This is a step by step procedure. How to set up a dual boot system with two XPs using Acronis software True Image and Disk Director Suite. For my testing version 10 of both was used. There may be a number a reasons for wanting to have two (or more) XP partitions. In my case I need a clean and optimal XP for production and another for testing demo programs, updates etc. to avoid getting the production XP ”dirty”. You may have other reasons. However, it seems Windows XP doesn’t like other instances of its genetic material on a harddisk, so the setup is a bit tricky. Now I am just the dummy here. So the setup procedure below is mainly based on my notes while Brian K and Mudcrab guided me through the wilderness. If you run into trouble, those two are more likely to come up with an answer than I am. I was only frustrated by not being able to find a ”brainless” procedure for this setup, so I have taken the time to record the steps for the benefit of others (I hope). The original thread about it all can be found here: http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=192299 The procedure here is for setting up two XPs on your harddisk. No doubt you can setup more than two using the same principles, but for simplicity we will stick to two XPs here. We will refer to these as XP1 and XP2. Below two identical XPs are set up, but you can also replace XP2 with a different backup image if you wish. Preparations ========= o For the following I have used a separate hard disk for backup files (images), but I guess a logical partition on a single drive system could be used too. Mudcrab does recommends a separate harddisk/USB device for image backup, though. o Before starting this make a cd with the Acronis bootable media. This cd should contain both Acronis True Image (TI) and Acronis Disk Director Suite. The latter comprises Disk Director (DD) and OS Selector (OSS) If you have installed both in Windows just choose make bootable media to get a cd with both. o Any boot manager should be uninstalled. If using Acronis boot manager open Acronis OS Selector Setup and choose uninstall. If using another boot manager it should likewise be uninstalled. This is crucial. o Use the bootable cd with TI, DD and OSS. Just let it stay in the cd-drive all the time. Even when Acronis says ”remember to remove disk ”, don’t obey. When you need to boot into Windows just choose ”Windows” from the Acronis menu. This way you are safe-guarded against accidental start of Windows. Also: Always choose safe versions of the Acronis programs. Making the double XP system ====================== 1. Before starting this whole setup, there should be only one OS installed on Drive 1, we will refer to this as XP1. It is taken for granted that you have enough space on the hard disk for two XPs of identical size. Anyway, we will start by resizing XP1 to get the space for XP2: 2. Start DD manual mode. Select C:, or whatever the name is of the partition with XP1. Resize it to what suits you. In my case 40 GB. Commit. 3. Delete all other partitions on drive 1 (unless you use a logical partition for backup, then keep that one). Rename C: to "XP1" using Change Label. Commit. 4. Leave DD and start TI. Make a backup of the XP1 partition. And you be careful to choose partition here, not backup of whole disk. 5. Staying in DD. Restore the XP1 to the unallocated space. Like this: Choose Restore. Select the image of XP1 partition you backed up in (4). Restore disks or partitions. Check NTFS C: as the source. Next. Select unallocated space as the target. Next. Select Active. Go forward until the process starts. 6. Close TI and start DD manual mode. Now you will have XP1 in two partitions. Rename the newly restored partition to "XP2" (It is the one that is not active). Hide it: Disk\Advanced\Hide. If necessary rename the orginal XP to XP1. Commit. 7. ONLY NOW close DD and boot to Windows. My XP1 had now found new hardware and installs it (I guess it perceives the operations as added extra drives). I let it restart, booting to Windows a second time. 8. Your XP 1 will be C: drive and the new OS won't have a drive letter. But you will be able to see the new partition in Control Panel\Administrative Tools\Computer Management\Disk Management. It should be Healthy (Unknown partition) with no drive letter. 9. Close Windows and start DD manual mode. Select the XP2 partition and double click it. This opens the directory structure. Scroll down to find boot.ini and right click choosing Edit. You will see something like this: BOOT.INI [boot loader] timeout=30default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS [operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect Change the two instances of partition(1) to partition(2) and step out too the root of DD. (This step may only be necessary for some versions of DD that does not update the partition numbers properly). 10. Make XP2 active, unhide it. Hide XP1. Commit. 11. Start Windows. New hardware found once again, so restart after install. 12. You should now be in XP2. To be sure have a look in: Control Panel\Administrative Tools\Computer Management\Disk Management. It should say XP2 C:, Healthy (System). I recommend you change the desktop background picture at this stage so that it will always be obvious as soon as you are in Windows whether you are in XP1 or XP2. Switching between XP1 and XP2 ======================== If you want to use Acronis OS Selector to switch between XP1 and XP2 this requires some further setup steps (see below). At this stage you can switch using DD. Boot to DD manual mode. One XP should read Primary, Hidden and the other Primary, Active. There are four steps to switch to the other XP: 1. Right click the hidden XP and pick the advanced menu. Set it to active. 2. Right click the hidden XP again, advanced, unhide. 3. Right click the other XP, advanced, hide. 4. Commit Leave DD and boot. Now the other XP should come up. Hopefully you have now different backgrounds so that it easy to decide which XP you are in. Updating the dual boot 2 x XP system ============================ If you want another XP (updated XP1 or whatever) installed as XP2, then just make sure you have an image of that partition backed up with TI. Then in principle follow the above guide (Making the double XP system) from instruction number 3, except you don't backup XP1 here. You could possibly even change XP1 instead. The important thing here is to check boot.ini so that the one in XP1 reads partition(1) twice, and the one for XP2 reads partition(2) twice. To make sure: In DD select the relevant XP partition and double click it. This opens the directory structure. Scroll down to find boot.ini and right click choosing Edit. Then you can read the boot.ini. Also in DD make sure that the XP you want to use reads Primary,Active and the one not used reads Primary, Hidden. If not just change the setting: right click the partition and choose Advanced, then hide, unhide or set active as appropriate. Setting up OSS to choose between XP1/XP2 ================================= If you want to use Acronis OS Selector (OSS) to choose between XP1/XP2 at start up, go through these steps: 1. If you have OSS already installed then boot to OSS setup and uninstall it 2. DO NOT let the computer reboot into Windows until the following is completed 3. Boot to DDS manual mode and unhide both the XP1 and XP2 partitions. Commit. 4. Create a small (100MB) FAT32 or NTFS partition for OSS on the same drive as XP1 and XP2. Choose Active when asked, and use some vacant space for the partition. Label this new partition "OSS". Commit. 5. Reboot to OSS Setup and install OSS using the Custom option and selecting the OSS partition as the destination 6. Upon reboot after installation, OSS should find both XP1 and XP2. You may wish to rename these to something more meaningful than Windows XP. Just make sure which one is which before doing so. If you stick to hiding/activating partitions with DD your computer will boot directly into the active partition. Using OSS at start up you need to make a choice every time the computer starts, but switching is quicker if you need to switch often between XP1/XP2. If want to skip the OSS step at every boot up, you have to uninstall OSS. Just hiding the partitions you don’t use (including ”OSS”) will not do the trick. Another difference using OSS at start up is that the other XP partition will be visible to you. Hence you can move files from XP2 to XP1 or vice versa with Windows Explorer if needed.