Unnecessary second boot screen


I have this little problem, not critical but I still want to clean it up.

I have...

...Vista on one hard disk.
...XP on the second.

When I boot I get these choices:

Microsoft Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows

If I chose Vista it works alright but if I choose the second (XP option) I get linked to a second screen giving me this:

Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows

Choosing the first will end in a black screen and nothing more happens while the second will boot XP.

Obviously I've somehow have managed to create this mess myself but it would be good the have it sorted out especially as I intend to install Ubuntu on a third hard disk later in the week.
Did you try to install XP again? Seems as if there is a dual XP entry. To solve this go start>run>msconfig. Under the boot.ini check all file paths. It should eliminate the one that doesnt need to be there.
This problem probably occured because you had XP orginally on the disk that now only contains Vista. In EasyBCD, open edit menu and choose the option to edit legacy entries. It'll open the file for you. I'm assuming that the first entry in the second boot screen is the default entry (Entry that is highlighted when you get to the menu) and is the entry that you said wasn't working. Whichever that is, change the default entry under [boot loader] to the opposite and either delete the malfunctioning entry under [operating systems] or set the timeout value under [boot loader] to 0.
Last edited:
Or you can edit boot.ini with notepad and delete the incorrect one of the 2 XP lines you'll find, and correct the default line to mirror the good entry, as described in the wiki.

There you go. 3 for the price of one. 3 different ways of doing the same thing.
I mention using the edit menu in EasyBCD to open boot.ini in notepad. it is much quicker and does not require the user to track it down.
There you go. 3 for the price of one. 3 different ways of doing the same thing.

Yes, 3 solutions at the price of 1, and considering that the price was 0 to begin with it's a downright bargain.

I did pick the first solution as it was the only one posted when I dropped by, and it worked like a charm.

Thanks to Makaveli213, kairozamorro, Terry60 and also Computer Guru for being there.

I have some follow up questions but if they are considered to be off topic, please tell me what thread I should post them in or if they are worthy of their own thread.

I had my own primitive "boot manager" during my Windows 2000 years. The same OS installed on 3 different hard disks and I made the choice by going into BIOS to pick the one I wanted to work with.

When installing them I disconnected all other hard disks letting the new installation to "believe" it was the only one.
This setup worked flawlessly all the time and the different installations never interfered with one another. I have the feeling this is no longer the case.

Question 1: Will the newer Windows systems, XP and Vista, "look around"
at boot-up and do naughty things if they discover other installations?

Question 2. I have EasyBCD installed on Vista and I can't see any reason to install it on XP, but as I would like to install iReboot on XP too I wonder if it requires me to have EasyBCD installed there also?

I will install Ubuntu on a 3rd hard disk when it arrives later this week. I'll disconnect the other drives at installation because I don't like the partition/installation screens Ubuntu gives you.

While everything else in the Ubuntu installation process is made as easy as possible this very critical part is right back at a 1990's level with unfamiliar names on the hard disks and a nagging feeling you are about to erase every OS installation within a mile radius if you put a foot wrong.

I have read the "Dual-Booting Ubuntu Linux and Windows Vista"
but I still feel uncomfortable having the other hard disks plugged in.

Question 3: Is it OK to do it in my own cowardly fashion and then follow the procedure in "Adding Ubuntu to the Vista Bootloader"?

Question 1. The only issue you will see will be that XP will delete the Vista Restore Points. Which is why the utility HnS was created.

Questions 2. No you do not need EasyBCD to install iReboot on XP. I am using a Alpha version of EasyBCD being a tester and all and i don't technically have EasyBCD installed on either system but have iReboot installed and working just fine on both XP and Vista.

Question 3. Yes. You will have to select the option that GRUB was not loaded to the MBR when you add your Linux entry and you will be jsut fine. If not we can still try and solve it. :grinning:

Your method should work just fine. The only problem you may (or may not) run into though is the entries the installer well create in grub to load it. Fortunately, grub allows you to edit the entries durning boot time so that you are not totally locked out of the system. If this occurs, all you need to do is follow the commands on the bottom of the screen to change x in (hdx,y) until you find the correct number for the disk Ubuntu is on.

Once in, you'll need to make it permanent by opening a terminal and issuing "sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst" to edit the file and save the changes for future booting.
*goes to the presentation thread to post*

*comes back*

My new hard disk arrived and I have tried to install Ubuntu on it but it's just too many obstacles. I have run out of patience for this time.

First I used the ISO Recorder and burned 6 or 7 different versions of Ubuntu but they all ended up not passing the Check integrity CD-ROM test you can preform before installing. They all failed at the beginning of the test albeit not at the same point. Finally I switched to InfraRecorder and passed the integrity check.

When trying to install Ubuntu with this good copy I run into other problems.

I have dual monitors and the Ubuntu install seems to switch preferred monitor during the early phase of the installation process so suddenly the process stops and it's probably waiting for some response that I can't give as I don't see anything. Switching monitors physically on the back of the graphic card doesn't help either. The only remedy is to disconnect one of the monitors and that becomes a drag as I need both of them in my two Windows environment.

Vista can see my new hard disk but Ubuntu can't.
It might have something to do with the fact that it's a 1 TB disk but I have tried so many times now that I'm just tired of it.

As a last resort I installed WUBI to see it that would help but WUBI can't see the disk either.

I would now like to remove the WUBI. I tried on my own with EasyBCD but can't get it right.
I have managed to remove the WUBI option from EasyBCD's boot options (but I haven't uninstalled WUBI yet). Vista boots fine but XP doesn't. These are the present settings:

There are a total of 2 entries listed in the Vista Bootloader.
Bootloader Timeout: 30 seconds.
Default OS: Vista

Entry #1

Name: Vista
BCD ID: {current}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe
Windows Directory: \Windows

Entry #2

Name: XP
BCD ID: {9a731d18-71df-11dd-8c91-002185115b92}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \NTLDR

This is the boot error message I get with the XP option.

Error Message: Windows Could Not Start Because the Following File Is Missing or Corrupt: <Windows-rot>\system32\hal.dll.

Please re-install a copy of the above file.

I'm not sure if this referes to the file in the XP or Vista installation but they are both there although the Vista file is named with lower case hal.dll while the XP one is with upper case HAL.DLL.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Oh, and one more thing.
The charm with the excellent IReboot is that you can leave the boot process unattended. A small problem which I'm sure is not iReboot's fault is that the setting I have in Tweak UI for XP to bypass the login procedure altogether loses the setting all the time. Any ideas?
Hal.dll error is from a boot.ini configuration error: you have the ARC path in boot.ini pointing to the wrong drive/partition as is described here: Troubleshooting Windows XP - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

As for iReboot - the unattended boot process is the exact reason I wrote iReboot, glad you're enjoying it. As for the TweakUI problem - I'm not sure what you mean, do you think you can expand on that particular issue a bit more?
I have read it.
Non of the files (NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM, BOOT.INI) can be found on any of my hard disks so I guess a repair operation with the original XP CD is what I need to do.

I will come back to the Tweak UI thing once I have been able to log in to XP again.
It's pretty straight-forward, you just need to copy NTLDR and NTDETECT to the drive that EasyBCD shows for Windows XP. Going by the cut-and-paste above, that would be drive C:\

Then you need to create boot.ini - if you can't figure out what numbers to try, post a screenshot of the Disk Management program (Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Computer Management | Disk Management) and someone will write up a boot.ini for you.

If all that fails, an XP reinstall shoud get the XP bootloader going once more.
I have done the above but Vista is on my C drive and XP on a drive called I. Should I put the three files in the root directory of C (Vista) or I (XP)?
All the boot files for both systems must be in the same root (the "system" "active" partition). In your case Vista I think.
I have done so, and had some progress. This is what happens:

When choosing the XP option at the boot screen I now get a 2nd boot screen, much like what I described in the very first post in this thread.

Windows XP Home
Windows Default

Choosing one of them, don't remember which one right now, gives the NTOSKRNL error message.

Choosing the other one gives me a screen that is reminiscent of the XP start up sequence. You can see something that looks like the progress bar (albeit a rather crude version) at work in this pic taken with my cell. The all white part progresses to about half the bar before a spontaneous reboot.

If you look in the wiki troubleshooter http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Troubleshooting+Windows+XP
you'll see this is another instance of boot.ini not pointing to the correct partition/rdisk combination.
The default line and the other XP line should point to the same place.
Try several permutations (you won't do any harm with wrong guesses) till you hit the right values, or post your boot.ini and a screenshot of your disk management here and we'll take a look for you.