Eric Stewart: Running Off At The Mouth

XP, Vista, Dual Booting: My Experiences/Solution

by Eric Stewart on Mar.03, 2008, under Computers, Technology

For those of you who dual boot Vista for one reason or another, you might be running into issues with getting XP or Vista to boot properly, depending on your configuration. There’s a lot of information out there regarding how you get it all working properly. The key is getting Vista’s boot manager to provide the boot menu that allows you to choose between operating systems. However, none of the “obvious” fixes worked for me (as they center around partitioned drives or drive setups that are strictly SATA or PATA, but not both), and here’s the deal –

Okay, describing the setup:

SATA RAID 1 set with XP Professional installed
PATA 40 GB drive for Vista (64 bit) testing


When Vista is installed on the 40 GB drive, it doesn’t understand (won’t “see” it) if the SATA RAID is set as the primary boot device – in other words, the system will not boot into Vista (unless, perhaps, if you leave your Vista CD in the drive). Further complicating the issue in my case is that, if you set the PATA drive to the primary boot device, even if you use some of the tools out there that provide GUIs (like VistaBootPRO), the Vista boot manager sees drive letters that may not be representative of the “truth” as far as your system is concerned.

So, what’s the fix?

You need to duplicate three files from your XP C: root to the Vista C: root:

* boot.ini
* ntldr
* (not sure 100% if this is needed)

Next, edit boot.ini on your VISTA C: drive – you should see an entry that looks something like:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP” /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptOut

Most likely, all you’ll need to change is the rdisk(0) portion to rdisk(1).

Now, edit your Vista bootloader to look for the “Windows XP” bootloader (ntldr) on the Vista C: drive. Then set your system to boot to the Vista drive. When you get to the boot menu, try switching to the XP entry. Hopefully, this will work for you.

However, all this being said, YMMV. Google is your friend; I suggest searching for “vista xp dual boot” and seeing what comes up.

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