Windows Vista may not have been the success story that Microsoft hoped but it has given users more control over certain aspects of their operating system. One area where it still hasn't plugged the gap however is the configuration of Vista's boot sequence and loader.
In particular, if you're running Windows Vista and want to install a second operating system or manage the boot configuration, it's not easy if you're not familiar with the BCDEdit File, hidden in the System32 folder. One of the best solutions to this problem is VistaBootPro which utilises a user friendly interface to do everything you can do with BCDEdit. This excellent program clearly presents the current settings, allows you to backup settings and of course edit the bootloader. All you need to do is check and uncheck the options you want included. If you need to access the bootloader to install another operating system, then you can't do much better for free than EasyBCD which again, presents Vista's boot data via an easy to use GUI which prepares your system for an alternative installation.
One of the most annoying things is when you lose your Vista installation key and need it to perform a new installation or reset your administrator login details. The key is hidden within Vista's boot sequence but not easy to access. In which case, Windows Key is your best bet which runs via the Command tool and can instantly extract the key for any operating system installed on your machine. Finally, the best way to prevent boot problems at a later stage or require you to access the boot loader is to get it configured correctly in the first place. vLite is probably the most comprehensive program for giving you complete control over all aspects of a Vista installation. This is a program for customisation of the entire installation of Vista including removal of all those Microsoft add-ons that you don't need but it also allows you to configure the boot loader through an attractive GUI.
For more information on configuring Vista's boot loader plus links to Microsoft for warnings and guidance when doing so, check out the Wikipedia entry here.