Step by Step: Setting up dual boot 2 x XP system

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by tombuur, Dec 2, 2007.

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  1. tombuur

    tombuur Registered Member

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    This is a step by step procedure. How to set up a dual boot system with two XPs using Acronis software True Image and Disk Director Suite. For my testing version 10 of both was used.

    There may be a number a reasons for wanting to have two (or more) XP partitions. In my case I need a clean and optimal XP for production and another for testing demo programs, updates etc. to avoid getting the production XP ”dirty”. You may have other reasons. However, it seems Windows XP doesn’t like other instances of its genetic material on a harddisk, so the setup is a bit tricky.
    Now I am just the dummy here. So the setup procedure below is mainly based on my notes while Brian K and Mudcrab guided me through the wilderness. If you run into trouble, those two are more likely to come up with an answer than I am. I was only frustrated by not being able to find a ”brainless” procedure for this setup, so I have taken the time to record the steps for the benefit of others (I hope). The original thread about it all can be found here:

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=192299


    The procedure here is for setting up two XPs on your harddisk. No doubt you can setup more than two using the same principles, but for simplicity we will stick to two XPs here. We will refer to these as XP1 and XP2. Below two identical XPs are set up, but you can also replace XP2 with a different backup image if you wish.


    Preparations
    =========


    o For the following I have used a separate hard disk for backup files (images), but I guess a logical partition on a single drive system could be used too. Mudcrab does recommends a separate harddisk/USB device for image backup, though.

    o Before starting this make a cd with the Acronis bootable media. This cd should contain both Acronis True Image (TI) and Acronis Disk Director Suite. The latter comprises Disk Director (DD) and OS Selector (OSS) If you have installed both in Windows just choose make bootable media to get a cd with both.

    o Any boot manager should be uninstalled. If using Acronis boot manager open Acronis OS Selector Setup and choose uninstall. If using another boot manager it should likewise be uninstalled. This is crucial.

    o Use the bootable cd with TI, DD and OSS. Just let it stay in the cd-drive all the time. Even when Acronis says ”remember to remove disk ”, don’t obey.
    When you need to boot into Windows just choose ”Windows” from the Acronis menu. This way you are safe-guarded against accidental start of Windows. Also: Always choose safe versions of the Acronis programs.


    Making the double XP system
    ======================


    1. Before starting this whole setup, there should be only one OS installed on Drive 1, we will refer to this as XP1. It is taken for granted that you have enough space on the hard disk for two XPs of identical size. Anyway, we will start by resizing XP1 to get the space for XP2:

    2. Start DD manual mode. Select C:, or whatever the name is of the partition with XP1. Resize it to what suits you. In my case 40 GB. Commit.

    3. Delete all other partitions on drive 1 (unless you use a logical partition for backup, then keep that one). Rename C: to "XP1" using Change Label. Commit.

    4. Leave DD and start TI. Make a backup of the XP1 partition. And you be careful to choose partition here, not backup of whole disk.

    5. Staying in DD. Restore the XP1 to the unallocated space. Like this: Choose Restore. Select the image of XP1 partition you backed up in (4). Restore disks or partitions. Check NTFS C: as the source. Next. Select unallocated space as the target. Next. Select Active. Go forward until the process starts.

    6. Close TI and start DD manual mode. Now you will have XP1 in two partitions. Rename the newly restored partition to "XP2" (It is the one that is not active). Hide it: Disk\Advanced\Hide. If necessary rename the orginal XP to XP1. Commit.

    7. ONLY NOW close DD and boot to Windows. My XP1 had now found new hardware and installs it (I guess it perceives the operations as added extra drives). I let it restart, booting to Windows a second time.

    8. Your XP 1 will be C: drive and the new OS won't have a drive letter. But you will be able to see the new partition in Control Panel\Administrative Tools\Computer Management\Disk Management. It should be Healthy (Unknown partition) with no drive letter.

    9. Close Windows and start DD manual mode. Select the XP2 partition and double click it. This opens the directory structure. Scroll down to find boot.ini and right click choosing Edit. You will see something like this:

    BOOT.INI

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

    Change the two instances of partition(1) to partition(2) and step out too the root of DD. (This step may only be necessary for some versions of DD that does not update the partition numbers properly).

    10. Make XP2 active, unhide it. Hide XP1. Commit.

    11. Start Windows. New hardware found once again, so restart after install.

    12. You should now be in XP2. To be sure have a look in: Control Panel\Administrative Tools\Computer Management\Disk Management. It should say XP2 C:, Healthy (System). I recommend you change the desktop background picture at this stage so that it will always be obvious as soon as you are in Windows whether you are in XP1 or XP2.


    Switching between XP1 and XP2
    ========================


    If you want to use Acronis OS Selector to switch between XP1 and XP2 this requires some further setup steps (see below). At this stage you can switch using DD.

    Boot to DD manual mode. One XP should read Primary, Hidden and the other Primary, Active. There are four steps to switch to the other XP:

    1. Right click the hidden XP and pick the advanced menu. Set it to active.
    2. Right click the hidden XP again, advanced, unhide.
    3. Right click the other XP, advanced, hide.
    4. Commit

    Leave DD and boot. Now the other XP should come up. Hopefully you have now different backgrounds so that it easy to decide which XP you are in.


    Updating the dual boot 2 x XP system
    ============================


    If you want another XP (updated XP1 or whatever) installed as XP2, then just make sure you have an image of that partition backed up with TI. Then in principle follow the above guide (Making the double XP system) from instruction number 3, except you don't backup XP1 here.

    You could possibly even change XP1 instead. The important thing here is to check boot.ini so that the one in XP1 reads partition(1) twice, and the one for XP2 reads partition(2) twice. To make sure: In DD select the relevant XP partition and double click it. This opens the directory structure. Scroll down to find boot.ini and right click choosing Edit. Then you can read the boot.ini.

    Also in DD make sure that the XP you want to use reads Primary,Active and the one not used reads Primary, Hidden. If not just change the setting: right click the partition and choose Advanced, then hide, unhide or set active as appropriate.


    Setting up OSS to choose between XP1/XP2
    =================================


    If you want to use Acronis OS Selector (OSS) to choose between XP1/XP2 at start up, go through these steps:

    1. If you have OSS already installed then boot to OSS setup and uninstall it

    2. DO NOT let the computer reboot into Windows until the following is completed

    3. Boot to DDS manual mode and unhide both the XP1 and XP2 partitions. Commit.

    4. Create a small (100MB) FAT32 or NTFS partition for OSS on the same drive as XP1 and XP2. Choose Active when asked, and use some vacant space for the partition. Label this new partition "OSS". Commit.

    5. Reboot to OSS Setup and install OSS using the Custom option and selecting the OSS partition as the destination

    6. Upon reboot after installation, OSS should find both XP1 and XP2. You may wish to rename these to something more meaningful than Windows XP. Just make sure which one is which before doing so.

    If you stick to hiding/activating partitions with DD your computer will boot directly into the active partition. Using OSS at start up you need to make a choice every time the computer starts, but switching is quicker if you need to switch often between XP1/XP2. If want to skip the OSS step at every boot up, you have to uninstall OSS. Just hiding the partitions you don’t use (including ”OSS”) will not do the trick.

    Another difference using OSS at start up is that the other XP partition will be visible to you. Hence you can move files from XP2 to XP1 or vice versa with Windows Explorer if needed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2007
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    tombuur,

    This is a good step-by-step guide to the procedure, but I would like to make a few comments.

    You should also modify your post to state which versions and builds of TI and DD you are using.

    The backup image can be stored on any drive or partition that will not be affected by these procedures. For the sake of safety, I would recommend a second internal drive or USB external.

    This step is a MUST. OSS or a third-party boot manager must not be installed when you begin.

    The Full mode versions should also work (did you have problems with them?). I use the Safe Mode version of DD a lot because it starts much faster (doesn't have to load Linux).


    I prefer to resize the partiton smaller first and then create a new partition in the unallocated space. In this instance, I would resize XP1 to 40GB, then create the XP2 partition (Primary, NTFS, 40GB), then create the OSS partition (Primary, FAT32, 100MB) and finally use the remainder as a Logical partition for Data.

    That being said, they way you did it works too.

    The XP2 partition can be a different size if you want. Also, if you created the XP2 partition previously then you don't need to create it here.

    This may or may not need to be done. This depends on the version and build of TI you used for the restore. TI 9 build 3,677 will not modify the boot.ini file or change the partition table order. TI 10 will change the partition table order and automatically update the boot.ini file partition(#) values. It will do this for every boot.ini file on every partition affected. TI 11 build 8,053 will update the boot.ini file, but not change the partition table order (this is the correct way).

    So, to sum up, your boot.ini files may already be correct. I don't know what version and build of TI tombuur used. Just note that if you're using a version of 9 later than 3,677 or any build of TI 10, the partition image of XP1 restored to XP2 will probably need to be partition(1) in the boot.ini file and the original XP1 partition's boot.ini file will need to be partition(2). If you want read up on this, you can check out this thread: TI Restore Changes Partition Order in Partition Table

    Changing the desktop background is a good idea. It also doesn't hurt to place a file in My Documents that's called XP2.TXT or something like that. Just something to be able to verify the difference.


    Again, as noted above, depending on the version and build of TI used, you may not need to make any changes to the boot.ini files and they may not match the order on the disk if the partition table order was changed.



    You can also have created this partition earlier or use unallocated space, depending on how you setup your drive before you started.

    You can look at the Properties of each one and see which is the booting partition. You can also always rename them if you get them wrong.

    If you usually boot into one OS, you can set a default and a timeout value so it will boot automatically. You can also set a default to boot without a timeout.

    This is not how I would do this. You can if you want and it should work, but it doesn't give you the isolation that is generally wanted. The recommended procedure is once you have booted into OSS the first time and it's found both your Windows OS's, edit the Properties of each so that the booting partition is Active (should already be set) and the other OS partition (or partitions) is marked Hidden. This results in exactly the same configuration you'd have using DD manually to set the booting OS partition Active and hiding the other OS partition(s), only OSS does it all for you.
     
  3. tombuur

    tombuur Registered Member

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    I have already updated several paragraphs above. I am now testing things again, since I forgot about the necessity for using unallocated space for creating the XP2 partition.

    Yes, I have had trouble (lock up) with the full versions. So I recommend using the safe version. Better safe than sorry ... and since it works fine, why use the full versions at all?
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The Full versions can be a lot faster than the Safe versions, especially if you're moving a lot of data. For creating partitions, resizing without data needing to be moved, etc., Safe Mode is probably just as fast.

    Use whatever works on your system whether it's Full Mode, Safe Mode, BartPE or VistaPE. That fact that it works properly and is stable is what counts.
     
  5. CalvinT

    CalvinT Registered Member

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    Mudcrab,
    I am from another thread where I have problems with dual booting Windows 2000. I am so sure that it has to do with the way Windows 2000 hide the partition.

    Anyway, I have followed the steps in this thread with one major difference: instead of using TI to clone the partition P1, I used ADD to copy paritition P1 to an unallocated space. P2 is Copied as Primary. Before I copied P1, I went into P1's registry and clear out the MountedDevices registry as suggested here http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/partsigs.htm to reduce the risk of drive letters being wrong in Windows 2000.

    Once P1 is copied to P2, I made sure I can boot into P1 OK and P2 does not have a drive letter.

    In ADD I then hid P1 and made P2 Active and Unhidden. I changed P2's boot.ini to partition(2). There is only two partitions on this drive, plus the Unallocated space.

    I cannot boot into P2. The msg is "Missing Operating System".

    I even changed P2's boot.ini to point back to Partition(1) and it still won't boot with "Missing Operating System".

    Please help.
     
  6. CalvinT

    CalvinT Registered Member

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    I tried doing the parition copy agin using ATI this time.
    This is exactly what I have done:
    Originally I have one P1 W2K partition. I boot into ADD and create 3 more paritions. So I have the following:

    P1(C:) Pri,Act
    P2 (D:) Pri
    OSS (E:) Pri
    Data(F:) Pri

    Using ATI I backup P1 to an image onto Data

    Still in ATI I restore the image to P2, noting that I cannot restore the MBR and also that ATI only gave Active or Logical option to P2. Primary was grayed out. So I chose Active.

    Using ADD I verified that ATI made the second partition active
    P1(D:) Pri
    P1 (C:) Pri,Act
    OSS (E:) Pri
    Data(F:) Pri

    I hid P1, change the second parition label to P2 and change it's boot.ini file to:
    [boot loader]
    timeout=10
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\winnt="Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect

    The system rebooted and I get "Missing operating system".
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    CalvinT,

    That's a good start.

    I assume you did the partition clone from the ADD boot CD, Manual mode. I would not have booted to P1 at this point. Better to make sure one partition is hidden before the first boot.

    Why not start again? From Windows, delete P2, delete the MountedDevices keys, shutdown and boot to the ADD CD. Perform your Partition copy (clone) to unallocated space. Is there an Active choice? I don't know.

    OK, still in ADD, edit the boot.ini of P2. Then..(some choices may already be in place but you get the picture)

    Right click the P2 and click Advanced. Click Set Active and click OK for the warning.

    Again right click the P2 and click Advanced. Click Unhide and click OK for the warning.

    Right click the P1 and click Advanced. Click Hide.

    Now the flags should be reversed. In the Flags column, P2 should be Pri, Act and P1 should be Pri, Hid. You must finish like this.

    Click the Commit button. etc and restart.

    Note, this will be the first Windows boot. Does it boot to P2?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    CalvinT,

    Try as Brian suggests and see if it works. Keep in mind that it is very hard to actually "hide" partitions from Windows 2000. In OSS, you can use "Force hiding" to change the partition in such a way that Windows 2000 shouldn't see it. Using DD to just do a regular "hide" will not stop Windows 2000 from seeing and accessing the partition (at least this is my understanding). The best solution is probably to just not assign a drive letter to the other partition and not count on "hiding" to be what determines the status.
     
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    For general information. I think the easiest way to boot manage two OS is with pqboot.exe. Put a copy in each OS or have a single copy in a data partition accessible by both OS. pqboot.exe simply determines which is the next OS to boot and is of most value if you mainly use one OS.
     
  10. CalvinT

    CalvinT Registered Member

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    Brian,
    I followed the exact steps using ADD, and the same result:

    P2 did not boot.

    It came up with:
    "Missing operating system"

    If I set P1 Pri,Ac and P2 Pri,Hid it boots to P1 fine.
    But if I set P1 Pri,Hid and P2 Pri,Act, it simply does not boot to P2.

    "Missing operating system".

    This is a simple exercise and ADD is causing me so much grief. I just simply don't understand why it is doing this.

    Something unique about W2K Pro o_O?
     
  11. CalvinT

    CalvinT Registered Member

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    I figured it out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    For some stupid reason, my Dell 360 3GHz machine was not able to boot with partitions past the 8GB boundary. This is the int 13h thing. But folks says that this is only with older BIOS, so why is my relatively new Dell PC BIOS doing this.

    Anyway, if I resize my P1 to 6GB, copy it and make P2. Use ADD to Activate P2 and modify P2's boot.ini, it boots successfully into P2 !!!!!!!!!

    With my both of my P1's and P2's drive signature registry cleared, I was able to install OSS and get no cross-linked issue, as I can hide P2 in P1 and vice versa. No gray boxes issue.

    I will have to write up a small procedure later on.

    This is so close as I have only today and the wkend to get this dual-boot working for a site job next week.

    I still don't understand how it actually worked though.

    Case 1: P2 does not boot
    P1 10.75GB NTFS
    P2 10.75GB NTFS

    Case 2: P2 does boot
    P1 6.75GB NTFS
    P2 6.75GB NTFS
    OSS 949.2 MB FAT32 (LBA)

    If I do not have the 8GB boundary in Case 2, then how does OSS boots o_O??

    Anyway P2 and OSS boots.
    Hurrah!!!!:D

    Thank you Brian, and Mudcrab for helping out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2007
  12. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The limit may be with Windows 2000 and how it boots. I know Windows 98 and ME won't boot properly after about 2GB. Maybe Windows 2000 has a similar limit, though I think others have done this and didn't run into this problem so it may have something to do with the computer's BIOS.

    It would be interesting to know if XP did the same thing or if it would boot properly from a partition past 8GB.

    OSS uses it's own boot code and can (usually) boot to any partition on any drive.
     
  13. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Last edited: Dec 7, 2007
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    CalvinT,

    That computer is probably out of your hands but the possible causes of the second OS not booting are..

    1. A MBR that is not LBA aware. This may have resulted from using the several boot managers that you mentioned in the other thread. Running fixmbr should correct this.

    2. A BIOS not configured to be aware of LBA-addressing. Unlikely with a recent computer but the BIOS should be checked to ensure LBA translation is enabled.
     
  15. CalvinT

    CalvinT Registered Member

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    This one is hard to check because it's a Dell BIOS. Pretty much locked down. But if it is a BIOS issue, OSS would not boot as well right?
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    CalvinT,

    I suspect you will know the answer in the near future.

    Not too sure I understand what you mean here.

    I haven't used OSS. With this virgin computer, OSS wasn't installed prior to the boot problem. Correct? A boot manager should always be the last step in a multi-boot.
     
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