Thanks for suggestions, but (1) that appears to be a bootleg collection (? - Wikipedia says so) and (2) Acronis Disk Director is reported to handle Vista system partitions poorly.
Maybe they fixed that, but then I'd expect the version number to go up +1.0 - and anyway, see point 1.
There is a free demo from Acronis, but I wonder what it doesn't do? Full price is $49.9x, I think. Is it worth that to get my partitioning done - if it works?
As for the actual problem, I wonder if I've got Vista's boot program at partition table level instead of XP's - also in that 1 MB reserved space. Apparently, the Vista way of doing things is to store information about partition and boot file size and location in various places, and, I'm half remembering and half guessing (and what I remember reading may be someone else's guesswork), if some of the stored values don't match one another or match the reality on disk, the toys are thrown out of the pram.
Instructions at http://www.tunexp.com/tips/maintain_...h_auto-reboot/
probably will let me see the Windows blue screen when it crashes, instead of rebooting at once. Something to try in due course. And I haven't tried the "make an Intel recovery stick" tool yet, either. But according to here http://platformadmintech.intel.com/iea/index.htm
"Key features of Intel(R) Education Administrator are:**
System backup and recovery by USB device
System backup and recovery in LAN/WLAN
Patch and application update in LAN/WLAN
Simple and easy-to-use portal design for kids
**Only some functions are available in this Intel(R) Education Administrator USB Recovery version."
So principally it's just a backup tool, and I have that covered... unless it lets me back up, and then restore to a smaller partition at restore time with all settings correctly set. It does not look like it. It looks set up to copy the entire hard disk surface, or maybe justlpartition 1, to USB stick (or disk?) as a compressed file - by default on a FAT32 partition up to 32 GB. (XP has an artificial restriction on creating new FAT32 partitions larger than 32 GB.)
Which for non-expert use is a pretty good idea. Keep it simple. But I'd prefer to have separate OS and data partitions, and separate backups of each.
So no help there either!