Please help- My "Vista Only" HDD now has my XP hdd's bootloader!

Discussion in 'General Technical' started by rkharif, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. rkharif


    Feb 8, 2008
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    My system has 3 physical hard drives, two of which have multiple partitions & a separate operating system per partition. My first hard drive has Vista Business on it & is the hard drive that came with my system. It should still have its recovery partition on it as well. My 2nd hard drive has Windows 2000 Professional & XP Home. My problem is this- i used to have my Vista hdd unplugged anytime i tinkered w/the other operating systems & would use it to clean up the damage if something went wrong. I bought XP home a week ago, registered it, got used to it, & started plugging all hard drives in at the same time. well, i tried to boot back into my Vista hard drive today but it only shows my XP-disk's bootloader. I unplugged the XP hard drive and tried again, but it's the same. In theory i should be able to use the system recovery option to reinstall Vista Business but i'm wondering if there's a quick & less painful way to get my Vista Hard drive to boot into vista again. thanks
    rkharif, Feb 8, 2008
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  2. rkharif


    Jan 27, 2007
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    Northern Virginia, USA
    If you have XP on your system, when you install Vista, it will write it's boot info to the boot drive (whichever it may be) and it will write its loader files to the first OS it finds -- even if that OS is XP. (I know this sounds crazy, but I have verified it because it happened to me).

    If you can get into XP, download and install VistaBootPro. When you launch it (even inside XP), it will give you the option of repairing the Vista boot loader. After that, you should get a multi-OS selection screen and be able to choose which OS you want.

    If you have to do a Vista repair, be advised that Vista will overwrite the first MBR it finds on your system, and if you're running both IDE and SATA drives, it will pick the first IDE drive -- even if Vista is installed on the SATA drive. Once again, I know this because it's happened to me.

    So, the typical sequence that works is the following:

    1) Install XP. It will install its loader files into the MBR of the first drive

    2) Install Vista. It will overwrite the MBR with its loader files, but since it finds XP is already present, it will create the multi-OS boot option.

    If you install them the other way around, XP overwrites the Vista MBR but it doesn't know about Vista so it doesn't create a multi-OS boot option. Installing VistaBootPro allows you to restore the multi-OS boot option and get Vista back.
    WAW8, Feb 9, 2008
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