Can't figure out how to multiboot

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by Daladim, Mar 14, 2008.

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  1. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am trying to do a very specific kind of install, and I am having a lot of trouble achieving success. I have tried to accomplish this numerous ways, and I have searched the net for answers for the past three days, to no avail. I spent the morning searching this particular forum, and still found no answers.

    Before I start rambling on, let me explain what I am trying to do here.

    I have an unattended install of Win XP Pro, which I put together myself. I also have a copy of Slackware linux called Back|Track 2. My computer is a Dell Vostro 1000 with one (120GB) harddrive.

    What I want to do is install XP in three seperate partitions, and Linux on a fourth. Each XP partition needs to be assigned the drive letter [C:] for the purpose of proper installation. Each OS needs to be hidden from every other OS. I do not want to be able to access or modify any partition outside of boot, nor do I want any files or folders to be shared between OS's.

    I have used Partition Magic to set up my harddrive. I partitioned, formatted, and named each to correspond with the type of install to be placed on it.

    The partitions appear as follows in Partition Magic:

    Partition Type Size
    -------- ----- ----
    *:Office ntfs 35GB
    *:Media ntfs 35GB
    *:Games ntfs 35GB

    *: Extended
    *:Swap Linux swap 2GB
    *:BackTrack 2 Linux Ext3 7.5GB

    (All ntfs partitions are now primary, but initially only the Office and the Linux ext3 partitions were set to primary)

    Now, I haven't even come close to attempting the Linux install, because I am completely stumped on this multiboot XP problem. And that problem is this:

    I installed my first OS on the C:\ drive, when it was finished, I installed Acronis Disk Director suite v.10, and rebooted. I then installed Acronis OS Selector, and rebooted again. I then proceeded to install my second OS.

    Now, my unattended install specifies the C:\ drive for most of the software, so when I went to install the second OS(Media), It became flawed, due to the drive letter becoming E:\. The first try was without the C:\(Office) drive being hidden, so All my software was put on that drive. It also appears to have used some of the OS files too, though I'm not sure.

    I then re-read the documentation on Acronis, and found that I needed to set the partitions to primary, hide the first OS, and set the new partition to active. This is where the problems began to occur. I tried to accomplish this within the OS Selector, but it will not allow me to hide the Office partition. I was able to set the new partition as active, but when I went to install, the installation menu showed two problems, one, the Media partition was still set to inactive, and two, the Office partiton was still showing itself to be C:\.

    I could not proceed, so I tried a different approach. I booted into Partition Magic, and set media to active, and hid all other drives. This allowed me to install correctly, with the Media OS being registered as C:\. But, since I had hidden Office, I was not able to access it(Office), or Acronis OS Selector until I went back into Partition Magic and set it as active.

    Doing this, I booted into Office, and needed to re-install OS selector(I believe this is because the Boot Sector was over-written?). Rebooting, I was then able to access Acronis OS Selector, But I could not find the Media OS. No way, no how. I booted into office in an attempt to set the boot.ini file to recognize it. This allowed me to see the option for the media OS in Acronis OS Selector, but when attempting to boot into it, I was taken into Office instead.

    I believe this may be due to the Media partition being hidden, so I attempted to set it to active, and unhide it. This did not work at all. It seems the only way I could boot into Media, was to use partition magic, and set it to active, unhidden, then hide all other partitions. But this causes Acronis OS Selector to become unavailable, because it is installed on the Office partition.

    I tried a suggestion I found on this forum, which called for booting into Disk Director from OS Selector, but that simply does nothing. I'm not sure why, either. I have the option in OS Selector's menu, but it just reboots into OS Selector, and nothing else. Due to this, I was unable to proceed with the aforementioned suggestion.

    Now that I have sufficiently rambled on forever, Let's sum this up, shall we?

    I need help... please?

    I could have made the whole thing that simple, but then that would leave you with many more questions than answers, now wouldn't it? Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I really need to figure this out, and I want to leave you with enough info to at least give me an informed answer.

    So then, does anybody know how I can accomplish this?
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Daladim,

    Have you read this? It should answer all your questions except those about OSS. In general, the boot manager is installed as the last step.

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/index.htm

    It helped me install 15 WinXPs. Each was C: drive when booted and the other 14 were hidden.
     
  3. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    If you're using OSS and having problems with installing directly from the OSS menu, I would suggest you do the installs as below.

    This assumes you are starting from the beginning, but you can pick up anywhere in the process, skipping the steps you've already done.

    1. Hide all the Windows partitions except for the one for the new installation.
    2. Set the unhidden Windows partition Active.
    3. Install Windows, it should be assigned C:.
    4. Install OSS. It should detect Windows okay. Reboot and make sure.
    5. Deactivate OSS (select Windows as the default OS).
    6. Begin process again...
    7. Hide all Windows partitions except for the one for the new installation.
    8. Set the unhidden Windows partition Active.
    9. Install Windows, it should be assigned C:.
    10. Either install OSS in Windows or Reactivate it from the DD CD. It should find both Windows. Reboot and make sure.
    11. Deactivate OSS (select either Windows as the default OS).
    12. Begin process again at Step 7 for next Windows...

    If OSS has a problem detecting an OS after it's installed, the BOOTWIZ.OSS file can be manually edited to allow it to boot. The main thing is to make sure that each OS is installed into its own partition (as you want).

    When you install Linux, you can either install the boot loader to the MBR or to the partition's boot sector. OSS should work okay either way, though an MBR install may require OSS to be reactivated. I prefer to install Linux's boot loader to the Linux partition.
     
  4. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Thank you for the reply. Yes I read that yesterday...twice. And today. I do admit, it has a wealth of useful information, but nothing that I could find useful for my particular predicament.

    Since I wrote the initial post, I have reformatted and repartitioned my harddrive, and installed all 4 OS's. I started with Linux, and then went through the 3 XP OS's. I am currently trying to figure out how to get them to all boot independently.

    I have been able to assign the drive letter C:\ to all XP OS's, but only by using Partition Magic, and setting the current drive to active. In this way I was able to get them all to install with no problems. My next task is to install a boot manager, which I hope will recognize all OS's, even though all but one are hidden. I have my doubts about this part, but since I have found no answers to this conundrum, I am currently left with experimenting.

    I have downloaded RPM, which sounds like it may be the ticket. That means I am moving away from Acronis. If I can't get it to work with the bulky Acronis software, I guess I am out some cash. I just want to get this working, that is the most important part.

    If anybody has a clue as to how to get Acronis to work with my demands, please tell me. I would hate to think I spent all that money, just to throw this software in the trash and replace it with reliable freeware.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
  5. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Thank you mudcrab for your reply. You must have been typing at the same time I was, though I was AFK for a while before actually posting.

    So what you are saying is, I need to install OSS after the first install, in Office, then deactivate it, set Media to active, hiding others, then rinse and repeat?

    I might be misunderstanding, but do I need to install OSS to all three OS's?

    As I stated in the last reply, I have achieved C:\ status on all XP drives, but I am now at the point of needing a boot loader. Currently I am re-installing Linux(takes 15 minute) because of the MBR being overwritten(I have no choice-must be MBR::/dev/sda). Next, I was planning on installing a boot loader to the Office OS(Drive 1). Will I be encountering problems?

    I do suspect problems will arise here... it seems the act of hiding a partition is to blame. How do I overcome this? Of course, I will be continuing to experiment into the night, but if you can give me a prompt reply, I won't have to experience insomnia along with it!:D

    Hell, Linux has finished installing since I started typing, so on to some more experimenting!!:argh:
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    That's one way to do it. It gets OSS "out of the picture" for the installations.

    No, you don't. You can reactivate OSS from the DD CD if you've included the OSS programs on your DD CD.

    OSS can be installed after all your Operating Systems are installed. One of the Windows partitions will have to be active, though. This will most likely result in "cross-link" or "grayed-out checkbox" bugs. Both of these can be fixed by editing the BOOTWIZ.OSS file.

    I keep my OSS installation on a small FAT32 partition I share with Linux. This keeps it off the Windows partitions. However, installing OSS into a Windows partition shouldn't cause a problem with OSS. OSS doesn't care if the partition is hidden or not when it boots.
     
  7. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Just a quick note/update.

    I have finished the linux install and rebooted. Now I can access ONLY the linux OS. I am not able to access any other OS at the moment. I have attempted to fix this problem with Partition Magic, but no luck. I should have went with boot loader instead of the linux re-install, eh?
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    You can either install OSS from the DD CD or do an XP boot repair.

    If you do an XP boot repair, boot to DD first and set one XP partition Active and hide the other ones. Then boot to the XP CD, enter the Recovery Console and run the fixmbr command. This should allow you to boot into the Windows partition you set active.

    Then, to boot Linux, you'll have to install the loader into the boot sector of the Linux partition or repair it and then reactivate OSS.
     
  9. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Please explain. I think I am going to use Partition Magic to delete the Linux OS, but I also feel an intense sensation of doom here. I think I may need to start all over, since I did not install OS Selector at all this time.
     
  10. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Ahh, hey! Fxmbr!! I should have known this, but hey it's late here and my brain is getting foggy(drunk).

    I will definitely try that. (I knew I had that OS disk sitting next to me for a reason.):D
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
  11. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The reason I like OSS installed to a non-OS partition is so that backing up and restoring an OS partition won't affect the OSS files.

    If OSS were installed in partition 1 with XP and you later restored that partition with TI, any changes to the OSS files since the backup would be lost. With the OSS files on a non-OS partition, they are safe from this kind of corruption.

    The OSS partition can be any FAT32 or NTFS partition and it can be on any internal drive.
     
  12. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    But could you explain how to do this?

    I have run the fixmbr, and was able to get into windows(Media). I have just booted into Partition Magic and set Office as active. Should I install DD now, then OSS?

    I believe I can use DD to resize a partition to make room for a fat32 partition to install OSS on, but how do I go about doing such a thing?
     
  13. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Question

    Is it possible to boot into each Os individually, and modify the boot.ini file to recognize all OS's? and if so, how do I go about getting linux to be recognized? The distro that I have does not come with a boot manager, and as I stated before, only allows for install into mbr.

    And, as a side question, how do I get the hidden OS's to be recognized by OSS?
     
  14. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    If you have TI (or another imaging program), I would make an Entire Disk Image backup of the drive before installing OSS. That way you can restore it and start over if necessary.

    If you install OSS in your system's current state, the BOOTWIZ.OSS file may need to be edited so that the two "hidden" Windows can boot properly. You can read about that in this thread: Ohhh OSS

    To create a small FAT32 partition (100-200MB is fine if only for OSS), you could shrink the Games partition and put it between the Games and Swap partitions (as a Logical) or you could shrink the Linux partition a little and put it at the end of the drive (also as a Logical).

    When you install OSS, make sure you select the Custom option so you can select the installation partition.
     
  15. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Don't try and set each boot.ini file for all Windows. This causes OSS all kinds of problems.

    You Linux Distro should have an option to restore the MBR and allow it to boot. Once this is done, you should be able to reactivate OSS and have OSS find your Linux installation. Do you know if it's using GRUB or LILO or something else?

    The best way is to boot from the DD CD, unhide all the partitions, reboot to the DD CD, select OSS installation (Custom) and install OSS.
     
  16. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Ok, I have TI, but not installed. I have just finished installing DD. This is not the software I need to install to a fat32, right? (just OSS...).

    Could you maybe go into a little more detail about modifying the bootwis.oss file? I haven't even touched that yet, and have no clue what it's contents even look like.

    I think I can understand the resizing with DD and creating a fat32 partition, but haven't done such a thing yet so I will see if I can handle that one.

    Gotcha on the boot.ini, but with the linux(option to restore mbr), if there is such a thing, I haven't seen it yet. I must mention here, that I am fairly new to linux, but I know enough to understand that what you mention could be some command line type thing. Could you explain this a bit more in depth also?

    And with the DD Disc, I should install OSS outside of windows, correct? In other words, unhide all partitions, then boot with the disc and install OSS from there?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
  17. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Correct. DD is installed in Windows normally. OSS is installed separately.

    The BOOTWIZ.OSS file is in the hidden BOOTWIZ folder in the partition in which OSS is installed. It is in XML format. Edit it only with the Windows Notepad program for best results. If you run into problems with it you can attach a copy to a post and I'll try and fix it. You just need to make a copy of the file and rename it to BOOTWIZ.TXT so you can attach it. If you want to do some reading on editing the file for various reasons, you can take a look at these threads:
    Windows XP detected as "Unknown"
    Vista disappeared in dual boot


    DD is generally easy to figure out. I prefer using it in the "Manual" mode for more control and easier access to options.

    I would have to look up you Linux Distro and find out what loader it uses and the default options before I could go further. I've used GRUB and Grub4DOS, but not LILO.

    This will help to avoid some problems, such as the partitions being set Active and Hidden (a bug in OSS). However, it may not avoid the "cross-link" bug. In your particular situation, since the Operating Systems are already installed, it's probably the best way to go.

    I'm calling it a night, but I'll check the thread in the morning.
     
  18. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Ok, thanx for all the help and good night to you.

    For the next time you check this thread, I got ya' that DD is good to go, and I have installed TI, which brings me to a question.

    In the create backup wizard, there is an option to "create an image using the sector-by-sector approach".

    What does this mean, and do I need it? Since you are calling it a night, I am going to back up with it, just to find out what it does.(I hope I don't srew everything up this way)

    Bootwiz is understood now. I know xml, so it should be ok. I would assume that the text contained within is self-explanitory? Also, thank you for the links, I will study them tonight.

    I will attempt DD both in automatic and custom, if need be, but thank you for that input.

    You are correct in that my Linux distro uses LILO(whatever that means!:D )

    ANd, I think I understand you here. I need to install OSS outside of any OS, due to a bug that does not allow for the changing of partition settings. I will attempt this also tonight.

    I will most likely not post here again for at least another 12 hours, so I will also check the thread in the morning/afternoon.

    Thank you for all of your help, and have a good night.
     
  19. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    Another quick note

    I found out what the sector-by-sector means.

    Should have clicked before typing.

    For anybody interested, it means back up the "ENTIRE" drive. In my case 34.18 GB worth of space.

    Not choosing this option allows me to just back up the 4.25 GB of actual OS.

    Just so you know...
     
  20. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    another small update.

    I was thinking about how you said you don't recognize the Linux distro I am using. Maybe this will help you.

    The Linux distro I am trying to use comes from here:

    www.remote-exploit.org/backtrack.html
     
  21. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    O.K. More info.

    I have gotten to the point where I was able to install OSS outside of boot. I then booted into OSS, and found that my three OS's(Office,Media,Gaming) were registered. I attempted to boot into the second OS(Media) and recieved this error:

    Stop: c000021a {Fatal System Error}
    The SessionManager Initialization system process terminated unexpectedly with a status of 0xc000003a (0x00000000 0x00000000).
    The sustem has been shut down.

    o_O??

    One note... Linux did not show up in the OSS, and OS detection wizard did not find it.

    I am going to attempt the other two OS's from here. I suspect the same error though, but will find out soon enough.
     
  22. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    One note here, the above error only appeared when attempting to boot into (Media), and (Gaming). Coincidentally(probably not), both of these partitions are hiden, and I cannot change that fact, as of yet. (I have not tried partition magic or DD yet)

    Additionally, Before the error mentioned above, I see a screen that resemble the checkdisk screen, and it says:

    autochk progam not found - skipping autocheck

    This has to be due to the partition being hidden, but I have yet to figure out a way around it.
    :EDIT: I remembered you mentioning something about this above. I am checking this out now. I need to unhide the Acronis fat32 partition, then get into bootwiz.oss)

    :2nd EDIT: I adjusted the Bootwiz.oss file, and was able to successfully boot into Media. I suspect that this will also apply to Gaming, but I still have Linux to contend with.

    (Also, still no Linux OS::: Booting into Acronis Rescue Media)
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
  23. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    (Forgivew me but I may seem to be talking to myself. Consider this updating. I want to make a note of the progress in case anybody has this same problem in the future)


    All right, I have my three XP OS's running, and it seems that it is a perfect install of all three. But, BUT... I still have that durned Linux to contend with.

    I am currently searching some slackware forums, and googling my particular problem, but have not found an answer yet.

    :UPDATE: I am attempting a re-install of linux to see if that fixes the problem. I hope I don't....:gack:

    Yeah, I'll be dealing with this decision in a while, I'm sure.
     
  24. Daladim

    Daladim Registered Member

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    O.K., I am giddy to the point of bouncing off of stuff... and dancing too. All I needed to do to get Linux working was to re-install it. But I have some problems here still, so I think I will do this WHOLE thing over tomorrow. I wrote down the steps, so I don't forget. But as it stands right now, I can do exactly what I wanted to do in the first place.

    I have three seperate XP installs, none of which can access the other drives(Sweet). I also have Linux(more on this in a bit), and everything works quite well. I take back the comment about throwing Acronis in the trash, money well spent!:thumb: :thumb:

    Anyway, about Linux. Although I specified the install to go into the 6th(7th?) partition, it seems to have been placed elsewhere. I encountered a few problems with this distro, which I am currently researching. First, my usb mouse refuses to work. I attempted to fix this by modifying the xorg.conf file.

    The only result to come of that, was that I was stuck in flux from that point on. I attempted a re-install, which is where the (7th?) partition comes from. This did not work.

    So, I decided to delete the Linux and swap partitions, and start over. To be sure all was good, I booted into OSS, just to check the vitals. Strangely, Back|Track 2 was still listed. Out of curiosity, I clicked on it. And lo, I was booting into Slackware!:argh: !

    I went into Partition Magic, just to check some more vitals, and it appears that the Office partition has more info stored on it than the other partitions. Not as much as it should if Linux was mysteriously installed on that partition, but still, more than the other two. I am completely at a loss as to why this would be happening, I mean...I thought Linux needed a particular format to install under, not to mention a particular locationo_O??

    Anyway, this is the reason I think I will be starting all over. This, and to make sure I did it right the first time. I mean, after searching for answers and not finding them(not counting your help, mudcrab), I figure the least I could do is inform the public how I solved my problem...right?

    So, now I am also passing out. Hopefully a bit of rest will help me to achieve success on the morrow. Good night, and Godbless.
     
  25. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I think you've done a good job. Learning how OSS (or any other boot manager) works as well as Linux takes a while. Doing installs, fixing them, doing them over, etc. is a good way to do this.

    If you inserted the small OSS partition between the Windows and the Swap partition, it may have changed the partition detection order for Linux. This might be what caused your hda6/hda7 (or sda6/sda7) problem. Also, Linux does not always list the partitions in the order you expect. I've also had it happen where I installed one partition off from where I expected it to be.
     
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