Removing Vista (Original OS) to Single Boot XP



My problem is two fold. First off I would like to remove the Vista Partition which is stored in C: and get rid of whatever boot record information I would need to. Then I would like to rename my XP partition, which is D: into C:. Will this work or will I run into a bunch of problems?

On a different note: Should my Win XP entry in EasyBCD have C: as it's drive? I may have changed it to D: and now am having NTLDR problems booting back into XP.
Change it back again.
The BCD doesn't point to XP, it points to copies of the XP boot files in the "system" partition.
You can remove the Vista boot by using
EasyBCD 2.0
Bootloader Setup
Install XP boot loader
which will replace the MBR with the XP version which will look for NTLDR instead of bootmgr.
You will not be able to change the letter by which XP sees itself using any MS method.
You might find a 3rd party app which will alter the thousands of necessary registry entries, if you want to risk it.
If I install the XP Boot loader, then format the C partition will the boot information for XP be lost? Would I need to point the MBR to the D: drive?
Which OS is "system" in Disk Management ?
That's where the boot files are.
If it's XP, you have no problem, you can format Vista.
If it's Vista, you'll need to make sure all the XP boot files are on XP, reset the MBR, and make XP "active". (XP must be primary)
Vista is the system partition. XP is the boot partition.

Could you point me to instructions on how to make sure all the XP boot files are on XP, reset the MBR, and make XP "active". (XP must be primary)

Boot files are hidden system files. You'll need to set folder options like this to see them.
Check that NTLDR, and boot.ini exist in the XP partition root.
Copy/Paste the contents of the boot.ini on the "system" and the one on XP in your next post, with a screenshot of Disk Management.
(the sticky thread will tell you how to attach screenshots)
There is no boot.ini, or NTLDR, on the XP partition. They are all on the C: (Vista) partition. Here is the boot.ini on C: (Vista).

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

And here is the Disk Management:
Well there's the problem.
The reason you can't switch the boot drive to XP is a simple architectural restriction in WIndows.
You've installed XP on a logical drive.
The boot files must be in a primary partition.
Sorry if I'm being ignorant here, but are you saying I cannot format the Vista (C: ) partition? If this is true can I delete all the file on that partition except for the boot files and then shrink the partition really small? Could you help me understand how primary partitions work?
Windows won't let you format the "system" partition (where the boot files are) because that would make the PC unbootable.
It won't let you move the boot files to a logical disk inside an extended partition, because the MBR looks for the "active" partition to locate the boot sector, and only a primary partition can be "active".
There can only be 4 partitions in the MBR partition table, either 4 primary or 3 primary and an extended.
Because your PC has been set up with 3 primaries, you are stuck for options.
You can either have one other primary, or multiple logicals, none of which can be made bootable, only booted via another primary.
You could use EasyBCD > BCD Backup/Repair > Change Boot Drive to copy the Vista BCD into the recovery partition and boot from there. That would make the VIsta partition formattable, or you could simply install XP into the Vista partition if you're intending to junk it anyway.
Ok, I'm going to try to move the boot files to A: (recovery partition) and then format Vista (C:smile:, then expand the XP drive (D:smile:. Will the next formatted partition then become a primary partition?

So when I do use the EasyBCD > BCD Backup/Repair > Change Boot Drive to A: then I should also change the Windows XP settings Drive > A: ? Will the files still be on C: if anything goes wrong, or what exactly is being changed here? Am I basically booting through a Vista bootloader to get XP? Is this the only way then?

Here is the Disk Management from Vista, but it only claims two primary partitions exist. Since the C: drive is also the system drive, the boot drive, the page file, active, and crash dump will I be messing things up by getting rid of it?

Look at the colour code in the graphics. That EISA is using one of the primary slots in the partition table.
"change boot" will copy (not move) the Vista boot files, and set the copy partition "active".
Once rebooted, A: will show as "system" "active", and provided you're in XP and not Vista, you'll be able to format Vista.
Yes, you'll still be using Vista bootmgr to boot XP indirectly, that's why I said, you could simply install XP on top of Vista, in which case it will boot via its own NTLDR directly.
If Vista came pre-installed on your PC, you will be throwing away a large portion of the resale value by junking Vista. Do you have "factory reset" portable backup media created ?
Remember XP support will cease a long time before Vista.
Last edited:
Ok, thanks for all the help so far. I'm starting to understand. How does the computer know to look for the Vista bootmgr before the XP NTLDR? What exactly does "Install the Windows XP bootloader to the MBR" do?

I tried to change the boot drive to A: and I couldn't boot into XP or Vista. I have the Vista Reinstallation disk so I repaired Vista, then changed the boot drive back to C: so I could boot XP. The only reason I hesitate to install XP over Vista, is because I remember having trouble with Drivers. I did save all the XP drivers from the first time, so I shouldn't have too much trouble this time.

What steps would I take to uninstall Vista then install a new XP over it? Then when the new XP is installed I would want to transfer some files over to it from the old XP and then delete the old XP.
Read the first link in the sticky thread to understand how multi-booting works and answer the questions in your first paragraph.
What happened when you "Changed Boot drive" ? How did it fail ? What symptoms/messages ?
Is there a \boot folder on A: now ?
When I tried to boot Windows XP it wouldn't show the loading screen but it would just loop back to the boot menu. When I tried to boot Vista it would act weird and then bring me to Vista but all my users were gone and I couldn't login (it gave me name and password fields). There is a \boot folder on A: but I think I screwed it up when I changed it to A: and then before restarting I tried to change it back to C: and easyBCD gave some sort of an error message so I rechanged it back to A: to try to prevent anything from messing up. But I fixed all that now. However the \boot folder still exists on A. Should I remove that and how?
Should I be changing the Drive for Windows XP to A then? Is it weird that the A drive in Vista is the E drive in XP? Also when I did a "Change Boot Drive" to A it didn't copy the boot.ini, ntldr, or NTDETECT. It made a boot directory and a bootmgr file. EasyBCD says different things in Vista compared to XP.

In Vista:
Default: Microsoft Windows XP
Timeout: 3 seconds
EasyBCD Boot Device: A:\

Entry #1
Name: Microsoft Windows XP
BCD ID: {default}
Drive: A:\
Bootloader Path: \NTLDR

In XP:
Default: Microsoft Windows XP
Timeout: 3 seconds
EasyBCD Boot Device: C:\

Entry #1
Name: Microsoft Windows XP
BCD ID: {default}
Drive: E:\
Bootloader Path: \NTLDR

Yet I can still boot to XP, but which partition is it booting from?
Disk letters aren't "real". They're just entries in the registry of the running OS - virtual labels.
It follows that no two systems have to agree about what a particular device or partition is called.
The BCD doesn't contain letters. It identifies partitions by their UID.
Since those are long, complex and unreadable, EasyBCD translates them into letters as seen by the system on which it's running for your convenience.
The BCD is the same whichever side you look at it from. The translation differs in the same way as it does in the rest of Windows. The letter corresponds to the way the running OS sees it in Explorer.
OK, I really appreciate all your help so far, but I think I am going to format the recovery and vista partitions and install Windows 7 on a primary partition and just leave Windows XP. Is there a link I should follow now that I've changed the BCD data to undo all my changes? Or will the BCD just get replaced by the Windows 7 one and I can rerun Easy BCD to set it up to let me back into Win XP?