Dual and Multibooting with Vista

This site’s main aim is to understand Vista’s boot requirements,
particularly with regard to third-party boot managers and cloning.
Site Motief

Vista Quirks and Bugs
Vista's new Partitioning
Vista's MBR DIsk
Vista's Boot Files
bootmgr and BCD
Installing Vista
Cloning Vista
Drive Letter Problems
Vista Tested
Boot Managers
Vista Boot Floppy
The Multiboot Process
The Windows System
and Boot Partitions

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Much of the Vista material on this site will apply to Seven, but there have been a few notable changes which can make some of the information here not applicable or not entirely safe for use with Windows Seven. See the new Win-7 page for current updates.


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    Links Page.
  Multibooters - January 2007.
This page last reviewed or updated - Oct 2009.  

Warning icon DISCLAIMER:
 The information on this site is offered in good faith and no responsibility can be accepted for misuse that leads to loss of data or damaged hardware. There are any number of ways that the slightest mistake in procedure could trash a system. If you have a mission critical OS that you cannot restore, or data that is not fully backed up, then you should not be experimenting with such things.

Info iconThis web site was never intended as a complete how-to guide on the subject of multibooting or cloning. The focus has been to publish information about Vista that was not seen elsewhere. Effort has been made to keep articles as non-technical and concise as possible.



Links to Apps Mentioned on the Site


Small command line utility that can backup and restore the MBR. Can be run from Floppy, CD or within Windows. Has several other useful options, including changing or setting the Active partition and hide/unhiding partitions. Can now also read and write to the disk signature, allowing you to change or backup and restore it.

Great free hex editor that runs inside Windows and includes raw disk editing, so you can see and change or manually rewrite your MBR Disk Signature.

PTS-Disk Editor
View and edit your Disk Signature from DOS. Thanks to Starman for hosting the download, and the tutorial. (also on the UBCD)

Ultimate Boot CD - (UBCD).
Dozens of useful apps on one CD. Also has the handy option of adding floppy only apps to the CD so you can still run them even if you don't have a floppy drive in the machine. The XOSL bootmanager and PTS-Disk Editor are already included on the disk. Can also be run from a bootable USB memory stick.

Little app that gives a graphical interface to the Microsoft tools for editing and configuring the built-in Windows bootmanager. Can add Linux, Mac OS X and BSD to the bootmenu. Designed to make it easier to alter the MS bootmanager, but can produce non-native configurations.

Another GUI app for editing the Windows bootmanager, similar to EasyBCD.

Partition Table Editor - ptedit.exe and ptedit32.exe
Small app supplied with Partition Magic that lets you view and edit partition tables and boot sector parameters. The DOS version is ptedit.exe, where as ptedit32.exe runs in Windows NT. Both can be acquired separately from Symantec.
To get ptedit32 to run in Win9x download the following file and extract PQVXD.vxd and place it in the same directory as ptedit32.exe
Thanks to Ed for this tip.

Outstanding Linux partitioning and cloning tool. Obviously won't install in Windows but can be run from boot disk or USBkey. Can do all your Windows partitioning needs and can work to both the old and new partition alignments. It also comes on the PartedMagic bootdisk, which we highly recommend.

Excellent Windows partitioning and cloning tool with a free home edition. Can be run from inside Windows, or from boot CD/DVD or USBkey. Version 7.5 has added support for the new partition alinments. Has a couple of minor quirks but don't let that stop you. It always wants to create logical partitions by default and so you have to be careful to select primary. It does not show or mention extended partitions but just makes or extends them in the background as required, but not always as you would want. Has the habit of resizing the extended to include just the existing logicals, thereby leaving any free space at the end of the drive as unpartitioned.




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These pages are not guaranteed to be free of errors. I cannot offer support but if you can answer any of the questions on this site, or correct any mistakes, then please let me know by using the feedback form.   McTavish_January_2007
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