XP Not working

Ok sorry if im in the wrong spot but this was the closest thing i could find to my problem. I had xp on drive c, then installed vista 32 bit from in window and all drives were same and life is good right? now this is my problem when i put 64bit on (have to load it from disk) and it see its self as C: and will see the XP on the boot list thanks to your app, BUT when xp is selected it will reboot and says ntdl missing or whatever, i then can load using a ntdl cd i found and with the option two on that disk (it dose differnt disk and partion options) and will get in but this the only way to boot xp right now...... also vista 64bit dirves are all outa wack (i have 6 +plus network drives so with a tri boot this is confusing) mainly i need help getting xp to boot without that disk, i did the boot ini edit like im used to and that did not see to work...... also would be a HUGE bonus but is it possible to get vista to NOT be C:???? sorry if thats confusing at all and im at work and been looking at forums for days and need help

in xp i have a 120gig thats C, a 180 gig that w vista 32bit, and vitsa 64 is Y in xp but C in 64bit

any help would be loved, mainly i have to get xp to boot nativley thanks in advance
thank you

Ok i will do all that step by step when i get home, and thanks for the fast reply, i will log all that i have done as i redo it and reply if i have any problems..... i thought that vista dont have a boot.ini file now though cause my xp one is right cause if i uninstall vista it boots? well im at work now so i will try this when i get home (i work 12 hr shifts as a network admin) and reply again if i need help thanks again

Mak 2.0

Staff member
Vista doesnt use the boot.ini file But if you are dual booting with XP it still needs to be on the Vista drive to boot XP. The BCD is the new boot loader that Microsoft is going with. But you need the old files for XP on the boot drive, most likely your Vista drive, to boot XP.
this right?

So i need to copy my boot.ini file from the xp drive just onto the root of the vista drive that thinks it is "c:/" into what dir on the vista drive.... root?

Mak 2.0

Staff member
Yes just copy it to the root of the drive. Will also need the NTLDR and the NTDETECT files as well. Then your dual boot should work perfectly.

:grinning: that makes sense and i had read many times that vista dont use boot.ini so i just disreguarded the vista drive cause it boots..... lol well im super excited get home and get this working finally

if i have any problems i will get as much detail/info and screenshots as possible IF i have a problem


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Just one check before you copy. Look in admin tools/comp mgmt/disk mgmt to find which of your disks is marked "system active". Thats the one where all the boot files for Vista and XP must be. It's not necessarily C:\
Use the same program to sort out your disk lettering. You can rename anything that isn't marked system, active, boot or pagefile.
Getting the OS disks to be the letters you want takes planning before you start loading systems up. Once you've done it and let MS randomize them, you're pretty much stuck with them unless you do the install again.
? to terry

Ok in reply to terry i have XP on that where all the stuff is i care about and it is "c" and then i in windows installed 32bit vista np and all is good.............

now you say i have to plan....... what? i have to install 64bit vista off the disk right? and then JUST in 64bit its letters all all messed up, i dont have much on it and would format AGAIN (3x) but would really not like to cause i have 8 gigs of ram and vista needs SP1 so the reinstall sucks but ill do it again if i can fix the letters.......

also i cant move them in manage/disk manger cause is sees 4out of my 6 hdds as having windows on them..... cause they do....... and wont let me move them..........

i have installed with all hdd's unpluged and also with all pluged in to get same results......

thanks in advace only 8hrs till i go home lol


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
The thing to consider is that Windows is always going to install on C on a blank system (or if it thinks it's blank because you've disconnected other disks), and other partitions will be lettered in sequence from all remaining letters that you haven't used for something else. (like optical drives, usb devices etc)
Whenever I install a fresh system, I make sure that all my CD, DVD, Flash, Card reader, Camera, ext HDD etc are named and lettered (in the N - Z range in my case) to my historically fixed assignments, before anything else gets done to the system. Then I name the HDD partitions in the C to M range before any customization of things like pagefile position set an address in stone.

If you run setup of a new installation from within a pre-existing OS rather than booting the distribution CD/DVD, and therefore a C (and other) disks already exist, windows will use the next available letter (what's available is largely up to you depending on what you've done so far)

You can also use 3rd party disk managers to rename disks provided you do it early enough in the process before it will interfere with applications that have registered as being at a particular address.

See the thread http://neosmart.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1718 for a description of how one of the forum visitors achieved this.

Remember too that these are all internal constructs of the individual OS, so you have to organize it yourself for the assignments to be consistent across several systems, or they'll just be randomly different with each system you boot.

Bear in mind that if your OS is not C:\, but the OS can see another disk that is C:\, when you install 3rd party apps, some of them will put some stuff on the C disk no matter where you tell it to go. (Adobe software for example). This can cause the apps to fail or misbehave if they're installed on such a system and on the one called C:\
Last edited:
clarify please

Ok so i get that part cause the 64bit works with it being C:/ and my xp that is really c:/ but it see it as D:/ but all works.......... this is just lame cause i have HDD's and this gets retard complex when you in linux, xp, vista 32 and 64 and they are diff letters......

my question to you really simple is that you CANT install it IN windows like you can the 32bit, it tells you, you cant....... so you HAVE TO install from the disk (and i had all the drives pluged in at the time) and the drive letters are all still jacked......


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You appear to have discovered something I wasn't aware of - that x64 systems have to be booted to install on a pre-installed 32bit system.
I was fortunate in that case that I started by installing Vista x64, and then added my old XP 32 bit system afterwards, so I was able to manipulate it to look exactly as I wanted, with all drive letters mirrored across both systems.
It would seem that your only options are to put up with the differences, or use 3rd party software or registry hacks to alter the Vista 64 system just after you install it and before you do any further work on it.
Sorry not to have been of more help.
Last edited:

*waves fist at bill gates* F U MAN

not your fault and thank you terry your way WOULD work if iwas starting from scratch and didnt care about my data...... *snaps back to reality* but i do........ o well that was just a luxury but I JUST got home and im off to try to fix the thing that matters -xp not even booting at all- SEE ^^^^

but thank you regaurdless...... :booyah: i hope this work *off to fix my gaming rig*

wish me luck


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Yes, x64 operating systems cannot have their setup sequences started from an x86 OS.

I heard that if you start the setup with an x86 CD then switch to the x64 CD when the PC restarts you should be good to go - haven't tried it myself though, so can't vouch for its accuracy. You may want to give it a shot however and see if it does the trick for you.
Guro thanks for one more thing to try

MUCH thanks..... i was running out of ideas that will be one more thing to try when i get home, at this point there is not much on the x64 partion so im not TOO sad to format it to try.... i dont have time tonight, BUT ill post my findings on wen night when i have time.... thanks to the admins for your williness to help :joy::S


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
No problem, that's what we're all here for. Best of luck, and do let us know how it goes.
bah ok i got home and i started the install for vista32 IN WINDOWS and restarted and then ass i was getting int to windows i was super excited cause it installed off the 64 bit disk i put in on restart...........

right click my computer and "32bit vista" bahhhh NAMMIT

then i found on a diff forum this dud has a VERY similar set up AND same problem < go figure eh?

drive letter prob in dual boot of XP Vista x64 - MSFN Forums

and he gets referred to you guys (you must be good huh) but like i have read a few times that i just have to live with the drive letters being jacked up.......

I am a neat freak so this just bugs the crap out of me...... every thing works in all but just now how i want and i always get my way :wink: lol


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
If you google for changing drive letters, you'll come across a MS registry zap to fix a system drive letter that's got changed, with the warning not to try it for any other reason. I think the warning is because if you change the drive letter of a system that's been built for some time, all the software registrations that point to the system will be wrong.
However if you're a real neat-freak, it is possible to get them too. I did this when my XP install got twisted after I'd had a second hard disk disconnect/connect, and some of the software thought XP was C and some thought it was D. I have Vista as C and XP as D, so the confused software was also trying to write to Vista.
Rather than reinstall XP (which had been a pain to get my PCI-E graphics working), I went through the registry finding all "C:\" and hand editing them to "D:\"
My system dual boot works fine ever since, but I warn you it's a very long and tedious process.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Ah, I thought you were trying to install Windows XP x64 - that trick will never work for Vista since it copies all files needed for setup before rebooting whereas XP setup will only copy the files needed to launch the PE environment used for setup, then load the rest from the CD post-reboot.
white flag....

so im ganna try a few more things but if all else fails im ganna just format em all and do it from scratch just so they are all the same letters..... (ya im that ocd bout it)

unless anyone knows any otherway ......:scared: