Need help with hiding vista partition

#1
Hi. this is my first post here. I hope someone can help me out. Dual booting Vista 64 and XP pro 32 is not a problem. The problem I'm having is trying to hide the partitons from each other so that I can retain my restore points in Vista. I'll save you the drama and cut straight to the meat and potatoes.

I've got one Raid 0 Volume (2 sata hardrives). I've got 3 primary partitions:

- C: (Vista 64, active)
- D: (Win XP Pro)
- E: (common data)

I installed Vista first. I then changed my drive letter to free up letter D. I then resized my C partition and created the D partition with the unallocated space.

I installed Windows XP on partition D and after Windows XP was running fine, I copied ntldr, ntdetect.com, hal.dll and boot.ini in the C: root directory. I rebooted with my Vista DVD and repaired the bootmgr so that I could boot back to Vista.

I installed and ran EasyBCD and added the windows XP entry with driver letter C:. I double checked the boot.ini file and made sure that it was pointing to partition 2 disk 0.

At this point everything is fine. I can boot back and forth between Vista and XP.

Now comes the part that had me pull the hair off my head and loose a few pounds in sweat.

In Vista, I ran EasyBCD and installed Neogrub and configured it. I tried a variety of codes that I found on here and elsewhere and none of them worked. I experienced anywhere from not being able to load XP due to a missing hal.dll file to missing autocheck. I could still boot to Vista but from Vista I couldn't see the XP partition.

The last code that I tried hid my Vista partition and made it inactive so I wasn't able to boot neither in Vista or XP. I am thankful that I found the Super Grub ISO to recover my Vista.

I assume that I'm either putting in the wrong lines or configuring it wrongly. I read through the disk and partition numbering on different posts but they all contradict themselves.

SO now I'm here and I kinda hoping that someone can tell me exactly how I need to configure neogrub in EasyBCD to make this work with no more problems.

Thanks in advance!
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Welcome to NST,

You shouldn't use NoeGrub. That is no longer the supported way of doing this from NeoSmart. NeoSmart offers Vista HnS for this purpose which is much more automated and straight-forward. Or if you want to get your hack on and are feeling lucky, MS provides a workaround for this that may or may not work with your system. See this KB article.

Either method you choose, be prepared not to be able to access Vista's partition from within XP. This is one of the side-effects, but well worth it if you value your Vista's restore points.
 
#3
Thank you for replying.

I wasn't aware of this new application. I went ahead and tried it out. It didn't work.

The program ran fine from beginning to end. I followed the instructions and identified my 3 partitions correctly and clicked hide my drives. I exited the program and rebooted. There were no boot menu. It booted straight to Vista. I checked in My Computer and my XP partition was still there.

I went through the process again but this time I selected add/remove entry. This brought up EasyBCD in which I added a Windows XP entry. Saved and exited VistaHnS. Rebooted. This time I got the usual boot menu. I selected Windows XP. I got an error message saying boot.ini missing or corrupt and some other missing file, I don't remember which. So I rebooted and selected Vista. For whatever reason I had to re-activate Vista and put my wallpaper back.

All the required windows xp boot files are in the C root. the boot.ini file has a new .hns extension. I assume that's normal. I checked inside it and it's pointing to partition 2 as usual, nothing changed there.

I'm using build 61 of Vista HnS.

I read through the Vista Hns thread but seeing how it's still in Beta, there's no tutorial on how to use it. And all the thread contributors have really complicated setups with multiple physical drives and multiple XP installations and so one. It's like german in there for me.

Should I post in that thread or can I continue on this one?


Thanks again.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
Can you post the menu.lst created in your active partition root and the log file created in the folder from which you ran the UI.exe.
 
#5
HELP!!!

Hi,

Since my last post, I was waiting for a response and left my pc on. all of a sudden, my desktop wallpaper goes black and I get a request to activate Windows Vista. I activated it and waited for the pc to reboot.

Now Vista won't boot at all. It just hangs there with the cursor blinking before the vista startup screen.

I tried a boot repair via the Vista DVD, it says that repair found no problem to fix and that Vista reported to have booted successfully.

Vista setup appears to see my Vista installation as well as my 3 partitions.


I tried my Super Grub Disk and checked the status of the partitions, eveything looks fine there. I tried different options in grub: unhide partition, setactive partition, fix windows boot, boot windows...Same thing happens. My pc just hangs there after bios posts and before vista bootup screen.

I tried to power the pc, do a hard reset, it doesn't help.

Can you guys help me out? :scared:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
Why did it ask to activate ? Did you install 30 days ago without activation ?
Have you tried to use system restore to an earlier point by booting from the DVD and choosing the system restore option after the "repair my computer".
 
#7
Ok,

I got my Vista back by rebuilding the bcd manually. Now I'm scared to reboot again.

Before I give this Vista HNS another go, how do I uninstall it and return everything to the way it was before? I don't have any Uninstall button when running UI.exe
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
HnS isn't installed as such. When you run the UI, it renames the Vista bootmgr, puts its own bootmgr in place and then creates a menu.lst file with which it calls the Vista and XP loaders as needed, after issuing the appropriate hide/unhide commands.
If you want to remove it, just run the UI and ask it to remove the changes, or if you're in a limbo half in, half out state you can just delete any files you see with an HnS suffix and that will achieve the same thing.
Before you remove it though, post the menu.lst and the log file so we can see what went wrong in your case (It works perfectly for me btw)
 
#9
Here's the log:
Code:
NeoSmart intelliLogger 1.0
Logging started on 11/8/2008 at 10:23 AM using log level Debug

10:23 AM    Vista Hide 'n Seek 0.5.0.61
10:23 AM    Boot drive: C:\
10:23 AM    Listing drives involved in the procedure.
10:23 AM    E as Unknown
10:23 AM    D as XP
10:23 AM    C as Vista
10:23 AM    Beginning Install process.
10:23 AM    Attempting to rename C:\boot.ini to C:\boot.ini.hns
10:23 AM    Copying NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM to D:\
10:23 AM    Creating boot.ini on D as partition(2)
10:23 AM    Creating Vista entry in menu.lst.
10:23 AM    Adding XP entry D to menu.lst
10:23 AM    Renaming BOOTMGR, creating GRLDR on C:\
10:23 AM    Access to the path is denied.
10:23 AM    Cannot create a file when that file already exists.

10:23 AM    Renaming BOOTMGR, creating GRLDR on D:\
10:23 AM    Updating the bootsector on all partitions.
10:23 AM    HnS installation successfully completed. Happy dual-booting!
Here's the menu.lst
Code:
# NeoSmart Technologies' Vista Hide 'n Seek Beta
# DO NOT MODIFY!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

timeout 30
default 0
splashimage=/vhns.xpm.gz
foreground 000000
background ffffff

title Microsoft Windows Vista
find --unhide /Vista.C.HnS
find --set-root /BOOTMGR.HNS
makeactive
chainloader /BOOTMGR.HNS
boot

title Windows XP [Windows XP (D:\)]
find --hide /Vista.C.HnS
find --remap-root /XP.D.HnS
find --set-root /XP.D.HnS
makeactive
chainloader /ntldr
boot

# All your boot are belong to NeoSmart!
Ui doesn't give me an option to remove the changes. If I identify my drives and click on start over, it doesn't do anything.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
It's the great big red "Uninstall" button to the left of the "start over"
can you paste a screenshot of the files in your active system root so we can see whether the modified bootmgr has been substituted.
The only suspicious thing in what looks like a perfect install and menu.lst is that "access to path denied"
Did you already have grub on the HDD, or UAC disabled ?
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
It's the 1st screen when HnS detects that it's already on the system, so presumably it can't see itself.
What's the size of the bootmgr you have there ?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#14
Thats the standard Vista bootmgr.
If HnS is in control, then bootmgr is 185k and Vista's 326k is renamed to bootmgr.HnS
With Vista's bootmgr in control, you've no need to do anything for the moment about HnS.
The files it's left around won't do anything except occupy a bit of disk space.
You've got a normal Vista boot which will ignore the HnS stuff.
Leave it there so that Guru (the author) can take a look if he needs to.
It seems to me the most likely problem is an authorisation failure when trying to rename the bootmgr to take control, but I don't know why.
HnS has the authority to do that on my system. I don't know why it fails on yours.
(perhaps Vista is getting more picky since I ran it several months ago !?)
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#16
What size was the one you deleted ?????????

Addendum:

If the bootmgr you've got there is 326k, it's Vista's and you can reboot normally.

If the bootmgr is 185k and you've deleted a 326k bootmgr.HnS then you've deleted the Vista bootmgr and left HnS's subsitute.

Addendum:

I commented on your log and menu.lst in post 10

Addendum:

Sorry, but it's 3:15 am now and I must get to bed.
 
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#17
Ok, I rebooted and all seems fine.

Yeah, I looked at the log as well and entry 14 and 15 don't look right. Did I mention I had Vista 64 ultimate? UAC is turned off. Hmmm, I don't know. Perhaps the firewall and anti-virus? Should I turn them off before running HNS? Maybe put IU.exe in DEP exceptions?

One question that never got answered was this: If I use HnS, do I need to add a Windows XP in EasyBCD or does HNS take care of it?


Oh, yeah sorry man, didn't mean to keep you up. It's 7:20pm over here.

To answer your question from post 10, I did have Neogrub installed previously but had uninstalled it via EasyBCD before trying HNS.
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#18
Have you tried the registry trick in XP yet? Might remedy the problem right there without having to complicate things.
 
#19
According to this article, you have to have Vista installed on partition D and XP on partition C. Mine is the opposite.

I also don't wish to use Bitblocker. Sounds like a whole new realm of problems just waiting to happen.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#20
Good morning again.
To answer your question. When HnS is working it calls Vista's bootmgr (renamed of course) to load Vista, and it calls NTLDR directly to load XP.
With a normal dual boot Vista's bootmgr will chain to NTLDR.
If you leave the BCD untouched when HnS is top of the chain, and select XP, it will go directly to XP bypassing the BCD. If you select Vista it will go to bootmgr which will, if untouched, offer its own menu with a choice of Vista or XP.
You don't want that to happen of course. If you've already chosen Vista you don't want to be asked again, and choosing XP at this point would mean that Vista will not be hidden. (HnS hides it when you choose XP in the top menu).
So once HnS has created the menu.lst, it gives you the additional options to change names and timeout in the top menu, and to call EasyBCD to modify the old Vista menu.
What you need to do at that stage, is modify the original menu with EasyBCD to make Vista the default (if it isn't already) and timeout(0).
With timeout(0) or only one choice, a menu will not be presented, you'll just apparently go directly to Vista from the top menu.
You could of course achieve the same thing by deleting the XP entry from the BCD, but I prefer the previous method because it leaves the BCD prepared for immediate reuse if you ever remove HnS (or MS does it for you, like when SP1 replaced bootmgr), where only the timeout value has to be increased to bring it instantly back to life.


Addendum:


Hang around till Guru appears. He'll be able to say whether having UAC turned off is preventing HnS from successfully substituting bootmgrs.
(The reason why I left it in place is because I read in the early days of Vista that turning it off could actually prevent some things from installing, rather than making it easier !)

Addendum:

Justin's reference to the registry zap, is nothing to do with bitblocker. It's a MS registry change in XP, to make the Vista drive offline (method 1 not method 2)
It's very simple to do, but it doesn't work for everybody. (Justin yes, me no) (We've never established under what criteria it does or doesn't work - you can but try it and see)
 
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