Remove Vista, keep XP on existing dual boot


First, I would like to express my profound admiration of the quality of information on this forum and website. Without going into a lot of blathering detail, you folks do an admirable job here.

Now to the issue. I'm looking for some guidance/confirmation regarding the removal of a Vista install from an existing dual-boot machine.

My laptop came loaded with XP Pro. Subsequently I installed Vista Home Premium. No problems there.

What I want to do is the following:
1. Uninstall the Vista installation.
2. Install a second installation of XP Pro, dual-booting that with the existing original XP install.
3. Install a new installation of Vista Ultimate, multibooting between the two installs of XP and that of Vista.

Since my system partition with boot files is located in the first partition with the original XP install, I am assuming that I can erase the current Vista partition, and the the system will continue to boot from the Vista bootloader already on the first partition.

Then when I install the second version of XP, it will overwrite the Vista bootloader with the ntldr, and I will be back to the ntldr for boot purposes.

Finally, when I install the new Vista Ultimate version, it will reestablish the Vista boot files, allowing me to boot among the three OS installs.

Am I correct here if I proceed in this fashion, or will I end up hosing something that I have not identified?

Thanks for your help.
Hi kelleydr. Welcome to NST.
It all depends on what boot files are where. :wink:
From what it sounds like, yes, you should be able to wipe the Vista partition you have currently, and still keep your Vista bootloader, seeing as your BCD store and bootmgr files will most likely be on your XP partition, since it is "system". And you were correct in your assumption that installing the second XP will overwrite your Vista's IPL in the MBR with XP's instead. And yes, it seems like after installing Vista Ultimate, you would get at least Vista's IPL back in the MBR, and Vista should also automatically add entries in its boot menu for your two XPs, so you should be fine there too. If worse comes to worse, though, you should be able to simply use EasyBCD to add entries to boot your two XPs afterwards, and it should work fine.

So basically, what I just said, is if you go with what you're planning to do, everything should turn out fine. :smile:


You've obviously done your background research before starting. That's a good sign that you'll be fine doing what you propose.
Thank you both for your replies. I'm going to proceed with my plan with a greater level of confidence. Yes, I have done some background research, but it always seems like just when I think I know what I'm doing, some unknown issues arise (or, as I like to say, 'tech happens!').