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My Experiment with Windows XP and Vista on same partition

by mark04276 / May 3, 2007 12:56 AM PDT

Attention: I do not recommend doing this to your computer. I undertook this experiment on my laptop for a few reasons.

1. I am getting my new 64 bit Vista today and I have everything backed up and ready to go. Basically I was bored waiting for UPS to show up and this was a perfect time to try this out.

2. I wanted to prove that this can be done

3. Wanted to prove that you didnt have to use Dban or any other software to wipe a hard drive before.

4. That this can be done with Vista installed already.

Here is what I used:
Microsoft Vista Business (already had this installed as only OS)
Microsoft XP Pro
1. One Partition
2. HP dv9000t Laptop
3. Sata Native Enabled in Bios (never changed during this process, XP doesnt care about that, still have to use F6 Install).
4. USB Floppy Drive
5. Sata Driver on Floppy for XP
6. Paint Shop Pro Cd

What I did:
1. First like I said I had Vista already installed and running on my C: with no problems and everything installed.

2. Put my XP CD in the cd-rom drive and restarted the computer (Start/Restart)

3. I pushed a key when it stated to boot from CD. I pushed F6 when prompted to Install Scsi or Raid. When I got to the blue screen that asked for additional storage I pushed the "S" key put my floppy disk in the usb floppy drive and pushed Enter. I choose the driver for my laptop (Intel 82801GBM SATA AHCI Controller Mobile ICH7M)and pushed Enter. The computer copied files from the floppy then when it went back to the same blue screen asking for any addititional storage devices I clicked Enter to continue with Install. I got to the part in the install where it asked where you want to install. I choose C:. It gave me a warning that another /windows folder was there and could overwrite that. I changed the folder to where I wanted to install Windows to /WinXP. Install continued and had two errors with a couple of files while it was registering these files during the install. One was wab file and cant remember the other.

4. Once the computer rebooted after the XP install, I held my breath. What I have done was extreme and not heard of. I didnt know what to expect. I didnt get a boot menu to choose which operating system to boot to, but it booted to a clean install of XP. I only installed Paint shop pro (to the same c:\program files folder that is installed on the Vista OS) just to take a snapshot of windows explorer.

5. I rebooted hoping I would get a boot menu to choose either OS. I didnt. I then booted up my XP install cd again and went to recovery mode and tried to use bootcfg /add to make the boot menu appear. Well bootcfg would not work saying boot configuration was corrupted (can you imagine that). I exited out of that and rebooted back to XP.

6. I manually modified the boot.ini file to see if I can get the boot menu. I rebooted and behold I got a boot menu, but it didnt work for Vista. All I got was a black screen and it hanged.

7. I then inserted my Vista cd and booted into that. I went to recover problem with computer when asked. I choose to fix my vista installation (it only allows you to fix Vista, Xp didnt even show up). It did its thing all by itself. I rebooted the computer and didnt get the boot menu again but this time it booted up to Vista and it was just like I left it. I again took a snapshot with the same Paint shop pro installed on c:\program files

1. Dban or any other disk wiping software is not needed.

2. If you actually have the OS disk and not recovery disk, this shouldnt be a problem.

3. If you have Sata you will need to use the F6 installation of XP no matter what your setting is inside your Bios. That setting is meant for Vista not XP. This means you will need a floppy drive and drivers for your Sata on the floppy.

4. Obviously I was extreme by putting both of these OS's on the same partition, but I did it for a reason. If I can do that then I know I can easily put them on seperate primary partitions.

5. Even though I couldnt get the boot menu to work, I am sure if I put the OS's on seperate partitions, I would be able to get that to work. If the windows boot.ini wouldnt do this, I am sure I would be able to use third party software to do so (Partion Magic Boot Manager or Acronis OS Selector.

6. I have 3 pictures of this (windows explorer view - along with the bottom toolbar) but need a place to put them for you to see. I dont have a web site yet (believe it or not) to post them so if someone (preferably a moderator) can suggest where to post these, I will. Check my profile to get a hold of me.

7. Again I found this to be very simple and I would not actually set my computer up this way (partitions a must), I DO NOT recommend doing this to your computer. Even with seperate partions, this is not for beginners or the faint of heart.

Now where is that UPS man with my 64 Bit Vista Ultimate Edition

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Here is how I do it.

LOOK AT this Computer Management picture.
by YankeesNYwins - 4/29/07 12:35 PM

LOOK AT this Computer Management picture.

1. Here are six different operating systems I just made experimenting with a 250 GB Western Digital and 250 GB Maxtor Sata 300 hard drive.

2. Starting with one operating system I saved three drive images of the same drive simply by changing the boot loader numbers.

3. I saved them in folders named after the partition number so I would know which is which.

4. Next I restored each image to the correct partition by matching the folder number to the partition number.

5. That was the Western Digital Hard Drive and here is how I did the Maxtor hard drive:

6. TO put the three operating systems on the Maxtor hard drive took 24 minutes and here is how I did it.

7. I booted a Symantec Recovery Disk that came with Symantec System Works 2003 and restored folder number ONE to the blank 250 GB Maxtor hard drive.

8. I knew it would boot to a ?MISSING OPERATING SYSTEM? so after it did I put the partition magic boot magic rescue floppy in the external floppy drive and booted and it showed that there was NO VISIBLE operating system. {That is why it booted to ?MISSING OPERATING SYSTEM?.

9. It asked me which one I wanted to boot to and I chose the only choice and it booted perfectly into the operating system.

10. Now I opened partition magic and partitioned the way you see in the picture.

11. Now I clicked on powerquest drive image 7.0 and restored the drive image in folder TWO to partition number TWO.

12. Now I clicked on powerquest drive image 7.0 and restored the drive image in folder THREE to partition number THREE.

Then I clicked on boot magic configuration and enabled it and it booted to this picture:

The top one is Partition 1 , middle partition 2, bottom partition 3.

Albeit you can?t guess which operating system in the picture is the operating system I am using to post this message? LOOK at it again.


I just restore a drive image to a blank partition making sure the folder number and partition number are the same.

I can do the same thing with Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, XP Professional, and all Vista systems.

Doing it with Vista is just a little tricky because Microsoft completely changed the boot loaders in Vista. Here are a few pictures of what I faced doing Vista.

Notice in this picture the correct bootable operating system is labeled drive C.

Why does the partition labeled March have diagonal lines through it?

The materials I use to experiment are:

Partition Magic $14.
PowerQuestDrive Image 7.0 Free
Symantec Recovery Disk (same as Norton Ghost 9.0) $19.
Floppy Disks
External Floppy Drive if you don't have one on your PC

Drive eraser for PATA drives. Free,com_remository/Itemid,47/func,showdown/id,7431/

Drive eraser for SATA drives. Free


Repairing an operating system is the pits because when you are finished it is like getting half eaten food at a restaurant.

Double PS: You edit the boot loader on Windows XP by right clicking on My Computer and click on properties and choose the advanced button and click on the bottom SETTINGS button and choose edit. *Save a copy before you change it so if you screw it up you can go back to the original settings which look exactly like the three I have posted below so if you forget to save a copy use mine.

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" fastdetect/

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" fastdetect/

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" fastdetect/

Now you can see why I save them in folders labeled one, two and three.

The folder number tells me which partition drive image is in it.

I purposely restored drive image of folder two onto partition THREE to see what would happen and here are the three possibilities?.

IT BOOTED to a BLACK SCREEN with the following different messages depending on how it felt.TIC

HAL.dll missing , reinstall HAL.dll
Missing operating system
Auto check missing , skipping auto check cycle over and over.

I am not smart enough to know why they differ from time to time.

BUT I know how to correct it FAST by BOOTING from the Symantec Rcovery Disk and restoring folder 3 to partition 3 right OVERTOP of the one that booted to the black screen of death.

Disclaimer: This is just me experimenting and I remind you of the EULA you agree to when you purchase Microsoft products and I in no way advocate violating that agreement.

I save the drive images and only use one at a time therefore abiding by the EULA.

All of my operating systems work independent of each other because I partition the hard drive without using Microsoft Windows. I partition them with Partition Magic.
I can set a system restore point on anyone of them and it has no effect on the other operating systems on the other partitions.

IN OTHERWORDS it is a true partition, separate, independent, unknown to Windows.

I hope someone enjoys this report.

It took a lot of time but my Intel E-6600 CPU sure made it faster. I would start restore a drive, walk in the kitchen to heat my coffee, return and it was finished already..The E-6600 rocks.

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That is extreme ...... but incredible
by mark04276 / May 3, 2007 4:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Here is how I do it.

I have no intention of dual booting, never mind multiple I plan on having just the one OS on my machine. I know boring. I used to run multiple OS's (3) in the past, but have no urge any more.

I just did my simple experiment to prove that having Vista installed had nothing to do with XP not finding a hard drive or that they couldnt boot from a XP install CD and blaming Vista for it.

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Diagonal lines are because
by mark04276 / May 3, 2007 4:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Here is how I do it.

Why does the partition labeled March have diagonal lines through it?

That is the one you had selected up above. Any drive you click on on the top will put diagonals in the space below

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How to do Vista, XP and all of them.

Well, my favorite software is Partition Magic and Microsoft said "sorry, it will not work on Vista".

So I set out to see if it was true. You be the judge.

I like to see how things work so I played around with Partition Magic and Vista.
If you perform my test you will be astounded.

Use a PC you can play with and do this and you will not believe "Boot Magic" automatically programs all Vista "boot loaders". I was astonished. Keep in mind two things if you try my test-You can not start from a Vista operating system and boot magic must be installed and enabled.

1. Powermax 4.22 Drive Eraser....Maxtor...Put it in the CD rom drawer and it writes the hard drive to zeros like it was when it was brand new.
2. Windows XP Professional, or Home Edition. Only used for "Repair" features.
3. Powerquest Drive Image 7.0
4. Symantec Recovery Disk (?Norton Ghost? (9.0).I only use this in case you try to restore a drive and it says, ?incorrect parameter, target is smaller than source". This disk ignores the difference.
5. Powerquest Partition Magic
6. You must run partition magic and make two emergency rescue floppy disks, one to boot to any partition (boot magic floppy) and one to load partition magic.

You must have a large external hard drive.

You must have the Windows XP CD that came with your PC or the recovery disk before you can do anything.

First copy or save and data or pictures or stuff you DON'T want to lose to an external hard drive and than. Use a TEST computer.

1. Run powermax and erase the drive to zeros.

2. Install the Windows XP operating system.

3. Install Microsoft net framework 1.1

4. Install Partition Magic Powerquest Drive Image 7.0 (Looks just like Ghost 9.0)and immediately make two floppy disks for recovery environment, one for "Boot Magic" as stated above" and one for "partition magic".

5. Partition the hard drive into four partitions using partition magic. How this is done depends on the size of the hard drive. Don't change the active partition. When you partition the hard drive give them names so you know which is which. Let?s say the hard drive is 200 GB?s, make the partitions 35, 35, 35, 80. The 80 will be an extended logical drive with a partition 2 GB?s of Fat32 file system. (Needed for ?Boot Magic?.

6. Boot to the installed operating system into windows.

9. Click on Powerquest Drive image and click on "back up drive". Select the drive you are using.
10. Make the target a folder you created in the external hard drive.

11. When it is finished copying the partition to the external hard drive open "Powerquest Drive Image" again and click on "restore a drive" and browse to your source in the external hard drive and make the target the BLANK partition#2.(With a name)

12. When it is finished writing the drive you than have two perfect operating systems totally independent of each other.

13. But when you get to this point now how do you go from one operating system to the other without installing "boot magic". It is easy, just click on "partition magic" and right click on the operating system you want to boot to and at the bottom click on "advanced" and click on "set active" and boot.

14. When you get to this point you will fail (probably) to boot correctly into the new operating system.

You will get, " autocheck missing , skipping auocheck and it reboots over and over and over.

Or you will get a black screen that says "hal.dll is missing, reinstall hal.dll...

or others...

All are fixed using Windows CD repair feature that you can get into by loading Windows XP and choosing ?R? for repair. (Need password) I made my own by slip streaming SP2 on to Windows XP.

When you get into command prompt select the operating system you want to logon to and type: bootcfg /rebuild
What: Windows XP Home Edition
How: fastdetect/

Notice the space after bootcfg before the slash mark and no space after fastdetect and the slash mark.

This will rebuild the correct boot loader.

Why I always load two or three XP operating systems instead of just using
the "Symantec recovery disk"? I do it because it is faster and I like it; however if you get into this stuff you will need the recovery disk at some point when you get the " incorrect parameter, target is smaller than source".

I always take care to match my source and target size but sometimes I have to use the ?Symantec recovery disk? which came with Norton System Works 5. It loads exactly like Norton Ghost 9.0.

Now you can install Vista on any partition either as an upgrade (must go on top of Home Edition) or as a full install Vista DVD.

Once you have installed Vista save a drive image using powerquest drive image 7.0 or copy a drive to a drive. Both of these are targeted to an external hard drive and I leaned that if I copy a drive to a drive I can do this to it?

Say I copy a Vista Drive to an external hard drive partition (copy drive to drive) and the Vista Hard Drive is 60 GB?s and the external hard drive is 60 GB?s.

After I finish I right click on the drive in the external hard drive and select properties and see that it is only using 16 GB?s? Are you ready for this????

Not only can I copy a Vista Drive to an external hard drive but now I open Partition Magic and right click on the partition in the external hard drive that holds the 60 GB copy of the Vista Operating system and resize it to 24 GB?s.

I finished with this test and did it over and over an as long as ?Boot Magic? is installed and enabled I can do anything with Vista I did with XP.

Here is a control test to confirm my findings.
1. Partition one and two has Vista installed by simply restoring a drive on the selected partition.
2. Partition three has XP Home Edition.
3. Ran Norton Ghost 9.0 recovery and installed Vista on partition three.

4. Made two mistakes (good mistakes) before testing Forgot to correct and delete incorrect boot loaders in VistaBootPRO for partition one and two and turned off Boot Magic; as a result I could not get into any operating system. I tried running the Vista DVD repair, boot magic rescue floppy, all aspects of the Norton Recovery Disk, Partition Magic rescue floppy and nothing would work. Vista DVD repair fixed the problem but still would not boot using the correct boot loader.

5. It cost me an hour because I had to use the Norton Recovery Disk and reinstall Windows XP Home (from drive image on external hard drive) back on partition three and run bootcfg /rebuild to get back into it. When I ran ?R? repair it only recognized the XP partition and let me right in.
6. After I got in I went to the fat 32 partition that has Boot Magic on it and set it active with partition three as the default.
7. I then booted to the two Vista partitions first and ran VistaBootPRO and deleted the incorrect boot loaders.
8. Next I booted to Ghost 9.0 recovery and restored Vista V2i image to partition three.

9. Booted perfectly using Boot Magic and booted correctly to partition one and partition two. Partition three would not boot (I already knew it wouldn?t) so I made sure partition three was set to default OS in Boot Magic configuration and ran Vista DVD repair and it corrected it and booted to the Vista and got this message ?what operating system do you wish to logon to ? it gave me a choice of four to pick from. One, two and four were WRONG?choice three was correct. In VistaBootPRO the correct one says Drive C.
10. I then opened VistaBootPRO and deleted choice 1, 2 and 4.

11. So in this test I now have three operating systems running Vista and one logical drive (fat 32) with Boot Magic installed on it. On my logical drive the fat 32 is 1.5 GB's and the other 78 GB's I can divide and divide any way I choose. Remember, I only have ONE hard drive.
12. Test complete and turned out exactly how I thought it would.

13. Conclusion to this test is as follows. Boot Magic MUST be active in order to boot into the operating systems when restoring Vista drives.

14. The Vista drives will never boot correctly(on first boot) and the user must run the Vista DVD repair feature to correct the boot loader. Then run VistaBootPRO and delete the incorrect boot loaders.

15. Boot Magic always works perfectly booting into any Windows operating system. It must always be enabled but any partition can be the default partition.

16. Final conclusion: 1.Boot Magic must be enabled. If disabled you must not boot to Vista; only boot to Windows XP. If you do boot to Vista it is weird, sometimes you can get back to XP by using the boot magic floppy rescue disk but not always. When you can?t get back it is ?erase disk time?.

17. None of this can be done if Vista is installed first on the computer. Vista?s NTFS is different. NOTHING WILL WORK using Partition Magic starting with Vista.

18. But if you start with a hard drive written to zeros and follow my methods all aspects of partitions can be manipulated, copied, transferred and restored from external hard drives just as we could do with Windows XP.

All of this stuff is just me trying to figure out how things work. All these operating systems are 30 day test public keys Vista put out.

So, in conclusion, say I have a full copy of Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional that I am not using and I buy a new computer with Vista on it.
Here is what I would do.
Erase the hard drive to zero?s
Install Windows XP and follow the procedure I listed above.
I would install XP Home, XP Home, XP Professional
Install Boot Magic on the Fat 32 partition.
Install Vista of the first XP Home?
Boot and have my choice of Vista, XP Home and XP Professional

PS: The most amazing part of my test was when I copied a Vista drive to a external hard drive I could then make it smaller using Partition Magic. I really like copying drive to drive because of this.
You must realize that all I did in my test was convert Vista NTFS to XP NTFS thus making it visible to partition magic.

Jimmy Carter

Tell me what you think.

Retired Science Instructor

I love to experiment.
I tried to explain this to this web site and they refused to listen to me and would not perform my test and
banned me from their web site.
Isn't that terrible? ; an old man pushing 80 years of age and they stifle free thought and expression out of fear and ignorance.

Tip: After I erase the hard drive ( Powermax 4.22 Drive Eraser) I just put the Norton Recovery Disk in and restore a drive to the 200 GB drive from a drive image stored on an external hard drive.

It most often boots to "missing operating system" when I do this and all you have to do(to correct) is boot from the boot magic rescue floppy and choose 1 and boot. When it opens look at what it says. The reason it booted to "missing operating system" is because it was not visible.

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My pictures
by mark04276 / May 3, 2007 4:27 AM PDT

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