Dual boot 2 XP's Is this the way it should be done

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by Tazeem, Jun 18, 2007.

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  1. Tazeem

    Tazeem Registered Member

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    After reading through number of posts here and not finding anywhere step by step instructions on how to proceed with multibooting I experimented myself and after a few trials now it appears that I have succeeded.
    Someone here suggested to go with an initial first 100MB partition under C, and then from the rest of the HDD create logical partitions for booting OS's. It appeared quite sound but I couldn't find the details as how to exactly go with this. Boot files are automatically installed there and if successfully hidden from each other both OS,s should be assigned the same letter. In this way the files of two identical OS's don't get mixed.
    I proceeded with activation of OS Selector from a bootable disk and it installed itself to the C partition.
    I already had XP installed and I wanted to install another one for working with music only.
    I previously partitioned my HDD into four partitions.
    I came into difficulties when OS Selector would apparently hide the existing XP but when the choices were presented while installing another XP as to which partition to boot it was obvious that the system wasn't hidden. Installing and reinstalling number of times I was learning as I went on.
    By disabling the OS Selector and hiding the system from within Disk Director I managed to truly hide the installation of the new system and gain the same position for both OS's under the same letter, invisible to each other. In this case they both had letter D.
    At least I thought so and actually the newly installed XP didn't see the first one, but when I went back to the first XP it was still able to see the newly installed XP. Then I disabled the OS Selector (since although it was saying that the system was hidden obviously it couldn't hide it properly for some reason) and used Disc Director to hide the system. It appears that OS Selector overrides the commands of the Disk Director and the only way to actualise the command of DD is to temporarily disable OSS. It worked fine this time but when I tried to go back to the first XP I couldn't log on into the system. To overcome that I repaired the OS Selector via bootable disk and managed to log on fine.
    Now both systems are under the same letter (D), independent of each other and the boot files are stored on the first partition (C). Everything seems to work fine apart from one thing.
    The letter E is missing on both XP's. The orther of the letters is C, D, F, G. Not sure if that is normal.
    As many others mentioned here there aren't exact instructions on how this should be done or if there are I couldn't find them by searching through google and the forums.
    Wander if anyone had suggestions that would simplify this procedure in the future and if I could have achieved this an easier rote.
     
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    As you discovered OSS will override DD settings. The only ways around this are to use the New OS Wizard in OSS or to deactivate OSS and use DD to manually hide the necessary partitions while you install.

    The last time I set it up, I installed Vista and then installed OSS from Vista. Then I deactivated OSS, booted from the DD cd and created the partitions for my two XP partitions. I then restored my XP's from TI images (editing the boot.ini files to point to the correct partitions). Then I reactivated OSS and set the options for each Windows to hide the partitions of the others and set the booting one active.

    There are quite a few ways to do this and none of them are as easy as they should be.

    You really don't need the "boot" partition. I have never used one for Windows. I prefer each Windows partition to be complete in itself so when I restore it it will not be dependent on any files in another partition.

    If the E: drive letter is not used for a device, you can probably use Windows Disk Management to change the drive letters to E: and F: instead of F: and G:.

    I will note that I could not install any OS's using the OSS New OS Wizard because OSS will not see my DVD drive (I have a P965 board). So my only option was to install manually.
     
  3. Tazeem

    Tazeem Registered Member

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    Hi MudCrub,

    Thanks for your reply. One thing I am not still clear about is regarding partitions. Someone recommended here that prior to installing one should make sure that partition should be primary and active, which I didn't do and my OS's are installed on logical partitions. Could it cause a problem of some kind in a long run?
     
  4. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Tazeem:

    As far as I know, if you are using a boot manager (like BING, GRUB, Acronis OS Selector, etc.), then having XP and Vista in logical partitions is fine.

    If you do not have a boot manager then to be able to boot, the Microsoft OSes need to be in a primary partition that is active, and on the primary disk, so that the code in the master boot record (MBR) can pass control to the partition that is currently marked as active. This is the "normal" way of installing XP or Vista, but it isn't the only way.

    If your multiboot setup is working to your satisfaction then I don't see any need to change it. The only slight disadvantage that I can see is that you are relying on your current boot manager (OS Selector). If at some point in time you decide to uninstall OS Selector then you will be left with an unbootable system unless you replace it with another boot manager. Had you installed XP and Vista to primary partitions then all you would need to do is remove the boot manager and make the desired partition active, and your PC would boot directly into the OS. Well, maybe you'd also need to do a fixmbr to replace the boot manager's MBR with the standard Microsoft MBR.
     
  5. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Tazeem,

    As Mark said, if your system is working correctly there isn't really any pressing need to change it.

    I'm probably the one who said "make the partition primary and active" as I have said that in quite a few posts. When Windows is installed it installs its bootloader into the first primary/active partition it finds. In your case, the small boot partition. If you are installing isolated OS's, then you have to make sure all other primary OS partitions are hidden and the one you are installing to is primary and active.

    I prefer having my OS's installed completely in their own partitions. It makes it easier to backup and restore an OS without disturbing any other OS. I even have OSS installed in its own partition.

    Since you are only booting XP (not XP and Vista), the bootloader is exactly the same for each. OSS takes care of which XP gets booted so there isn't any problem.

    If you later want to multi-boot with Vista, you may wish you had separate primary partitions, since Vista will take over the "boot" partition that now holds XP's bootloader. There are ways around this, though, such as installing Vista on its own drive and setting that drive first on the drive order list.

    If you have any intentions of installing Vista, I strongly recommend creating a backup image of your current system (the complete drive) using TI before installing Vista. That way you can restore your system back easily and try again if you don't get it right the first time.
     
  6. stretchy

    stretchy Registered Member

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    This may seem off topic as I'm not using DD, but I came across this thread while searching.

    I am trying to achieve a dual boot xp & xp system, one for the wife and kids, and a nice clean one for me!
    I would like both partitions to be independant from each other, so the other partition is not visible to the current one in use, and for each to have a drive letter C. At the moment I have two partitions 30Gb each on the same drive, but I can use a seperate drive if nessessary to get the features above.

    Cheers Stretchy
     
  7. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Stretchy:

    You can certainly do what you want. All you need is a boot manager. Here is a good article that explains what goes on "beneath the hood" when a PC boots. Reading this will give you an understanding of the process.

    http://www.multibooters.co.uk/multiboot.html

    The general principle is that to have two independent XP operating systems you need to install each in its own partition and then hide one from the other. With only disk management tools and two XP partitions called "XP1" and "XP2", you could set the XP1 partition as active and not hidden, and set the XP2 partition to hidden. When the PC boots then it will start up into XP1. The other partition will not even be visible. Similarly, if you hide the XP1 partition and set the XP2 partition as active and not hidden, then the PC will boot into XP2. Both will see their system drive as C:.

    While you can do this manually with any partitioning tool (Partition Magic, Acronis Disk Director, GParted, etc), a boot manager automates this process so that all you need to do is choose your desired operating system from a menu. There are lots of boot managers around -- Acronis OS Selector, GRUB, PQBoot, BING, etc., so choose your favorite.
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    stretchy,

    I would add to Mark's advice that it's a very good idea to create a backup image of the drive before starting to setup for multi-booting. In case something goes wrong you can get back to the starting point quickly.
     
  9. stretchy

    stretchy Registered Member

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    Thanks for the help guys, I'm still having some problems though, If I hide xp1, using partition manager, and select to boot xp2 from the windows boot menu, it loads fine and xp1 is hidden from xp2. However, if I then try to boot xp1, from the windows boot menu, it fails with autochk not found error message and reboots. I also tried acronis os selector, if I hide xp1, and boot xp2, I can still see xp1 system folder from my computer. I have in the past multibooted xp & vista and can't remember having these issues, but I may have installed vista on a seperate drive, would this make a difference?

    Cheers Stretchy
     
  10. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    stretchy:

    When you installed XP1, was the XP2 partition hidden and the XP1 partition active? If it wasn't, then XP1 installed some of its boot files into the XP2 partition, and when you try to boot XP1, these files are in a hidden partition. The usual symptom of this is that windows will start to boot and then display the error message "autochk not found", followed by a reboot.

    To make this work the way you want, with each OS seeing only itself and having a system drive of C:, you need to install XP1 while the XP2 partition is hidden and the XP1 partition is unhidden and active.
     
  11. stretchy

    stretchy Registered Member

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    Cheers for your patience guys, I think I'm nearly there, just 1 more problem.

    I have installed xp2 as per above with xp1 hidden and inactive, I have also installed oss, but when I hide xp1 or xp2, and start the other os, the system folder is clearly visible. If I go back and reboot, the hide option has dissappeared. I have tried it several times, but when I boot it seems to switch off the hide. Also when oss installed it created a partition on my other drive, which now shows it low on space, when there should be plenty of space there?

    Cheers Stretchy
     
  12. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    OSS doesn't create any partitions, as far as I know. It does create a "bootwiz" folder on your drives.

    Do you have the correct settings in OSS for each XP?
    XP #1 -- XP #1 partition marked active and not hidden, XP #2 partition marked hidden.
    XP #2 -- XP #2 partition marked active and not hidden, XP #1 partition marked hidden.

    If the settings don't seem to "stick" when the changes are made when booted to OSS, make the changes when booted into XP. If you're making the changes from XP, then try making the changes while booted to the OSS menu.

    If you still can't get it worked out, post back. Attach the bootwiz.oss file if possible as that's the file that would need to be edited.
     
  13. stretchy

    stretchy Registered Member

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    I think my version of oss was dated, I updated to dd 10 suite, and all was ok. However I defragged my disks and lost the oss menu. Ahhhhh, can I restore this without reinstalling windows.

    Thanks for all your hand holding I really appreciate it.

    cheers Stretchy
     
  14. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    So you have OSS working correctly now with the latest build (2,160)?

    There is currently another poster who is wondering if a defrag (Disk Keeper, in this case) can "knock-out" OSS.

    What happened in your case?
    Perhaps you have some insight?
     
  15. stretchy

    stretchy Registered Member

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    Currently oss isn't working, after defragging the partiton that dd and oss was installed on with windows defrag, I rebooted and it loaded straight to the partition that dss and oss wasn't installed on, and skipped the oss menu altogether.

    Cheers Stretchy
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  17. Tazeem

    Tazeem Registered Member

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    Thanks for the link. It seems good way to go.
    Well when I installed my third OS I messed up boot files, didn't know how to edit them correctly, couldn't boot up anywhere and had to start all over again. Now back on just one OS, didn't have time to retry it again, will get back to it at some point.
     
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