I Want to Add a Second XP OS to My Existing XP + Vista Dual-Boot. Make It Triple-Boot


Hello! Thank you for reading my message!

I have had XP, and then I got Vista, and ever since I have used the Microsoft boot-loader to select which I want to use.
This has worked fine. :smile:
But now I want to add another installation of XP, which I will not upgrade much, so that it will be more compatible with older programs.
I have read your Wiki and Guides, but it says only how to add XP to existing Vista, for dual-boot. It does not mention triple booting or having two XP systems.
I know that I must make another partition for this XP installation - but that is all I know about the process.

Will installing a second XP OS overwrite the data for my first XP?
Will it overwrite any other important MBR information?
Will it cause any problems that are not resolved by following the same steps as are given in the guide for adding an XP OS to a Vista system for dual-boot?

Additionally, I wonder how I am to label some difference between the two in iReboot and in the bootloader interface. How to tell which XP is which please?

Thank you for your help!!!
Hello sri, welcome to NST.
Both XP systems will be booted from a single boot.ini, NTLDR, and NTDETECT.COM combination, and they will be in the "system" "active" partition (as seen from Disk Management).
If you get EasyBCD 2.0 Beta, then you can just use Tools-->Auto-configure boot.ini to set off EasyBCD's boot.ini configurator. Once you do that, then both systems should boot just fine from a single menu.
Adding another XP to a Vista/XP dual boot just requires you to add another line to the existing boot.ini.
bootmgr/BCD just chains to the copy of NTLDR in the "system" partition, which reads the boot.ini in the same partition. All XPs (you can have as many as you want) are described in that copy of boot.ini and will be selected via a second menu (NTLDR's).
The second menu is already booting your present XP. You just don't see it presented because it doesn't bother displaying it if there's only one entry.
If you install your new XP to a different HDD, and you disconnect the other one temporarily so that it can't be altered by the install, adding one line to boot.ini on the old HDD will be all you need to do once you reconnect it, and your triple boot will be working. (EasyBCD 2.0 tools/auto-configurator will even do the job for you).
If you're putting a second XP on the same HDD as Vista, then the install will overwrite the MBR and you'll only be able to boot the 2 XPs afterwards until you "startup repair" Vista by booting the Vista DVD 2 or 3 times. Once Vista is back in charge, use EasyBCD 2.0 to add an entry for XP (just one) and it will automatically create the boot.ini with 2 XP entries for you.
Ok, thank you for the replies!

So you are saying that if I just boot from the XP CD that I want to install, and let it install to a fresh hard-drive, that is all that I need to do if I want to use the current boat loader that is Microsoft's (it lets me select "Windows Vista" or "Earlier Version of Microsoft Windows) but that if I want to use EasyBCD to choose between them, then I need to unplug my other hard-drives before I install the second XP system?

I am just trying to find the easiest way, I have no preferences - so long as I do not lose access to my XP and Vista systems that exist now, and that their programs are not confused by looking in places that do not exist where they should.
If you install XP to a new HDD with the old one disconnected, and then reconnect the old one and reset the BIOS so that it boots first, your original dual boot will be exactly as it was (the new XP won't be visible). Then run EasyBCD 2.0, go to the tools menu, select autoconfigure boot.ini, and it will add an entry for the new system.
When you boot and select XP from the Vista menu, you'll then get a second menu asking you to choose which XP you want. The names of the two XP systems will be assigned automatically to include the drive letter that Vista uses for each XP.
If you want to personalize the names, use EasyBCD/Tools/Edit legacy entries and alter the names to whatever you want.