Issues with Dual-booting Vista64 and XP


Hi folks,

First time poster - so be gentle :smile:

I built a new PC a few months back and decided to take the big leap and go for Vista (all new components, so wasn't many problems with drivers). After 6 months of Vista 64-bit I have decided that it just not quite ready - no iPod recognition on 64-bit systems and a general concern over the performance of games being the main issues.

So I decided it was time to dual boot the PC and have XP on hand when I feel Vistas just not cutting it.

And so to my story of woe...

I bought a another HDD to keep the 2 OSs completely apart and then followed the guides for installing XP with Vista already installed. Unfortunately I can't get XP to complete the installation process. It keeps BSOD at exactly the same point every time I try - when the installation process reboots for the first time and starts to load XP (gets to the blue "Windows loading" screen). After numerous attempts I gave up and used the Vista CD to recover the Vista MBR. EasyBCD appears to be set up fine in Vista and I have it set up to dual boot, but its a pointless exercise as the XP installation will never complete. This was all before Christmas. I gave up assuming I had a hardware issue that XP was encountering and that it probably wasn't worth trying to fix it in case I ruined the Vista install.

Anyway, I decided to have another crack at it yesterday. In order to discover what was wrong with the XP install, I disconnected every HDD apart from the one XP is going on and tried a clean XP install. I worked with no problems! So obvious the XP installation isn't an issue.

And now to the point of the post...

I'm beginning to wonder if my heavily partitioned drives might be the issue. 3 x 320Gb drives.
1st has 4 partitions (inc a hidden Acronis Secure Zone), with Vista as primary
2nd has 3 partitions (games, data and application backups)
3rd has 2 partitions, with the first one intended for XP.

Is my XP install issue because I have tried to put it on the first partition and the system is renaming them when the install reboots? Should change to the last partition and force it to be called Z (using Acronis Disk Director)?

Final question, I now have a workable Vista and XP installations, but can't boot up with both connect as there will presumably be two MBRs. Is there any way of booting up and using EasyBCD to modify one of the MBRs without having to go through the pain of having to re-install one of the OSs?

Sorry for rambling on and thanks in advance for any replies


Okay let me ask this first. How much RAM do you have? I have seen several reports now that XP is just not going thru with it's installs with 4GB of RAM.
Okay let me ask this first. How much RAM do you have? I have seen several reports now that XP is just not going thru with it's installs with 4GB of RAM.

Yup, 4Gb RAM. Though I am fairly certain I took one of the sticks out first time round and it made no difference. Also the clean install of XP, to a single HDD with no dual boot, worked fine with 4Gb.
This is something we have just found recently. It has something to do with the Vista/XP Dual boot that having 4GB of RAM installed for XP causes a BSOD. Not only here but other sites as well i have seen this. Someone here just recently had this experience. I cant find the topic right off hand but i know it is here. They have to remove 1GB of RAM when they want to use XP. It was causing randomn BSOD's that they could recover from only after restarting the PC.

XP BSOD on first boot after Vista - The NeoSmart Forums

There it is. So my first suggestion would be to remove a stick of RAM and try it.