Reformatting the XP Partition

#1
I'm a real slowpoke, so please take it easy.

I recieved this computer with 32-bit Vista in August 2007, and used EasyBCD to add a Windows XP partition in March. I've forgotten pretty much everything I did (aka, I can't remember how the hell boot.ini or anything works), and the XP side has recently slowed down. I'd like to do a fresh reformat of XP, but I'm worried I'll lose access to Vista, or accidentally save over it. All my important data is on the Vista partition, and as Vista came factory installed, I have no Vista Recovery DVD.
Also, my Vista side has been completely borked since the computer was booted the very first time in August (I've had constant BSODs, graphical errors, it will NOT update at all to SP1, it won't make it's own Recovery DVD, downloads are always corrupted, ect.).

In 'My Computer', Vista shows as C:, Vista's auto-recovery shows as D:, and my XP partion shows as J:.

What exact steps should I take to safely do a re-install of XP?
Thanks.
 
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#2
You can download a version of the Vista dvd here for the repair tools seen on the Vista dvd itself for seeing the Vista mbr entries restore once XP is reinstalled. You should use a working machine for downloading and burning the recovery disks as well since the present copy of Vista seems to be toast unless the system sees the restoration option at post time by pressing preassigned keys.

Refer to the owner's manual or support site. what make and model system are you running there? The torrent for the Vista recovery disk images are seen at http://neosmart.net/blog/2008/windows-vista-recovery-disc-download/

XP can simply be reinstalled at any time making that the default OS until Vista is recovered often by seeing the primary reformatted by the factory restorarion methods. Once XP is running you copy everything over you want to keep from the Vista side before using the recovery disks.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#3
#4
Before you install XP, though, you may want to first hide your Vista partition...for a couple of reasons! :wink:

Cheers! :smile:

-Coolname007
 
#5
How are you going to hide the Vista primary before XP is back on? You can't do that with EasyBCD alone.

Once XP has been added back into the Vista BCD and loads when selected you then have to install the HnS tool first seeing the NeoGrub boot loader installed first. From there you then assign each drive once those are listed in HnS according to which version is on and click the proceed button.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#6
Hiding Vista is not necessary for everyone and is not necessary. The only benefit from hiding Vista from XP is to retain Restore points. If they do not matter to the user, like myself, then it is perfectly fine to leave Vista shown.
 
#7
How are you going to hide the Vista primary before XP is back on? You can't do that with EasyBCD alone.
I wasn't talking about EasyBCD. You can hide it with whatever partitioning program you use, i.e. BING or Gparted. :wink:

Cheers! :smile:

-Coolname007

Addendum:

Hiding Vista is not necessary for everyone and is not necessary. The only benefit from hiding Vista from XP is to retain Restore points. If they do not matter to the user, like myself, then it is perfectly fine to leave Vista shown.
That's not the only benefit. If you hide Vista from XP, before installing XP, it makes XP see itself as C:/ after you install it, and Vista see itself as C:/ as well. So whether you boot into XP or Vista, the OS you are in currently is located on the C:/ drive. This has the obvious advantage of, when installing certain programs in XP that have the C:/ drive hard coded in their installation, all programs being installed (in XP) going where they're supposed to...i.e. C:/, which is XP, instead of D:/, which is Vista. :wink:

Cheers! :smile:

-Coolname007
 
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Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#8
I can have XP install and Vista installed and unhidden and still get them both seen as C:\. That has no effect on how the OS will install. I even have Win7 seen as C:\ with Vista being there and not hidden.

If you boot from the CD and install from that then it should always see itself as the C:\ drive. If you start the install from within Windows then it will take the next drive letter available.

I have never had a issue where XP/Vista/Win7 took the D:\ drive letter association and i dont hide my drives. As i said the only real benefit is to save restore points as it is a known fact that your restore points from Vista are lost when you boot into XP.

Not to mention i have seen several topic on how to switch the drive letter association in case you do mess it up and start the install from within Windows as well. :wink:
 
#10
I can have XP install and Vista installed and unhidden and still get them both seen as C:\. That has no effect on how the OS will install. I even have Win7 seen as C:\ with Vista being there and not hidden.

If you boot from the CD and install from that then it should always see itself as the C:\ drive. If you start the install from within Windows then it will take the next drive letter available.

I have never had a issue where XP/Vista/Win7 took the D:\ drive letter association and i dont hide my drives. As i said the only real benefit is to save restore points as it is a known fact that your restore points from Vista are lost when you boot into XP.

Not to mention i have seen several topic on how to switch the drive letter association in case you do mess it up and start the install from within Windows as well. :wink:
According to this page: How to dual boot Vista and XP (with Vista installed first) -- the step-by-step guide with screenshots
which is the guide i was originally going to use to dual boot (before i decided i wanted to add Ubuntu 8.10 to the list), the XP installation assigns a drive letter to the partition that it creates out of "unpartitioned space", which of course wouldn't be C:\...:wink: But then again, when i installed XP, i ended up creating a partition for XP with BING first, instead of using the method described in this how-to, which uses the XP CD itself to create the partition...so you could be right! :smile: Perhaps that only happens when it is unpartitioned space, instead of a partition. :S

Cheers! :smile:

-Coolname007

EDIT: Here is a quote from that page:

Irritatingly, XP assigns a drive letter to this partition {C:} which means that it will use the next available drive letter after all the other physical drives have been taken into account.
This means that the system drive of the XP installation won’t be C:.
From XP’s perspective this isn’t really a problem – it’s smart enough to figure out where everything should go – but some applications make assumptions about where they should install to, and can’t cope with a non-standard Windows configuration.
This was also the case with our tutorial on dualbooting Ubuntu and XP, where Ubuntu had been installed first. However in that scenario, even though the XP system drive had a non-standard drive letter, it couldn’t read the Linux partitions so there was no danger of the two systems overlapping. This is not the case with Vista/XP.
Nonetheless, install XP as normal – there’s no need to do anything differently.
IMPORTANT NOTE – after the initial file copy, Windows XP reboots and loads up the GUI-based component of the install. You may get the following error: “A disk read error occurred – press Ctrl-Alt-Del to continue”. This is caused by a corrupt bootloader – click here to see how to fix this problem.
When the system reboots it won’t bring up a boot menu. Although XP recognises the Vista partition it doesn’t recognise Vista itself. This is because the Windows XP bootloader gets installed to the MBR, thus overwriting the Vista bootloader and so Vista can no longer boot - the XP bootloader can't be made to recognise Vista.
When XP loads, open up Windows Explorer and you’ll see something interesting – a C: and (in this case) an E: drive.
The C: drive contains Windows Vista, and as Windows XP can read NTFS partitions, it can browse and modify Vista’s file structure.
More importantly, applications which have installation paths hard-coded into their install scripts rather than using Windows system parameter variables could easily dump files into C: when they should be installing to E:. This isn’t such a great situation - really the optimal XP/Vista dualboot scenario is to install Vista on a pre-existing XP system.
EDIT #2: And then again, i made the XP partition active on mine, before installing XP, which made the XP installation see the partition that i created (instead of seeing it as "unpartitioned space" which is what it saw it as before hiding the Vista partition, and making the XP partition active), and also made the XP installation assign the "C" letter to the XP partition, which is probably why it worked...:wink:
 
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Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#11
I am not disputing that fact Cool. I am just saying from the multiple times i have gone thru the reinstall process, which is a lot, i have yet to come across a install to be anything other than the C:\ Drive when starting from teh boot off the CD/DVD.

I haev done at least 50 if not more reinstalls of XP/Vista/Win7 over the past several months. Being a Beta tester you run into problem constantly.

So i have come across many occassions where i have had to reinstall 1 or more of the OS's in question. I use only 1 hard drive with several partitions for my OS's. I do not hide them cause that is extra work which takes time that i dont have.

So i ahve installed each OS with the others installed and active and i have not seen a instance of the install being anything other than the C:\ drive. Even when i used each of my drives as a OS drive did i come across this.

The only time i have seen Windows take the next drive in line is 2 situations.

1. Starting the install from a older version of windows.
2. Installing multiple copies of the same OS. Be it XP/Vista/win7.

At that point during the setup process the old install is found and previewed and if people are not paying attention and just keep clicking then it is very possible that Windows will select the next drive in list. Be it D:\ or whatever.

I have used unallocated space on my drive for installs. I have had unallocated space on my drives and still have not come across this. Even when the unallocated space was before my install.

I am just going by my personal experience. Others may not have the same experience and may find that Windows does install to a different drive. But with my many installs. I have not had this happen to me.

I hope that better clarifies why i said what i have.
 
#12
The only time i have seen Windows take the next drive in line is 2 situations.

1. Starting the install from a older version of windows.
2. Installing multiple copies of the same OS. Be it XP/Vista/win7.
Does that mean then that you used an older version of Windows then was installed...for instance, XP after Vista, instead of Vista after XP? :wink: If so, then that would explain it...:smile:

Cheers! :brows:

-Coolname007
 
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Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#13
Me personally i have only come across the issue once where Windows was seen as a different drive than C:\ and yes it was because i started the Vista install from with XP at the time. That was back during the Beta of Vista.

I was using XP and just inserted the Vista DVD without thinking and installed it. That was my fault.

From then on i have always booted from the CD/DVD and i have not been able to replicate the result of Windows being on a different drive other than C:\ no matter what drive/partition combination i have used.

You cant install XP from the Vista desktop. It will be recognized as a previous version of Windows and it will give you a error that the version of Windows you are using is newer and should stop the install process right there.

Should being the key word. I tried it once a very long time ago and that happened to me. If something has changed and it is allowed now i can not confirm.

I am testing that theory right now. As i thought. I took a screen shot. Inserting the XP CD into a newer version of Windows the option to install XP is not even available.



As you can see i can browse the CD and everything. But the option to install is not highlighted. So you shouldnt even be able to start the XP install from within Vista. But you can install Vista from XP which would create this.
 
#14
You cant install XP from the Vista desktop. It will be recognized as a previous version of Windows and it will give you a error that the version of Windows you are using is newer and should stop the install process right there.
I was referring to installing with boot from the XP CD. :smile: I have never tried installing from the desktop, because i always knew it wouldn't work...i'm surprised you were able to install Vista that way! :S

I think the XP installation must only assign a different drive letter, other than C:/, when XP is installed after Vista...which is what i did, and which is what the how-to i gave the link to is for. :wink:

Cheers! :smile:

-Coolname007
 
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#15
The article I posted earlier explains how to reserve the C and D drive letters for the versions you plan to install as a dual boot. All other partitions/drives use drive letters other then C and D. When booted in one you assign the second as D in the disk management tool and then do the same while booted in the other version to free up the C drive letter for both.

If you install Vista while booted in XP it's considered an upgrade while being a custom install to another partition there. For XP there is a registry edit for changing or actually restoring the system/boot drive letter. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/223188