An easy way to multiboot for newbies

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by Daladim, Mar 16, 2008.

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  1. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    After much hair-pulling and other painful tribulations, I have achieved a working multiboot system using Acronis OSS. My setup is with three installs of Windows XP Pro, and one install of slackware Linux. What follows is the steps I took to achieve success. I would like to thank Mudcrab, and give him most, if not all, of the credit. If it weren't for his help, I would probably be bald by now! :D

    In my research into making a multi-boot system, I found much that said multi-boot is a very difficult task, and not for the faint of heart. There are many different ways of doing this, and tons of how-to's available on the net. All of them suggest using different boot loaders like RPM, Grub, and many others that escape me at the moment. There also seems to be a demand for an efficient way of encorporating Acronis. And with it's nice, easy to use interface, I can understand why.

    But with all of the info I came across, nothing answered my questions, and nothing addressed my specific needs. These needs were: to have multiple independant XP installs, all with the drive letter assigned as C:\. I needed this due to my specific XP install requiring the C drive in order to install correctly. I did get a bit frustrated doing this(the hair-pulling), and I encountered a few setbacks too(the tribulations). But with a little help, I was able to create a flawless multi-boot system.

    What I am intending to do here now, is to illustrate a simple way of doing this in an easy to understand manner.

    Coincidentally, this is another thing I have trouble doing. :p


    Note:
    The steps you take may be different, depending on what you are installing, and how much. This outlines the steps I took for MY software only. If you will be installing any older or newer OS's, you will need to install them in the order of their release, and make the proper adjustments in formatting each partition. This meaning something like Win 95>Win 98>Win XP>Win Vista, with older OS's needing Fat partitions, and newer needing NTFS. The reasoning for this, as I understand it, is because a newer system can recognize an older one, but and older one cannot recognize a newer one, and for obvious reasons too. If you install Win 95 after installing Win XP, Win 95 won't recognize XP, because it wasn't created at the time 95 was released.

    One other note, I would suppose you can do all the steps with the use of DD, But I chose to use Partition Magic, simply because it works, and I am familiar with it's operation.

    Also, if you would like to see some of the problems I encountered while doing this install, and read the solutions also, go here:


    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=203310

    This may be useful for you in case you encounter similar problems, or make dumb mistakes like I did.

    Now, here is my humble how-to, from a newbie, for a newbie!

    Software needed:

    Operating systems(of course!)
    Acronis Disk Director Suite
    Partition Magic(optional?)


    Note:
    If you would like to get a great set of tools for this kind of work, check out Hiren' BootCD 9.1. It has Partition Magic on it, among many other utilities, and it boots straight off of the CD/DVDrom drive. And it's only about 75MB in size. Here is a link to the website:

    http://maxt.dk/archives/2007/05/28/hirens-bootcd-91/

    Step 1

    Boot into Partition Magic. Partition and format as follows:

    1: "??" GB Primary / NTFS label "??" NTFS version: 3.1(Windows XP)

    2: "??" GB Primary / NTFS label "??" NTFS version: 3.1(Windows XP)

    3: "??" GB Primary / NTFS label "??" NTFS version: 3.1(Windows XP)

    4: "200" MB unallocated space

    Extended partition

    5: "??" GB logical / Swap Label "??"

    6: "??" GB Logical / Ext3 Label "??"

    Note: question marks denote your repective partition size and label

    Step 2

    Set first partition as active. All others become hidden automatically. apply operations and reboot.

    Step 3

    Load windows install disc and set it up to install on first partition. Once finished, edit boot.ini: Rename OS name from "Microsoft Windows XP Professional", to whatever you want it called(I named the first one XP Office Edition). Change wallpaper for future reference.(ease of recognition while setting up multiple OS's)

    Step 4

    Reboot into Partition Magic. Set 2nd partition as active. All other partitions become hidden. apply operation, and reboot.

    Step 5

    Repeat step 3, but this time install on partition 2, and rename OS to something different than the first one, and change the wallpaper to be different here also.

    Step 6

    Reboot into Partition Magic yet again. This time set the 3rd partition to active. apply operation and reboot.

    Step 7

    Again, repeat step 3, making proper adjustments.

    Step 8

    Reboot into Partition Magic, Set 1st partition to active(or which ever OS you would like to install Acronis disk Director Suite onto). Install Disk Director. Reboot. Start disk director and turn unallocated space(200MB) into a fat32 partition, and name it Acronis OSS. Make an Acronis bootable media disk. Reboot into Acronis bootable media disk.

    Step 9

    Install Acronis OSS on Fat32 partition. Reboot.

    Step 10

    Boot into Acronis OSS. Insert Linux OS disk, and boot it. Follow the steps for installing Linux, then reboot.

    One note on linux: depending upon your distro, you may want to make sure you are installing to the proper drive. I encountered a problem when creating my Acronis OSS partition after installing Linux. When I messed up the OS and re-installed, I found that the drive numbers changed. I learned very quickly to check in the mnt folder to find out if the number was the correct partition, i.e. an empty one.

    Step 11

    Boot with Acronis Media Builder and re-activate Acronis OSS.

    Step 12

    Unhide Acronis OSS partition, if it is hidden. Then boot into which ever OS allows you to do so, this should be the first one. Once in Your OS, go to Acronis OSS partition, make sure you have windows explorer set to show hidden & system files, then follow Mudcrab's instructions for changing the bootwiz.oss file. Those instructions can be found here:

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=176064

    Once you are done modifying your bootwiz.oss file, you can use OSS to hide the OSS partition from all systems. This way, you don't have it cluttering up your computer.


    By following these steps to install multiple OS's, I was able to end up with 4 working systems, all of which can be accessed through Acronis OSS. From this point, I can install drivers and software as needed amongst my new systems. None of the Windows partitions will be able to access each other, and I will have numerous fully independent systems operating successfully on one harddrive.

    Your circumstances will most likely be different, but with a little modification to the steps above, you should be able to achieve multiboot also.

    On a final note, I would like to know if you find this how-to useful, as this is really the first time I have ever written one, and to be honest, it was kind of unintentional. But I thought this would be helpful to the community, so here it is.:D

    Don't be shy, drop a comment, whether it be positive or negative. If you can't figure something out, ask questions. And if you think something could be done better, or clarified in a better manner, please do make a suggestion.:)

    :cool: Peace :cool:
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Daladim,

    Congratulations. An excellent overview and I'm sure it will be helpful to many members interested in booting more than one OS.

    One thing caught my eye...

    This isn't necessary with your method of multi-booting. Only with the "Microsoft Way".

    In this graphic, Dan Goodell has a Win98 partition preceded by WinXP and Win2000 partitions.

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/finish.htm
     
  3. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Thank you for pointing that out to me, Brian, and thank you for the link. I had not come across that one in my searches.

    One question for you though, because I am not sure if I understand you here. Are you suggesting that the order of the partitions does not matter, or that the order of the install does not matter?

    I did not attempt any of the other OS's, all I have is XP. Thus, I don't know for sure about any of that stuff. But, I think I get what you are saying now that I am thinking about it. Since the other OS's are hidden while installing, there is no worry about incompatibility issues, and everything will be good to go when OSS is installed, correct?
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Neither matters.

    Yes.
     
  5. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Daladim,

    Thanks for posting the procedure that worked for you.

    I've made a few notes on several things below:

    As Brian pointed out, the order doesn't matter when installing them in isolation. However, I would add that the location on the hard drive does matter. You can't, for example, install Windows 98 to a 10GB partition at the end of a 160GB drive. The older Operating Systems have problems booting from partitions that begin far into a large drive. For best results, I would recommend booting a pre-XP (or pre-Windows 2000) OS in a partition that starts within 2GB (4GB, 8GB or further may work on some systems). Based on this, if installing older versions of Windows, I would install them before Windows 2000, XP and Vista.

    DD can be used, though there are several differences (noted below).

    DD will not give you an NTFS format version. Just select NTFS as the partition format.

    If the "Acronis OSS" partition is created and formatted prior to installing any OS, you can select to hide it until you're ready to use it.

    DD will not automatically hide any other partitions. You will need to set the partition you want Active and hide any you want hidden. This applies to Step 4 and Step 6 also.

    When you create the DD CD with Media Builder, make sure to check the boxes to include the OSS programs on the CD.

    Make sure to use the Custom installation option so that you can select the installation partition.

    If you don't want to hide the partition, you can also select to "unassign" a drive letter in Windows Disk Management so that the partition doesn't show up in My Computer.

    Also, since this can be a FAT32 partition, you can use it as a shared partition between Windows and Linux. I do this on my computer. OSS is installed to a 10GB FAT32 partition that stores files accessed by both Windows and Linux.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2008
  6. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Brian and Mudcrab, thank you both for the clarifications on this how-to. This should help anybody who wants to get multiboot to work, especially with the added details you've both provided.:)
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Yes, sometimes we slip up and let one OS be seen by another. It can then be difficult to hide but can be "hidden" by removing its drive letter.

    This is from a Terabyte Unlimited support page.

    And from Dan Goodell...

     
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