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Sharing My Dual Booting Experience

Last response: in Windows Vista
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March 16, 2009 6:05:23 PM

This thread is to pass on some hard learned lessons and though your experiences may be somehow different from mine with different setups, this information learned the hard way may just help someone avoid the troubles I ran into, and may make your own dual booting experience a joy instead of a disaster.

My adventure started dual booting between Vista Home Premium 64bit and WinXP Pro 32bit, first off, this is really not a good idea, Why?

Because they are 2 completely different operating systems, the 64bit requiring high levels of memory to get the best overall performance and the 32bit being maxed at 4G and even though WinXP Pro can run its max memory, doesn't mean it can do it problem free or at its best performance level, my own past tests of memory amount usage with WinXP Pro 32bit revealed 2G as the sweet spot of memory for that OP/SYS.

So if you dual boot the 64bit and 32bit with only 2G of memory to favor the 32bit OP/SYS, you seriously impede the performance of the 64bit operating system, so since memory is so cheap and we normally want to be able to use what we already paid for, it seemed to me the dual boot at 4G between the 2 OP/SYS would be a great compromise.

There is the Word; Compromise, when you allow that word into the equation neither will run at its full potential.

Why dual boot between WinXP and Vista in the first place?

Because there are 32bit applications that WinXP32bit runs flawlessly, Vista64 does not, and even though WOW is part of the 64bit Vista experience, it doesn't work for every WinXP application.

So for my part dual booting was allowing me to run the older applications I didn't want to depart with problem free on WinXP, and enjoy the DX10 added experience in my gaming with Vista.

I chose to dual boot by installing each OP/SYS on its own HDD and use the F8 boot option to select the HDD to boot into, seemed great at first until I discovered my Vista Restore points were disappearing every time I booted into WinXP, this is a known problem addressed by the Microsoft website, of which there is a work around listed but for my situation was discovered too late.

I'll track down that link and post it here:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/926185
If anyone has tried this work around and it has worked, would you share your experience Please?

My solution to the problem was after the fact, and the fact being a complete Vista64 HDD format and reinstall of the OP/SYS, because unlike WinXPs wonderful Repair Installation of the OP/SYS, not loosing any files and settings, it does not work like that with Vista of any flavor.

My solution may be past your ability or determination to incorporate in your setup, but it works flawlessly!

I'm presently dual booting WinXP Pro 32bit and Vista Home Premium 32bit, using 2G of system memory, basically the memory amount sweet spot for both the 32bit operating systems, using a HDD power controlling switch, preset before booting to the desired OP/SYS to boot into, completely eliminating the lost restore point Vista XP problem, because the HDDs are invisible to each other.

Only the boot HDD is powered, the non boot HDD has no power or signature to see, so the conflicts are completely eliminated, the 2 way switch controls the power to the HDD, the SATA data cable stays hooked to the M/B, all switching is done with the system powered down before booting.

So I simply flip the switch to the OP/SYS HDD I want to boot into and punch the computers power button to boot the machine into that desired OP/SYS, its actually like having 2 completely different computers in one, and works great.

Anyone running Vista64 with more memory than 4G, put dual booting a 32bit OP/SYS completely out of your mind, you're way past that possibility, of course thats just my suggestion, I'm sure someone will try it.

I truly hope this thread will help someone! Thanks for your time! Ryan

March 17, 2009 12:09:08 PM

Thanks For the the tips. I use the F8 method myself since May 2008 but have not run into the restore points vanishing. I use Sata I for XP and Sata II for Vista 64. I also have Vista do automatic system backups on a 3rd drive for safe measure. I am going to double check now, very interesting.
March 17, 2009 1:37:18 PM

Well if you have either the Enterprise or Ultimate edition of Vista with the bitlocker feature enabled for the drive, you won't loose your restore points, according to the Microsoft support article.
Related resources
March 17, 2009 4:58:22 PM

I was always afraid to turn on the bitlocker,,,I don't know why. i have vista 64 ultimate oem
March 18, 2009 10:33:54 AM

maximiza said:
I was always afraid to turn on the bitlocker,,,I don't know why. i have vista 64 ultimate oem



Have you checked to see if you've lost any restore points?

To my understanding enabling bitlocker is a work around, [if you're having the problem], you may not have even lost any restore points with the Ultimate version, so before you enable it check to see if your restore points are gone, if they're gone you won't have any at all.

March 18, 2009 12:57:25 PM

i got side tracked by st paddys day, checking tonight.

:::update::::
yeap it delatedall my restore points from last XP boot. I guess I will have to use bitlocker. Amazing, would have never noticed until I had a problem.
March 19, 2009 12:53:30 PM

maximiza said:
i got side tracked by st paddys day, checking tonight.

:::update::::
yeap it delatedall my restore points from last XP boot. I guess I will have to use bitlocker. Amazing, would have never noticed until I had a problem.



Well its a good thing you discovered it now with hopefully a healthy Vista Installation, so you do not run into the mess I ran into and end up reinstalling the entire operating system. Enabling the bitlocker should stop the loss, if you don't mind Please post back your results so that this thread may help others. Thanks maximiza!
March 20, 2009 4:45:14 PM

after some research i found out my mobo does not have a TDM chip. I don't really want a thumb drive all the time, I might try your hard wired switch approach. there have been some horror stories using bit locker on my mobo.
April 13, 2009 2:55:12 AM

4ryan6, after allot of reading on the subject it appears MS will never hotpatch XP to fix the problem. I have read TDM chips have allready been hacked and can have hostile code working above the OS. So bitlocker is a dead end with USB too.

My question is more for the circut layout. Would just one rocker switch to the Vista drive work? Would it be better to make it a ground trigger or use the hot wire? whats a good switch to use? Shuting off the Vista drive before booting into XP would make sense? XP drive can stay on all the time?
April 13, 2009 12:19:50 PM

maximiza said:
4ryan6, after allot of reading on the subject it appears MS will never hotpatch XP to fix the problem. I have read TDM chips have allready been hacked and can have hostile code working above the OS. So bitlocker is a dead end with USB too.

My question is more for the circut layout. Would just one rocker switch to the Vista drive work? Would it be better to make it a ground trigger or use the hot wire? whats a good switch to use? Shuting off the Vista drive before booting into XP would make sense? XP drive can stay on all the time?



/////My question is more for the circut layout. Would just one rocker switch to the Vista drive work?

Possibly but I'm not sure about taking that route.

/////Would it be better to make it a ground trigger or use the hot wire?

I think you'll be much better off using the complete connection switch that switches all the connection wires on or off, I'm not sure if the HDD isn't somehow circuit grounded to the HDD body which is grounded to the case by simply being screwed in metal to metal in most all configurations.

The switch I'm using works great and is and has been 100% problem free, its no big inconvenience to flip the switch to the operating system you want to boot into and press the power button and you're there, it even takes far less boot time than accessing the F8 Boot Menu and booting that route.

The whole thing sounds intimidating but its so easy to setup, the hardest thing is finding the perfect place to hard mount the switch but once you've done it and its operational, its a piece of cake.

I strongly recommend going this route for anyone plagued with this restore point problem it works, no work arounds that may or may not work this switch method of dual booting is a rock solid solution, its nice to go back into Vista and your restore points are there.

///// Shuting off the Vista drive before booting into XP would make sense? XP drive can stay on all the time?

XP is the culprit deleting your Restore points, if XPs HDD is active while booting into the Vista HDD you may have the same problem, no matter which HDD you boot into the other HDD will be initialized when the operating system fully boots, even if you disable the XP HDD in Vista that disabling doesn't happen until the Vista OP/SYS is fully functional.

Why would you want to take a chance when there is a solid solution?

/////whats a good switch to use?

Are you talking your idea of the rocker method switch or the Toggle switch that I'm using?



maximiza, If you want to use the method I'm using and will give me a little time to put it together I'll draw up a schematic of the switch wiring using Paint and post it and the switch recommendation for you, and whoever else discovers this thread thats interested and wants to do it themselves?


April 13, 2009 12:36:47 PM

Thanks 4ryan6, a toggle might be better then a rocker, less chance of accidental switching. Kudos to that idea that there might be a ground connection right to the chassie. I agree, all power wires would have to be routed through switch. Would that be a double position double pole switch? Maybe a rotery switch , 2 position, main power in , and 2 outputs, only one drive on at a time.
April 13, 2009 1:20:50 PM

The original switch I looked at and found wiring diagrams online for was a 3 position 4 pole rotary switch, if you intend to boot more than 2 OP/SYS that may be the best route, I actually considered booting Linux an taking advantage of the third switch setting but didn't end up going that route.

You can find a lot of info by just Googling [Hard Drive Switch], even wiring diagrams, you can actually buy a premanufactured HDD switch but they are quite expensive, or you can buy a homemade individual switch setup from guys making them for people, but I decided to go the El-cheapo route and make my own.

I went with a 4 pole double throw toggle switch simply because my local electronics dealer had one in stock cost me 5 bucks, my total expense for the project because I already had the wiring cabling on hand from various upgrades, I could have used a 3 pole double throw toggle also, as the 2 black ground wires in the wiring harness are common at the P/S source.

Its a lot simpler wiring a toggle switch than wiring a rotary switch, but its all a matter of getting the wires connected properly and not crossing up the +5v and +12v lines, something which could cause major damage.

Do you want me to draw a diagram or do you want to Google research it first?

Got to go to work now, I'll check back later. Ryan
April 13, 2009 4:35:24 PM

will google, thanks for the +5v and +12v tip.
April 16, 2009 11:57:09 AM

maximiza said:
will google, thanks for the +5v and +12v tip.



What have you discovered so far?
April 16, 2009 7:41:53 PM

well, you can buy a fancy premade unit for 55 dollars that fits in an empty drive bay has lights and safe guard circuits so you accidently don't shut down an HD in use, also you can build your own with a rotery switch with instructions for free on the web.

My thinking is pretty getto, just have once switch for the Vista drive and shut down Vista drive when I go into XP. Xp is the OS drive causing the problem and with the Vista drive powered down no deleted files will occur.

MS is sorta at fault and I am wondering should I have to do all this when MS could just hot patch XP. Why is XP even delteing shadow copies or files at all on a differnt HD without the users command. That sounds sorta skynet, or is it jelaosuly, OS envy?

Honestly I am rethinking everyhting and might have to do the bitlocker method, no performance hits from what I am reading. Just I hate all these stupid partitions. I might take the bitlocker plunge.
April 16, 2009 10:24:46 PM

maximiza said:
well, you can buy a fancy premade unit for 55 dollars that fits in an empty drive bay has lights and safe guard circuits so you accidently don't shut down an HD in use, also you can build your own with a rotery switch with instructions for free on the web.

My thinking is pretty getto, just have once switch for the Vista drive and shut down Vista drive when I go into XP. Xp is the OS drive causing the problem and with the Vista drive powered down no deleted files will occur.

MS is sorta at fault and I am wondering should I have to do all this when MS could just hot patch XP. Why is XP even delteing shadow copies or files at all on a differnt HD without the users command. That sounds sorta skynet, or is it jelaosuly, OS envy?

Honestly I am rethinking everyhting and might have to do the bitlocker method, no performance hits from what I am reading. Just I hate all these stupid partitions. I might take the bitlocker plunge.



maximiza, I know its intimidating but the switch method is so easy after you put it together and your problems are history, you would look back on it and laugh at why you were hesitant to do it, I didn't solder anything, I used quick connect lugs and extra P/S wires and sata adapter cables I had lying around from previous upgrades.

I would never have even suggested this possible option to you if I wasn't 100% positive it solves all the problems period, I know its frustrating, but it is so easily solved.

Give me some time to take some pictures, I'll post them in this thread so you can see for yourself, how mine is setup. OK


April 20, 2009 12:54:28 PM

ok, i did almost do the bitlocker over the weekend but then i turned chicken.
April 23, 2009 11:59:59 AM

I've taken some pics, but I'm so busy right now with problems I have to resolve that its gotten put on the back burner, but I will post them.
April 26, 2009 1:19:35 PM

http://gamainc.com/cgi-bin/products.cgi?item=4PDT-3-MTD

This is the type switch I'm presently using, except mine is On / On not On / Off / On as this one in the link is, but it would still work just fine, important look fors, in deciding on the right switch to buy is its output.

The quick connect saves time as theres no soldering to be concerned about.



The switch is in the WinXP boot position.




Note: You can use a 3 pole double throw as the two black common wires are common at the P/S connection point.

This post will be ammended as I get the pics available.
April 26, 2009 1:44:06 PM

What programs did you have trouble running anywayz?
April 26, 2009 5:03:11 PM

amdfangirl said:
What programs did you have trouble running anywayz?



Referring to what?
April 27, 2009 1:51:41 AM

Oh, I meant the Wow 32bit emulation problemos.
April 27, 2009 2:33:05 AM

Cyberlink Power DVD was one of them, but the problem was attributed to multiple upgrading release versions of Power DVD, as you know its cheaper to upgrade from one version to the next.

Only problem with that particular situation was Vista64 wouldn't allow the upgrade path, it actually did allow the old Power DVD 5 installation and it was operational but it would not allow me to proceed with the upgrade path, no matter what.

So I was able to install the oldest software but couldn't upgrade from there to the newest version, because each previous version had to be installed before the next could be installed.

That was just one of the older software problems, and also ran into almost the same thing with Acronis True Image and once again upgraded versions, so upgrading software is cheaper but may not turn out for the best with new operating systems.

There were other problems but I really don't recall what they were that was almost a year ago. Sorry
April 28, 2009 2:28:34 PM

4Ryan, I am going to attempt the reg edit of XP to stop it from doing this bad thing. Found a good step by step instruction on it.
April 29, 2009 1:22:17 AM

maximiza said:
4Ryan, I am going to attempt the reg edit of XP to stop it from doing this bad thing. Found a good step by step instruction on it.




If you don't mind post your results?
April 30, 2009 3:15:29 AM

The reg edit of XP has worked. I was very careful and double checked each keystroke and made a back up of registry file. One registry folder, line and value was added only. It appears it prevents XP from accessing the Vista partition, you can see the Vista drive but not access it. I booted back and forth and was so happy to see a Vista restore point still there after comng back from XP. It appears they fixed this with Vista and Windows 7 dual boot systems. This is strickly an XP problem/shortcoming. I have to mess with XP more to see if stability was compromised, so far I did not see any change in XP operation. This software solution might have unseen performance hits.

P.S. thanks for those pics 4Ryan, you do have allot of emblems!!!




:::update 5/4/09:::::

Well I see no performace hits at all. FEAR1 and X2 the threat look great in XP, but don't work in Vista 64.
!