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Next Install Windows XP in this Windows Vista Dual-Boot

Last reviewed: July 2013

October 2013: This is the new location for this page on this site. Please update your link or bookmark.

Caution: You must have selected and then completed the first page before continuing here.

Now Install Windows XP and Dual-Boot with the installed Windows Vista

When Windows XP is installed it creates its own boot sector and puts the XP boot loader (NTLDR) in charge. The Windows Vista installation DVD is then used to reinstall the Windows Vista boot sector putting Windows Vista's BCD back in control. Finally EasyBCD is use to add a Windows XP boot option to the Windows boot loader menu.

Note: Some users report that the XP installation stops at the first installation restart. For this reason THPC no longer suggests using EastBCD in XP to setup the dual-boot with Windows Vista. The method now used here always works!

  1. Bootup from the Windows XP installation CD.
    • Install Windows XP as a New installation (Advanced) on the prepared disk area
      - check the size to ensure you select the correct Unallocated or Unknown (i.e. RAW).
      - select a full Format (not Quick) of the XP partition using FAT32 or NTFS.
    • Occasionally the XP installation stops at the first restart - that's not a problem.

    Now return startup control to Windows Vista.
  2. When XP installation is complete or if the installation restart gave an error:
    Bootup from the Windows Vista installation DVD and do the following at the first screen ('Windows Setup'):
    • Hold down the Shift key and tap F10 (to open a Command Prompt).
    • Type in these two commands and press Entry after each (note the space after bootrec):
      bootrec /FixBoot   - to recreate the Win8 Boot Sector of the system partition
      EXIT
    Exit the Windows Vista installation now and reboot. Windows Vista will boot normally.
    Next use EasyBCD to add Windows XP to the Windows boot loader menu.
  3. With Windows Vista now running:
    Install and run EasyBCD (click Yes for "User Account Control").
    • Select Add New Entry in the left pane.
      Select the Windows tab in the upper right pane.
      • In Type, select Windows NT/2k/XP/2k3 in the drop-down.
      • In Name, enter a name like "Windows XP"
      • In Drive, you'll see it is "Automatically determined". That's correct.
      • In Automatically detect correct drive, leave it ticked.
      • Click the Add Entry button in the same pane.
      • Optional: You can now modify the timeout of the boot loader menu
        - click the Edit Boot Menu (left pane) and set the Boot default OS after to about 5 seconds.
        - you can also change the OS that boots by default. Click Save settings when finished.
    • Exit EasyBCD.
  4. Restart computer and select Windows XP from the boot menu
    - or - complete the XP installation if necessary: first insert XP CD, reboot, select XP in the boot menu.
  5. After XP installation, label the Windows XP drive to w_XP.
    Optional: If another OS partition has no drive letter showing in XP, use Disk Management to add one.
    Install any device drivers required by Windows XP.
  6. You should still execute a Windows XP fix - read "Fix Restore Points Problem in XP" (read below).

Congratulations! You created a natural dual-boot of Windows XP and Windows Vista when Windows Vista was installed first.

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Fix Restore Points Problem in Windows XP (advanced users)

Every time Windows XP is booted, it destroys Windows Vista's Restore Points and all except the most recent backup files from Complete PC Backup - read Microsoft's Knowledge Base article 926185.

A small addition to XP's registry avoids this problem by making the Windows Vista partition inaccessible when, and only when, XP is running. You must, however, use extreme care to ensure you enter the correct drive letter in the following corrective procedure. You must never enter the drive letter used by XP - that would prevent XP from ever starting again! This fix is applied when XP is booted and not from any other Windows.

  1. Download this tiny xp_rstr_fix.reg file, xp_rstr_fix.zip, and unzip it to XP's Desktop.
  2. Startup to Windows XP . It must be XP and not any other version of Windows.
  3. Note the drive letter allocated to the Vista partition in Windows Explorer (probably C).
  4. Right-click xp_rstr_fix.reg on the Desktop and select Edit. Look at this line in xp_rstr_fix:
    "\\DosDevices\\Z:"=dword:00000001
    • Carefully change that Z to the drive letter allocated to the Vista partition
      (make sure you do not remove the \\ before the letter or the : after the letter).
    • Save the file back to the Desktop as xp_rstr_fix2.reg
    • Right-click the new xp_rstr_fix2.reg on the Desktop, click Merge, and click OK.
  5. Reboot to Vista, and create a new Restore Point (right-click Computer > Properties > System Protection).
  6. Delete the .reg files on XP's Desktop when you're finished.

When XP is booted the Vista drive will still be allocated a drive letter. However you will be denied access to the contents of the Vista drive and the drive will appear to be unformatted (RAW) even though the contents have not been changed. When you boot to Vista you will have access to all your drives including the Windows XP drive.

This is the full xp_rstr_fix.reg file: (the blank line is required)

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices\Offline]
"\\DosDevices\\Z:"=dword:00000001

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Repair Windows Vista Startup

You will not have any problem if you follow the instructions as stated above. However you might encounter some freak occurrence like a power failure during an installation. Windows Vista will boot again if you execute the following procedure.

  1. Bootup from the Windows installation DVD or even from NeoSmart's free Windows Vista System Recovery Disk.
    It must be a 64-bit version if a 64-bit Windows is installed.
    • Press a key when you see Press any key to boot from a CD or DVD.
    • Select your Language and then Time....
    • Select Repair your computer (bottom left of the Install now screen).
      An automatic check of your system will run.
    • Click Repair and restart
      Windows Vista should boot normally (very likely). If not, continue here.
  2. Bootup from the Windows Vista installation DVD again
    • Select Repair your computer again.
    • In System Recovery Options, select Windows Vista, and click Next.
    • Click Startup Repair.
    • Click Finish when it's complete, and then Restart.
    • You must let CheckDisk run if requested.
      Windows Vista should boot normally.

If still stuck for a solution, boot again from the installation DVD, select Repair your computer, highlight Windows Vista, get to a Command Prompt, use DIR command (DIR C: or DIR D: etc.) to identify drive letter allocations (sizes and Labels will help), and type in:
bootrec /FixMbr
bootrec /FixBoot
bootrec /RebuildBcd
X:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 C:
  (where X: is your DVD drive letter, and C: is the installation drive for Windows Vista).
EXIT, and click Restart. Remove the DVD.

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Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.

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