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How badly did I screw myself (dual boot issue)? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've got a dual boot setup of Vista on C: and XP on D:, one drive. After doing an XP recovery with Norton Ghost, my XP partition wouldn't boot. It complained of a missing ntldr, so I figured I'd do a system repair with my XP CD. I allowed setup to load and it gave me a list of my drives, C: & D:. Unfortunately, it had been a while since I had done this and I thought that I would simply highlight the D: partition and select a "repair" option, but there was no such option. All I could do is install, delete, or reformat, so I rebooted. I guess by allowing the setup process to go that far my boot configuration data was overwritten. Now I've lost my dual boot menu and can't load Vista either.

    What's the damage here? Is there any way to "undo" the setup process I inwittingly initiated and return my boot menu/configuration to the way it was before? Thanks a million in advance,

    Shant
    • Changed type Andy Song Friday, May 22, 2009 10:25 AM
    • Changed type Andy Song Friday, May 22, 2009 10:25 AM
    Sunday, May 10, 2009 9:56 PM

Answers

  • Well, just thought I'd let you all know that, utilizing Ghost v14.0 & VistaBootPro, everything is working again. Better than before in fact, as my Vista OS wasn't working right before all this happened. Now it runs like a dream . I'm actually glad this happened. And I have to stress something which is a pet peeve of mine: everyone should be using Ghost or similar backup/restore program. If you go through your computer life without using Ghost or something like it, you are really missing out. Not only does it save your a$$ in situations like this, but it also completely irradicates the threat of catching a virus. I haven't used an antivirus program in years and my system is clean as a whistle. If you do catch a virus, you simply restore your last backup and presto: every trace of that virus is gauranteed gone. No antivirus software running in the background means you have resources freed up & make no mistake, antivirus solutions use up a lot of resources.  If you've ever found yourself on these forums worried about your system or your data, get Ghost, an extra hard drive, and make life easy on yourself.

    I'd just like to extend a final thank you to everyone here who helped me with this, especially you Lepaca. There's no better man than he who goes out of his way to help a stranger. It's nice to know that people have your back in times like this.

    Shant D.
    • Marked as answer by Andy Song Friday, May 22, 2009 10:27 AM
    Saturday, May 16, 2009 3:39 AM

All replies

  • Update:

    I think the damage is worse than I thought. I tried to navigate to my C: drive through the Vista boot disk and it flat out can't read anything that's on that drive. It tells me I need to format it. That drive had [i]everything[/i] on it. It was partitioned into 3 sections, C: with Vista on it, D: with XP, & E: with hundreds of gigs of backup data. Those partitions are no longer visible, nor any of the data on them. Also, there is a new drive with drive letter X: labeled "Boot", probably created by the XP setup.

    How on Earth did this happen!? I never initiated the XP setup! Why did it erase my partition info? Is there any way to get those partitions to read as they were before? If I'm able to dodge this bullet, I damn well may start going to church again...please help!

    Sunday, May 10, 2009 11:27 PM
  • with vista dvd, select repair (not install)
    In the next menu you should be able to select partition with vista
    Monday, May 11, 2009 6:44 AM
  • That was the 1st thing I tried but it won't work because as I mentioned, Vista no longer sees those partitions. It believes my drive is not formatted. What do you think of a fixboot?
    Monday, May 11, 2009 7:10 AM
  • you can check your hd with a linux live cd, like ubuntu...
    can you see your partitions with it?
    Monday, May 11, 2009 7:55 AM
  • Yeah, that fixboot was no good because it tells me the c: drive has a non-recognized file system. It goes straight to this new X: volume that the XP setup disc created.

    Tell me, is this X: volume (about 30MB) a new partition created onto my C: drive? Or is it possible it's operating out of ram? If it's yet another partition created on that C: drive, that's really not good...

    Anyway to get rid of that X: partition? Would that help our situation?
    Monday, May 11, 2009 8:03 AM
  • wait! I'm not sure I understand...
    do you tell that from command prompt of xp setup cd, you can see and list C: and D: partitions?

    fixboot of XP is not usefull with C where there is bootsector of vista. don't use it!

    I think the problem is that in your mbr the XP partition is the active one (or maybe E:) but you don't have ntldr file in it.

    X: is only a virtual drive in ram...
    Monday, May 11, 2009 8:22 AM
  • Hi Shant,

     

    According to your problem description, it seems that you encountered the problem while repairing Windows XP OS and it should a Windows XP issue. Please understand that Windows Vista Setup forum is for general Windows Vista troubleshooting only and please make sure to choose the appropriate Windows Vista forum before submitting an inquiry. For your current situationyou'd better submit a new thread to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3). Thanks for your time and understanding!

     

    Have a nice day!

    Andy

    Monday, May 11, 2009 10:32 AM
  • I appreciate that Andy, but I'm not sure it matters at this point what system did what. I've decided to try to reinstall Vista from scratch but it's not happening. Let me explain:

    I decided to disconnect the drive with the missing partitions and connected a brand new drive which is now the only drive on the system. I began to install Vista from scratch so that I could run some partition utilities on the bad drive. Unfortunately, after the installation reaches its first restart, I get an error message "error loading windows".  I believe that X: drive created by the previous XP setup contains boot info that's throwing the system off, preventing me from booting anything. Problem is I can't find any way to get rid of it. I try formatting it, it tells me it's a 'right protected disk'. I try to delete it with the Ghost utilities disc, it tells me windows is on drive X: and deleting it may mess up my system.

    So the question now becomes, where on the system is this X: partition if it's not on any of the hard drives? Is it in the ram? How can I get rid of it? Is it possible to flash ram? All I want to do is install Vista from scratch on a brand new hard drive, but something is preventing that from happening and the X: drive is the only thing I can see that shouldn't be there. Thank you all for your help, you guys are great.

    Monday, May 11, 2009 12:57 PM
  • maybe there is a misundertanding...

    where do you see X: drive? in command prompt when you start from vista setup dvd?
    then all right! you don't have to worry about it. when windows start setup from dvd, creates this virtual drive in ram, where it copies main files for working...

    in the vista setup, how many partitions can you see in your new hd when you start installing vista?

    maybe you have a problem with your motherboard...
    • Edited by Lepaca Monday, May 11, 2009 1:37 PM
    Monday, May 11, 2009 1:36 PM
  • Believe me, the motherboard's good, all the components are good. I built this computer from scratch in August. It's a top notch system and ran flawlessly up until yesterday, after i ran that XP setup. Now it won't boot even if I try to install WIndows from scratch on a new drive...it makes no sense to me, this has never happened. Everytime I've ever tried to install Windows from scratch (particularly on a brand new drive), whether 98, XP, or Vista, it has always worked. If the X: drive has nothing to do with it, I'm thoroughly stumped.

    I see 2 partitions in Vista setup, one for the new hard drive and one which shows 0 MB. I don't know if the 0MB partition is part of my hard drive or if that's referring to the X: drive, but it won't let me format it or delete it.

    I realize it's supposed to create the X: drive when it does a Windows setup, but I'm guessing the X: drive that's there now is the same one from before when I ran XP setup.

    But lets make sure: Lets say you run XP setup but change your mind before any files are copied, and you restart. Now you have this X: drive there. You take out the old drive, put in a new one, and run Vista setup. Does it write over the old X: drive or does it create a new one?

    Monday, May 11, 2009 1:56 PM
  • Update:

    I've since been able to install Vista on the new drive & you were right, it wasn't the X: drive that was the problem. Now it's just a question of getting my system to see the partitions on the original drive again. Vista was the primary partition, XP was installed 2nd. The original problem started when I tried to restore an old XP backup via ghost. The backup pre-dated when I had my dual boot menu setup & properly configured, causing the missing ntldr. But my dual boot menu was still intact at that point & I could still boot Vista. The problem occured after I ran the XP setup disc to try to repair my XP partition. Even though I never actually initiated the installation, something was done which altered my boot configuration. But does this account for why dos and Vista can no longer read the drive altogether requesting that I format the disc? Do you think fixmbr would correct this and return the dual boot menu?
    Monday, May 11, 2009 4:10 PM
  • well

    to boot xp, you must have these files in its partition:
    ntldr
    ntdetect.com
    boot.ini

    in boot.ini, you should find something like this (if xp is in 2nd partition):

    [boot loader]
    timeout=15
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin

    that is with "partition(2)" option

    check it all
    Monday, May 11, 2009 8:31 PM
  • Thank you much my friend. Assuming all that is present on the XP drive, will I have to do anything to Vista for the dual boot menu to appear?

    I do have my old Vista and XP backups pre-configured for dual boot available to me via ghost. If I simply restored XP and Vista which were backed up when everything was working, would the dual boot menu transfer over succesfully? If so, that seems a helluva lot easier than going through all the steps of bcdedit, installing .net 2.0, etc...
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 11:08 AM
  • I don't know norton ghost very well, but if it is responsible of your problems,  I'm afraid that your backup won't reliable...

    You should check that your active partition is the one with vista.
    You can check it via disk management.
    Right click on partition with vista and see if "make partition as active" item is ghosted...

    then you can list items in bcd store.
    from command prompt use this command

    bcdedit /store <path> /enum
    where <path> is <drive with vista>:\boot\bcd

    you should obtain something like this:

    Windows Boot Manager
    --------------------
    identifier              {bootmgr}
    device                  partition=C:
    description             Windows Boot Manager
    locale                  en-US
    inherit                 {globalsettings}
    default                 {default}
    displayorder            {default}
                            {ntldr}
    toolsdisplayorder       {memdiag}
    timeout                 30

    Windows Legacy OS Loader
    ------------------------
    identifier              {ntldr}
    device                  partition=D:
    path                    \ntldr
    description             Windows XP

    Windows Boot Loader
    -------------------
    identifier              {deafult}
    device                  partition=C:
    path                    \Windows\system32\winload.exe
    description             Windows Vista
    locale                  en-US
    inherit                 {bootloadersettings}
    osdevice                partition=C:
    systemroot              \Windows
    nx                      OptIn

    where "Windows Legacy OS Loader" is XP and "Windows Boot Loader" is vista
    check if items where you see "partition=" have right drive letter
    the partition in "Windows Boot Manager" should be the same of vista
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 11:55 AM
  • Great, thanks. Vista is indeed the primary partition. I've just finished partitioning the drive to create the space needed for XP, though haven't begun to install it yet.

    All the information you pasted above, that is how a system with a properly set-up dual boot config would look, yes? WIll I be able to copy/paste the text in the command prompt so I could show it to you? Thanks again.
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 2:04 PM
  • yes, you can copy and paste :)

    you can follow this how-to for dual boot:
    http://apcmag.com/how_to_dual_boot_vista_and_xp_with_vista_installed_first__the_stepbystep_guide.htm
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 8:30 PM
  • Hey there Lepaca. I tried doing what you said from the command prompt. This is the message I get:

    "the boot configuration data store could not be opened. The system could not find the file specified"

    To make sure I entered the command correctly, this is how I entered it:


    bcdedit /store C:boot\bcd /enum

    Is that right?

    Remember, I am currently in vista. I'm wondering if it can't open the file because it's currently being used? I know the file is there, in the boot folder cause I just checked. Thanks man.
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 2:33 PM
  • Alright, if I simply enter "bcdedit" at the command prompt, I get this:

    C:\Users\Shant>bcdedit

    Windows Boot Manager
    --------------------
    identifier              {bootmgr}
    device                  partition=C:
    description             Windows Boot Manager
    locale                  en-US
    inherit                 {globalsettings}
    default                 {current}
    displayorder            {current}
                            {ntldr}
    toolsdisplayorder       {memdiag}
    timeout                 30

    Windows Boot Loader
    -------------------
    identifier              {current}
    device                  partition=C:
    path                    \Windows\system32\winload.exe
    description             Microsoft Windows Vista
    locale                  en-US
    inherit                 {bootloadersettings}
    osdevice                partition=C:
    systemroot              \Windows
    resumeobject            {15054bf8-3e37-11de-b667-cc31a59df6df}
    nx                      OptIn

    Windows Legacy OS Loader
    ------------------------
    identifier              {ntldr}
    device                  partition=C:
    path                    \ntldr
    description             Earlier Version of Windows


    The first thing I notice is that they're laid out in different order than your example, ie in mine "Windows Legacy OS Loader" appears last instead of before "Windows Boot Loader", don't know if that means anything. 2nd thing is in the "Windows Boot Loader" section, I see something called "resumeobject" which I didn't see in your example. Last thing, it shows Windows XP as being on partition=C: when it should be F:

    What do you think?

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 2:53 PM
  • order is not important

    resumeobject doesn't interest us at the moment...

    the only thing that can be strange is "partition=C: " in "Windows Legacy OS Loader"

    where are your ntldr and boot.ini files? and boot.ini content?
    if they are in C: and in boot.ini you have "partition" directive with right number, all right...

    ntldr is the loader of win XP, and with boot.ini you tell him where xp is...
    you can move them in xp partition and set device directive in bcd, accordingly.
    everything should continue to work :)
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 6:00 PM
  • ntldr is present in both F: (XP partition) and C: (Vista partition).

    boot.ini is present in F:, but not C: which has a file called boot.ini.saved , but not boot.ini.

    Here is the contents of boot.ini from F:



    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect


    Here is the contents of the boot.ini.saved file from Vista drive C:

    ;
    ;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
    ;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
    ;
    [boot loader]
    timeout=1
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT



    hmmm...looks like they don't match up...are they supposed to be the same in both the XP and Vista partition? If not, which is the correct one?
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 6:45 PM
  • usually boot.ini.saved appears when you upgrade xp to vista...
    how did you install your vista?
    I don't understand what you have done for fixing your problems...
    does your system start, now?

    you can set to F device item in "Windows Legacy OS Loader" with this command:

    bcdedit /set {ntldr} device partition=F:

    but it's more easy with vistabootpro tool
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:07 PM
  • Yes my system boots now, I simply reformatted the bad drive after recovering the data and installed Vista from scratch to drive C. I then repartitioned the drive exactly the way it was before and restored XP to F: via ghost backup. Basically now all I need is to set up the dual boot and I'm golden.

    I've installed VistaBootPro. I can post the details from it if you like. It shows both of my installations, but was showing both Vista and XP as being on drive C: so I ran a diagnostic. The XP entry disappeared so I entered the information manually and pointed XP to drive F. I ran a diagnostic again to make sure it wouldn't disappear again and it didn't, both installations are showing fine now. My only concern is that drive C: doesn't have boot.ini, and the contents of boot.ini on F & boot.ini.saved on C don't match up. Are both drives supposed to have boot.ini? Are they supposed to be duplicates?

    I really appreciate your help.
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:40 PM
  • well... mission accomplished! :)

    I imagine that your bcd is the same than previous, but with "partition=F:" option...
    If so, your ntldr and boot.ini in C: aren't' used and you can delete them.

    Your bootmanager is vista one (bootmgr).
    when you select vista in menu, it unbelievably starts vista
    when you select xp, it loads ntldr that loads xp accordingly with its boot.ini

    I don't know, why you have ntldr and boot.ini.saved in your vista partition.
    How I told you, boot.ini.saved usually appears when you upgrade xp to vista...
    Thursday, May 14, 2009 7:37 AM
  • Well, just thought I'd let you all know that, utilizing Ghost v14.0 & VistaBootPro, everything is working again. Better than before in fact, as my Vista OS wasn't working right before all this happened. Now it runs like a dream . I'm actually glad this happened. And I have to stress something which is a pet peeve of mine: everyone should be using Ghost or similar backup/restore program. If you go through your computer life without using Ghost or something like it, you are really missing out. Not only does it save your a$$ in situations like this, but it also completely irradicates the threat of catching a virus. I haven't used an antivirus program in years and my system is clean as a whistle. If you do catch a virus, you simply restore your last backup and presto: every trace of that virus is gauranteed gone. No antivirus software running in the background means you have resources freed up & make no mistake, antivirus solutions use up a lot of resources.  If you've ever found yourself on these forums worried about your system or your data, get Ghost, an extra hard drive, and make life easy on yourself.

    I'd just like to extend a final thank you to everyone here who helped me with this, especially you Lepaca. There's no better man than he who goes out of his way to help a stranger. It's nice to know that people have your back in times like this.

    Shant D.
    • Marked as answer by Andy Song Friday, May 22, 2009 10:27 AM
    Saturday, May 16, 2009 3:39 AM
  • happy to be helpful
    • Edited by Lepaca Saturday, May 16, 2009 6:29 PM
    Saturday, May 16, 2009 6:15 PM