Vista/XP Dual-Booting Solutions - HnS & More

Being a newbie here I had to ask a question on the Vista HnS. I gave that a try here to see if it would hide the XP installation on a saparate drive being in a stand alone installation for each version.

Presently Vista is on an ide drive until a 3rd sata drive(larger capacity for storage) goes in with XP Home on the first of the two sata models. When trying to hide XP nothing happened except for no longer seeing the two optical drives 1 sata dvd burner, 1 iude cd writer installed.

I corrected that by right clicking on each in the device manager to use the uninstall option and restarted the system to them reappear fast but now no icon is seen while a game disk is in one drive. Apparently something worked?


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Hi PC eye, welcome to the boards.
You've misunderstood the purpose of HnS, It's to hide Vista, not XP. This is the background info extracted from another thread.

"The Vista and XP system restore points are mutually incompatible but use the same files. Vista is backward compatible and won't harm XP's restore points, but XP is not forward compatible and sees Vista's restore points as corrupt, so it resets them.
There is absolutely no chance that XP will be rewritten to prevent this, and even if you tell XP only to put system restore on its own drives and ignore Vista's - it will still see them and reset them.
There are various suggestions for registry edits etc in MS forums but I've only ever heard one person claim any success with them. None worked on my system.
What does work however is to use a program like Neogrub to hide Vista when XP is booted. I used this successfully for months, although it did require a two stage boot.
Now happily Guru has written HnS which automates the whole process and does it all with one boot level by making itself the top level loader."

Anything you tagged as Vista's will be hidden from XP.
If that's not what you want to do, I'd uninstall it forthwith.
Last edited:
That explains it well. Thanks!

I wonder if would also work in hiding a totally separate not dual boot copy of Vista where no restore points seem to be lost? On the system here each version was installed onto separate drives with the other unplugged while still being able to view the other drive while booted into one of the two.

On a previous build with a mulitple boot of Pro and Home along with Vista it was unknown at that time until later about XP canceling out Vista's restore points. But the EasyBCD tool was first used there to see excellent results. I can imagine the HnS will also prove to be a champ when finished.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
If you want to leave a Vista system up on a spinning disk, even if it's not dual bootable, I'd certainly hide it from XP. XP seems intent on resetting any recovery folder it can see, whether or not you have recovery set "on" for that disk/partition. HnS (I think) will hide it but will make it dual bootable. (Guru will correct me if I'm wrong).
If you're determined it should be up, hidden and not dual bootable, you could always use Neogrub and edit out the Vista entry.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
^ yep, that's right.
You can use HnS, and if you want to remove the dual-boot just comment out the respective portion in C:\menu.lst
The thing I noticed having XP and Vista not only on separate hard drives but each installed as a stand alone OS is that the Vista restore points seem to be uneffected while both drives are still visiable to each other. From the image here you can see the latest Vista point after updating ITunes.

Upon manually electing to create a totally new one the process succeeds as you would expect.

I won't expect to see the new test point just created until a system restart or a certain amount of time has passed. The one thing about Vista is no longer seeing the usual calendar for choosing one other then the latest recommended by Windows. Instead despite XP being installed and booted into as well as seeing the separate Vista installation it seems all points created are still available.

The problems with lost points seem to be when both versions are installed in a dual boot configuration with none lost as separate stand alone when each drive was unplugged to see the other go on. Apparently the problem is only seen when dual booting tieing both versions together while not seen when each is separate. Any ideas on that?


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You are booting each system by altering the BIOS boot disk order ? but leaving Vista visible and accessible from XP ?
I am surprised to find that's OK, but maybe the dual boot registry hacks mentioned in MS forums apply only to physically separate disk drives.
When I had XP on disk 0 of my old PC with ME on disk 1 available as an emergency backup via BIOS, ME used to reset all of XPs restore points on the rare occasions I resorted to booting it, but I wasn't that bothered because it was only once or twice a year.
So it surprises me that XP doesn't do the same to Vista. Do you have both systems restore set to monitor only their own partition(s) ?

Mak 2.0

Staff member
This does not surprise me as i have heard of others who have kept their restore points by using the BIOS to boot. They hit F12 upon booting the PC and from there they choose which OS to boot. They accomplish this task by installing a OS disconnecting the drive and then installing the other OS on a different drive. Neither OS knows the other is there and the Boot loaders are not affected.

While this does give you a dual boot system it is not the ideal type of dual boot. What i mean by that is the fact it isnt controlled by the boot managers. It is controled by the BIOS and that each OS was not physically "installed" at the time when the other one was. Since the drives were disconnected when you isntall Xp and then Vista.

So in theory it should save your restore points. I know personally that i do not wish to hit F12 upon boot everytime and it would not help for those of us who wish to sue Linux as well. Since you would not be able to go to either boot loader and then select Linux without installling the BCD for XP and adding a Linux entry. At that point you might as well add Vista and have the BCD control it and use HnS as well.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
The point I was making Mak, was that with 2 completely separately installed OSs (XP and ME), in the days before windows had any "dual boot" capability; the older system still reset the newer system's points if you booted it.
I didn't make any attempt to stop one system writing restore points on the other's disk because
a) I didn't know until it was too late that there'd be a problem, and
b) I didn't use ME except when XP had BSoD'd and I wanted something to be able to research/effect a repair with. (thankfully not too often)
So it still surprises me that XP doesn't do the same to Vista even in these circumstances. It makes no difference to XP how it was booted, once it's up it still sees Vista's folders as corrupt.
So I'm guessing that the difference is purely down to the fact that the OSs are on different drives, because I know on my system (same drive), telling XP not to keep sys res points on Vista's partition made absolutely no difference - It still reset the folder.
When adding Linux or another OS you would then have install a second boot loader into the mbr and perform some editing of each version's boot information like the boot.ini for XP and BCD edting tool found surprisingly here that can be reocmmended easily.

For many boards the F8 not F12 is pressed at post for the boot device menu. It may seem an annoyance at times since no visible options of choice are seen but it saves time going into the bios to see the boot order changed and apparently protects the Vista points.

When RC1 and later the 1/31 retail version came out I had multibooted Vista with XP Pro and Home editionn on three separate drives there. Vista replaced XP Pro when trying to install the new version on the second primary of believe it or not the second ide drive. The Pro edition then had to be installed onto the first of two sata drives seeing Vista reinstalled all over again for installing both into it's own boot loader since articles on alternatives then seen about adding XP to Vista were simply no good.

The EasyBCD tool however still found good use for setting the default OS, timeout for seconds displayed, and even renaming previous versions of Windows to Windows XP with the next screen showing Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional as the two options. The next thing now will be seeing if the Vista can be still be hidden with the HnS despite being stand alone on a separate drive.

Mak 2.0

Staff member
See your thing about Linux is right. But it would be a pain to edit 2 different bootloaders. I mean you would have to edit the XP boot.ini file to add Linux. Then reboot again and add the Linux entry to the BCD. All that work when you can just do a few clicks. :wink:

You are right. Some mobo's due use the F8 key and not the F12 key. But the same thing is said about the BIOS. Each mobo uses it own key for it but it does teh same purpose. :wink:
The alternative is also something to consider namely a universal boot loader where you either choose a particular partition to see the OS loaded or simply choose the OS from a boot gui like some see where the OS assigned to that particular button then loads up. One universal floppy type loader was the ubuntu boot manager found at one time. Now to see if Neogrub can add XP into Vista here?

It seems the EasyBCD tool works in XP as well as in Vista. When trying to hide the Vista drive here with the HnS tool no go! But upon trying that out some indication of EasyBCD was then seen. Upon booting to Vista that then saw a prompt to select the OS drom a command prompt type window where Vista was the only one listed. EasyBCD 1.71 then corrected the mbr to see that corrected.

Don't think for a moment I don't miss the ease of seeing the dual boot setup actually triple boot tried out previously. There XP Pro was set as the default version. That build besides seeing 4 hard drives also saw Mandriva and the unfortunate failed attempt to see Solaris 10 added to the equation.

With a good look lately at seeing the remaining ide removed that should offer the next opportunity for a dual boot maybe more when Vista is reinstalled. Currently it's the default OS while XP is still needed for some older desktop programs while waiting to see some newer Vista ready ones installed.

For now however a look how to add XP into the present installation and actually see a dual boot work while the two links here show rather useless instructions. :unamused:

Mak 2.0

Staff member
Windows XP - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

That documentation is already noted in the Wiki. :wink:

But yes a UBL would work. But some members here have posted that those dont work as well as they would like and get rid of them and use EasyBCD.
I tried adding XP Pro in with the first version of EasyBCD when that was first seen and simply adding XP as an entry failed to see any results. That was when Pro had to reinstalled on the first sata when Vista wouldn't go onto a second primary made for it. Vista does want the first only apparently.

It will take a system restart to see if the new entry made with the 1.7.1 version will get anywhere by itself after copying Vista's boot files and boot folder to the current XP drive to set that active. When forgetting to unplug the Vista drive(250gb ide) XP saw itself as the D drive and Vista no longer booted after XP was removed until booting up from the installation disk in order to use the fix startup problems automatic repair tool.

Once Vista was running again there I simply deleted the basic dos files placed on the drive by the XP installer along with the boot.ini. For this to work now the three main files would have to be copied from the G drive as seen by Vista being that XP was installed without the needed files placed on the ide drive but the first sata onto the ide model.

An edit of the copy of the boot.ini file would then have to point to the sata not the present form since it will then be on the ide drive not default for XP. Editing that is nothing new here forrunately. From there EasyBCD should point to the adjusted not original information if all goes well.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
I'm surprised you say the APC mag instructions are useless.
I used them to lose my dual-boot virginity, with no pain or complication. Indeed it was they who recommended EasyBCD to tidy up the boot entries, and brought me here to this forum all those months ago.


Can you say for the benefit of anyone else who reads this thread in the future, what you are doing to protect Vista's recovery points.
eg. Turn off system restore for selected drives, or registry hack to set other drives offline, or whatever.
You're not just disconnecting the non-active drive for instance?
Last edited:


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
I'm totally lost here: PC eye - did Vista HnS not work for you?
There were no registry edits. On a new build since first triple booting I decided to install each as a stand alone knowing I would eventually consider one of the new WD Green Power 1tb models for a large capacity storage drive eliminating the smaller ide model. The first board gave out in 3 days of completion requiring XP to be reinstalled and a call to MS on Vista for activation correction.

The system restore feature for both versions has never been turned off since the two were installed with XP seeing a second reinstall when for some unknown reason after not having booted into it it won't load. I forgot to unplug the ide drive and saw D for XP! Someone else here learned that as well from reviewing the thread seen in the Wiki there. :scared:

Having dug a little deeper when first hearing about the loss of restore points when dual booting Vista with a previous version I came across one good "work around" as it is labeled found at

The only time the Vista was unplugged a second time is when realizing that it was still plugged in when seeing D instead of the normal C drive volume. The ide drive was then unplugged for a clean stand alone installation of XP to go onto the second drive then. The Vista installation disk's repair tool was later used when Vista failed to load having been made inactive.

Since that repair was made no alterations on either version except timeout setting to hasten the bootup time of Vista and XP alike were made. The manually created restore point seen in the image earlier was the first manual point. The unchecked drives shown there apparently have been that way since last September.

With the two versions isolated you can view, copy files back and forth between drives, and actually have full access without loss of restore points. With a dual boot possible with a new drive installed and at present trying to add XP the HnS tool is the thing being looked at now in order to preserve Vista's restore points other then following the information seen in the artcle at the link there.

In reviews of the information posted here both drives set apart without a dual boot configuration seems to protect both versions from each other simply seeig the other version's drive as a logical drive not a different version of Windows being detected as well as installed and configured as would Vista adding XP or adding XP to Vista with XP of course canceling out Vista's restore points. Most will obviously prefer a dual boot over seeing each installed totally separate with the use of a boot device menu or boot order change with constant trips into the bios itself.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
The link you give quotes 3 workarounds. Bitlocker is not available to mere "Home Premium" users like me. Which did you use ?
When you're booted in XP, which drives does it say have system restore turned on ?


Looking back to the only other user here who had success with a MS workaround
He too had completely separate systems on different drives.

My guess is that the MS workaround only works for that situation, and that HnS (or equivalent) is only needed when the OSs share a disk.

I think PC eye's "isolation" technique of installing the two systems with the other disconnected, is achieving the equivalent of "unticking" the Vista drives from XP's system restore, by not having them seen at the time the system was installed. I would wager that if the systems were installed on separate disks without disconnecting the other, not only would the drive letters be different, but all the drives would be ticked in sys res and would need subsequent "unticking" as per the MS forum suggestion.

Unfortunately that doesn't work for users like me with both systems on a partitioned drive. We'll need a solution like HnS.

Aruba and PC eye will probably be OK with a simple dual boot without the necessity for HnS at all. (after all, why hide Vista if it's not being affected)
Last edited:
Very interesting reading. For what it's worth, I offer my own experiences with Vista and XP installed on separate hard drives with the other physically disconnected during the installations. I used the BIOS to swap the order in which the SATA drives were 'seen' to boot either XP or Vista, which was fine except that booting into XP did remove the Vista restore points.

I then made sure that the Vista system restore only pointed to the Vista system and application partitions (ignoring any partitions that contained data) and the XP system restore likewise only pointed to the XP system and application partitions. Again, booting into XP still removed the Vista restore points as before.

So PC eye seems to have found a magic formula! Will be great to hear how it works, though HnS is doing a great job for me right now.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Thanks Geoff (ironic laughter),
You've really muddied the water again.
That makes it even more mysterious. Now I'm really puzzled as to what guardian angel protects PC eye and Aruba ?