Messed up a dual boot, need help bad

By dumdum ยท 21 replies
Jun 27, 2008
  1. Long story short.

    Win XP SP3 installed on a SATA drive.
    Went to install Vista on the secondary drive, that is IDE.

    Since it was on 2 different drives, i figured no problems, the boot loader would show earlier version of windows, and windows vista.

    Nope. Only showed Vista. Got into Vista, used VistaBootPRO and for some reason unimaginable, didn't read what i was doing this time, figured i had the right selection figured out. I choose to go with deleting the current boot loader and to go back to the old style boot loader [option in vistabootpro].

    Well the only thing i didnt notice here is that Vista wasn't noticing the old copy of XP either. So i reset the computer, and having both drives still in the PC, it gets past the initial loading screen, then just takes me to ...

    Boot.ini not found

    and then even that just goes away, and nothing happens. Computer is done doing anything.

    I open up the side of er' (lucile, by the way) and just unplug the IDE drive. well at least my SATA drive loads up XP no questions ask, and nice and smooth.

    Have been yet to find any method of being able to remove and repair the fact that my extra drive thinks it should load from it first. Thats all i want to do!

    Just remove the part that makes it thinks its supposed to load from it!
    Ive put the drive into 2 computers and ive yet gotten it to load the actual right copy of windows, just goes straight to cannot find boot.ini. Disappointed in myself, ive searched the web for a few days, to no conclusion.

    Im not a n00b believe it or not and I've been able to say I rarely rarely ever need any help to figure something out, i understand most awnser's are out here on the web. This one leaves me stumped though.

    However, i did go onto Just partioning my SATA drive, and have XP and Vista Dualbooting nicely on this 1 drive on its own. Just would like to get my IDE drive back so i have the rest of my storage space. i do NOT want to format it.

    Yeah, that's somehow the short story.
    Anyone, please help.
    Anything is appreciated.

    Thanks again
  2. bobm

    bobm TS Rookie Posts: 39

    have you tried to run up your computer with the vista CD.
  3. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Actually no.

    Any thoughts if i disconnected the SATA drive and just did ANOTHER install of windows on the IDE drive, so i can atleast then be able to boot the SATA drive with the IDE attached, and then just delete the Windows and etc. off of the IDE drive?

    i was kinda just hoping there would be some form of easy ISO to boot and fix the boot sector or remove one entirely from that drive by choice.

    if not, yeah ill try giving that a shot.
  4. bobm

    bobm TS Rookie Posts: 39

    I dont know vista but XP lets you fix programs from cd expect vista will as well
    thought you didnt want to format your IDE drive?
    try the CD first them if it dosnt work go for the other
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

  6. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    well again its not that i am worried about XP or my Vista boot stuff.

    Itwas my IDE drive that i have as a storage drive and figured i could install Vista on that partition rather than splitting my SATA drive [which i ended up doing anyways] and installing there.

    So now that i cant get into any windows when i have the IDE drive hooked up, i was just seeing if there was any way around it.

    Im about to try the CD stuff though, without my SATA drive hooked up.

    Another thing, trying any change or combination of the 'buffer' (thats what i call the lil toggle switch and the 10 pin part to choose slave, master, etc) none of that helped the computer recognize it as the slave drive, and not trying to boot off of it

    I did end up using EasyBCD rather than VistaBoot Pro when i did finish installing Vista, and it again turned out perfectly fine.

    my real mistake was using vista boot pro and not reading into what i was doing, go figure.

    ill be back in 20, hoping this works.
  7. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    Using your XP or Vista CD you should be able to repair the MBR or Boot sector

    This is my saved instructions for XP but I am pretty sure vista is similar

    Fix your MBR
    1. Restart your computer with the Windows XP Setup disk in the CDROM drive.
    2. If you are prompted to press a key to start the computer from CDROM, do so quickly. Otherwise it may try to boot from the hard drive.
    3. After a few minutes, you'll see a prompt to press the R key to start the Recovery Console.
    4. When Recovery Console starts, it will prompt you to enter a number corresponding to the Windows XP installation that you need to repair. In most cases, you'll enter "1" (which will be the only choice). If you press ENTER without typing a number, Recovery Console will quit and restart your computer.
    5. Enter your Administrator password. If you don't enter the correct password, you cannot continue.
    6. At the Recovery Console command prompt, type fixmbr and then verify that you want to proceed.

    Your damaged MBR will be replaced with a new one, and you should then be able to boot your system normally. In some cases, you may need to repair the boot sector in addition to the MBR. If your system still doesn't boot properly, repeat the steps above, but issue the fixboot command instead.
  8. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Mr. SNG, Mr. Dragon,

    I do appreciate the input. However.. this is what happend.

    I disconnected the SATA drive [again, the drive that im using right now, has dual booting vista and XP on it, running PERFECT.]

    Leaving just that IDE drive installed, I loaded up the computer using the Vista CD, I did do the repair, and kapow! it works, Great. fine, I now have vista on that drive again too.

    NOW Though, when i connect the SATA drive back up, it STILL boots directly from the IDE drive, does not give me the boot loader options that it SHOULD read from the Sata drive. So anyways, i go into the only version of vista that i can use, and all the drives are there. I open up EasyBCD and add entries so atleast MAYBE it will fix the vista boot loader to atleast let me choose my options. So i add entrys for XP, and the other Vista copy. Restart computer.

    It atleast lets me get to a boot loader, for whatever reason it is, the only version of Vista that shows up is the one on the IDE drive, and the XP entry, somehow leads me to the Boot.ini loading failure.

    Which leads me back to now. IDE drive unplugged, SATA drive working fine.

    All i need to do is find a way to tell the computer to boot the SATA windows and not the IDE windows. However i dont know how to make the IDE a Slave in this scenario. Changing the 5pin stuff on the back does nothing for me.

    crap what have i gotten myself into.

    thanks again guys, any more input is EXTREMELY appreciated.


    why did i want vista installed you ask? well when it comes down to it, it streams movies and crap to my xbox360 WAY better than XP does. Especially when it comes down to the fact that my computer is a powerhouse and it STILL hangs a little bit when i stream to the 360 using Xp. Vista however is like a dream come true for streaming to the 360.
  9. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    Did you change the boot order in BIOS

    unless it's a western digital in which case I believe you would need to remove the jumper seeing how it is the only drive on the channel.
  10. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    For whatever god-awful reason. My BIOS is NOTHING like what a bios should look like.

    Out of the countless amount of computers bios ive seen. mine is nothing like any of them, and it sucks. Its something so crappy that i dont even dare try to find out why the hell it does it. Its like.. jesus im better off taking a picture of the screen and just showing you, because its a whole F'ing mistake from square 1. No idea why. I have the up to date bios from Intel as far as i know.
  11. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    Maybe your problem then

    did you set the boot order, you need to set your SATA drive as primary in the boot order and the IDE drive as secondary
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Sorry if my reply didn't help, but I couldn't make much sense out of your original post. Your reply after my reply didn't help much either.

    Here is my best guess on what happened, based on what I could get from your posts.

    Your computer is set up to look for CD to boot off of first, if it doesn't find anything it looks to your IDE drives, if it can't find a bootable system there it moves on to your SATA drive. Now prior to this mess you didn't have a boot loader on your IDE drives, so when the BIOS looked there it didn't see anything it could deal with so it moved onto your SATA drive. Now when you installed Vista, or XP, I don't know what you did but whatever OS you installed placed a bootloader onto the IDE drive. Now when your system boots it sees something on the IDE drive and uses it, because the IDE drive is higher in the boot order according to how it is set in your BIOS.

    So the solution is, to brave the waters of your BIOS and set the boot priority for the SATA drive to be above the IDE drives. This will get you back to your XPSP3 off the SATA drive. After that though, I'm not entirely sure how you get your Vista and 2nd XP? to boot. You can probably do it with one of those tools you were using though.
  13. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, in the past 15 minutes i decided to atleast double check, and upgrade to the newest bios that is offered from intel. it is a mess.

    like 1/4 of my monitor is actually the bios, and when i switch tabs in the menu, it litterly just over laps words and makes it impossible to figure what im looking at.

    On top of that, i DID try changing the boot order from one drive to the other, and got no results.

    Sorry im such a cluster of words.

    I have my Sata drive as the drive with windows xp sp3 on it.
    my IDE drive was just extra storage.

    i installed Vista on my IDE drive.
    then installed Vista Boot Pro and messed up the entire boot order.

    I then just removed the IDE drive from the computer, continued to use XP.
    Partitioned the Sata drive, put vista on another letter of the same Sata drive

    That worked fine.
    Now im just trying to get my IDE back as storage. Must be able to find some way to delete the boot area of that hard drive, or something, lord knows.

    any more suggestions?
  14. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    bump. helpp!!
  15. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    just a question, I know u want the storage back, could not just format the IDE drive and then use it as storage? if u have files that u do not want to loose then move them where u have the most space and then move them back after formatting.

    just a thought
  16. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The key problem here being is that i can not put the drive into any computer and have it boot as a slave drive.

    Even my old computer that is all IDE. It wont load it as a slave.
  17. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    It seems to me you can boot into one of your Windows versions on the SATA hard drive, go to Disk Management, locate your IDE drive and format it from there. That would wipe it clean of Windows Vista you installed before. Then it would be an empty storage drive again.
  18. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry, again not trying to format the drive. NEED the stuff on it.

    Just trying to remove the vista boot sector from the drive entirely.
    There isnt ANY known software to delete a boot sector from an IDE drive?
  19. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I don't understand how a good IDE drive will make any system fail to boot.

    But, if the drive isn't dead, perhaps the best solution for you is to buy or borrow a USB enclosure and just make that drive external until you can get the files off of it. I think I finally understand your problem, and now it just doesn't make sense that putting that drive in another system, even as a slave drive, will prevent the system from booting.
  20. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    SNG : I totally agree. Problem is i dont want to fork out the cash even to use an external enclosure. I know there has to be some way to solve this without that.

    The drive is defitnally not dead. I dont even need to get the files off of it, JUST the boot sections. I have no idea why, but it will not act as a slave, even in my old computer. No idea why.

    worse case scenario. I rent one from best buy for the cash. Im just trying to avoid it.

    IM truly not new to this, just not sure what is causing such a random problem to not be able to be resolved easily.
  21. dumdum

    dumdum TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Fixed it.

    Biggest "small" mistake I've ever made.

    So, so embarrassing.
    Thanks everyone for the support.
  22. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    just curious what was the cause
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