Multiple XP Selection

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by JStewart, Oct 6, 2006.

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  1. JStewart

    JStewart Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I've been trying to use DD and OS Selector to set up three seperate XP partitions on my HD. Looking through the posts it does look possible (I've given up on trying to use the User Manual / Guide as that has very little useful info in it).

    From what I've seen on other posts, it appears the way to do what I want is to have a small primary boot partiton (100mb has been suggested), and three seperate XP partitions each as logical drives. The system can then be set up to go into one of the three partitions, and the OS is seen as a C: drive, with the other two invisible.

    Does anyone know if there are any examples or procedures documented anywhere that shows how to set up the 100mb boot partition, and what files need to go in this partition?

    Batfink's posts

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=814872&postcount=2

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=38253

    seem to give a good clue how to achieve what I want, but I'm unsure of what should into the initial boot partition.

    Any pointers would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks

    James
     
  2. Batfink

    Batfink Registered Member

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    It all depends how you want to set your system up.. with the methods I used, and to make it work, each OS must be on the same letter, and hidden from each other to avoid drive letter changes and conflicts etc... to do this, they could not be on C, which is why I created a small boot partition.

    The boot files are loaded into it automatically when you boot from your OS cd, it is only when you are asked to choose the partition to install windows that, in my case, I would choose a logical partition, which would be D.

    This enables my OS partition, D, to be independent of the boot partition, and contains no boot files, so can be asiley copied to another partition.. which I would ensure also is D when booted, by hiding the first OS...

    Its not everyones cup of tea, but works great for me... some may see no being able to have access to the other partitions from within windows as a disadvatage, but I personally dont.. its much easier to keep them all seperate and independent of each other....
     
  3. JStewart

    JStewart Registered Member

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    Thanks Batfink for your reply.

    So am I understanding this correctly? Does each XP partition on your system show up as D:? e.g. the system files would be in D:\Windows\System etc, etc.

    I'm only interested in using one of the XP partitions at a time. (I use one for software development, one for general testing, and one for fresh install testing). It would have been nice to have them each show up as a C: drive when I needed to access them, but if making them show as D: is the way to go, then I'm happy to give it a try.

    Judging by the amount of posts on here with people asking very similar questions, it really points to the fact the manual could do with being improved to give people an idea of the processes involved.

    Many thanks again.

    James
     
  4. Batfink

    Batfink Registered Member

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    The manual is dreadful, last time I looked... it was just an explanation of what htings did, and not how to actuallyuse them in a real situation.. a bit like the help feature in the software...

    Ive not tried to see if it can be done with C, many years ago when I was looking for this solution, I learnt a few things, but not sure if they are still valid, but as my way worked, have never tried since...

    A bootable partition must be within the first 2gb of a drive... therefore unless your first partition, C, is less than 2gb, I dont see how another partition could be bootable as C... I dont know if this is still a existing rule... This is why I use C as the boot partition, as it need only be 100mb or less to fit bootfiles and OS Selector...

    If say, you have a partition an OS partition as C, with OS Selector installed.. in order to make another boot as C, you would have to hide the first, thereby hiding the boot program used to boot the OS!!! The way I see it, OS Selector must be on a visible partition at all times, and the first primary bottable partition is always C...

    So you see the problems that may be associated with having the C drive for your OS.. and wanting to clone it....

    As I said it was manyyears ago when I found this working solution, and there are other benefits to not having your OS on C.... many viruses and spyware expect your OS to be on C, although paramaters can be used to determine which drive it is actually on, it takes the obvious out of the equation...

    There may be a way to achieve it, Ive just not bothered to look, as I am happy with my config and the way it works.. the only alternative is to look atan app called HyperOS, which will clone your C to any other partition, and allow you to boot to it.. I beta tested it for a while, it works well, but I personally thought my method was much simpler, with less roomfor problems.
     
  5. JStewart

    JStewart Registered Member

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    Hi Batfink,

    Thanks for the reply again.

    I like the Acronis products from what I have seen of them over the past few days, but it does seem to be lacking when the onl yway to find out how to do something pretty fundamental is to rely on the input of people that have already gone through the mill discovering how to do things themselves, most probably by trial and error, and external research.

    If anyone from Acronis reads these forums, a tutorial or two would be most welcome. For what's the point selling a product to do a particular thing (i.e. OSSelector), when you assume that everyone using it must already be experts in managing multiple OS's

    A few years back I used to use Partition Magic's products to switch between different Windows 98 partitions. A small utility used to boot up, present me with a menu, then the computer would then go into the selected OS. All as Drive C: and all completely independant of the other OS. Since PM was bought by Norton it seems to have got stuck on version 8, and I'm not sure how supported the product is.

    I was hoping that the newer Acronis versions would be as easy as it used to be on the multiple Windows 98 setup I used to have years back. But it seems that Booting in Windows XP is a bit different.

    Thanks for the suggestion of HyperOS. I've seen this product around before, and the idea sounds good, but I have a small reservation that Windows will be stitting on top of something else, so you never know if this in itself will cause problems.

    I therefore think that I will plug away at trying to do it the Acronis route, and taking onboard your multiboot suggestion Batfink. I suppose that if there are ever instances when I need to have a Windows on Drive C: installtion (probably just for testing an install of the software I develop), then I can temporarily use TrueImage to change my HD configuration so that it boots into a clean Drive C:, then after testing, I can restore the Drive to it's multiple configuration as before. A bit longwinded I know, but it will work.

    Thanks for all the advice.

    James
     
  6. nuljet

    nuljet Registered Member

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    I have no problems with an OS (eg Win2000, WinXP, Vista) in a primary active partition (with bootable part) well above 2GB line in a multiboot, with the preceding (fat/ntfs) partitions hidden during the successive installations (making the install partition active should be enough though; I prefer to hide the others during install).
    One can unhide the other partitons once installed, if desired (you'll have multiple hidden "Recycle" folders though, etc; I prefer to let them be hidden from one another in general).

    That way you can have at least three Win2k/XP/Vista in primaries, and the rest in logicals with their bootable partition in one of the (unhidden) primaries if you desire so (although i've never had need to put a main Windows part in a logical partition yet).

    Btw, I prefer my oss in a small fat32 logical partition; found out that this way I never get any trouble with acronis bootmanager. OS Selector does take care of the Windows in their primary partitions (with each their own boot.ini).

    Presently in my case, for what I need, I only have a Win2000 on first partition (> 8GB) and VistaRC2 on third (prim) partition, although I had another Win2000 there before being replaced with Vista. There were no 2GB problem with these installations, each have their own bootable partitions, and no problem with OSS.
    On other people's systems, never had the 2GB problem either with WinXP with its bootable partition on a primary well beyond the 2GB limit (using oss or grub as bootmanagers).

    If you want to "practice" without messing with your real system, you could use virtual machines (eg the now free MS VirtualPC, or vmware which i use) to test all this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2006
  7. Batfink

    Batfink Registered Member

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    I stand corrected - I did point out it was a while ago when this was the case, and I wasnt sure if it still was, but after a little digging about I found this to prove your point...

    The 2gb limit used to be with DOS/Fat16, and 8gb with Fat32

    http://www.boot-us.com/tips_i01.htm

    Maybe its time I brought my multiboot into the new millenium!!!! lol!!! Time to rethink my system config!!!!:D Hmmm... hope I havent misadvised too many people!!!!!
     
  8. Petra10

    Petra10 Registered Member

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    The truth solution for your problem with 4 XPs looks like that:

    Every copy of a XP partition does have a "boot.ini" file, but every boot.ini is after the copy the same. Thats why it doesn't work.

    After you copied the XP partition look for the boot.ini file at each partition and then you just have to change the partition numbers.
    Thats it! Then OS Selector works very well!!!

    At the end it must look like this:

    boot.ini file of XP partition 1:

    [boot loader]
    ;timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

    boot.ini file of XP partition 2:

    [boot loader]
    ;timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

    boot.ini file of XP partition 3:

    [boot loader]
    ;timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

    boot.ini file of XP partition 4:

    [boot loader]
    ;timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

    After the reboot hid all other partitions from each other in the loader and every system in each partition works on drive C very well!!!

    Greatings,
    Petra
     
  9. Envy4Ever

    Envy4Ever Registered Member

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    HI,

    I have been trying to install multiple copies of windows as described by JStewart.

    I have spent over a week trying out different procedures all to no avail. Eventually after reading the posts in this thread and other proposed solutions on the net, I have at last managed to succeed in making it work! (on my machine at least)

    I thought it might be useful if I posted a step by step list of how I achieved it. I'm sure there are other ways but I hope this proves helpful.


    To Install 2 copies of Windows XP on C drive using Acronis Disk Director, just follow the steps below.


    1. Install Windows XP (1) on C drive, ensure Acronis OS Selector is not installed yet.
    2. Click start button then click run, then type reg edit in the box.
    3. In HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices ... delete all entries except the 1st one marked "ab(default)". Note this removes all references to the drives on your pc, this will be rebuilt on bootup.
    4. Restart pc loading "Acronis Disk Director" from CD.
    5. Copy partition containing Windows XP (1) into desired space on C drive (this may take some time)
    6. Hide partition containing Windows XP (copy). I'll call this windows xp (2) now for convenience.
    7. Boot up pc ... this will reboot all the entries that were deleted in step 3.
    8. Repeat step 4
    9. Select "Acronis OS Selector Setup" from the Acronis Rescue Media Screen (you will need your serial number for this). Alternatively you can probably install the selector from within windows (step 7)
    10. Reboot and you should be presented with the loader screen with 2 windows menu items etc.
    11. Right click on the first item and select properties then /files/boot.ini. The "boot.ini" editing screen should look like this

      [boot loader]
      ;timeout=30
      default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
      [operating systems]
      multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
    12. Right click on the second item and select propertiesthen /files/boot.ini. Now edit the partition number to (2) as shown below.

      [boot loader]
      ;timeout=30
      default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
      [operating systems]
      multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
    That's it!!! You should now be able to boot to either system with no problems.

    Good Luck
     
  10. Envy4Ever

    Envy4Ever Registered Member

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    Re: My previous posting (above)

    I have since tried this method out again and it does not appear to work!
    I'm not sure how it worked the first time. I was so excited, I posted the solution too quickly.

    Please ignore it !

    As soon as I have a reliable solution I will post again.

    Sorry Folks o_O
     
  11. aliceama

    aliceama Registered Member

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    Nov 7, 2003
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    Using DDS I successfully 'cloned' or copied, 2 separate XP Pro systems to a drive that already had an XP system on it. They boot fine, but I get errors such as "Generic Host Process for Win32 Services has encountered a problem ... etc." I believe this is because when I booted to each individual system the drive letters were respectively E and J. I subsequently changed each system to reflect the system drive letter to be "C", using DDS. However, the folders or directories on each system retained their prior drive letters. So, does anyone know if the Acronis software can resolve this? Or is there a way to modify the drive letters of the file folders. I know, it's probably quicker to start again. But possibly there's a way without that.
    :doubt: Thank you.
    aliceama
     
  12. JStewart

    JStewart Registered Member

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    I gave up on Acronis, as I was literally wasting days trying to do what I wanted to do with their product. I tried out BING instead and it has worked fine since day one. Their site even has video tutorials to go with the good details in the manual.

    It's a shame really, as I think the Acronis product could be good also, but it is just let down by poor documentation. I find it amazing that they do not have any details of performing multiple XP selections, when to me this for a lot of people would be reason for such products.

    JStewart
     
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