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can't access Vista after WinXP installation


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I have a Dell Optiplex that came with Vista installed.  I used it a few times, then installed WinXP on a different partition...thinking that it would be set up as a dual boot.  That didn't happen and WinXP is my bootup OS.  I'd like to get Vista running again so I can uninstall it and reclaim the disk space.  I don't have the CD for either operation system.

I've tried running EasyBCD and it shows that there is one entry in the Windows bootloader, Vista on C Drive.  I have WinXP running on E Drive, but no mention of this in EasyBCD.  If I open a CMD window and run bootcfg, it shows only the WinXP entry on Partition(2).  If I go to msconfig and check boot.ini, it also shows only the WinXP entry on Partition(2).

That's as far as I've gone, and I'm not sure what to do next.  Can someone give me some pointers about getting Vista to boot up again along with keeping the WinXP boot.

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When you installed the XP, the install has overwritten the bootsector of your (I presume NTFS) boot partition (the one that MS calls "system") i.e. where your NTLDR and BOOT.INI (and NTDETECT.COM are.

This is "normal", the XP install knows nothing about Vista or any later OS and does not "preserve" such installations.

Leave alone EasyBCD.

The easiest for you is to:

1) get a recent grub4dos, any 0.4.5c or 0.4.6a version from 2016 would do:


This (latest 0.4.6a) would do: http://dl.grub4dos.chenall.net/grub4dos-0.4.6a-2016-12-24.7z

2) extract from the .7z file just the grldr and the \sample\menu.lst, and place them in the root of the partition where you have NTLDR and BOOT.INI

3) edit BOOT.ini adding to it a line:

and increase the Timeout value to - say - 10 seconds, your BOOT.INI should look *like*:

[boot loader]



[operating systems]

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect


Boot and choose "grub4dos", you should have a menu with - among other choices - "load BOOTMGR of Windows VISTA/WIN7/WIN2008 on ...", choose that one and you should be able to boot to Vista as you could before.


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