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 The time in Wales is: 22 July 2019 04:45:45

Fix a Dual Boot System

In the following examples Windows 95 means Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows ME; Windows XP means Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows 2003; and Windows Vista, as at the time of writing, means Windows Vista.

PDF Guide to repairing the dual boot menu.

Click here to download a PDF guide to repairing a boot menu. The guide is designed for repairing the boot menu when dual booting Windows 7 or Windows Vista with Windows XP. The guide also works with server operating system's.

Scenario 1 - Cannot boot Windows Vista

You are running Windows Vista and have installed Windows XP as a dual boot system and you can no longer log into Windows Vista. click here.

Scenario 2 - Cannot boot Windows XP

You are running Windows 95 from the System drive (C:) and either Windows 2000 or XP (or both) from another partition. You have re-formatted the C: drive, re-installed Windows 95. You can no longer see the menu that allows you to boot into Windows XP even though the correct boot files have been restored to the C: drive or you can see a menu system but cannot log into Windows 95.

Problem 1

The PC displays a menu, you are able to log into Windows XP but you get the error message "Invalid System Disk" or the PC just hangs when you select Windows 95.

Problem 2

The PC goes straight into Windows 95 instead of displaying a menu.

What you will need

The following items are required to fix this problem:

  • A Windows 95, 98 or ME recovery diskette or a bootable CD, for example a bootable AISBackup Emergency Restore CD.

  • Desirable: A backup of the System Disk or another backup that contains the files from the root of the system drive C:, we need a backup of the hidden read only file c:\boot.ini.

  • A Windows XP installation CD.


= Type a space here.

<ENTER> = Press Enter on the keyboard.

Solution (Problem 1)

If you are experiencing problem 1 then we need to repair the boot files on the System drive (C:). If your system is already only booting into Windows 95 skip to here.

  1. Boot into DOS using the Windows Recovery Diskette or AISBackup enhanced Bootable CD.

  2. Choose "No CD ROM Support" - It's just quicker to boot.

  3. Repair the boot files on the C: Drive with the following commands:



  4. Remove the boot diskette or boot CD then re-boot the PC. You will now boot straight into Windows 95. In other words we have switched the problem to Problem 2.

Solution (Problem 2)

For this part of the solution you need the XP installation CD and either an AISBackup containing the original boot menu, a file called c:\boot.ini, or you should take a copy of the existing c:\boot.ini file before you start. The file c:\boot.ini is a hidden / read only file so you may have to adjust your view options in Windows Explorer before you can see it.

The solution to the problem is to start an installation of Windows XP, you are not actually going to install or replace Windows XP.

  1. Take a backup of the hidden, read only file, c:\boot.ini.

  2. From Windows Load your Windows Installation CD. If the CD does not auto-start run setup.exe from Windows Explorer.

  3. Select Install Windows XP.

  4. Important: Change the install option to New Installation (Advanced).



  1. Follow the on-screen instructions until you get to the point where the installation procedure wants to re-boot the PC, here press Esc, do not re-boot.

  2. Load AISBackup, choose your C Drive backup and restore the file C:\Boot.ini, choose the Replace Duplicates option.

  3. Delete the folder named: $WIN_NT$.~BT

The boot menu system has now been repaired.

Scenario 1 - Cannot boot Windows Vista

You are running Windows Vista and have installed Windows XP as a dual boot system and you can no longer log into Windows Vista.


The problem with installing a dual-boot version of Windows XP after a version of Windows Vista is that the boot files are replaced on the boot disk by versions that are not recognised by Windows Vista, this has the effect that it is no longer possible to boot into Windows Vista. The boot process of Windows Vista changed significantly compared to that in Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 and it is not longer a simple matter of restoring the more up to date NTLDR etc files because a new boot sector needs to be written to the disk to 'tell' the operating system to boot using Vista's boot files. Fortunately this is very easy as long as you have access to your own or somebody else's (if one did not come with your PC) Windows Vista boot DVD.

The repair process

If you were already running Windows XP and installed Windows Vista to a second partition, and then since reformatted the system boot disk so that it now only boots Windows XP then you need to re-create the Vista boot files in their entirety, however if the boot Vista boot files are still intact on the system boot disk then click here.

Recreating the Vista Boot Menu.

  1. Boot into Windows Vista using the Windows Vista installation DVD
  2. Click Next
  3. Choose Repair your computer
  4. The repair process displays Searching for Windows.
  5. Click Repair and restart - this does not in fact repair everything!
  6. re-do steps 1 to 4
  7. Repair and restart should not now be displayed, instead the recovery menu.
  8. Click Start repair.
  9. The boot menu should now be repaired.

Vista boot menu files exist.

After installing Windows XP you can boot into Windows XP and can no longer boot into Windows Vista.

  1. If boot files still exist on the Windows Vista boot disk then it is simply a matter of replacing the boot sector of the disk to point to the Boot manager file instead of the NTLDR file installed by the Windows XP installation.
    Boot into Windows XP and then install the Windows Vista installation DVD.
  • Open a command prompt window (click Start / Run / type command then press<Enter>
  • Type [DVD Drive letter]:\boot\bootsect /nt60 c: then press <Enter> (take care that the slashes go the right way)
    The c: indicates that the c: drive is the Windows Vista boot partition and may change. Another possible value is ALL this causes all local drives to be written with a Windows Vista boot sector.

At this stage you can now boot into Windows Vista, but no longer boot into Windows XP.

  1. To enable the Windows Vista boot manager to boot Windows XP you need to type in the following 4 commands. If you can access your Windows Vista disk from Windows XP then open a command prompt window and navigate to the Windows Vista SYSTEM32 folder.

    If Windows Vista is on the C: drive:

    Type  C: then press <Enter>
    Type CD \windows\system32 then press <Enter>

    Type each of the following four lines then press <Enter>

    bcdedit /create {ntldr} –d "Previous versions of Windows"

    bcdedit /set {ntldr} device partition=C:
    C: is the drive letter of the boot partition, this is normally C: but may be different.

    bcdedit /set {ntldr} path \ntldr

    bcdedit /displayorder {ntldr} –addlast