Windows Vista® Tips
* Dual Boot
Dual Boot Problems (From CNET forum)
If you remove the one hard drive and connect the other to
install Vista you will not be creating a dual-boot system.
Instead you will be creating two completely separate bootable
hard drives. That in itself is OK and you can connect both hard
drives at the same time without issue. However, you won't be
able to easily launch Vista.
With a standard XP/Vista dual-boot setup you'd be presented with
the Vista OS chooser from which you could choose Vista or a
previous version of Windows. If no decision is made within 30
seconds it would choose the default OS, whichever you had
previously chosen. (Vista by default.)
In your proposed setup you would never be presented with a
choice of OS. Your computer would look to your primary hard
drive and only see a reference to XP, so it would boot XP with
no option for Vista. When you would want to boot Vista you would
have to go into your system BIOS and change the boot order so
that your second hard drive is the primary boot device, then
reboot so that you could load Vista. Then, when you want to boot
XP, you'd have to reverse the process.
In short, what you propose will work, but it will add an extra
step whenever you want to switch OSes, something that you don't
have to endure when using a true dual-boot setup.
Personally, I'd backup the data on the primary hard drive
(something you should do anyways, just in case something goes
wrong down the road) and be careful to select the correct
partition when you install Vista. However, the choice is up to
you and both methods are valid.
The boot.ini file on a previous installation cannot be
used to boot Vista.
When you install Vista on your computer, regardless of whether
or not it is to be the primary or secondary OS, its Windows Boot
Manager overrides the old NT boot loader. So, when you boot your
system, the Vista Windows Boot Manager is considered first and
depending on the default setting, or user-selected option, based
on the BCD store, either Vista loads or it progresses to the old
NTLDR, which gives you the choice of booting an older version of
Now, in regards to boot.ini, it is being utilized by NTLDR,
which is incapable of booting Vista or launching Windows Boot
Manager. Thus, no amount of editing boot.ini will enable you to
boot Vista using the standard Windows NT boot loader. There are
third-part downloads you can use to modify this to a certain
degree, but by default you're not given much to work with.
I tested this myself and found it to be true...With a
quadruple-boot system (XP Pro. SP2, Vista, XP Pro. SP2, and XP
Pro. x64) I was first asked by Windows Boot Manager if I wanted
to boot to Vista or an older OS...I chose the latter. I was then
presented with the list of options in my boot.ini file via the
NTLDR. I had modified it so that each partition with an OS
installed was accounted for, including Vista. I was able to boot
Windows XP normally, but when selecting Vista nothing
happened...the screen went blank and the boot process did not
proceed. That confirmed that you cannot boot Vista using NTLDR
Vista will log you in automatically under two conditions:
1) You only have one account that is enabled.
2) There is no password on your user account.
1) To disable an account instead of deleting it, go
Start->Control Panel->System and Maintenance->Administrative
Tools, launch Computer Management, expand Local users and
Groups, select Users, right-click the username, select
properties, and check Account is disabled.
2) To remove the password, go Start->Control Panel->User
Accounts and Family Safety->User Accounts and click Remove Your
More Boot Configuration Data Editor Frequently Asked Questions
Different Vista Editions
* Repair XP Pro -
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