Using NeoGrub to boot into Vista or XP (one menu)


Editor's Note: Vista Hide 'n Seek deprecates the following instructions. NeoSmart Technologies recommends that you use Vista HnS instead to accomplish a dual-boot between Vista and XP(s) where the Vista partiton's restore points are protected by hiding it from the XP installs.

The installed EasyBCD 1.7 works fine on my system with one Vista partition and 2 XP partions on the first hard disk.

- (hd0,0) = Vista
- (hd0.1) = XP (Vista hidden)
- (hd0,2) = XP - test (Vista hidden)

Only the fact that for starting Vista I had to make a choice in 3 menus bothered me a lot. :tongueout:oint:
- In the first menu (Vista' s menu) starting Neogrub.
- In the second one (neogrub's menu) to unhide Vista partition.
- Then in the third menu (again vista's menu) to start Vista.

Surfing on the net I found a work around with Grub4dos to have only the Grub menu to start everything without changing MBR and Vista bootloader.
Because Neogrub is almost the same as Grub4dos (or based on) I tried to implement this.

It works wonderfull!

When I boot my PC or restart it there is only one menu (neogrub's menu) with three choices:

- to start Vista (with unhide function)
- to start production XP (with hide vista partition)
- to start XP for test purpose (with hide Vista partition).

The contents of my menu.lst is this:

# NeoSmart NeoGrub Bootloader Configuration File
# This is the NeoGrub configuration file, and should be located at C:\NST\menu.lst
# Please see the EasyBCD Documentation for information on how to create/modify entries:
color black/cyan yellow/cyan
default 0
timeout 30

title Windows Vista starten
unhide (hd0,0) #The Vista drive
find --set-root /Vistamgr
chainloader /Vistamgr

title Windows XP - Administratief werk
hide (hd0,0) #The Vista drive
rootnoverify (hd0,1)
chainloader /ntldr

title Windows XP - Test, Azureus, Video bewerking
hide (hd0,0) #The Vista drive
rootnoverify (hd0,2)
chainloader /ntldr
# End of menu.lst

How to do can be found at :

How I did:
- Installed EasyBCD and customised it to an exellent working system.
- copy contents of c:\NST to C:\NSTbackup
- copy c:\neogrub to c:\NSTbackup
- rename c:\NSTbackup\neogrub to c:\NSTbackup\bootmgr
- creation of a Vista boot floppy (XP boot files included) for rescue recovery
- copy c:\ntldr, c:\NTDETECT.COM and c:\boot.ini to E:\ (XP on second partition)
- copy c:\ntldr, c:\NTDETECT.COM and c:\boot.ini to F:\ (XP on third partition)
- Rename c:\bootmgr to c:\vistamgr
- copy c:\NSTbackup\bootmgr to root of c:\ (bootdrive)
- edit c:\NSTbackup\menu.lst
- copy c:\NSTbackup\menu.lst to root of c:\ (bootdrive)
- test to see if at startup the grub menu is presented (if not ===> boot with vista floppy to start vista or xp to resolve)
- test in grub menu the start of vista
===> Vista boot manager menu should be there to have the choice between starting Vista and xp
- test in grub menu the start of Xp
===> Xp boot.ini menu should be there to have the choice between xp production an xp test
- Start Vista for final customisation
- launch of EasyBCD to set the Vista startup as default with time = 0 (to not show menu)
- edit of E:\boot.ini to set XP - production as default with time = 0 (to not show menu)
- edit of F:\boot.ini to set XP - test as default with time = 0 (to not show menu)

That's it

I did a lot of steps but these are for security reasons.
Only the rename of C:\bootmgr, copy of the renamed NeoGrub and copy of menu.lst (after carefull editing) to the root of C: are important.
The copy to C:\NSTbackup is necessary for editing menu.lst because Vista doesn't allow rewriting on root of boot drive.
(copy to root drive is allowed, rename and delete a file too, after allow confirmation)
C:\boot.ini should not be changed !

If you have only one XP system you don't have to copy the XP boot loader files to the XP partition.

To recover ====> boot with vista floppy disk and copy A:\bootmgr to C:\
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Hey Andre,

What a coincidence - our program for automating this entire process is almost done :grinning:
I'm working on the final finishing touches now, but it's based on almost the same steps as you posted above - we just had longer to "polish them off" with over a month of in-house work :smile:

  • No need to change boot.ini, our program will automatically detect and add all XP entries to menu.lst and boot directly into them without any boot.ini changes
  • Fully-automated UI
  • No need to open/modify menu.lst
  • No need to know the number of the Vista drive(s) i.e. no need for knowing vista is (hd0,1)
  • No need to know the number of the XP drives.
At any rate, thanks for sharing your step-by-step guide, I'm sure tons of people here will find it very useful :smile:

Expect a beta of our program by the end of the week. :brows:
Very Nice

Nice work but at this point I will wait patiently for the Guru although...
No, no spent too much time already on something that should not have required a fix.

I cannot believe I went for a couple of months not realizing I did not have restore points in Vista. Then one day it was like what the *&$% where is the restore points?

Wouldn't it be nice if SP1 for Vista fixed it... yea right!
It's a Windows XP bug though, and AFAIK SP3 isn't fixing it.


Thread stickied. :smile:
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Just wondering whether we'd be able to download the Beta today? Would be great, as i've been doing the long-workaround mentioned above for a while...

Thanks and keep up the great work,
Not yet :smile:

I've been real busy ATM with exams and projects for University, I'll probably resume working on it a bit this Monday.
You might want to "unstick" this now that HnS is doing the business.
Also - how about making Raul's guide sticky ? I always seem to be referring people to it and it's getting further and further down the forum each time.
Good idea.

I'll add a link to the HnS thread above as well. As for Raul's thread, it's currently being linked from the Wiki's XP page; but perhaps making it a sticky would not be a bad idea.