Multiboot: Vista, XP, XP, and Linux , and Linux...


First I installed XP. Then I installed Vista on a different partition on the same drive. So the vista bootloader was running the show. Then I installed Ubuntu on a different drive, and installed GRUB to the partition's bootsector rather than the Vista bootloader is still used when I reboot. I used EasyBCD to edit the Vista bootloader. So then when I select Ubuntu, it send me over to GRUB where I can launch Ubuntu.

Then I decided to install another version of XP on a third drive. When I rebooted, the XP bootloader showed up. It allowed me to choose between my two XP installations. So I used EasyBCD to restore the Vista bootloader and set it up for Vista.

So here is what I have set up in the Vista bootloader:

Vista --> boots right into Vista
XP --> launches XP bootloader and lets me choose between two XP installations
Ubuntu --> launches GRUB and from there I can launch Ubuntu or launch the Vista bootloader again
Second XP --> launches XP bootloader and lets me choose between two XP installations

Now I set up the two XP menu items in EasyBCD pointing to the their respective drive/partition. But both options get me to the same XP bootloader. So I looked around and realized that only the first XP installtion has boot.ini and the other bootloader files. I edited boot.ini so that it works to my liking.

So everying works ok...I just don't love how the Vista bootloader launches the XP bootloader and from there I have to choose between the two XP installations. I wish I could just have the Vista bootloader launch the XP installations without the need for the XP bootloader. Or, if XP requires its own bootloader to be used after the Vista bootloader (which I think it does...because the older back boot.ini files on my C drive are from many months ago...) , I'd like to have two seperate XP bootloaders, one for each installation, so that I don't have to make a choice about which XP installation to boot after I use the Vista bootloader.

Is that possible to achieve? Is it a bad idea to try to set it up this way? Let me know if I am not being clear.

Thanks in advance!

Hi Jason, welcome to NeoSmart Technologies! :smile:

1) You can get rid of the second GRUB boot menu by modifying /boot/grub/menu.lst in Ubuntu and removing the entry that launches Windows Vista. Once that's done, selecting Ubuntu from the Vista bootloader will load directly into Ubuntu without any other menus.

2) You cannot remove the secondary XP boot menu. Microsoft has designed the XP boot process in a way that requires that any attempts to boot XP go through "NTLDR", the Windows XP bootloader. We cannot directly load a single copy of XP, nor can we use two different NTLDRs since they get their data from a single source.

Hope this helps.
Thanks, Guru, for the help.

Is there any way that I could have two different ntldr's? What if I installed XP on one drive with no others in the machine. Then took that drive out and installed XP again on a second drive. Both drives must have a full setup of the ntldr? Would something like that be a possible solution? Or will I still end up in the same situation?
Same situation. At the end of the day, you're only going to have a single partition that is primary, active, and on the boot drive. And that's the NTLDR that will be used.

Believe me, we've looked into this heavily. This is a feature we'd simply love to add to EasyBCD and it has been requested quite often... We invested quite a bit of time (months on end) attempting to get this to work, but it just simply isn't possible without writing your own alternative boot process for Windows XP.