Vista/XP Dual-Booting Solutions - HnS & More

You won't believe this but from the reinstall of XP leaving the NTDETECT.COM and NTLDR files I simply copied and edited the boot.ini from the first sata over to the Vista ide drive and waaaa laaaa XP is now a working option! That's the latest update on that.

The question now is that the HnS tool was originally installed with the original stand alone installation and is having some problems presently. I will probably end up totally removing it to see a clean install go to work on hiding the copy of Vista to save the points it accumilated. Both versions have never had the restore feature turned off.

On first trying the HnS tool apparently Grub4Dos was somehow installed forcing the use of the automatic startup repair tool to see that taken care of. Upon booting up it was no longer seen while the initial entry made by 1.7.1 was still there with the option for XP. First I checked to see if Vista would now load normally which it did.

Upon restarting simply to test to see if XP would now load I am presently in XP! Now the question is how to get HnS working to see if Vista will be hidden. The option to "start over" simply saw a lock and error message due to the changes in mbr there. A removal and fresh attempt should prove interesting.

Up until this point however the Vista points were simply created automatically as well as cleared after the expected amount of time like monthly. Will they now be lost before HnS can work?

EDIT: Unhandled exception error can't create file when one already exists.


The error was taken care of by deleting the first "BOOTMGR.HNS" file created before the dual boot was in effect. With the success of seeing XP become an option at startup all restore points shown earlier were wiped! Plus the HnS tool has yet to hide the Vista drive while in XP having created a new file seen at the root of the Vista drive. Not being on the same drive poses that problem apparently.
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OK, I hate to be blunt, but I need more technical details to be able to deal with a bug.

Vista HnS method of hiding Vista from XP *does* work, _provided_ that it detects the correct drive and partition numbers for XP and Vista.

How to file a bug report:
Type 1)
Run "Drive Grabber.exe"
Check if the numbers for the drives and partitions match the numbers it should be seeing. For instance, if it reports that drive C: is drive 1 partition 0 when it's actually drive 0 partition 0, please point that out.

Type 2)
Run HnS.
Check if C:\Menu.lst is hiding the right partition or drive combo.
I'm confused PC eye,
You say your Vista restore points are untouched when you boot XP, but that you are having trouble with HnS.
Why are you using HnS ?
You only need HnS to protect your restore points if XP is resetting them - you said it isn't - so you don't need it !
Once the dual boot was configured all of Vista restore points were lost! They're all gone now! Plus something happened to the iexplorer.exe file for IE 7. I may have to perform a repair install just to get that back since the file can't be found on the drive anywhere. The DEP message appeared when first trying to open to the home page after the first sucessful boot into XP.

Currently there are 3 hard drives as well as two optical drives in the case here. You know that Vista is on the single ide drive already with XP on the first of two sata drives. When booting Vista the Grub4Dos windows for selecting the OS to see loaded followed by the expected choices of XP and Vista on the boot options screen.

To see XP load when selected the boot.ini was edited to change the rdisk (0) to rdisk (1) after being copied to the Vista drive. That was to point at the separate drive rather then partition there. But that can always cab re-edited to see if that had an effect. Meanwhile I used Note Pad to look at the Menu.lst file where it plainly shows,

# NeoSmart Technologies' Vista Hide 'n Seek Beta

timeout 30
default 0

title Microsoft Windows Vista
unhide (hd0,0)
find --set-root /BOOTMGR.HNS
chainloader /BOOTMGR.HNS

# All your boot are belong to NeoSmart!

Presently I booted into the default version being Vista to see what happened to IE 7 through all this. Since XP is not available other things are coming up. When tri booting Home and Pro on the last when Vista first came I never saw IE 7 get zapped there. I suspect that is from the loss of the restore points to go back before an adware previously knocked that out after removing a toolbar(Smiley Central bug infested!).

You can see where HnS will still be needed with a dual boot stretched from drive to drive as well as from partition to partition. Since IE 7 is built into Vista and not a separate download a repair install of Vista is something now that will have to be considered..
That menu.lst doesn't contain any XP entries.
When you use HnS you must tell it what is Vista and what is XP.
It creates a top level bootloader, which will hide Vista before booting XP.
You can't use another bootloader which doesn't do any hiding or XP will be able to see Vista.
The entry you've got there is just the entry for returning to Vista (hence the unhide first)
It should have an entry for each XP system preceded by the hide Vista commands, but it won't have them if you don't tell it where XP is.
At this point not knowing just how Grub4Dos got on when first trying to add XP and then seeing IE 7 suddenly not found while WIndows Mail(new OE name) opened up as usual I was being pressed to perform a repair or full reinstall of Vista. With plans already to replace the ide drive by adding a third sata model in Vista is now being moved to the first sata replacing XP.

Since nothing is currently tied up except the basics there that and the second sata still has no OS I have the option of seeing another stand alone or dual boot configuration with a clean install of each. That would also see both boot off of one drive while XP was added in while having it's own mbr left intact on the present installation. The 250gb ide drive was removed earlier to prevent boot files and information automatically going there instead of the new host primary.

Downfalls of a dual boot? With each version installed separately you had ready access to either drive without the loss of one restore point. You simply brought up the boot device menu when planning to load the other version in order to select the drive rather then version to boot from.

The Linux distro ubuntu had a boot manager floppy type universal loader where you selected the partition whether on the same or another drive to see the OS on the one selected loaded without any entries into the mbr. You always booted from one floppy disk and selected from the list of partitions found. The antiquated method however provided total isolation of each OS installed.

The work arounds seen at the link posted earlier seemed to offer a few different ways of seeing Vista visible to XP without loss of restore points in a dual boot configuration by way of a retail producct or using the really memory hungry method of a virtual machine with limitations imposed on some editions of Vista. Too bad you couldn't hide a portion of Vista from XP while not making the partition/drive totally invisible for things like file transfers, downloading to or uploading from, or simply viewing what was on another partition.

Since Vista is the default OS once reinstalled again XP is kept on in case of problems needing a working OS to get around or for running things there that can't on the new version. Hiding Vista from XP wouldn't a problem since Vista can still see the XP drive as the default OS and not lose restore points like just seen.

How about the next version of Windows? Will that also see Vista or XP dual boots lose restore points as well? You can see why following the HnS tool is of definite concern since many would rather dual boot when first trying a new version or to see older programs available.
aahhaaaa... I was wondering why I was seeing a boot option screen for that however when EasyBCD was being used to create the entries.

Already having planned to move Vista onto the first sata to see the ide eventually replaced by a third maybe larger sata model for storage, backup, etc. But seeing IE 7 knocked out on the ide drive I temporarily threw Vista on the second sata to see if that could be hidden from XP on the first. The screen shots here show the first attempt since the dual boot is obviously running with the ide drive presently unplugged.

The first shows how both sata drives appear in HnS when first started up.

The second pair here is seen after having selected the Vista drive as expected.

The next is when selecting the exit option to see if everything went well.

Now comes a question when opening a Windows Explorer window and seeing,

will it require a system restart as I suspect would be needed to activate the new HnS boot file seen at the root of the XP drive? The results will be edited in here in a few moments so be patient. :grinning:

After restarting the system the second Vista installation on the second sata drive is still visible in W.Explorer.

The attempt to reduce the amount of time that the boot option screen is seen for Grub4Dos still remains at 30 seconds. Note that this is temporary since XP is about to get replaced on the first sata drive. The effort there since the first will now become the host drive set to default will then see XP replace the temp install of Vista on the second sata. files on both drives are currently being bounced around a little between those and the ide while all this is being tried until the next sata will be designated for all that.

Being that the first attempt was simply between two totally isolated until copying the boot.ini over and seeing an edit no dual booting was done the HnS wouldn't succeed there. Something is still off however with both versions now seeing a dual boot with the host being the present XP drive with the custom install of Vista to the second sata model. That was done with the ide drive totally removed from the case overnight which was replugged in at this time for obvious file and settings transfers as well as trying a few other things out later since a repair install there of Vista needed simply to see IE 7 reinstalled is kind of pointless with Vista planned for being on the host sata with XP as the second OS on the other.
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Are these the screenshots from Friday ? Or are you still running HnS without telling it where the XP system(s) is(are) ?
The menu.lst should look similar to this
# NeoSmart Technologies' Vista Hide 'n Seek Beta

timeout 5
default 0

title Vista 64 bit
unhide (hd0,0)
unhide (hd0,4)
find --set-root /BOOTMGR.HNS
chainloader /BOOTMGR.HNS

title XP 32 bit
hide (hd0,0)
hide (hd0,4)
rootnoverify (hd0,1)
chainloader /ntldr

# All your boot are belong to NeoSmart!

You'll notice that the hiding of Vista is only done when you boot XP. If you don't point it to the XP system(s) it has nothing to hide Vista from.
PC Eye: In your second screenshot (latest post), you must flag one or more partitions as XP.

Flagging them as Vista does nothing. Drives flagged as Vista are hidden from XP - not the other way around, and only if the XP is configured from HnS.
XP will now have to be reinstalled since it was an long process simply getting VIsta together for some odd reason. Vista is now where XP was on the first sata. The second larger partition there will back things up from the drive that bas been a storage drive to see XP go there if it won't go on the second primary to see a dual boot there. Other wise the ide will have to the boot drive for both versions in a dual boot while the first sata sees a clean stand alone there.

The task now will be seeing XP go onto the second sata with the first unplugged while having the ide drive set as the default boot drive. When that is done hopefully it won't see itself as the D drive while booted into the installation there. The fresh installation will remain isolated to maintain a working OS since the first IE 7 washed while OE or Windows Mail worked 100% in the add XP success earlier. But the next time I simply flag the second sata as XP and leave the Vista drives unmarked?
No, you have to tell it what is Vista and what is XP. That way it knows where to boot XP from, and what to hide.
PC Eye, you look like you are an experienced computer user. Take a look at the menu.lst files posted in some of the other users' comments in earlier replies in this thread.

menu.lst tells HnS what to do, and is auto-generated by the interface. Can you see how it is hiding the Vista drives and launching the XP entries? That should clarify things up, I think....
I''m already aware of what Grub4Dos does there from having dual and multibooted with different Linux Distros. The question was more about which way to go on the HnS tool as far the drive buttons seen in capture.

With the ide drive coming out the pair of sata drives have been both split into two primaries with Vista on both while the first will be like before seeing Vista being a stand alone OS while the second drive will be seeing the Vista/XP dual boot there.

While Vista was installed last it didn't pick up on XP since all of it's boot files (, ntldr, boot.ini) have to copied over to the C from D primary now seen there. The second partition on the Vista primary is a temp storage area until the third drive designate for that comes in leaving the second as originally planned available for dual even multibooting.

I've been looking over this thread for some time and will likely need to tweak things a little. Having both versions on one drive seems to be the way to see if HnS will now work there. Having already used the EastBCD 1.5.2 when that was first available I found that far better then going into the boot tab found in the msconfig utility for anything needed as well as creating the entries needed.

Wnen previously mutlibooting XP Pro and Home along with the new version just out I could even rename the "Earlier version of Windows" entry to something like Windows XP with the following boot screen giving the option there for both versions then. In the 1.7.1 version now seen only the choice between Vista and the edition of XP is seen on one screen alone. But some things can still be renamed! :brows:

Once XP is added in seeing that the boot loader was missing there explaining why only the 1.7.1 entry was seen when getting Vista on the second drive. A quick correction of that and retry of HnS should see a better result.
PC eye,
Are you OK now, or still having problems ?
Can you confirm that you understand

a) Hns replaces the EasyBCD/Neogrub 2 level process of hiding Vista from XP. It's not an extra step.

b) When running the HnS UI you must tell it where the Vista partition(s) are so they can be hidden, and where the XP system(s) are from which you are hiding Vista.

c) Only partitions which contain neither an XP system nor a Vista system restore folder should be left blank

d) When you run HnS it becomes the primary boot process above Vista and XP, and hands control down as requested by you at boot time, so It has to know where everything else is.

e) When HnS is asked to boot Vista, it passes control to the Vista bootloader which is no longer in control of dual booting.
Any dual boot information still active in Vista's bootloader will just cause confusion so you should set it to default Vista, timeout 0, then it will load Vista without giving a second (redundant) boot option page. (This is the reason HnS gives you the EasyBCD option in phase 4, to tidy up the Vista bootloader).
Use the other options to rename or change the timeout in HnS's boot menu.
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The current problem is seeing XP Home working as it is now on the second partition and then seeing that added into the Vista boot loader. A repair install had to be performed on XP since the and ntldr files suddenly disappeared after Vista went onto the first primary. XP never made it to the Vista boot options menu until the entry by 1.7.1 was made to find the XP files missing?

Once all updates are on the next step is to see Vista loading again with the startup repair tool since you know what happened there. The change here was seeing Vista installed onto two separate drives while removing the ide HD mentioned before. With the first sata now unplugged the dual boot will be seen on the second sata now seeing two primaries.

Like originally seen on the ide drive that copy of Vista will be isolated once HnS is working on the second drive by simply having it unplugged during this time. If anything goes wrong with the dual boot setup like seen with the boot files found missing I'll still see a working OS on the first drive. 1.7.1 can be uninstalled easily enough since HnS still hasn't been used on the new copy of XP.

There is one quesion on the IBoot tool for simply using the option to reboot into another OS by selecting that while at the desktop. Will that automatically reboot into the other OS in a dual boot setup or will the choice again have to made in the boot options? I did notice the option for creating the entry in the phase #4 part while first and now trying to see XP added into the equation once the automatic startup repair tool is used.

If this works out here well then I can advise others how to work with the HnS tool when generally available and no longer in the development stage. The second copy of Vista here will show how well it works since I can easily take screen shots of each step and the end results for reference. With a third sata drive maybe lager then the pair of 500gb in use added in for storage and backup the second drive allows for multiple as well as the dual boot now being worked on.

One more question would seem to be using HnS while booted in VIsta? as you would with EasyBCD version wise after the Vista startup problem is repaired. XP is now updated and about to see HnS go on Vista to add XP there.
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A word of warning.
iReboot is not compatible with HnS

It works with a standard multi-boot where Vista is the top bootloader, and yes it takes you straight to the other system you select without the need to wait for a selection menu during boot.

But - I repeat - don't use it with HnS - It was written before HnS existed and therefore cannot possibly handle the fact that a higher level HnS bootloader exists.

A future release will be compatible once HnS is out of Beta.
I won't be using it but will take notes about that. With only the dual boot configured drive plugged in I'm still not seeing a working dual boot. I'm taking a few screen shots as I go along to chronicle the progress after seeing the "invalid/boot.ini file" message when choosing XP at startup. As you will see I tagged each of those two according to the version of Windows on each partition.

The time was knocked down to 0 for the Grub4Dos screen which now only sees a quick flash while Windows firsts starts loading. I may be forced to reinstall Vista however to first get the dual boot to work. The repair install of XP saw XP take over until using the Vista starup repair to now see Vista by itself when selecting XP. This was odd since the last dual boot was between two separate drives to see Vista with the default loader while not working with both version on the same drive?
You dont have to reinstall. You are going about it the hard way. The invalid boot.ini means that the settings you have for the boot.ini that Vista BCD (The boot loader) is trying to use are incorrect. Fix that.

Windows XP - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

There is the XP Page with all the documentation and also the troubleshooting page which has just about every piece of information you could need to fix this problme without having to resort to a format and re-isntall. That is most likely why you cant boot into XP now. Everytime you try to dual boot and it doesnt work you format right away instead of troubleshoot and fix the boot.

I have had XP/Vista on the same drive along with putting them on 2 different drives. Everytime i have been able to fix the boot so that it works accordingly. So somehow your boot.ini file is corrupted by either showing the wrong drive/partition combo or jsut the wrong partition.

With the partitions you have to start the count at 0 (Zero) not 1. So the first drive would be 0 then the 2nd partition is 1 and so on. Adjust your boot.ini from there and you will see that you can have a dual boot without a format. :wink:
I got past that part but then after seeing the Grub4Dos dual boot options I selected XP to see if it would load. Here's a pair of things that were seen like when the XP desktop first came up and a few quick looks in explorer windows saw....?

For one had to take care of the ATI driver error and while looking a update on the XP partition....

Since a system restart was needed for the reinstall of the video drivers and catalyst I apparently set the time for displying boot options to 0 as suggested earlier to see XP instantly loading until I can lengthen the time for Display in the Grub4Dos options screen.

Gee? Now where did the Vista primary go on the second sata? I wanted to see if HnS could be ran now in XP to see what the default was at as well as raising the time up from 0 to 10 seconds and this was seen there! Something must have worked? B-) :happy: