Help for dual-boot Vista in different languages

#1
Hello everyone.

Here is my configuration :
- two SATA hard drives of same capacity (320GB)
- two sets of Vista 32 bit : one in French, one in Chinese

I would like to install each version of Vista on a different drive, and allow me to choose at boot time which version to load.
Besides, if possible, I would like that when Vista in one language is running, it does not see the other version (I am afraid otherwise it may lead to data corruption).

On my older PC, I achieved the same thing on a single hard drive, with different primary partitions and using Powerquest's BootMagic. But here it is different because I use two different drives, and BootMagic is probably too old to support Vista.

How can I achieve that (using EasyBDC of course...) ?

Thanks to anyone who can help.

PS : I have two different licenses LEGALLY purchased...
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi Dragon, welcome to the forum.
Firstly, I hope you haven't peeled the shrink-wrap off both your copies of Vista yet ! The licence you buy means you can run Vista on one machine. You don't need a second licence to run a second copy on the same machine.
To your question. If you look at my first post here last year,
http://neosmart.net/forums/showpost.php?p=8710&postcount=1
you'll see I used neosmart to hide Vista (from XP), using the wiki guide linked to in the first sentence.
This technique has been replaced by a new piece of NST software called HnS, which is designed to hide Vista from XP with a simple single level boot process. Unfortunately HnS cannot boot 2 Vistas from this single boot.
Vita bootloader itself will handle having two systems on 2 disks, and you can use EasyBCD to set up the boot menu. The problem will be trying to hide the two systems from each other.
As you'll see from my first post mentioned above, If the system with the boot information is the one hidden, you'll no longer be able to boot the system.
If you use Neogrub to set up the hiding of one system from the other, you'll need to ensure that you manipulate the boot files onto a third partition which never gets hidden.
Have a good read of the wiki article mentioned above and post back if you have any more questions or don't understand anything.
 
#3
Hi Terry. Thanks a lot for your reply !

Fortunately I did not break the seal of the French version (OEM). So do you mean that even if I use the same license number and activate both versions it will work ?? Microsoft will not reject the second activation ?

About the procedure, do you think there is any problem if I do not hide one system from the other ? No risk of "interference" ? In that case, will the native Vista bootloader handle the situation (i.e. no need to use Neogrub) ?

Thanks again !
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
When you activate Vista for the second time, it will see all the same hardware as for the first install, and will know that you're on the same system, so it will authorize. (this happens all the time when people reinstall the OS from scratch).

If both systems call themselves C:\ and think of the other as D:\ (or anything else), then you shouldn't have any problems with both being visible to each other. If however the booted system is not C:\ and can see another disk which is C:\, then there could be some problems with 3rd party software. Even when you tell an install that you want the program to go in X:\My programs\ for example, there are some which will still insist on putting some stuff in C:\program files\common files (like anything written by Adobe).
So something like the ubiquitous Adobe Reader might behave unpredictably with pieces of one system installed on the other.
As long as you keep that in mind, and try to arrange that each system thinks of itself as C:\, then being able to access one system from the other can be a positive advantage.
I can access my XP from Vista, which has enabled me to install legacy software on XP which won't install on Vista (x64), but I can still execute it from the XP disks when booted in Vista.
You might be able to use your French Vista to repair problems in the English or vv.
But if you'd rather keep them separated completely, you should be able to do it successfully with Neogrub, provided that you set up a never hidden partition, and make sure that it's where everything boots from.
Otherwise, yes the Vista bootloader will handle multiple Vistas itself.