Dual Boot Issue

Discussion in 'Windows Desktop Systems' started by rbmcgee, Jan 22, 2002.

  1. rbmcgee

    rbmcgee Guest

    Hi all:

    I've got a dual boot w/ WinME and WinXP home. The WinME build has become unstable and I would like to nuke and reinstall it. The problem is that you must load WinME before WinXP.

    I sense that if I nuke and reinstall ME, the dual boot will no longer work.

    * The key is to do this in such a way so that I don't have to reinstall XP *.

    I read a past post on this subject, but couldn't find the answer/resolution. Is this possible and how would I do it?
  2. dotbatman

    dotbatman Guest

    I assume that the two are on seperate partitions or physical disks (I hope).

    Just format the WinME partition, and then reinstall to the same.

    Now, you probably already knew that, but you're worried that you won't see the XP option when you boot up afterwords. Since you are replacing WinME with the same, I don't see why the boot loader would even change. If it did, it should be a simple matter of booting from the XP disk to restore the previous configuration.

    If you make sure in the WinME install that you choose the right partition to install, you should not have any problem.

    In any case, it is always a good idea to make a backup. How large is your disk drive? If you wanted to be REALLY safe, and you have a lot of space to play with, you could delete the WinME partition, then use some of the free space to create a "data" drive. Boot back into XP, and go to Administrative Tools, Computer Mgmt, Storage, and create either a Primary partition or an Extended partition with a logical drive. Copy any files from the XP partition that you are worried about losing, like your My Documents folder or whatever. Now, worst case is you have to reinstall XP (very very worst case), but at least you won't lose your data. I would recommend doing something like this anyway, since it's nice to have a place to store data files other than your system partition.

    If you want a second opinion, just wait a little while to see if someone replies to me:

    "you idiot! he'll kill us all!".

    Hope this helps!
  3. nidog

    nidog Guest

    If the files "boot.ini" and "ntldr" are on the XP partition, then I am fairly certain that it will work. If they are on the ME partition (which they shouldn't, but could be), formatting could cause problems.

  4. dotbatman

    dotbatman Guest

    very good point...i never even thought of that...but if they WERE on the ME partition, could they not be restored to the XP partition after the fact by my suggested method, ie. loading the XP CD and doing a restore/repair?
  5. rbmcgee

    rbmcgee Guest


    Yes, they are on separate partitions. ME=C: and XP=E:

    I did a search (both C: and E:) for 'ntldr' and 'boot.ini'. The search returned no 'ntldr' file on either drive and the boot.ini file returned 1 response which was found in E: (XP) but was called 'boot.ini.backup'. The search did include subfolders and hidden files.

    What do you think?

    PS: I will 'ghost' the ME (C:) partition to the second hard drive just in case regardless of the answer.
  6. dotbatman

    dotbatman Guest

    my ntldr is on the root of c:, did you do your search from within each OS? also, I am going to check around on this (i really would like to find out the answer...knowing how this works out could be of use to a lot of people) but maybe because you have the home edition, ntldr is not a part of the OS?

    ghosting is a good idea, as you will definitely not miss anything, as you might if you just copied the folders and files.

    double check the search for the boot.ini (if you didn't do it from within that OS).

    back later!

    hmmm, you might want to read this.
  7. rbmcgee

    rbmcgee Guest


    You were right. I searched from within each OS and within C: (ME) I did find 'ntldr' and 'boot.ini' on the root. E: (XP) just had 'boot.ini.backup' and no 'ntldr'.

    As Kyle said, this is not good. Now what?
  8. gothic

    gothic LinuXPert

    Cornwall Nr. England
    Windows XP puts it's own little loader in the bootsector, which in turn seeks the ntloader / boot.ini. So theoretically if you were to not only to backup the two files, but backed up the bootsector (using hexedit or something) you should be fine, BUT somebody out there (it may have been lonman) mentioned that once you have reinstalled Me there is a command you can run to reinitiate the boot menu .........CALLING LONMAN..........ANYONE HOME???
  9. Lonman

    Lonman Bleh!

    I'm looking for the article now. I'd say go ahead and format your c:\ drive, and reinstall ME. You'll lose the ability to boot to XP until you repair the boot loading options, but it's a simple repair. If you want to wait for exact instructions... I'm looking for it now.
  10. Lonman

    Lonman Bleh!

    Look at this thread on using the recovery console:


    I believe the command you want to call from the recovery console (after you install ME and from the XP installation CD) is Fixboot. Should be all you need. Good luck and keep track of all that you do so you can be our resident expert on what you're now doing.

    Another good article for multi-booters:
    Doesn't really pertain to the present situation, but it's good info.
  11. gothic

    gothic LinuXPert

    Cornwall Nr. England
    Forever in your debt, lonman

    many, many thanks

  12. rbmcgee

    rbmcgee Guest

    Before I jump off the cliff, can someone verify the following:

    If I create a ghost image file of the ME partition (C:) to another drive. Then nuke and repave on C:, then follow the directions for recovering the boot file and it doesn't work, is recovery as simple as restoring the ME partition back again?

    Therefore, absolutely no risk to the XP build?

    Note: the XP is a HTPC which is a very difficult animal to get just right. I'ld sooner jump out the window than try and rebuild that cowboy.
  13. Lonman

    Lonman Bleh!

    Worse case scenario should be running a repair on the XP installation to recover the boot-loader. That's really the only aspect of XP that you're nuking. XP is safe as long as you don't format that drive, lol. And yes, if you create an image of the ME partition, and then later restore it, you'll get it back exactly as you have it now.
  14. Lonman

    Lonman Bleh!

    I hope it works out as outlined above, it should. If not, here's the article that will set things right for you (I hope you don't just restore the ME image w/o getting the boot-loader back up and running).


    It looks like the command you actually want to run is fixmbr.
  15. Be careful!

    I am also running an ME/XP dual boot, but am unable to run my ME. It always goes crackbaby on me after I get everything setup. I wish I knew a way around this but unfortunaltey I dont. Heres what I think. ME and XP like the cards in different slots, using different resources. If I want my ME to run stable, I have to reconfigure my PCI arrangement. If I want XP to run stable, I have to reconfigure again. I wanted ME so I could play games that arent XP compatible, and also wanted to get my Saitek X36 flight controllers working properly so I could play Mechwarrior4 blackknights expansion. Unfortunatley, haveing my cake and eating it to doesnt seem to be possible. Ive resintalled ME twice to try and get it right but to no avail. On my next reformat, im going to wipe out the ME and recover the space it takes up.

    An MCSE I know told me It can not be done, that XP is a selfish animal and wont share with older versions. If anyone knows of a way to get these two to run harmoniously, PLEASE inform me so I can keep my ME and play my MW4 BK, and Sims (for the wife).


  16. Lonman

    Lonman Bleh!

    They should dual boot no problem. Install ME first on your c:\ drive, and then install XP on the partition of choice. I'm dual-booting with 2k and have had no problems.

    If you Follow the procedure of 'oldest OS first' you shouldn't have a problem... it sounds like you installed ME after you installed XP.

    Of course, I wouldn't install ME again on a bet, but then again I don't have games I'm trying to make work either. Have you tried running the games in different compatabilty modes by right clicking on the game's icon> properties> 'compatability' tab?
  17. dotbatman

    dotbatman Guest


    dual booting with XP and previous versions of Windows is not impossible. It may not always be easy, but it can be done. I am running a dual boot with XP and Mandrake Linux, which you would think is even more unlikely, but I have had absolutely no problems, and it was as simple as install one, then install the other, no funny tricks.

    Read through the previous posts, in particular the ones from Lonman, he knows his stuff (which is why I get so excited when he agrees with me!)

    Also check out the links he and I posted to the Microsoft Knowledgebase.

    I am an MCSE, and so are about a kajillion other people, so take that advice with a grain of salt (no offense against your friend, I had to learn the hard way myself: experience talks, certificate walks).

    please come back if you have more problems/questions, we get off on this stuff!

    ***oops, redundant post, didn't see your reply lonman***
  18. Lon & Dot,

    Thanks for your input guys. On a whim, last night after posting, I worked on my ME again, and YES I did put ME in first, I do know all about that. So anyways, i installed VIA drivers, Det 21.83 and Soundblaster drivers without a hitch. It seems to be working alright but when I went to run 3dmark2000 to test stability, it crashed bad. It boots now, and I havent yet tried to run anything else, but I think theres gonna be trouble anyways. When I had ME alone on this system, I had to play with PCI config for an hour before I got it stable. So many things are sharing IRQs im bound to have trouble now. GF3 and SBLive and USB are sharing IRQ11, RAID and 10/100 and USB are sharing IRQ10.

    As for the compatability mode, I will prolly try to work on that soon, but it was USB issues that kept my Saitek X36 from working, MW4 worked great, but when I got ingame the joysticks just wouldnt work, even though I could config them in the MW4 control panel. Ahh the inconveniences of modern conveniences.
  19. phishhead

    phishhead OSNN Senior Addict

    San Diego, California
    i screwed up my win98 install on c:\ and xp on d:\ this is what I did....reformatted my c:\ drive reinstalled win 98 and got it all tweaked out...then booted to xp using the cd into safemode cmd prompt then used the bootcfg/fix...sure enough get my boot screen booted to xp fine...then tried to boot to win 98 (sorry guys can't stand ME too many bugs) got an error re/ the boot ini...well F&%k thought I screwed that up...so I did a soft reinstall over the previous install now everything is working fine...the ntloader does reside on the active boot partition If I'm not mistaken doesn't matter what os you are duel booting the lilo in linux goes to the c:\ drive also if you duel boot linux..so hope this helps...and I'm not a MCSE so I don't have the paper to show it but you know what my system works boots to both oses without fdisking and wiping out my xp partition so go figure:D
  20. rbmcgee

    rbmcgee Guest

    I haven't thrown in the towel.

    * I've created ghosts backups for both the ME (C:) and XP (E:) partitions.
    * I've reformatted C:
    * I've reinstalled ME onto C:
    Now, the computer only boots into ME (no choice for XP), as expected.

    Now the question: The directions seems to indicate fixing the XP boot (ie, using the XP CD-ROM), however, don't I want to fix the ME boot (since that is where the bootloader is located)? How would I do that? Where am I confused?