After you install Windows Vista in a dual-boot configuration together with Microsoft Windows XP, you receive an error message that resembles the following when you try to start the computer by using Windows XP:
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
C:\Windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe. Please re-install a copy of the above file.
You experience this problem if Windows Vista is installed in formerly unallocated disk space that existed in front of the partition on which Windows XP is installed.
In this situation, the Windows Vista Setup program creates a new partition in the unallocated disk space. Because a new partition is created in front of the partition on which Windows XP is installed, the Boot.ini entry for the Windows XP installation points to an invalid partition.
Consider the following scenario:
You have a hard disk, or disk 0, that has some unallocated hard disk space in front of the Windows XP partition.
The Windows XP Boot.ini file points to disk(0)partition(1) for the Windows XP startup files.
The Windows Vista program creates a partition in the unallocated hard disk space.
In this scenario, the Windows XP startup files are now located on disk(0)partition(2). However, the Boot.ini file still points to disk(0)partition(1) for these files. Therefore, Windows XP does not start successfully.
To resolve this problem, modify the Windows XP Boot.ini file to point to the correct partition. To do this, follow these steps:
Start Windows Vista.
Right-click Start, and then click Explore.
On the Organize menu, click Folder and Search Options.
In the Folder Options dialog box, click the View tab.
In the Advanced settings area, click Show hidden files and folders, click to clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box, click to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box, click Yes to confirm that you want to display operating system files, and then click OK.
Locate and then click the Windows XP system drive. In the Windows Vista Windows Explorer program, this will likely be drive D.
In the right pane, right-click boot.ini, and then click Properties.
In the boot.ini Properties dialog box, click the Security tab, and then click Advanced.
Click the Owner tab, and then click Edit.
If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type your password or click Continue.
In the Change owner to list, click your alias or leave the default Administrators option selected, and then click OK four times.
Right-click boot.ini, and then click Edit.
Modify the Advanced RISC Computing (ARC) path as appropriate for the correct path of the Windows XP startup partition. For example, if the Windows Vista Setup program created a partition in the unallocated disk space in front of the partition on which Windows XP is installed, you must increment the partition value by one. Therefore, if the Boot.ini file contains partition(1) along the ARC path of the Windows XP operating system, modify the ARC path to use partition(2). In this situation, the ARC path resembles the following:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
Save the changes to the Boot.ini file, and then exit Notepad.
For more information about ARC paths, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
102873 BOOT.INI and ARC path naming conventions and usage