Vista X64 with Win XP X86 dual boot issues


Good day all.

I was hoping that I could get some help with an issue I am having with a dual booting Vista X64 (SP1) with Win XP (SP3) install. While Vista boots properly, XP does not, reporting that "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt <Windows root > \system32\ntoskrnl.exe. I have read all the usual guides and am doing something either rather silly or am missing something. Any help would be appreciated.

I installed Vista on my system first, ensuring all was stable and well (drive 2, partition 1). I then installed XP (drive 0, partition 1), with the Vista drive disconnected (ie so that XP does not see Vista) and made sure the XP install was stable and working well.

[Drive 2 is SATA and is the first drive the BIOS will load from, Drive 3 is similarly SATA and is next in boot order). Drive 0 and 1 are IDE drives, with drive 0 having a higher boot priority than drive 1 (but less than drive 3)]
I then reconnected the Vista drive and loaded up Vista. In vista I set XP as drive Y using administration tools. I then installed EasyBCD, adding an XP entry to drive Y. I also copied boot.ini from my XP drive to the Vista drive (which is C: in Windows).

At this point I rebooted and came against the above mentioned error. I rechecked my boot.ini and cannot see any issues with it.

I have attached my boot.ini and some screen grabs of my drives (as seen from Vista) and my EasyBCD settings.

Kind regards


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  • Drives.jpg
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  • EasyBCDSettings.jpg
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  • boot.ini.txt
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Hi Graham, wecome to NST.
Now you've reconnected the Vista drive, it's drive 0 (disk management gets very confused when you mix SATA and IDE) and the error you're getting, if you look in the wiki XP troubleshooter, is telling you that boot.ini is wrong.
It's wrong for the reason I just gave, the rdisk (which was right when Vista was disconnected) is now wrong.
Change it (in both places) to 1 /2 / 3 until you find the right number to boot successfully.
Thank you Terry60
Your solution worked a treat. Most appreciated. :tongueout:
For those who are interested, XP booted successfully when boot.ini pointed to rdisk(1)partition(1) on both the Vista drive and the XP drive.