After a few late nights and lots of reboots I finally have my Vista / XP dual boot system up and running with GAG. Maybe someone can use the information to save some time when trying to achieve the same.
Please note: This is probably only applicable if you have two installation of and XP on separate disks and want to consolidate them onto a single disk with 2 more partitions. If you are doing clean installs or either OS then there are probably easier ways to get you to a dual boot system.
First - why go through the pain? I had a working system with XP installed running media center software and games. XP was installed on an IDE drive on the same IDE bus as my DVD-RW (I know, not a good idea....read on). I then started to play around with Vista on a separate IDE disk which I swapped around with XP disk whenever I had time to play with the system. I ended up configuring Vista Media Center and found it to be more useful then my current media center setup on XP. But quite a few of my games do not work under Vista. To finally get the lid back onto the computer and to keep hard drives off my IDE bus with DVD-RW I started looking into the dual boot issue. GAG seemed to be the simples but most effective solution.
After quite a few different attempts this is what I ended up doing:
You will need: a new drive that will hold your dual boot OS partitions and at least one more drive for restoration purposes.
1. Make a full disk backup of your Vista disk using the Vista back up facilities. I also tried this with freeware tools and Acronis Drive Image, but the restoration onto the new disk never worked.
2. Make a full disk backup of your XP drive using your favorite disk backup tool - I used Acronis Drive Image for this but I think probably most tools will be fine.
3. Put your new drive into your computer and create a single large partition on it. Of course it needs to be as large or larger than your current Vista drive size.
4. You must restore the Vista disk first. It will need to be restored into the first partition of the disk. Restoring XP into the first partition does not seem to allow Vista to boot up properly (remember this is not a new Vista install but a restoration of a an existing install).
Hint: You can not put your Vista disk image onto the second partition and restore from it even if the first partition is large enough to fit the restored disk image. This is where you will need the second hard drive. It can be one of your data drives that you use after the dual boot is finished or another drive.
4a. Set your hard drive disk boot order in your motherboard bios to boot from the new dual boot drive first. Boot order should be CD/DVD/dual boot drive/any other drive.
4b. Put your Vista DVD into your DVD/CD-ROM and select repair. Then select complete PC restore. Vista will find the disk image, restore it to your new dual boot hard drive.
5. Boot up off your restored Vista disk and create a new partition large enough to hold your XP disk image.
6. Reboot and put in your GAG CD (I don't have a floppy drive, probably also works off floppy)
7. Install GAG and add your Vista OS to the boot list.
8. Write GAG to hard drive (probably also work with floppy, but I don't have a floppy drive)
9. Boot Vista by selecting the Vista boot option from GAG
10. Vista will complain that it's not able to boot and suggest to fix the problem. Allow it to restore itself, it seems to be have something to do with the boot track on the disk
11. Reboot, you will see that GAG still comes up with the OS selection list and when you now chose Vista it boots up properly without any errors.
12. Restore the XP disk image into the second empty partition that you have created earlier.
13. Add this partition to the list of OS, select "Hide primary partition" in case you want to shield your Vista partition from XP and vice versa. Write GAG back to disk.
14. That's it, you can now also select XP to boot from the second partition.
If you have Vista installed and just want to add your XP disk image on your Vista drive then you can take a shortcut by starting from 5. after you have taken a disk image off your XP drive.
Things that did not work for me:
a) Vista not being installed on the first partition of the boot drive
b) GAG being installed on the first boot drive and Vista being in any other partition then the first partition of the GAG boot drive
Hope this is helpful to someone out there - if you have any questions, just drop me a line and I'll try to help.
And finally a big thank you to the person who wrote GAG!
Sorry to return to a subject so old … I'm assuming that tips you gave about GAG also apply to Seven, which is already installed on my PC and now I need to install XP in another partition. I install GAG, install XP and through the GAG include this OS in the Boot. Will it work?
And if later I need to reinstall XP, no problem?