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Partition / Dual Boot Questions

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by lisag, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. lisag

    lisag
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    I have created an extra partition on my slave HDD (primary partition) and I am going to do an install of xp pro on it and experiment with some bits of software / drivers / codecs that I want to try out without messing up my current install.

    1/ If I get it to a state that I am really happy with can I use ghost or something similar to copy it over to my C: partition?

    2/ After I have finished experimenting, if I delete the partition will I get rid of the boot menu screen that windows will create when I install the second O/S??

    thanks
    lisa
     
  2. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    1 - Why don't you just install it to another directory called .... XP2 or Winnt2 on the same drive? *make sure the computer name is also diferent to the first install (helps with My Documents n profiles n stuff)

    2 - Select "My Computer", select Properties, go to the Advanced Tab and then click on "Startup and Recovery". In here you will see either both operating systems listed or just the final one. I'm not sure if Xp decides "Well, i only have one O/S so don't bother showing the boot screen" but, I suspect it does. If it doesn't then you could just put the "Time to display liste of Operating systems...." to one second?
     
  3. KraGorn

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    1) No

    The problem here is that as usual M$ are half-arsed in the way they implemented things.

    The issue is the drive letter the system is installed on to, in your case it'll be something like D: and references to D: will be littered throughout the registry. When you come to clone it so it becomes C: all those entries will now be bad.

    Also, installing into a separate directoiry tree on C: is a bad idea since although you'll have separate Windows trees they'll share the "Documents and Settings" which in turn will have 'pointers' into the Windows tree active at the time entries were created.

    I have seen one system where this installtion method was used but common use of "Documents and Settings" and "Program Files" makes it a disaster waiting to happen IMHO.

    2) Sort Of

    Even on a single-installation system there is a boot menu, the file BOOT.INI, all you need to do is remove the second entry that was created at the time you install the second system. If you want you can save BOOT.INI before you install the second system to make undoingit easier.

    Note that BOOT.INI is set read-only by default and also possible Hidden/System (I can't remember), simply open a comand prompt and enter:

    >attrib -h -s -r boot.ini

    when logged into the root of C:
     
  4. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    It really is much easier to edit this through the method I detailed for a newbie. :)

    By removing the second O/S line though, does this remove the menu? I suspect that it will as it will see only one O/S again but can we be sure of this?
     
  5. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    Doesn't XP insist on booting from the primary (C) drive ?
    You can frig about with this by using GRUB but you wil have to plan carefully. Try putting it on C and making the current XP partition hidden. If you are going to do this back everything up first or try it on a new install/clean machine that you can afford to nuke/loose the data and try again.
    Linux you can boot from other drives and extended partitions.
     
  6. lisag

    lisag
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    OK, interesting info thanks very much, will try and back up the boot.ini file before I start. Also won't spend too long on the experiment if I have to do it all again anyway....!

    lisa
     
  7. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    Unless things have changed since 2000 you don't need to put onto diferent partitions and you don't need to hide anything. Not impossible but i doubt it as its all really just Windows NT at heart, just updated - a lot!

    Yes the "boot" does happen from drive C *BUT* this boots up the loader which gives you the option of choosing which installaition to run. You can have multiple XP installs in the same partition:

    C:\winxp
    c:\winxp2
    c:\windowsxp
    e.t.c.

    Yes, you can also then have more as
    d:\winxp
    d:\winxp2
    etc

    When the PC boots it will run the boostrap for XP which detects multiple installs listed inside the boot.ini file and then offer you a choice of which to load.

    Once you have chose which to use permanently you can then edit (manually) the boot.ini using the instructions i listed in my first post. In here you can remove the installs you don't want to keep, from the menu system. When you have only one listed in this boot.ini it *should* not present you with the menu again. Make sure you change the default to match the install you wish to keep :)

    Once you are confident of which you want to keep you can then free up space by deleting the xp directories you don't want to keep.


    Now for applications:

    Not recommended for "best practices" but ive done it more than several times and even used it to setup multiple environments on company pcs:

    You have
    c:\xp1
    c:\xp2
    c:\program files\"apps"

    You will need to install all your apps for each operating system you wish to use them with. In the example above, twice. There is NO NEED to have an c:\program files\"apps2" - but you can of course have it if you have the space. This is done to ensure, among other things, various files are copied into the windows system folders, ini/cfgs are created correctly and the registry is updated. All you do here is when installing the new copy of Office for example, just tell it the directory where the current version of Office is installed.

    As it sounds like you are new to this sort of thing Lisa I cannot stress strongly enough that you ghost this or do some other sort of off-disk backup i.e. not on the disk you are using. Be sure before you start that you know how to recover that system and that you have tested it as much as you can before you actually start experimenting. :)

    Now, remember also that your new installaitions need to have a diferent computer name (maybe name it after the directory you install too?). This is so that the "My documents" and Profiles are kept seperate from each other. You really don't want all those nt profile files all getting mixed up and messing each other up :D
     
  8. DaveP

    DaveP
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    Time for a different idea maybe?

    Depending on your Bios you may be able to have two "C:\" drives just by selecting from the bios which drive to boot from.

    I did this by configuring the two drives as master and slave, as normal, and then disconnecting my current drive and doing a fresh install to the new drive. Once this was done I re-connected the original drive and started the PC. I entered the bios and from the "boot order" screen I select the drive I wish to boot from.

    If you then reach the stage where you are happy to continue to use this new installation you can use Ghost to move it all to your original installation, losing that in the process of course!

    Dave
     
  9. lisag

    lisag
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    Crikey, quite involved this isn't it? Not sure that I am a newbie, but the last time I did a dual boot system was when I was upgrading from 98 to XP.

    So, here is my plan....

    I currently have on master HDD C: (Windows) and D: (Data)
    And on my slave HDD I have Z: (Back Up Data) and now X: (OS2)

    I am going to install XP Pro on X which will then present me with a boot menu where I can choose between loading C: or X:

    After I have messed around with XP Pro on X: I will decide on which drivers, codecs and apps I want to use. I will then use Partition Magic to format and delete X: and merge with Z:

    Then back to formatting C: and reloading Windows XP, using the configuration that I have worked out previously on X. Hopefully resulting in a nice clean install.

    So, from what I understand, this will work out ok, but if I can back up the boot.ini before I start and overwrite it once I finished, that will tidy up the boot process?

    lisa
     
  10. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    All the boot.ini is, is a simple text file. If your going to wipe drive C: then you do not need to worry about the boot.ini for your new installaition. A format will wipe this simple file into the place where all calculators go when they die :)

    Yes your plan should be fine :)
     
  11. rdhir

    rdhir
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    I agree with Monty on the dual boot not being that difficult

    If you want to copying the partition back and move to the new OS, it is a little tricky but not impossible. You need to edit the registry directly if you want to swap the drive letters around. I did something similar a while back, when I did a HD upgrade by attaching the new drive as drive 1 (rather than 0) and, installing the OS as drive D: then copying the relevant bits from drive 0 across. Then I had to fiddle with the registry so that it worked see here. Its tricky because its forbidden to re-assign a new drive letter to. If you just re-inserted drive 1 as drive 0 it will still appear as drive D: not drive C:. This is because windows XP associates a drive letter with a drive signature, not a drive's position on the IDE interfaces.


    Good How to

    http://www.petri.co.il/change_system_drive_letter_in_windows_xp.htm

    Official MS Explanation

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;223188
     
  12. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Having multiple OSes on a single partition is a disaster waiting to happen .. as I said before, they'll all use the same directory trees I mentioned, God help you if you install an application into one OS 'instance' then re-install in into another then uninstall it again.

    It just isn't worth it IMHO.
     
  13. The Dude

    The Dude
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    only one thing to watch for... :devil:

    XP setup has the annoying habit of cacheing the boot.ini contents and writing them back into the new build..

    after formatting c: and installing the finalised build of XP pro on your master drive.. you'll most likely still have the boot option screen displayed. :rolleyes:

    all you need to do is edit boot.ini after booting into the finished build, in order to tidy up the boot process..
     
  14. senu

    senu
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    Lisa
    you really have got the keyboards clicking! . The Boot ini file always lives on "C" but in reality it is only a text file which you can edit as long as you can boot into any windows GUI. Although hidden you can asses it via control panel, system ,advanced, startup and recovery, settings, edit: the boot ini file will be opened for you as a notepadfile.
    I have 2 pcs each with 3 Windows partitions Mulitiboot ( All xp) . why??
    Because of the different uses and various programs known to be hostile to each other and known driver conflicts. Also because of inquisitve and unwittingly ( fascinating) children!! who have a habit of messing up the PC when your eyes are turned the other way.. It Works fine and has some advantages.
    My worry about your proposed approach is that after youre done with x and wish to merge it to c you mignt find strange things happening as 2 windows os ( or remnants of a previous one) on one partition is gennerally a bad idea. even if it works at first it is unlikely that subsequently you will not spend a LOT of time troubleshooting. I agree with Kra gorn Avoid the hassle: it is possible doesnt mean you wont be left with a massive headache. Just use x to "learn "your new proposed config and do a tidy fresh install
    Good luck!!
     
  15. lisag

    lisag
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    I didn't realise there was so much to say about this :eek:

    Thank you everyone for your input, the different OS's will be on separate physical drives (all but temporarily) so when I get rid of X and merge it with Z, I could temporarily move the data off it and format the whole drive to get rid of any nasty remnants.

    I will certainly give it a go, and come back for help if it all goes wrong!

    lisa
     
  16. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    Might wana re-read Lisa's approach again mate.

    She is formating both systems off and starting (effectivley) from scratch once her desired driver/codec utopia has been reached ;)

    As Lisa also does not mention where her apps are going we can only assume that they will live on the appropriate O/S's drive i.e. C or X

    The final operating system will never see either of the two (one current and one test).

    Unless iv'e misread it?


    btw: Lisa! You thought of ebaying your OS2 install1?!? Is it Warp!? hehe
     
  17. senu

    senu
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    Monty I am sure I could learn a thing or 2 from your deep store of knowledge :smashin:
    I have reread Lisas approach and see what u mean . She will reformat after her "experiment" and there fore the issue of 2 os's on one partition, headache with applications needing separate installing, and boot ini editing will not arise as there will be a fresh boot ini anyway. My (genuine) concern was the potential nightmare and "traps" that multiboot systems can bring having been there a few times , Most recently getting 3 winxp's on one system from sp1 to sp2 . The thread did get keyboards clicking though and a lot of various thoughts were expressed which are enlightening.
    I could do worse than print out your replies and keep them on the wall!!
    Cheers :thumbsup:
     
  18. norfred

    norfred
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    This thread interested me because I too tried dual boot with 98 and XP but encountered problems. I now use an exchangeable cradle and keep the OS's seperate completely. the slave drive can still be accessed providing the files are compatible with the OS in use. There is no limit to the number of different OS's you can use. I am also experimenting with Linux. The other advantage is when playing games my son and I can play the same games without the fear of overwriting each other's saved games. This solution may not suit everyone but my son and I find it ideal.
    Norfred
     
  19. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    :eek: :eek: Ugh! I just moved from Hayes to Nurnberg Germany.

    And yeah, your right diferent O/S's is a bad idea really but it gets to seriously bad idea if they are at diferent service pack levels!

    What happens if that sp patches NTDETECT.COM :oops: :D

    If its gonna be done for a long period of time then Norfred has the best idea imho but, the slave drive - you need to ensure that its not NTFS or at least be very carefull of your NTFS security :) If your not then that "Take Ownership" button is gonna get a spankin! :D
     

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