Dual Boot VISTA and DOS? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a system set up for testing, and it would be extremely beneficial to have a boot menu that allows me to select between Windows Vista, Windows XP and DOS (Ubuntu will be added in later, but this is an after-thought).

    I have no problem dual booting Vista and XP, but adding DOS into the equation greatly complicates things. Has anyone gotten a setup like this to work / are there any suggestions on how I could accomplish this?

    I am currently running DOS 7.1 but the version I use doesnt matter if that would - in any way - affect the install.

    If there is a specific order I should install the operating systems, I have all of the installation disks, so it is not an issue to start again from scratch!

    Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
    Monday, June 25, 2007 1:57 PM

All replies

  • I also have same situation for testing. This is what I do:

    1. First create 2 primary partitions in your HDD: 1:FAT32 2:NTFS. I use 32G for each. Don't use all HDD, leave free space to later add Vista

    2. Install DOS in the 1:FAT32 as usual.

    3. Run XP setup from CD and install it in partition 2. The installer will automatically set up the bootsector for DOS and XP.

    3.1 Optional: Boot into XP, install your programs, set up everything and then use the transfer settings wizard to save your settings to a file so you can in the future easily re-create your system in case of fail.

    3.2. Optional: in this step I make a ghost image of the disk because sometimes for other systems I need XP and DOS only.

    5. Boot into XP and create partition 3:NTFS and 4:NTFS or Fat32 (this last partition is where I store images, settings, etc).

    6. Run vista install and install it on 3. Vista will automatically update Hdd's boot sector.

    6.1 Optional: Boor into Vista, install programs, set up everything and then use transfer settings wizard to save your settings.

    6.2 Optional: Boot into Vista and use Bcdedit to organize your boot up menu.

    7. Ghost everything so you can create images in the future


    The reason I create the image in 3.2 is because my vista expires every 30 days (120 with the trick), so when it expires instead of repeating everything I just ghost the image and continue from (4).




    Saturday, July 14, 2007 11:52 AM
  • Another way to do it, but I'm still working on it is to take a PC and install only one OS and then create the image of the partition.

    So then you'll have 3 images: vista, xp and dos.

    This speeds up a lot the process to update systems in the future (we do that a lot).

    Then you just ghost each partition to you new HDD, and use BCDEDIT to enable the OSs that you want.

    I'm able to make it work with vista and XP but am in the process right now to enable DOS (but it is weekend so....)

    Saturday, July 14, 2007 11:57 AM
  • Hi

    What file do you edit with BCDedit - I understand that Vista don't have boot.ini any more . I also have a need to boot with MS DOS, XP and Vista. Currently I only have XP and DOS but I am planning to install Vista into the third partition.


    Thursday, July 26, 2007 5:01 AM
  • Did you have any luck with BCD entry for DOS?


    Monday, August 20, 2007 4:56 PM
  • BCD for DOS is really simple. I got it run in different configurations but the easiest way is:


    - DOS must be installed on the first partition of the HDD, otherwise it wont work.

    - bootsect.dos must be present in the DOS partition, if you don't have it you can create it yourself very easily by booting from a floppy disk and then following Step 2 on this page:

    (this page is pretty old, I've found not everything on this page is currently "necessary").

    - in vista you must create a new bcd entry for legacy OS:

    >bcdedit /create {legacy} -d "MS DOS"


    note: if you already have a legacy (ntldr) entry (i.e. for XP) you won't be able to create a new one, but you can "copy" the current legacy entry into a new one by using:

    >bcdedit /copy {ntldr} -d "MS DOS"

    this will return the ID number {xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx....xxxx} of the new entry. Use this ID in the next steps.


    - set the device letter for the drive where dos is installed.

    >bcdedit /set {xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx....xxxx} device partition=E:


    note, in this case I use E, but you must use the drive letter where DOS is installed AS SEEN FROM VISTA EXPLORER.


    - set the path for bootsect.dos

    >bcdedit /set {xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx....xxxx} path \bootsect.dos


    - add the new entry to the menu list

    >bcdedit /displayorder {xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx....xxxx} -addfrst


    and that's it. Reboot and you must have do enabled.The procedure is straightforward, so if you have any problem look at the dos installation and bootsect.dos file creation first before trying something else


    Saturday, August 25, 2007 5:26 PM
  • I wanted to use an USB stick for dual boot WinPE 3.0 and DOS 7.0, but with the bcdedit commands from above I got an error message when booting into DOS, complaining he can't load \bootsect.dos. After some trial and error I've been sucessful with the following sligthly different commands, where H: is my USB stick drive letter.

    bcdedit /store h:\boot\bcd /create /d "MS DOS" /application bootsector
    bcdedit /store h:\boot\bcd /set {xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx....xxxx} device boot
    bcdedit /store h:\boot\bcd /set {xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx....xxxx} path \bootsect.dos
    bcdedit /store h:\boot\bcd /displayorder {xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx....xxxx} /addlast


    Dr. Ralph Zeller,
    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:16 AM