Vista and Xp, on seperate drives- boot problems


Hi all,

After many hours searching around on the net, I eventually came upon this site using iReboot help link. (right in front of me :lol:smile:

The problem is this:

After successfully dual booting Vista ultimate 32 bit and XP home edition, on one drive 2 partitions, I decided to place xp on it's own drive, then format the original drive and re-install Vista. (Vista first )

They have both installed fine, and I have just rebooted again after using Vista for a few hours, to boot into XP, and I have the usual ntldr is missing or corrupt, so I re-install the files, unsuccessfully (using several tools) .

I can boot Vista no probs, But XP just will not boot for me.

I have even done a fresh install again, I also have an image file of XP and Vista from using acronis - just in case.

Can anyone please help me? Is it at all possible to dual boot xp and Vista using two separate hard drives without constantly arranging bios (from what I've read, it can be the case sometimes) and without Vista corrupting XP ntldr?

I've looked thorugh the forum, but I couldn't find any posts/threads with similar issue, so I apologise if I have double posted :wink:
I really would appreciate any advice and help with this. I thank you all in advance.

Here's my specs if needed: (home build)

3 WD sata2 160 hd
Intel Core 2 duo E6750 @ 2.66 mgz ea.
Nvidia GTs8800 oc, ddr3
4GB dual channel 800mgz ram
ASrock conroe 1333 fsb e-sata motherboard


Oh and also - sorry,

My Vista is on E drive and XP is on G drive.

For some reason I have a C drive which is 86.2 MB in size with 28MB used? System folders and hdd recycler.

Will this have any affect?

Thank you again.
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Hi Mufassa, welcome to the boards.
Have you read the wiki
with special reference to the troubleshoot link in the yellow box which should describe, and tell you how to fix any XP dual boot problems.

It's not that Vista corrupts ntldr. Just that in a dual boot all Vista's and XP's boot files must be on the active system partition, which could be Vista or XP, or it seems in your case, in a mysterious 3rd partition.
Look in admin tools/computer mgmt/disk mgmt to find out what your active system disk is, and make sure that copies of the XP boot files are on there.
If you're just starting from scratch with new clean installs, I'd start again and clean up the disk allocation so that the 2 OSs are where you want them, without spurious unknown extra disks.

If you are starting from scratch, the approved MS way is to install XP first then add Vista. That way Vista will set up the dual boot for you automatically.
If you do it Vista first, then after XP installs it will have overwritten the Vista bootloader, so you'll need to do a Vista repair by booting its DVD again (probably twice) to fix the boot.
Hi Terry,
thanks for replying . I appreciate it.

Cracking link you sent, cheers.
I'm working on it and I'll let you know.

The Xp is a fresh install, but I'm trying desperately to hang onto Vista as it did take me a while to configure it properly with things like my printer and some software etc, but if I have to clean install- so be it.

Thanks again, will let you know what happens



My Vista drive (E) is shown as active, primary, boot, page file, crash dump, logical drive.

My XP drive (G) is active primary partition.

I have done an extended manual search on both drives and cannot find all three boot folders.
This is obviously the problem, so where do I copy them now?
I'm usually pretty ok with editing windows etc, but this time, as I'm trying to help create the dual boot, I'm a little unsure.

Do I copy all files to Vista (E drive)
Or to XP (G drive)

The C drive (86mb) is shown as logical drive, but definitely has files on it, I can't seem to delete it either. I will eventually, and create unused space then add it on to E.

Are the files kept in Windows system 32 folder?


OK, I have found the file BOOT.INI. in fact I have 2.

1 on G drive (XP)
1 on H drive (storage and backups using acronis)
I don't have one on E drive- vista.?

Here is the list from G:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

Here is the list from H:
;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT

any ideas?
Thanks again.


I'm really sorry to post again. I apologise sincerely

I have found all three files now, NTDETECT, BOOT.INI, NTLDR.

Trouble is I have 2 copies of each:
All in G and H.
G being XP
H being my acronis image files of windows.

I am getting so confused now, I'm confusing myself by reading the repair procedure over and over.

I really would appreciate any ideas or suggestions.
Once again, thank you very much for your help in advance



One more update, I've deleted the files on H, and now when I reboot and select XP, it just re-starts and keeps going to the OS select screen.
If I then choose Vista, it works fine, but not with XP.
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It's confusing to homo sapiens having loads of surplus boot files around, but the software doesn't mind a bit. It'll just ignore the ones it's not expecting. (during beta testing of HnS I've aquired the full set of XP boot files on every one of my partitions)
Sounds like Vista is your boot disk (mine is XP - it's fairly random depending on the exact sequence of how you achieved your dual boot)
Copy the XP boot files to the Vista disk and try again. I'm not sure why the behaviour changed when you deleted the files from H so if you still get problems, put them back again. When it's all working you can always clean the others up if you're desperate to get the few bytes back.
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HA Ha,

Excellent help mate, thank you.
I now have XP and Vista booting from separate drives (which I thought was going to be impossible after everything)

I copied all files as you said, and I also adjusted this:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

I changed the coloured setting to (1) from zero, as the boot disc was different.

The only thing I get now is, when I opt for windows xp at the choice menu, I then get another choice, which says:
Now choose which OS to boot:
Windows default
windows xp.
So I'm assuming this may be down to a setting on easy bcd?

Thank again Terry for all the help. I really appreciate it, very much
Kindest Regards

I had Vista in a multiboot with XP Home on the first of 4 hard drives , Vista on the second replacing XP Pro, and then reinstalling Pro onto the third hard drive. At first when trying the 3 way boot I ended reinstalling Vista twice to both Home and Pro versions added in since Home was already dual booting. The Wiki does explain how to later add an edition of XP into the Vista boot loader while simply installing the newer version after the earlier one is a little easier.

The latest 1.7.1 is an effective tool to work with as far as adding XP in following Vista. That will see the entry made for XP as well as controlling the amount of time the boot options will appear on screen. If you want you can even rename Windows XP Home to XP Home OS-2!
Yeah it's a fantastic piece of software. It really is.

I am still getting the option of choosing either Windows default or Windows XP, after choosing xp from the boot screen, but hey at least I can get into it eh? So I'm not too bothered, it's purely down to the look of it.
All I have to do is hit XP and I'm in.

Thanks again for the help
That's what EasyBCD is for. Just use the change settings button and rename the boot entries to whatever looks neat and tidy to you. (Mine says Vista 64 bit and XP 32 bit)
Glad you're happily dual-booting.
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That's what EasyBCD is for. Just use the change settings button and rename the boot entries to whatever looks neat and tidy to you.


Have tried that, this is another boot option I get after choosing xp in my original boot choice , which I have already adjusted.

I had easy BCD installed a while back when I was dual booting from the same drive.........

This though, is ANOTHER boot option after the Vista and XP selection which is already customised.
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Ah I see Mufassa !
I misunderstood you.
There's a remnant of a previous dual XP boot in the boot.ini by the sound of it.
If you wait for the timeout on the second choice menu, does it boot the one you want ?
If so just change the timeout value to 0 in boot.ini and it should disappear.
If it defaults to the wrong one then change the default and/or remove that option and that should also fix it.
Hi again Terry,

I've added a screen shot for you to look at.

When I waited for the boot loader timeout, it was on windows default (I assume it's Vista)
nothing happened,I just had a blank screen, so I rebooted then selected XP (after the first choice screen)
and it booted ok.

I then rebooted again, this time selecting Vista from 1st chice and I had windows did not start first time correctly error. This is because I rebooted while I'd selected Vista to start, as mentioned above.

I have double checked the Boot.ini file, and it looks ok?

Would you take a look at my screen shot and see what you think?

Thanks for your help again



  • snap0012.jpg
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That's a shot of the Vista bootloader, which is OK, but what about boot.ini ?
Can you post a list of E:\boot.ini.
Hi mate,

Sorry I've taken a while to get back to you, had a child's birthday party to go to.

Here is the screenie for you:


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Sorry I should have noticed when you posted it before.
You've changed the rdisk from 0 to 1, in one line and not in the other (default), so it thinks there are 2 systems (but of course one doesn't exist so won't boot).
Change the default line to match and the 2nd boot option should just disappear.
Ok mate,

Have done this, I did look at that but I didn't think it had to be changed also. My mistake.

I will reboot now and then let you know.




That's it Terry, you cracked it cheers mate.

It's gone and it boots straight into XP now.

Thank you very very much for your help and support. It's been great and I really appreciate your time and effort with me on this.

Cheers mate

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I have got the option now to put all my XP files back on the system using my acronis image files, but to play safe I think I'll install all necessary folders and software manually. :happy:
You never know.......

Thanks again.
Hi Computer Guru,

If it wasn't for Terry, I would never have got there. (Cheers matey :wink:)

Also, I've noticed that since placing XP and Vista on separate drives, both of them are a whole lot quicker.

To be honest, I'm having a second childhood of sorts, and I'm getting into pc gaming. One of the games I use I've been using for a while and I'm in a team.
There has recently been an anti cheat brought out for it, but unfortunately it doesn't like Vista too much, but when it's sorted, bye bye XP.
I'm definitely a Vista convert. All the peeps out there who are knocking it, probably haven't configured their software for it properly.

It took me a while, I'll admit, but I don't think I'll be using xp in say 1 years time......

Thanks very much again for all the help.