Cloning system partition on multiboot PC

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by mumdigau, Sep 5, 2008.

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  1. mumdigau

    mumdigau Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I used Windows Setup to install two Win XP Pro systems (on the same drive). Now it looks like this:

    C: Boot boot partition (contains boot.ini, bootsect.dos, ntldr, pagefile.sys, hiberfil.sys)
    D: DVD-ROM
    E: WinXPMain main Win XP system partition
    F: WinXPBack test and backup Win XP system partition
    W: Data logical data partition

    This layout has some disadvantages which mainly arise from the fact that the system partition's drive letter is either E: or F: depending on the partition I boot to. Just to name two pitfalls:

    - programs have to be installed twice (E: and F:)
    - backups have to be done for both systems

    I'd like to change the szenario so that the system partition always has drive letter E: regardless where I boot to. If I boot to the main system it looks like shown above, if I boot to the test system it should look as follows:

    C: Boot
    D: DVD-ROM
    E: WinXPBack
    F: WinXPMain
    W: Data

    Thus, I can introduce a logical partition V: which can hold all programs for both systems, and have to backup only the main system (in case of problems with the test system I just replace it with a copy of the main system).

    My question is how I can achieve that. Is it sufficient to do a Windows restore of WinXPMain's full backup to WinXPBack and assign drive letter E:? Or do I have to do further adjustments (bootsec.dos, registry etc.), and, if so, how do I do this?

    Many thanks for any feedback.

    Best regards

    mumdigau
     
  2. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    You can't. Windows isn't built that way. Every program installed puts critical files in the Windows boot partition and in the Windows Registry in that boot partition. (OK, very simple programs may not, but do you use anything more complicated than Solitaire?)

    If you have two Windows installations, you will have to install all programs twice and backup both partitions to keep the backups current.
     
  3. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    mumdigau,

    Why don't you install all your WinXP OS as C: drives?

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

    I used to do this some years ago with Win98 and Win95 but it should work with WinXP. Install your programs to a common partition visible from each OS. You would have to install each program twice (or 3 times if you have 3 OS) but it would only occupy a "single" space in the program partition.
     
  4. mumdigau

    mumdigau Registered Member

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    Can't believe that. Remember, the 2nd OS is just a clone of the 1st one. Drive letters of active resp. boot partition (C:), system partition (E:) and programs partition (V:) and all their content are identical whether I boot to the main or the test system. When booting to the test system, just a copy of the main system lying on a different HD address compared to WinXPMain is started, its registry (copy of the original one) references the the same programs as the main system, so why should I install them twice?

    mumdigau
     
  5. mumdigau

    mumdigau Registered Member

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    Good question. It's a remnant from ancient times: I installed Win98SE on C:, then XP on E:. Win98SE has gone in the meantime. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of the way at that time how Microsoft handles OS multibooting. So I didn't hide the main XP system on E: when I installed the test system, therefore it became F:. This leads to the annoying drive letter change of the system partition the correction of which is the main purpose for the intended layout change. I still believe it should be possible by cloning the main system to an other partition thus retaining the drive letter E:. The question I asked was what other adaptations besides modification of boot.ini, if any, are necessary.

    See my answer above.

    mumdigau
     
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