Really tough problem trying to get Vista working with XP (dual boot)


Hey all,

Been reading alot of the threads trying to get ideas to solve my problem and I've been at it all day (again) to no avail. Really irritated to say the least.

Will try and keep it brief... Originally wanted to setup with the XOSL boot menu; Vista 64-bit (SP1), XP Pro (SP3) and MS-DOS. I've done away with the Dos idea and the XOSL idea after many days trying to get things working. Now I'd be happy just to use the Vista bootloader to dual boot both but it seems a big ask and I'm starting to doubt it I can do it (3 installs of Vista and 3 of XP later).

I had installed XP first, then Vista 64 but found there was no bootloader created. But thanks to EasyBCD setting up the bootloader, I continued and found I had to copy ntldr + ntdetect.exe as well as editing boot.ini so as to look at correct partition for XP, I was able to successfully boot XP. I was happy until I got to the login screen where I end up in an endless loop.

At first, after I hit enter, I get the message "executing: C:\Windows\System32\wlnotify.dll" and this lasts for a few minutes. Then I end up back at the login box. From then on, after hitting enter (to login), it takes just a couple seconds and I briefly see the same wlnotify.dll message then I'm back to the login prompt.

I can't seem to find anyone else with the exact same symptoms using Google and believe me, I've looked hard. I reckon it could be related to Vista 64bit and SP1 or combined with XP and SP3 but I don't know.

I've tried (for example): using Windows restore and copying files (can't remember which off-hand), using a linux bootdisk to edit the XP registry and I even did a full restore of the OS from a backup I made with Genie and I STILL get this problem.

I'd be VERY grateful if I can get some help :??


By the way, I have a number of harddrives but the drive with the two OS's is a Raptor 76GB with 3 or so partitions. Vista 20GB, then DOS 2GB, then XP 5GB, then one more partition for Apps, 40+GB.
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Have you tried a repair install or a fresh install of XP? The process in questions is the one directly related to the Windows Logon. That is why you are stuck in the endless loop. Maybe a Repair install or a fresh install will solve you issues now that you know how to add XP to the BCD Menu.

I can assure you there's no problem running Vista x64 SP1 with XP x86 SP3. (that's my system too), but I've not seen your logon problem. (I have both systems set up to boot without any logon screen, no multiple users)
I had tried quite a few installs but that was before I learnt about EasyBCD. Yeah I think a reinstall is the only way out at this point so I'll try it. Is there anything I particularly have to watch out for when setting up XP after Vista ? Do I need to hide the Vista partition for example ?

Terry60... That's nice to know they both work together. I have no idea why I can't get XOSL (or any other boot menu for that matter) to find Vista 64 though. I had no such problems with Vista 32.

For starters, have a Vista DVD handy. You'll need to use startup repair to recover the Vista bootloader after installing XP. Otherwise, it well boot into XP straight away.

I have not ran accross a problem like that myself, but it sounds as if you have some kind of malicious program intercepting the login proccess. A re-install in this case should work great. I would just make sure to reformat XP's partition before loading a clean installation to it.

Lastly, even though Vista is most likely your active partition, you'll probably need to point to XP's partition rather then Vistas as XP would place its boot files on its own partition durning the installation.

When you do get the dual-boot setup, you well need to download and use Vista HnS because XP in a dual-boot with Vista well wipe Vista's restore points whenever you start it. Vista HnS may even setup a dual-boot for you so no other action is required.

If you choose to use Vista HnS to auto-configure the dual-boot, then reinstall XP, repair the Vista bootloader, and then run HnS from within Vista to set it up.
Really appreciate the help mate.

I take it you mean that I should make the XP partition active rather than the Vista which is active right now (and also the first partition)?
I will use that program if that's what you recommend. I think I have enough to go on now and will start the reinstall. Will let you's know how I get on.

No, doing that would make Vista unbootable. Either go about with my detailed instructions with using EasyBCD to add an entry for XP or use HnS to do all the hard work and protect Vista's restore points at the same time.

You can download Vista HnS from this thread:
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damnit, I just finished installing xp with its partition active. Am I screwed then ? The way you worded it sounded to me like that's what you meant, nevermind.

Well, I just checked in Ranish and my Vista partition was active after installing XP so... I'll soon find out if this will work or whether I'll need yet another reinstall of Vista.

I've got the Hide and Seek program. I'll put it on as soon as I (hopefully) restore Vista which I'm doing currently.
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If XP boots fine, recover the Vista bootloader using a Vista DVD and follow adding an entry using EasyBCD or HnS to setup the dual-boot.

Start Up Repair in the recovery options menu from Vista's DVD should do the trick. Keep in mind however that you won't be able to boot XP right away until you use HnS to setup the dual-boot.
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Heres the moment of truth....

Sweet!!!! It works!!

er... now Vista is broken, what the hell... Can't find Winload. Do I need to edit the boot.ini again ? Also, when I tried to run HnS, I chose the drives the OS's were on and then when I clicked continue it crashed. So I just ran EasyBCD and edited the XP addition and saved.

What the hell is going on... System recovery is indicating that Vista is installed on the partition that XP is supposed to be on. I'm close to giving up on dual booting even though I've been at it on and off for a week.


Ok... finally - bloody hell... it's all working!

I don't know what that message in Vista recovery was all about but the OS's are where they should been. Another Vista recovery seemed to be required. Wow, talk about a pain in the butt just to get these working together. Thanks alot eh.
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Welcome to NST and glad to hear you got it working.

For future reference, don't be alarmed about which partiions are listed under drive letters. Booting from Vista's DVD may assign the partitions different drive letters then what you are used to. Thier physical locations on the disk do not change.
Thanks :smile:

Actually it wasn't the drive letter but the size of the partition that had me worried. Big difference between size of XP and Vista and Vista was on the small XP partition it said, hehe. Have to shrug that one off.

Take care.
Vista startup repair nearly always needs at least two iterations AdAb. They seem to have written it to fix only one thing at a time. (but it does warn you in the preamble you may need to do it several times).
If you tried HnS before you'd fixed Vista, that's probably why it failed.
Try running it now (from Vista) on a properly working system, and it should hide Vista for you and protect your recovery points.