This news item does not inclde a question. It is informational.
Installing a Vista OS with a dual boot to XP
Currently Vista installation will not completely install a dual boot
Since the learning curve on Windows Vista is steep and the number of
Vista drivers is limited, I recommend casual and experienced users
continue to use XP but install and casually use Vista until the user is
totally comfortable with the transition to Vista.
A procedure to install a dual boot system follows.
This guide assumes the user has an installation CD for the XP OS and an
installation DVD for Vista.
This procedure works if both media have full installation capability.
It has been tested for XP Pro 64 bit and Vista Ultimate 64 bit. It has
not been tested with update-only media (CD or DVD) or with other OS
versions. I have not detected any reason why it will not work with
Vista and other older Windows OS.
The Vista boot method has changed. A new boot loader has been introduced.
The old XP boot loader is not compatible with Vista. In Vista, the boot
information is stored in a new "Boot Configuartion Data" file and not in
the boot.ini file. I do not consider the Vista bcdedit.exe boot
modification application user friendly. Microsoft may modify the Vista
boot loader software to be user friendly.
In the interim I recommend VistaBootPro 3.1 Beta which is currently free
and works with the 01/30/07 released
version of Vista.
I do not know if future versions will be free.
The author has no interest in or connection with the
The Vista bcdedit.exe boot load editor tool is, at a minimum, cumbersome
to use. It is however possible to use it to establish a dual boot
system. I do not recommend it. bcdedit may be accessed in a Vista "run
as administrator" enabled command prompt window or when loading Vista
from the DVD in the repair mode (i.e. not install mode)
Each operating system MUST be installed in a separate partition. The
Acronis Disk Director or Norton Partition Magic applications (and
others) provide the capability to make, move, and resize partitions. I
recommend 20 GB or more in each windows OS partition. I have XP Pro
installed in C. and Vista Ultimate installed in V:.
As an aside, I recommend all application data files be stored on an
independent third partition so the data will not be destroyed if an OS
partiton fails or needs to be overwritten. I also install non-OS
applications on a 4th XP partition and a 5th Vista partition so I have a
reinstall reminder list if my OS must be reinstalled.
I STRONGLY recommend a copy of the full XP partition (and, if used, the
XP application partition) be backed up so it may be restored in the
event of a dual OS installation failure. I use an alternate hard drive
with 4 partitions as backup: XP backup A, XP backup B, Vista backup A
and Vista backup B. This method takes a lot of space but is quick to
restore and reasonably secure.
On to the procedure.
Verify your computer meets or exceeds Vista requirements. If it is more
than 2 years old, it probably will not.
Download the VistaBootPro software (see above) and store it on your data
Perform a thorough cleanup of XP: antivirus scan, diskchk, defrag
Backup, label, and verify the XP partition image
Your XP partition is probably C:.
Use Disk Management to identify, assign a drive letter, rename, and
format (NTFS)a partition for Vista. I used "S-1 V Vista Ultimate (V)".
In a clean install, I did not find it necessary to disable the firewall
or antivirus application because Vista restarted as soon as the Vista
files were transferred from the DVD.
After placing your Vista DVD in your DVD drive you may start Vista
installation from XP or restart the computer by running the Vista
install from the DVD drive.
Follow the Vista installation prompts. When asked, select "Custom" as
the installation type. Select the above assigned partition as the Vista
Installation location. Follow the installation prompts.
At the end of the Vista installation procedure it will install updates
and ask to restart Vista. Restart.
After Vista restarts verify Vista is working OK. Your XP OS will be
If you try to access XP via the Vista Boot Loader you will get a /ntldr
not found message because the Vista Boot Loader is not smart enough to
Shutdown and insert your XP installation CD. Load XP from the CD.
Follow the prompts to access the Recovery Console. Enter your password
and select the Windows C: partition when prompted.
At the C:/Windows prompt, enter "fixboot"
At the C:/Windows prompt, enter "fixmbr"
Remove the Windows XP Installation CD.
Your computer should restart and load Windows XP.
Verify Window XP is OK.
Remove the Windows XP Installation CD.
Insert the Vista Installation DVD.
Restart the computer and load from the Vista DVD. It will take a while
to load Vista and search for all your partitions.
When the action screen comes up select "Repair"
When asked, select your Vista OS partition (In my case, V
When the command prompt option is displayed, select it.
Enter "bcdedit /enum all"
A list of indeterminate length will be displayed. There will be entries
Vista, at least one Vista hibernate, and one windows lagacy os" or
"earlier version of windows".
All Vista entrys will have an identity field.
Verify the "earlier version of windows" is there. It may or may not have
a valid identity.
If both the Vista identity field and the earlier version identity field
are present all is OK.
Exit the command prompt window
Select the Repair mode.
When the repair is completed, remove the Vista DVD.
Request a restart.
Vista should start normally.
(Now you can modify the boot configuation file)
Right click on the VistaBootPro_3.1.0.exe file (previously downloaded)
an select "run as administrator"
When installation is complete, ask for run or double click on the
After the authorization prompt there will be another error prompt.
Acknowledge it and VistaBootPro should start.
The interface of VistaBootPro is straight forward.
Depending on the number of preceeding Vista installation attempts you
will see a variable number of entries on the OS list.
The first will probably be an empty legacy OS entry. The 2nd will
probably be the valid Vista entry. I my case it was the V: partiton entry.
Click the top "Manage OS Entries" button
Click on the "add new operating system" box
Click on the "Windows legacy" button
Enter the text name of your OS i.e. "Windows XP Pro"
Enter the drive letter; most likely C:
I recommend you change the booty delay time to 10 seconds or more.
3 seconds is short for me.
Click the "Manage OS Entries" button
"Windows XP Pro" should appear in the OS list
Remove all unwanted OS list entries from the OS list by selecting each
in turn and clicking on the "X" at the right of the list
Verify the OS you want is default. If not, select it and click "set as
The colored entry is the default entry
When all is correct, click the bootloader button at the top of the window
In the Bootloader Maintenance window, verify the "Reinstall the Vista
bootloader" button is selected and click "Apply"
Click OK in the following window
When complete, the "BCD Store Information" window will appear with the
corrected list. If the list is OK, exit the application.
When you restart your computer the new list should appear with the
default. Happy Computing! Carl F