Help, I installed Windows Vista then installed Windows XP. Where is the Boot Manager?

"Where is the dual boot screen? I have just installed Windows XP in a second partition or second hard drive. In the first partition or first hard drive I have Windows Vista installed."

I have heard and read the above question a few times so I thought I would share a few things with you. When Windows Vista was installed then the Windows Boot Manager was also installed to tell your computer where or which volume (partition) Windows Vista is installed on. The installation of Windows Vista also writes to the MBR to tell the boot sector what type of a Boot Manager is installed and where to find the Boot Manager. If you have only one operating system installed then typically you will not see the Windows Boot Manger when you start your computer.

Now you install Windows XP as a second operating systems on a different volume (partition) than Windows Vista. Windows XP will write its own Boot Manager and will overwrite the MBR. When Windows XP overwrote the MBR then the MBR is not referencing to the Windows Vista Boot Manager but the Windows XP Boot Manager. The Windows XP Boot Manager does not know about or cannot boot Windows Vista therefore Windows XP thinks it is the only operating system on your computer. And this is why your computer offers no Boot Manager screen to select the operating system and simply boots into Windows XP.

Don’t worry, Windows Vista is still on your computer. All we need to do is a few simple steps as outline below to use the Windows Vista Boot Manager and have Windows XP listed as one of the operating system choices.


To enlarge the images, simply click on the images you would like to view. With Internet Explorer 7, you can right-click on the image to select Open in New Tab.

What I Used

  • Windows Vista DVD (Retail)

How to Replace Windows XP Boot Manager with Windows Vista Boot Manager

  1. Insert your Windows Vista DVD.
  2. Restart or start your computer.
  3. Boot from the Windows Vista DVD.


    You may have to change the boot priority in the BIOS of your computer. Please refer to your computer manual for instructions.


  4. Press any key on your keyboard when you see Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…. Refer to image below.


  5. Select your Regional settings then click Next. Refer to image below.


  6. On the Install Now screen, click Repair your computer to access the System Recovery Options from the Windows Vista DVD. Refer to image below.


  7. Select the Windows Vista operating system located on drive C. Click Next to continue to the Windows Vista System Recovery Options on the Windows Vista DVD. Refer to image below.


    You may need to load drivers for your hard disk if the OS is not detected and presented in the list of operating systems.


  8. Click Startup Repair in the System Recovery Options window. Refer to image below.


  9. When the repair process is finished then click Finish


    The computer should now boot into Windows Vista. The Windows Vista Boot Manager will not offer Windows XP as an option yet.


  10. Continue with the next section if you would like to have Windows XP listed on Windows Vista Boot Manager when starting your computer.

How to Add Windows XP to Windows Vista Boot Manager


The following method assumes Windows Vista is installed on drive C and Windows XP is installed on drive D.

  1. Open an elevated Command Window, refer to my blog post "Opening an Elevated Command Prompt" for instructions.
  2. Type:

    bcdedit /create {legacy} /d “Windows XP”

    bcdedit /set {legacy} path \ntldr

    bcdedit /set {legacy} device partition=c:

    NOTE: if the Boot.ini file and ntldr file are located on drive d then use "bcdedit /set {legacy} device partition=d:"

    bcdedit /displayorder {legacy} /addlast

    bcdedit /timeout 30

  3. Restart your computer. Now you should have the ability to select Windows XP or Windows Vista to boot from the Windows Boot Manager.

Platforms Tested

  • Microsoft Windows Vista x86 Versions
Related Articles

Version 1.2
Edited: May 12, 2012


One Response to Help, I installed Windows Vista then installed Windows XP. Where is the Boot Manager?

  1. Pingback: Using BCDEDIT.EXE to Clean Up Windows Vista Boot Manager « BillJr's Space

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