novice trouble with dual boot of Windows XP & 8.1

JMP

New Member
#1
I have a new PC running Windows 8.1. I've recently installed added a hard drive (labelled E:smile: from an old PC which used Windows XP. (I want to use XP occasionally to run some older programs and to use an older HP laser printer.)

I used EasyBCD to create the blue startup screen allowing the choice of systems to boot. Windows 8.1 works fine and displays the installed hard drive.

However XP does not boot when that choice is selected. Here's the message that appears:
Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem. Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware. Please check the Windows doucmentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additonal information.

I've read through the troubleshoot pages and some of the threads to try to clarify what I need to do to fix this but I'm reluctant to change anything till I'm more certain.

I'm no expert at this kind of thing so I want to be clear about what I'm doing before I start.

I believe the problem is that the Boot.ini file is missing.
  1. Should it be in the root directory?
  2. If it is restored will that likely fix the problem?
  3. If so where can I find it?
  4. Can I use EasyBCD for this?

Thanks for helping.

Here are the bootloader settings:

There are a total of 2 entries listed in the bootloader.

Default: Windows 8.1
Timeout: 30 seconds
EasyBCD Boot Device: C:\

Entry #1
Name: Windows 8.1
BCD ID: {current}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

Entry #2
Name: Microsoft Windows XP
BCD ID: {d60aeb8a-3743-11e3-831b-d43d7edd461a}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \NST\ntldr
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
The problem is that you can't just take an OS from one PC and expect it to work on a different set of hardware. When an OS is installed it tailors itself to the environment by selecting and installing all the relevant drivers for the hardware and mapping the environment as it finds it. What you have done is the equivalent of dumping a passenger on the Paris Metro with a London Tube Map and expecting him to find his way around.
You will need to take your XP retail CD and do a "repair install" of XP so that it can remap itself.
If the HDD came out of a previous PC which had XP pre-installed, you won't be able to do that because the OEM OS does not contain a full driver-set, just the ones for the original hardware. Also the OEM EULA precludes the use of the OS on any hardware other than that on which it came supplied, so MS would not validate any attempt to activate the OS on the wrong PC.
 

JMP

New Member
#3
Terry: thank you for your reply. I liked your analogy.

Using the original XP disk I have tried to begin the repair install, launching windows setup directly from the CD. However, part way through the process and before it gets to the screen offering the repair option, I get the stop error screen message you see in the photo below. Is this a cryptic expression of your last sentence above?

Other than trying a completely new installation of XP on the installed drive, I'm at a loss now as to how to proceed. I recall reading somewhere that this is not recommended. The sequence that was recommended was to install XP first and then install 8.1.

I'd really rather not have to install either OS again if possible.

Do you have any suggestions?

Image 1.jpg
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
How old is your copy of XP ?
You will need at least SP1 for the CD to contain driver support for SATA HDDs
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
It should say Version 2002, Includes Service Pack 1 (or 2 or 3)
If not, then it can't even begin to install on a SATA HDD.
You need to take urgent action to acquire XP SATA drivers for your new PC (bearing in mind that XP support ends in about 3 weeks).
You can pre-load them by following the setup instruction to "F6" them from a floppy, or you can get SP3 from the MS download site while it's still there and slipstream it into your CD.
A web search should throw up several alternatives to
Slipstreaming Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3) | Windows XP content from Paul Thurrotts SuperSite for Windows
 

JMP

New Member
#7
Yes, on the envelope it says Includes Service Pack 1a. My son used the original computer (the source of the HDD now in place as E: in my new PC) and he told me that he has used this disk to reinstall XP on this very drive E: at some point. So I'd assume it has a SATA driver current enough to operate in the old computer. Is the problem then that I need a newer driver for the new PC which would be found in Service Pack 3?

I'll follow the link you provided to see what I can learn there too.

Thank you for your continued replies. I really do appreciate this.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8

JMP

New Member
#9
[TABLE="width: 0"]
[TR]
[TD="width: 48%, bgcolor: #EFEFEF, colspan: 1, align: center"]Local Drive Volumes
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 48%, colspan: 1, align: left"][TABLE]
[TR]
[TD="width: 45%, colspan: 1"]
[/TD]
[TD="width: 15%, colspan: 1"]
[/TD]
[TD="width: 20%, colspan: 1"] [/TD]
[TD="width: 5%, colspan: 1"] [/TD]
[TD="width: 15%, colspan: 1"]
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="colspan: 1"]c: (NTFS on drive 1) *
[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1, align: right"]999.84 GB
[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1, align: right"]931.47 GB free[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1"] [/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1"]
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="colspan: 1"]e: (NTFS on drive 0)[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1, align: right"]250.05 GB
[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1, align: right"]122.18 GB free[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1"] [/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1"]
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="colspan: 1"]w: (NTFS on drive 2)[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1, align: right"]2000.36 GB
[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1, align: right"]1702.20 GB free[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1"] [/TD]
[TD="colspan: 1"]
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

[TABLE]
[TR]
[TD="colspan: 1"]* 8.1 Operating System is installed on c:
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]


Above is part of what Belarc Advisor shows for my computer. I see that drive 0 is identified as e:

I had thought drive 0 was almost always c:

Do you think this is of any consequence in analyzing my dual boot problem?

If I edited the boot.ini file with this configuration in mind do you think it might help? Or would it just create more problems?

Here's how the boot.ini.backup file looks now:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
Disk letters aren't "real". They're virtual labels, unique to every Windows OS, and stored in the registry of that system.
Hence, what W8 calls the partition containing XP bears no relation to what XP calls itself (if you could boot it).
This is not a problem that has anything to do with boot.ini.
The XP OS was probably installed on that HDD in IDE mode, and W8 will have been installed in AHCI.
You could switch the BIOS mode to access XP (and the repair install might then progress), but then W8 would become unbootable till you switch the BIOS mode back again.
If your use of XP is minimal, that might be a situation you could live with, but if you want seamless switchability in a transparent dual boot, you'll need to get XP into the same mode as W8, as detailed in those previous links.
 

JMP

New Member
#11
Does IDE mode mean it's emulating an IDE connection? Since it is a SATA connection I'm confused about this, especially given that XP worked fine on the old machine. As you can see I still don't have a clear understanding of this problem.

Thanks to you for those links on installing SATA drivers. I find I can follow the elaborate processes described in them to some extent but I see chances for me to screw something up, especially since they don't seem to be exactly tailored to this situation.

When I step back and look at this, one of the main goals for me is to keep my perfectly good hp laserjet 1000 series printer available to use. I've searched in vain for a driver or a workaround for it. It is listed as incompatible in 8.1. Though I'd prefer to print via the new PC, I may simply have to use it with an old XP laptop when I need it.

I also have some old programs on the XP disk which I'll try to set up on the 8.1 OS, hoping they'll continue to work and assuming I can still find the original setup disks for them.

I do like having quick access to the old drive via 8.1 on the new PC.

I'll keep reading and re-reading, trying to better understand this problem.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
I know your problem. I have a 100% serviceable set of HP hardware (printer and scanner) which I used on XP and for which they utterly declined to provide Vista drivers. That and an ATi graphics/TV card caused me to dual-boot Vista/XP in the first place over six years ago, though since updating to my latest hardware, I've abandoned both and dropped from a quad-boot to a simple W7/8.1 dual boot and am currently awaiting delivery of a new Dell C1765nfw all in one wireless laser printer/scanner/fax, which will service the PC, tablet and the network enabled home theatre.
In truth I use W7 all the time and all the other OSs only ever got booted to update the MS security patches. I still can't regard W8 as much more than a phone OS masquerading as a proper grown-up system, fitting ill on a pair of large monitors.
I haven't actually used XP to do anything other than its own housework for probably over five years.
None of my old software (some of it very old) fails to run fine on W7. The only issue being related to the fact that all of my Vista/7/8 OSs are x64 and XP x86. 64 bit systems can run 32 bit apps, but if (as some do) they come with a 16 bit installer, that prevents them being installed even though they would run. The secret is to copy the installed program across from the 32 bit system instead of installing it. (Anything old enough to use a 16 bit installer generally doesn't use the registry, so can be happily copied across (or executed via a shortcut between the systems if both are visible)