its own partition, separate from the Windows system partition.
A boot partition is a partition that contains Windows operating system files. If you have a multiboot computer that contains, for example, this version of Windows and Windows XP, then each of those volumes are considered boot partitions.

The system restore problem, is that Vista uses the same folder name as XP for system restore, but has completely changed the format.
Vista is backward compatible, recognizes XPs folders and leaves them alone.
XP is not forward compatible, sees Vista's folders, thinks they're corrupted, and reinitializes them to look like XP folders.

This means of course that every time you boot XP, you lose every restore point and shadow copy that Vista has been carefully trying to protect your system with, and it is completely unrecoverable in the event of a problem which you would normally fix with system restore.

MS gives registry hacks designed to hide Vista from XP, but they seem to be very system specific (i.e. I've only come across a couple of people for whom they worked), and they had no effect on my system.
That was the reason I came here in the first place - a web search revealed neosmart had a workaround using neogrub, which has since been superseded by HnS.
 
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GDH

New Member
#9
Thanks for the info on the Partitions Terry. However,I did change the partition to Active in Vista, before I got your response. I was then able to move the 3 bootloader files to the XP partition and change the EasyBCD settings to load XP from the E:\ drive, and it worked fine.

I ran the check in Regedit while in XP and found some programmes referring to to C:\ namely realplayer and some programs relating to the install disk for my lexmark printer.

So I have deleted them and the system seems stable.

I then moved to installing the latest version of Ubuntu. Despite my best efforts, still managed to allow Grub to overwrite the MBR. After a lot of trouble, have got the MBR back and now have a triple boot system. However, the XP drive is now not marked as active and the 3 files needed to lodd XP have got to be back on the Vista drive in order for XP to load.

A question about the 3 files needed to load XP. If they are sitting on the Vista partition, when I use either the HnS or Neogrub method of hiding the Vista drive, will it still see them and load XP?

Thanks
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
I'm not sure what happens with Neogrub if the boot files are on the partition that gets hidden, mine happened to be the other way round with the boot info on XP. I can foresee problems.
However I'm sure Guru has allowed for either scenario within HnS. It works by creating its own top level bootloader and passing control on to BCD or NTLDR after hiding or unhiding as appropriate. I'm sure he doesn't allow HnS to be on a hidden resource.
As my boot disk is XP though, I can't tell you that from personal experience. Have a look at the HnS thread (it's quite long), I'm sure other Beta testers must have Vista as their boot drive, since I think I'm fairly unusual in having Vista as C:\ on the first partition, but somehow accidentally contriving to have the second D:\ partition as the boot disk.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#11
Terry's right, Vista Hide 'n Seek hasn't got a problem with Vista being the boot drive. HnS itself can see all drives, hidden or otherwise. The needed boot files for booting into XP are auto-created where needed, and it should work with all possible active/boot drive combinations.
 

GDH

New Member
#12
Stepped up to triple boot

Thank you for all your help so far & I hope my contribtuions to others has helped.

I transitioned to a triple boot and finally all was well. However, I then needed to shrink the Ubuntu partition, which I did with the free version of Paragon Harddisk manager 8.5 running from a bootable disk. Unfortunately, this seems to have mucked up the reference table to that partition and I am getting a nonload of Ubuntu with it giving a reference to FDisk. I have looked at that and it appears somewhat scary. Are there any more user friendly programmes I can use to help me resolve the issue?

Thanks

Gareth
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#13
What's the exact error?

There are two possibilities:
1) The partition was corrupted
2) The partition numbers have been changed around.
 

GDH

New Member
#14
Message fro Boot loader for corrupted Ubuntu partition

Thanks for the response

The message I get when I run the diagnostic part of the install is as follows:

Warning: Unecognised partition tale for drive 80. Please rebuild it using a microsoft-compatible FDISK tool (err=2).Current C/H/S=16383/255/63

Error 19: Cannot mount selected partition


Thanks

Gareth
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#15
Sounds like it's been corrupted.

Try running testdisk to recover the partition. There are no guarantees though, and it's not a very easy to use program.
 

GDH

New Member
#16
Thanks

As suspected, not an easy problem to solve. Probably the easiest option is to delete the partition and re-install Ubuntu? But I always have problems with installing the grub, despite reading all the pages that say how to do it!

Gareth
 

GDH

New Member
#17
Problems continue - Vista corrupted

Hi

Well I went down the route of deleting the Ubuntu partition. Then XP began to feel unstable again. Had read about XP SP3 causing problems with XP and yes I certainly had those problems. So I thought delete XP as well and then I would only be left with Vista and I could start all over again, benefitting from all the learning to date.

Did all that, then Vista has gone crazy on me. Active X no longer works, I have lost the attachment icons for files for programmes like Office 2007 etc. So I thought reload Vista over the current Vista

No it won't reload. Tried everything short of deleting the partition completely and restarting completely from a bare HD. Tried loading from booting from CD, plus a slipstream CD (but not including SP1), Vista Flat load from HD.

Either get a message that the CD cannot unpack the files or the version is incompatible..

Apartv from slipstreaming SP1 and then trying both ways, I can't think of anything else to do, but strip back to Bare HD and try from there. But very hesitant to do so, in case the Vista CD is actually corrupted and then where do I go from there!. I can load XP, but I will have totally lost Vista and I do not want the expense of buying a new CD at the cost of £100's.

Any help greatly appreciated!

Gareth

Addendum:

Hi

Well I went down the route of deleting the Ubuntu partition. Then XP began to feel unstable again. Had read about XP SP3 causing problems with XP and yes I certainly had those problems. So I thought delete XP as well and then I would only be left with Vista and I could start all over again, benefitting from all the learning to date.

Did all that, then Vista has gone crazy on me. Active X no longer works, I have lost the attachment icons for files for programmes like Office 2007 etc. So I thought reload Vista over the current Vista

No it won't reload. Tried everything short of deleting the partition completely and restarting completely from a bare HD. Tried loading from booting from CD, plus a slipstream CD (but not including SP1), Vista Flat load from HD.

Either get a message that the CD cannot unpack the files or the version is incompatible..

Apartv from slipstreaming SP1 and then trying both ways, I can't think of anything else to do, but strip back to Bare HD and try from there. But very hesitant to do so, in case the Vista CD is actually corrupted and then where do I go from there!. I can load XP, but I will have totally lost Vista and I do not want the expense of buying a new CD at the cost of £100's.

Any help greatly appreciated!

Gareth
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#18
Gareth, I haven't had cause to try it myself, but Guru and Mak assure us that Vista has removed the ability to do a repair install a la XP.
I think that's what your problem is, not a corrupt DVD.
Sounds like your 2 systems had got some crossed wires as we discussed back at the start of this thread, and removing XP has left you with a damaged Vista by removing some of the other system at the same time.
In your place, I'd be saving all my data to an external store, and starting over again with a nice clean Vista install on a freshly formatted disk. If you're really nervous about your DVD, you could always try an install to a newly created blank partition (or where XP used to be), to give yourself a second Vista, and when you're happy that the DVD works, format the whole lot and start again.
 

GDH

New Member
#19
Corrupt Vista installation

Thanks Terry

They should give you an honoury title for all the replies that you post to people!

I think you are probaly right - There has been a crossover somewhere which when I totally deleted XP it has caused an instability. The previous time I deleted - see http://neosmart.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2073 - I did not restart the vista part until I had completely re-installed XP 1/2/3 and any further updates, including the .Framenet problem, fully and got it up and running. Then used EasBCD from the XP to install the multiboot.

The other thing that comes to mind is that I did not uninstall Vista after getting rid of Xp when it was installed on a logical/extended partition instead of a proper primary partition. So I may not have got rid of the crossover on Vista?

Actually thinking about it, when I accidentally deleted Vista by installing Ubuntu incorrectly, I was able to install Vista afresh over Ubuntu. I was just worried that the disk maybe corrupted. However, I have loaded Vista on to my harddisk, slipstreamed it using vlite and that disk gives the same result. So it would point to a Vista problem! Just worried about losing it even though it is unstable. It works but not properly! I suppose I could re-install XP - properly on a 2nd parttion! - and see if that fixes the problem!

But I doubt it will, as I have had a look at the registry file for Vista and it looks very screwed up with a lot of funny references for progammes that I would not expect to see!

One final question - should I install XP or Vista first?

Thanks

Gareth
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#20
If you're reinstalling both systems, the MS recommended method is old first, new last, because Vista is backward compatible and will see XP and automatically create the dual boot.
I installed Vista first though because I naively thought it would be my only system until I discovered how many things I couldn't get to work without falling back to XP.
In truth it's not much more difficult. You only need to boot the Vista DVD to repair Vista's bootloader after XP has overwritten it. (XP doesn't see Vista as a bootable system). That's the only extra step and again it's automatically handled by Vista's DVD. No skill needed.
The real determinant is where you want your systems to be, and what you want them to be called (C:\ D:\ etc) because the order you install them in will affect this irrevocably.

Addendum:

They have given me a title - Brown !
 
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