Two OS Multiboot - can only access one!

EasyBCD/Vista HB/WinXP SP2 issues . . .

Hi, I'm a virgin, so please be gentle! No, I'm not young . . . to the contrary, but it is the first time I've looked at (let alone participated in) a forum.

So, why the hell am I here? Now, there's a good question . . . only wish I had a good answer, but rather than writing an essay highlighting my ignorance and inadequacies, let’s just say . . . DESPERATION and get to the issue!

Where do I start . . . perhaps as close as I can recall to chronological will be best:

1. A friend was SOLD a new (AsusX51R) notebook with Vista Home Basic (Yuk!) OS.

2. He was assured he could run his old DOS program on his new notebook, lol. The program is used in his work. He's a Naturopath, Homeopath, etc. Apparently, he can't find/use an upgraded version and his entire business revolves around this program.

3. Even he should have known this wasn’t going to work. I had advised him 3 years earlier (when it took forever to get it up and running, using compatibility mode with Win XP) that it would probably be the last . . . .

Obviously the NeoSmart Technologies Webmaster is psychic . . . just before taking a short break, I was trying to recall what I’d sent to the “Contact Us” link many weeks brfore and, as if by magic, the following email dropped into my inbox (and now I'm back and ready to beat my head against the wall again):

From: System Account []
Sent: Friday, January 4, 2008 6:55 AM
To: Jon McFarlane @ The NeoSmart Forums
Subject: Re: The NeoSmart Forums Contact Us Form - Site Feedback

Hello Jon,

Sorry for the late reply, the contact us form was not working.

Can you please open a thread in the forums with your problem? We will more than happy to assist you in resolving this matter.

On 12/6/07, Jon McFarlane @ The NeoSmart Forums <email> wrote:

The following message was sent to you via the The NeoSmart Forums Contact Us form by Jon McFarlane:

What am I doing wrong? What am I missing? Where do I go from here? Where can I get help?

Is there somewhere I should telephone . . . or email . . . or snail mail, to obtain a fix for my unresolved issues? Is there an email address, i.e. is there someone, somewhere, to whom I can send "screen dumps" or "log files" or "whatever"? HELP???

How quickly can the story be told? A story that has, on and off over the last few months, consumed so much of my life. Friends think I'm crazy (undoubtedly you will too), which causes extreme and excruciating embarrassment. I refuse to give up, but I need help. So here's where I'm at:

1.A friend is a Naturopath, Homeopath, etc. He's a most impecunious fellow . . . always helping people, but never charging enough for his time. What? Did I hear you say something about, “The pot calling the kettle black?” (Perhaps you don’t use that expression in the States.)

2.For his work he used a DOS based program, which he ran on an old IBM (Win 98) notebook. The notebook died and couldn't be resuscitated, i.e. diagnosed as BER (beyond economic repair).

3.Next, he fell into the hands of an unscrupulous, fly-by-night, computer salesman, who convinced him he needed to replace his notebook and also invest in a desktop (something about family, homework, networking, data synchronizations, backups, etc.) and it was “imperative” that Vista be installed on each. He now understands the overkill (and inappropriateness for his needs) of the advice. (The only backups he needs can be burned to a floppy, well a CD anyway).

4.Fortuitously, a relative needed a replacement desktop at this time, so a mutually beneficial change of title was effected. The relative really "loved" his old games, which of course, wouldn't run on the new Vista PC . . . and there was absolutely no way my friend could get his DOS (naturopathy) program to run on his new Vista notebook.

5.That's when (in a highly agitated and distressed state) he spoke to me. I gave it my best shot, but had to advise that I couldn't get his program to run on the notebook or the games to run on the desktop. Using "compatibility mode" I was able to get the programs to run on my XP Pro SP2 system, but absolutely no way with the Vista systems. I contacted Microsoft, who offered a downgrade to XP, from Vista Business or Vista Ultimate. You've guessed it . . . his notebook has Vista Home Basic and the desktop has Vista Home Premium. Microsoft said, "Tough . . . go buy XP." Obviously, the thought of consigning two copies of Vista to the junk pile and having to find the retail (exorbitant) cost for two copies of XP, held no appeal for him. Hmmm...

6.Next, I suggested that running Win 98 or XP in a Virtual Machine may resolve his issues. I tried MS Virtual PC 2004 and 2007. Both work fine with Vista Business and Ultimate . . . yep, I bet you already know . . . neither will work with Vista Home Basic or Vista Home Premium. No, I'm not giving up! I just kept looking, talking and listening. I threw it out to the universe. The universe returned EasyBCD!

7.Eureka, a resolution to all of the foregoing issues. Wow, this had to be it . . . using Acronis Disk Director Server 10.0 and NeoSmart EasyBCD 1.7. Alas, that's not the way this story goes . . . rather, it was a new chapter in the saga of my woes!

8.First, let's try dual booting Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows 98 SE on the notebook. After so (embarrassingly) many attempts I (temporarily) gave up, deciding to concentrate on the desktop. (It seemed it would be a more efficient and effective approach, i.e. to apply the learning curve to the desktop . . . easier access, faster, many fewer drivers, etc., etc.)

9.So, now we're working on a simpler system with a Windows Vista Home Premium OS. Using all the same tools, I tried to dual boot with Windows XP Professional SP2 (yes, I had given up on Windows 98 SE for the time being). Myriad attempts have brought us to this point . . . it looks good, it's going to work . . . but it doesn't! The XP was installed in an NTFS partition (FAT32 was also tried) . . . different drive letters were tried . . . sometimes the changes were intentional, at others (I promise), it occurred with no user intervention at all.

10.OK, where am I? Couldn't get the notebook working at all! Couldn't get the desktop fully/satisfactorily operating! What does this mean? Well, it really did appear to have worked (on so many occasions), but it just didn't. Currently, your "beautiful" boot menu is presented at bootup. If Vista is selected that's what we get (hooray!), but if XP is selected . . . it's NO GO, so it's full circle back to the fist two paragraphs:

What am I doing wrong? What am I missing? Where do I go for help?

Is there somewhere I should telephone . . . or email . . . or snail mail, to obtain a fix for my unresolved issues? Is there an email address, i.e. is there someone, somewhere, to whom I can send "screen dumps" or "log files" or "whatever"? HELP???
Last edited by a moderator:

Mak 2.0

Staff member
Okay from what i can read this has 2 parts. The first being a laptop which consists of Vista Home Basic and Windows 98SE. the 2nd being a desktop with Vista Home Premium and XP SP2.

So let me ask a few questions first.

The desktop. What ws wrong? After installing XP did it boot to XP? Did the install go okay? Why did you say you could not get it fully/satsfactorily operating? What was the issue?

As for the laptop where is the problem? In all honesty they need to use XP SP2 since Windows 98SE is no longer supported at all thru Microsoft. There has been no updates for it in a year and it is open to attack.

You Virtual PC Idea was a good idea. But i would have suggested VMWare over Virtual PC anyday. Virtual PC hasnt been updated in a while and is not compatible with Vista as of right now.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Hi Jon,

I was wondering whether you'd received my reply or not - glad to see you made it here :smile:

Like Mak suggests, if you're still willing to run DOS in a Virtual Machine (your best and most future-proof option), I'd recommend grabbing yourself a free copy of VMware Server from Download VMware Server

Otherwise, we'll get you started with that dual-boot. If XP cuts it (i.e. he can run all his programs on Windows XP in compatiblity mode) then I highly advise dual-booting Vista with XP instead of Vista with DOS/Windows 98 for a multitude of reasons.

Let us know and we'll get you and your friend through this in one piece :smile:

I've removed some sensitive info from the original post (your IP and email addresses).