HnS left inconsistent and unusable after Vista SP2 upgrade


I built a Vista SP1/XP SP3 dual-boot system yesterday and installed beta 61 of HnS. It worked OK and I saw the Grub4Dos boot choice screen.

Today I did offline updates that installed Vista Service Pack 2. This appears to have wiped the Grub4Dos bootloader and put the Vista one back, leaving HnS broken.

I tried an uninstall of HnS followed by a 'Start Over' , but it didn't replace the Grub4Dos - I'm still going straight into the Vista menu screen from POST.

In fact, HnS is now in a state where it always thinks it has been used before, whether I have run an uninstall or not. Nothing I do seems to be able to get HnS to replace the Grub4Dos bootloader - it says that the disks are already hidden and it is taking no action - huh ?

This means I can now only safely boot Vista, because if I boot XP without the Grub having issued the right hide commands, it will presumably be able to see the Vista partition and all my restore points will be destroyed.

I've unhidden all files using Vista folder options, but can see no .hns files in either the Vista or XP root directories.

My setup is

Disk 1
Partition 1 XP
Partition 2 Vista
Disk 2
shared data NTFS volume

under Vista d1p2 is C: d1p1 is D: and d2p1 is E:
under XP d1p1 is C: d1p2 is D: and d2p1 is E: ( I think, I can't check this)

Help !!

I have Comodo Internet Security installed with the Sandbox and Defense+ options temporarily disabled.


a thought strikes me. Are the .hns files I need to delete 'super-hidden' ? i.e. not made visible by any setting in the 'Folder Options' CP ?


OK - I've fixed this. The problem is with the BOOTMGR.HNS file not being deleted.

It is super-hidden and it is owned by TrustedInstaller, so two steps are required to be able to first see and then delete this file from the Explorer GUI.

1/ a registry modification

Show Hidden Operating System Files

In a default Vista SP2 install, the ShowSuperHidden key is 0 and must be set to 1
The ubiquitous advice that simply setting the SuperHidden key to 1 is enough is wrong.

2/ advanced permissions change of owner and addition of write permission

Windows 7 How to Delete Files Protected by TrustedInstaller

Once the BOOTMGR.HNS file is gone, re-running HnS GUI puts GRUB back as BOOTMGR (185KB) and backs up the Vista SP2 Boot Manager as BOOTMGR.HNS (326KB)
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
The way HnS works is by pretending to be the Vista/7 boot manager.
It renames the grub4dos module (grldr) to bootmgr and renames the REAL bootmgr to bootmgr.HnS.
When a Service Pack comes along, it invariably replaces what it thinks is ITS bootmgr with a new version, but of course, it leaves the old (renamed) bootmgr behind along with its replacement and overwrites grub.
For future reference, before installing an SP
rename bootmgr to grldr
rename bootmgr.hns to bootmgr
apply SP
rename bootmgr (the new SP version) to bootmgr.hns
rename grldr to bootmgr
and HnS will pick up from where it was before.

Sorry it's not more elegant, but HnS never made it out of Beta and very few of us use it because the MS registry hack works for the vast majority of configurations
System Restore Points - Stop XP Dual Boot Delete - Vista Forums
The MS 'offline hack' just didn't work for me - XP ignored the value; mounted the Vista volume and replaced the DosDevices key I had just deleted. Perhaps other software interferes with the operation of the key - who knows...

anyway - HnS does the trick. Many thanks.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
It didn't work for me either, which is why I first came here over four years ago to use the Neogrub solution which was the only thing which worked prior to CG developing HnS for which I acted as the Primary tester. (That makes me the Alpha Beta Tester I guess).
I've modified my OS configuration since then, so the hack might very well work for me now, but I've become used to my own customized HnS menu.lst which is now pure grub4dos and used to quad-boot XP/Vista/7/8 via a time experimenting with Linux which is described here if you're interested
Quad boot Vista, XP, W7 and Ubuntu using HnS to protect system restore points from XP


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
...and can display a picture of Terry's favorite airplane :smile: