Windows Vista forum

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dual boot vista and xp two different hard drives

by heteri / September 13, 2007 3:52 AM PDT

I am building a new system and will that will have 2 separte SATA hard
drives. I want to do s dual boot one w/vista and the other with xp. I will be starting from scatch meaning i will be doing clean installs.
can anyone tell me what to? I saw things on this forum similar to i am trying to do but not specific to what i need. I need help on what to do and can this be done?

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Two main points...
by John.Wilkinson / September 13, 2007 10:33 AM PDT

1.) First, see if your motherboard has SATA drivers available on CD or for download. Sometimes they must be presented during installation and other times not, depending on the motherboard. If your hard drive isn't 'seen,' that's usually the main reason.

2.) Be sure to install XP first, regardless of which HD you're installing it to. Vista uses a new boot loader, which will be overwritten if another OS is installed afterwards. That would lead to Vista being unbootable and force you to perform a repair installation before you every use the OS.

Hope this helps,

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by heteri / September 14, 2007 5:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Two main points...

That's all i have to do. I am installing xp now. So really all i did was skip a step of Partitioning by using 2 drives. So afterward just install vista on the next drive.

After both operating systems are installed will i be able to choose xp or vista at bootup.

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Setting up dual boot using two hard drives one for Vist & on
by aussiegreens / October 16, 2007 9:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Cool

i have had a new computer built with two hard drives one runs XP the other Runs Vista unfortunalty Vista Crashed which meant i had to do a reinstall (i unplugged the Xp Drive while i re installed Vista) after the vista instal i ne wcannot dual boot i have down loaded VistaBoot pro and am now stuck and confused, should i have installed Vista while the Xp drive was connected, if not how do i configure dual the boot. the shop wants to charge me $80 to set up the dual boot again. i figured that this is going to happen often so i should learn how to set up the dual boot.
any help would be very welcome

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Have both connected in the future...
by John.Wilkinson / October 16, 2007 12:10 PM PDT

When you install an OS it automatically scans the other hard drives for existing OSes which should be displayed as options during boot time. Since the XP drive wasn't connected at the time of Vista's reinstallation it doesn't know about XP, so there's no dual-boot option. You should be able to correct this the simplest way by booting to the Vista DVD and instead of installing look for the "Repair your computer" option in the bottom left corner of the second it followed by Startup Repair. You can also use VistaBootPRO to manually add it, but give Startup Repair the first shot. If it fails we can go step-by-step with the alternatives.


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new dell laptop with 2 hard-drives....
by mach2race / May 29, 2008 4:43 AM PDT

Hey guys, I purchased a new dell laptop (inspiron 1720) which came pre-loaded with Vista. I needed XP for some applications, so I purchased a 2nd hard-drive and loaded it with XP. I have vista installed in the primary HDD1 drive, and XP in the recovery HDD2 drive. I would like to have the option of booting from either disc. Right now, the only way I can do this... is by going into the bios and changing the boot sequence of my hard-drives. I've tried easy bcd, and vista boot pro, but so far... I can not select which drive boots, without going into the bios, and changing the boot sequence.
Can anybody help?

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new dell laptop with 2 hard-drives...
by vsansevero / May 3, 2009 8:58 AM PDT

I am not sure this will help you john but let me tell you about my Dell two HD dual boot config XP first then added Vista. The Dell is a DIM E521,A64,3200+. It came with OS XP and a 80GB SATA II HD and I added a 320GB SATA II HD and 3gb ram. I used it in this config for about a year making sure all programs where installed on 80GB drive. Here are the steps I used to create my Dual boot xp/vista two HD config.
1-backup all data from 320GB.
2-disconnnted 80gb power and sata cable.
3-disconnected 320gb sata cable.
4-connect the orig 80gb sata cable to the 320gb HD.
5-Used original XP disk to install XP on 320gb HD.
6-Used Vista Upgrade disk to upgrade 320gb HD to Vista Home Premium.
At this point I had a clean install XP upgraded to Vista that ran fine. The OS set the HD drive letter to [C:]. Continuing with the steps.
7-Reload personal data on 320gb HD.
8-connect the original 320gb sata cable to the 80gb HD
9-connect a power cable to the 80gb HD
I then let the computer boot with no interference from me and of course it booted to Vista using the 320gb drive, but I could now see my old 80gb HD as drive [E:]. The OS selected [E:] because I have a 13 in 1 media card reader. Now comes the part that suprised me I rebooted but this time I pressed F12 to activate the Boot Menu and then navigated to the 80gb HB. The system then booted to XP with all my original programs in tact and with access to 320gb HD. The part that supprised me was that the OS reassigned drive letter [C:] to the 80gb HD making all its registry entries correct and drive letter [K:] to the 320gb HD also maintaining registry entries for my data. I have been able to switch back and forth from Vista to XP with complete data access in both. I have not tried to run XP installed programs in vista because I am sure this would create problems.

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dual boot
by Eugene I / October 23, 2009 5:38 PM PDT

I tried this method myself on my computer and it did not work. Any other options? If I reinstall Vista with the XP drive still plugged in it will over write the boot sector of XP. Any other ideas or methods.

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Re: overwrite boot sector
by Kees Bakker / October 23, 2009 5:50 PM PDT
In reply to: dual boot

Yes, that's exactly what it will do to show you the dual boot option. If that's what you want, go ahead.


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Dual Boot With Two Hard=Drives (1)Sata-Vista (2)IDE-XP
by Eugene I / November 8, 2009 6:01 PM PST
In reply to: dual boot

I have a IDE with Win XP. I have a Sata with Vista. I can change in CMOS to which one will boot up First.

I installed XP on the IDE with the Sata unplugged. Then I unplugged the IDE and installed the Sata or Vista. Now I have an IDE with XP and a Sata drive with Vista.

I wanted to setup a dual boot system when the computer boots up and a screen will come up giving me a dual boot option.

So in XP, I edited the line under start, settings, control panel, system advance, startup and recovery and click on edit. The default system is Win XP. I copy a line and changed to read as below.
disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)windows=microsoft "windows vista"/noexecute-optin/fastdetect This line goes under the [opetating system} under the signature line that shows the same thing but Windows XP.

In cmosI have under the advance Bios features under hard disk boot priority (1)IDE WinXP (2)Sata Vista and (3) bootable.

When I start up the computer I will have an option to choose and if I choose MS Windows XP home (30 sec) it will boot up into Win XP fine. But if I choose Win vista I will get an error message.

Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configureation problem. Could not read from the selected boot disk (Vista) check boot path and dksi hardware.

Now If I go into CMOS and change the order to (1) Vista (2)XP (3) Bootable.

Then when the computer starts there is no option for booting but will boot into Vista no problem.

So what can I do to get a dual boot system so when the computer starts up and the screen comes up with the option

Win XP will start in 30 seconds
Win Vista

And the if I choose either one it will boot up to that Operating system. In cmos which drive would I put first, put second for this to work properly.

Can anyone help or know the answer to this dual boot system problem?

I think that I have tried to install Vista with the IDE plugged in at the same time and think it gave me that option. But it will only boot into Vista and not XP. I do not want to reinstall Vista unless this is the only way in getting a dual boot system. HELP

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Just so you know.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 8, 2009 7:43 PM PST

You might have posted a request for help in an old long discussion so many won't open this. Be sure you know the downside and also if you posted here on purpose some won't reply if the answer was already given in the discussion. They'll wait for you to read the 64 posts in this discussion.

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dual drives
by Eugene I / November 9, 2009 6:22 AM PST
In reply to: Just so you know.

I have read through all the discussions and I am not sure any answers was found. If I explain the whole thing from the beginning to the end of what I did in the attempt to get a dual boot system, then anyone who will read this will know. And then by chance someone will know the answer. Giving someone only a partial explaination does not give them the whole picture. I tried to give the complete picture with my explanation of what I do to have dual boot. But I do not want to go into CMOS everytime I want to change over to XP if I am using Vista most of the time. I want to have that option at startup where I can chose XP or Vista and it will boot to that OS. Have you got any answers to my discussion in the long form????????:"?:"

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dual boot vista and xp installed on two separate disks
by dryzone / January 1, 2010 3:31 PM PST

I just managed to do it in four simple steps.
Just give it a try if you are still interested.

first copy the following files from your XP disks to the vista disk.
NTLDR ; and boot.ini.

modify the boot.ini on the Vista Disk to read as follows:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /FASTDETECT /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN

it is the entry rdisk that will allow you to boot in xp from your vista.


use EASYBCD to modify the vista bootloader to read as follows:

There are a total of 2 entries listed in the Vista Bootloader.
Bootloader Timeout: 3 seconds.
Default OS: Microsoft Windows Vista

Entry #1

Name: Microsoft Windows Vista
BCD ID: {current}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe
Windows Directory: \Windows

Entry #2

Name: Microsoft Windows Xp Pro
BCD ID: {67a812d4-cdf8-11de-bece-000fea637e6e}
Drive: D:\
Bootloader Path: \NTLDR


save all your settings and write the MBR in the Manage Bootlaoder option in EASYBCD and you are done. just reboot and see for yourself.

easybcd can be dowloaded from the NEO SMART Techonlogies site:

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Answer to dryzone
by Eugene I / January 11, 2010 6:27 PM PST

The way you describe to me of how you did it four simple steps. Looks I have to do some copy, pasting and editing files. But will this work with (1) Sata drive with Win7 and (2) IDE drive with WinXP? Or will I have to find different files in Win7 to do the similar process you describe to me. Let me know. I did download EasyBCD 1.7 to get ready for this process.

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Question to Dryzone about dual boot Windows7/WindowsXP
by Eugene I / January 17, 2010 2:55 PM PST

I started the process that you described, but where do you copy those files to in Windows 7?

In Windows Vista you was able to go into system startup, startup and recovery and able to edit the same type of file.

With Windows 7 when you go into the same area it does not give you any boot.ini to edit to change. Windows 7 has bcdboot and a application called Bcdedit to edit that file. It said according to help to use Bcdedit on the command line, which there is no command line to select, unless you know where this is located.

Have you tried to do a dual boot using a Sata drive for Win7 and IDE drive for XP? Any idea if this process you describe will work with Win7?

I would like you to see if you can asist me if possible, thanks.

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Question to Dryzone about dual boot Windows7/WindowsXP
by dryzone / January 24, 2010 7:19 PM PST

my solution is for XP and Vista. I have not tried to do the same with Windows7 and vista.

sorry for now. may be in some time i can give you more details.

take care

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by vango4life / February 7, 2010 8:35 PM PST

Thanks so much for the help it worked perfectly thanks

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dual boot windows 7 and xp installed on two separate disks
by dvonjr / February 16, 2011 3:40 PM PST

Reading you post and double checking my settings against what you posted. My settings are exactly what you posted and I do get the option to select which OS I want to boot to on the boot menu. My problem is this, I boot into XP and all is well, I can start setting my desktop to what I want. Then I boot into Windows 7, fool around here for a bit and then reboot, or should I say try to reboot into XP again. I get one of several error messages but mostly <Windows_root>\system32\hal.dll is missing or corrupt. I will sometime get the same thing for ntoskrnl.exe. Now neither are corrupt or missing because using the XP CD to do a repair from the repair console and typing, expand x:\i386\hal.dl_ e:\windows\system32\hal.dll (x: being the drive I choose to work with) it always returns that no files were copied but I can boot into XP once again. My laptop is an HP Pavilion dv9000 that was pre-loaded with 64bit Vista Ultimate. I have two sata HDD's that attach with an IDE connecter and no way in the BIOS to change anything about the HDD's. I have tried everything that I can find on how to overcome these errors but nothing works. I'm hoping you or someone on the forum might have a suggestion as to what will correct this. I also tried to set up a dual boot both ways, Windows 7 first then XP, and XP first then Windows 7. I upgraded the Vista drive to Windows 7.

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Will install vista today
by heteri / September 15, 2007 2:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Two main points...

I will install vista today. so i will let you know how it turned out. Thanks a lot for the info above.

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Thanks everyone............
by heteri / September 15, 2007 10:03 PM PDT

I can't believe i made such a fuss. This was the easiest dual boot i have ever seen. I had no problems at all just follow the directions. Just one note to thoes who may want to do this in the future, make sure you click the advance tab(vista) so it will show you the hard drives. This comes after you hit the install button.

Everything is running properly I am able to run both systems with no problems.

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Just have to ask
by GenRommel / December 23, 2007 4:46 AM PST

sry if this is smiler to what people have said before but, I have read other forum threads where people make a huge deal about changing RAID/BOIS configs to dual boot with 2 HDDs.

So your saying that if XP is already installed on my comp, I just need to install Vista on my empty drive while both drives are connected and the dual boot will work from there?

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by John.Wilkinson / December 23, 2007 7:30 AM PST
In reply to: Just have to ask

You can usually get by just by having both drives connected, installing Vista to the second. However, if it fails you may have to change your SATA/RAID BIOS settings as you've read. Unfortunately there's no clear cut way of knowing until you try and either succeed or fail.


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Windows Vista failing to start at dual boot
by mdouglas7 / March 7, 2008 5:17 AM PST
In reply to: Usually...

I am using dual-boot with winXP and winVista Buss. I have them both running on IDE cables and one OS per drive; I have two drives. When I first got the dual boot working (which is a peice of cake) it all worked just fine but then after a few reboots and updates and software installs I go to select vista to boot and it gives some bootloader errors and the errors keep varieing going through the DLL files throwing errors. But then one time it will boot and other it wont this is agrivating I just wonder what the deal is with that? If anyone has experienced this and has a solution be advise me as to what I am doing wrong or not doing right.


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by dhrwfan / March 7, 2008 7:54 AM PST

Check the USB ports[plugged in flash drive] when it doesn't boot right and see if it is booting to a USB port.

Control what it boots to by using the boot menu...Choose the hard drive you want..On the menu they are different.

When you say you have two drives DO YOU MEAN two hard drives or two partition drives on one single hard drive..
Because if it is a single hard drive it is really easy to control the boot.
BUT BUT if different hard drives I would use Acronis Disk software because it will do it for you..{IT WILL DISPLAY ALL THE OPERATING SYSTEMS AND LET YOU CHOOSE WHEN YOU BOOT.]

The clue you gave that it may be booting to a USB port{plugged in floppy drive with disk} is that sometimes it boots and sometimes it doesn't..that means it is not the boot ini that is wrong it is the target to boot to that is wrong.

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for hetri
by Eugene I / November 9, 2009 4:11 PM PST

So what did you do to get dual boot system? Did you already have XP installed and left that drive plugged in and then install Vista on the other drive and it created an option at boot up where you can chooose XP or Vista and it will boot into either drive? When did you click on the advance tab (vista)? I may end up reinstall Vista? See if this works for me.

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F12 Key
by Eugene I / November 9, 2009 4:27 PM PST

I have a Gigabyte board and so when do you hit the F12 key? What changes did you do in your bios? In your bios do you have XP first and Vista second or which drive have you got listed first and which drive second?

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installing XP on top of Vista
by N3M3SIS01 / October 2, 2007 2:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Two main points...

I have recently installed Vista and want to install XP on a seperate drive due to the fact that Vista is not compatible with some of my old XP compatible programs. What is a repair installation and how would I perform such a task....thanks-Ryan.

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Separate hard dive or separate partition?
by YankeesNYwins / October 2, 2007 8:28 PM PDT

Separate hard dive or separate partition?

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XP install after Vista64 install
by N3M3SIS01 / October 3, 2007 5:02 AM PDT

seperate hard drive, I have two 500gig sata drives one with vista ultimate the other has nothing on it. I would like to utilize the free drive with XP.

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Installing XP after Vista...
by John.Wilkinson / October 3, 2007 1:00 PM PDT

I believe YankeesNYwins is thinking about having you create two separately bootable HDs, either physically alternating between the two or using your system BIOS or third-party app to switch between them as opposed to using a standard dual-boot setup. It's a nice option to minimize the chance of one affecting the other negatively, but it's up to you.

If you choose a standard dual-boot setup you can repair Vista's boot loader by booting to the Vista DVD after XP's been installed and instead of installing choose the Repair my computer option in the bottom left corner of the second screen. Startup Repair will then restore the new windows boot loader and make both Vista and XP bootable. Alternatively, you can followthese instructions from the command line within XP.

Hope this helps,

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Automatic Vista boot record repair did not work
by fastfilm / December 4, 2007 2:10 PM PST

Just a note for anyone else doing this, in case it helps: After many trials and installation attempts, I finally have a Vista and XP dual-boot on two separate drives. I went the hard way around, and first had Vista installed on one hard drive, then tried to install XP on the other. Had many problems with the XP install, though mostly not related to already installing Vista. Finally disconnected my Vista hard drive and did a clean install of XP. Then, tried to "repair" the boot record for Vista (following the instructions above). The Vista repair process said it worked, but it didn't (got the "Error Loading Operating System" message at boot). Finally performed the command-line commands (in XP) from John Wilkinson's link above, and that did work. Whew.

(Warning: tirade follows) Once it does work, it's very exciting to be able to choose which OS I want at boot up. Of course, if Vista didn't suck, I would only need that. And if XP had DX10 (this machine is for gaming), I would only have XP. And of course, if games were commonly written for any other platform, I wouldn't have a Windows OS at all.

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