windows 7/XP dual boot issue


I really hope someone out the can help me, I have searched everywhere for someone with a similar issue to mine but have come up with nothing.
I just *know* it has got to be something straightforward.
I am in the process of setting up a multi-boot system. So far I have two instances of XP Pro (which I installed first) and one of Windows 7 Home Premium.
Dual boot menu all seems good except for one thing.......
If I boot Win 7 after having previously been in XP the first boot fails but then the second attempt will work (after going back through the boot menu). And vice-versa if booting XP after having been in Win7. I seem to be able to boot between the XP's without issue, and can boot Win7 after Win7 etc.I also manage to pull up error screens asking about hardware changes if I fiddle too much!
The basic problem is that I can never boot on the first attempt to an OS if I have previously been in another OS.
Does this ring any bells with anyone? It is truly driving me mad!
We've seen issues like this with a number of people, it's usually hardware-related.

Do you have 4GB+ of RAM?
Thanks ever so much for the reply, I have been going quietly out of my mind on this on!

Glad to hear (I think!) that I am not the only one who has encountered this issue, my PC does indeed have 4GB of ram (but no more than) it is a:

Samsung R780 17.3 inch notebook Core i5-520M 2.4GHz, 4Gb, 640Gb

Has any one to your knowlege had any luck in resolving this issue?

Can anyone point me in the direction of any other posts from other people that have had this problem?

I have searched everywhere and can still find no reference to it.

Surely this problem will become more prevalent as 4GB RAM becomes incresingly common?
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It's not always a problem.
I have 6Gb RAM with W7x64 - Vista x64 - XP x86 - Ubuntu, and they all work fine (on my hardware anyway)
I never experienced this either. But this advice has worked for people in the past.

What you *could* try is to limit the RAM from the bootloader. You can start by using EasyBCD to limit 7's RAM to 3GB and adding "/maxmem:3072" to the end of the XP line in boot.ini

If that works, you can experiment with removing this option from either XP or Vista/7 and see if it continues to boot without problems. You can also try using different, higher numbers.
Hi, back after Christmas, same problem....

Thanks Computer Guru I have tried what you suggested, but to no avail.

That is I added the"/maxmem:3072" lines to the boot.ini XP lines. Easy BCD would not let me reduce physical memory for Win7 so i did so using msconfig. Does this amount to the same thing?

Anyway the problem persists.

I did notice along the way that each of the XP installations hasn't lettered it's own system as "C:" as I would have expected.

Have I missed something along the way? Could this have any bearing on things?

Again any pointers would be VERY much appreciated.

Btw, Happy New Year!
I don’t think your problem as they do with RAM at all. The remove one stick of two sticks of RAM thing usually has to do with the RAM being bad and when Windows 7 will not even load. Sometimes either one of two sticks of RAM might be stable by itself but because it’s dual channel, if the sticks are slightly different, they may not work together.

If you want to test your RAM you could download the ultimate boot 5.0.3 disc from the link below. Amongst many other useful features it has a built-in RAM checker capability.

Click whare is say’s “Softpedia Secure Download (US)” for a direct download
Ultimate Boot CD Download - Softpedia

The problem lies with the boot process. I would scrap your setup and start all over. Install Windows first at the front of the hard drive. Use manual partitioning from within the Windows 7 installation process and give Windows 7 say 55 GB or more. Windows 7 will create a hidden boot partition in front of the one for windows seven’s main partition of approximately 100 MB. Then you can install your Windows XP’s. The boot.ini files for the XP’s will end up in the hidden boot partition. When you add the second XP in Easy BCD assign its drive letter manually.

That should fix it. Exactly why this problem occurring beats me. One thing to consider is that Microsoft always recommends installing OS’s in the order from oldest to newest so that the newer one will pick up the older one as a load option. I believe this is called chain loading. With Easy BCD this is not necessary. With Easy BCD you’re modifying the Windows 7 boot loader set up and making it better more complicated and adding more options to it. Therefore it is not necessary to install the older OS’s first and that may be what’s causing the issue.

Boot Process:
Hi Pillars of Creation,

Thanks for your suggestions. I have done what you said but the problem persists.

The problem also happens on the XP install i.e. after installing Win7 when I try to install XP the first attempt will fail and the second attempt will succeed. It certainly looks like this is the same thing causing this.

Does this info suggest a solution to anyone?

I have been pulling my hair out over this one (and spending a lot of time!) It looks like my plans for a multi-boot system (the reason I purchased the laptop) have been scuppered.

I may have to start looking at virtualization from within Win7 which is far from ideal.

I will proceed with the Ubuntu dual boot setup and see if this causes any similar problems, will let you know how I get on.