XP Dual boot - 2 partitions already set up

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by jbraner, Jul 19, 2007.

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  1. jbraner

    jbraner Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I've been dual booting 2 XP partitions for years with Bootmagic (from the old Powerquest version of Partition Magic :cool:. I just bought the Acronis Disk Director suite and decided to try OSS. This should be straightforward but it just doesn't work.

    I'll call them XP1 and XP2 partitions.

    XP1 works fine - it is set to active and XP2 is hidden (in OS selector)
    XP2 will not boot - because it is impossible to "unhide" it in the OS selector! The correct partition has the little flag next to it, so I am in the right place. It is marked active and hidden, but they are both greyed out. It is never gonna boot if it's a hidden partition. I tried booting from it anyway - but it obviously won't boot.

    Does anyone have any ideas what is wrong here? This should be straightforward. As a matter of fact, I just re-installed Bootmagic and set it up in 2 minutes.

    Why does OS selector not let me "unhide" a partition to boot from it?

    I see a lot of posts about dual boot problems, but I'm not even trying to install a new OS - I've got everything set up already.

    Thanks for any ideas...

    John Braner
     
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    John,

    Take a look at this thread as it deals with fixing this bug:

    Ohhh OSS

    If you still have the problem after fixing that, please post back and attach a copy of the bootwiz.oss file (you'll probably have to make a copy and rename it bootwiz.txt in order to attach it).
     
  3. jbraner

    jbraner Registered Member

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    Thanks Mudcrab,

    That makes sense, and I'll give it a try over the weekend. I saw that there were a lot of posts about dual boot problems - but I was really tired, and had to get to bed. You usually get a lot of problems with people who aren't quite sure what they're doing with this stuff.

    This, however, is an outright bug! How long has this been broken?
    I'll try your suggestions, but I'll tell you what - I'm not going to uninstall Bootmagic this time ;)
     
  4. jbraner

    jbraner Registered Member

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    Well, I got everything back to "normal" and reinstalled Disk Director suite again. I installed OSS, and this time it's worse!

    Now it can't even figure out that I've got two primary partitions on disk 1 that are both capable of booting XP! It only offers me one choice, and it doesn't discover any new operating systems - no matter which combination of MBR or disk partition, I tell it to look at!

    This is a crap program!

    The thing is, it boots into some kind of quasi combination of both partitions. It can't run the OS selecor configuration from Windows because it thinks it's not installed correctly. Something is missing!

    I've restored images, got everything back to normal and have my MBR working normally with (old Powerquest) BootMagic.

    I think I'll just install Disk Director suite and then True Image, and forget OSS.

    It looks like it's going to need to be set up manually on each partition, and I'm loath to boot into my second partition, until I make some Acronis CDs, so I can manipulate which partition is hidden and which isn't. (because DD isn't installed on this partition)

    I can't believe how much time I've wasted with this. This is a simple setup with:
    Disk1
    pri partition XP 1 (hidden when XP2 boots)
    pri partiition XP 2 (hidden when XP1 boots)
    logical partition (always visible)

    Disk2
    logical partition (always visible)

    Disk 3
    logical partition (always visible)
    logical partition (always visible)

    OSS just can't figure it out! Boot magic may be old - but it works and it's simple. I'll worry about OSS when I upgrade to Vista. Maybe it will be fixed by then.
     
  5. jbraner

    jbraner Registered Member

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    Re: XP Dual boot - fixed!

    Well, I tried it once more because I'm stubborn ;)

    This time OSS installed like the very first time - so I could fix the "active" "hidden" greyed out problem.

    Thanks you for this fix MudCrab - it worked great, when I eventually was able to try it.
    (I still have BootMagic installed, just not activated)

    rgds,
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Re: XP Dual boot - fixed!

    John,

    I'm glad you finally got it working. When I first ran into both of these bugs, I spent most of a Saturday trying different things before figuring out a way around them. (This was before I knew to edit the bootwiz.oss file. I hadn't thought of that and it wasn't posted until later. Definately a much easier solution.)

    The "cross-linking" problem can also be fixed by editing the bootwiz.oss file and is also a bug (at least as far as I'm concerned). I forgot about it and you'd just asked about the "grayed out checkbox" bug, otherwise I'd have mentioned it too.

    For what it's worth, installing OSS after you have already setup or restored multiple OS's is the hardest way to get OSS to recognized them correctly. And, because OSS insists on doing everything automatically, you can't force it to detect an OS even though you know it's there.

    For future reference, this is the best scenario for getting OSS to correctly see multiple OS's already on the hard drive:

    1) With OSS not installed, boot from the DD cd and set all your partitions as unhidden (visible). This stops OSS from seeing a hidden active partition and "locking" into into a hidden state which doesn't allow Windows to boot and grays out the checkbox so you can't change the setting.

    2) If you only have three (or less) partitions on the hard drive and have room for a forth, make a small primary partition and mark it as the "active" partition. This partition can be FAT32 or NTFS for installing OSS into or it can be an Ext3 partition. The point is to have a non-OS partition marked active. This avoids the "cross-link" bug problem.

    3) Boot from the DD cd and install OSS. Select the "custom" install and install to the OSS partition (if you setup one). OSS should find the Windows okay. Then just edit each OSS menu entry to hide the appropriate partitions.

    ---

    As you can see, these ways are not that easy and one shouldn't have to go through such great lenghts to get a program to install correctly. Editing the bootwiz.oss file is much easier and is the prefered method. If you can't boot into windows, that's not a problem as you can edit the file by booting to DD and exploring the partition OSS is installed on.

    Now that you have a working system, you might want to make a copy of the bootwiz.oss file so you have a good one to look at (compare) or restore if something gets screwed up with the current one.
     
  7. jbraner

    jbraner Registered Member

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    Re: XP Dual boot - fixed!

    Thanks again MudCrab.

    I can sympathise with what you went through - it is definitley not worth all this hassle just for a boot manager!

    I don't know how I slipped into the "cross-linked problem" today - but I never saw this originally. Then, when I tried it later - I went back to the (easier) "greyed out problem".

    All of this will be easier to deal with, now that I have the DD boot CD made up. I just got DD and True Image, together, this week - so I hadn't made any CDs up yet.

    I just have a couple of small questions, for the future. I don't know if this is going to happen everytime I change my disk configuration.

    That's weird. That's not the way it's supposed to be....

    So would it have been better to "install" OSS to my 3rd partition, which is just Data? Is it worth changing this? (I currently have it on the first booting partition)


    You got that right! ;)


    Yes - it will be much easier, now that I have a DD CD to use if there are problems.

    Thanks again for your help.
    rgds,
     
  8. jbraner

    jbraner Registered Member

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    FWIW, I just uninstalled and re-installed OSS to my 3rd partition, which is just a data partition and visible by whichever partition boots.

    It was easy this time, and it makes sense to do it from the boot CD. This way, when I make everything "unhidden", I never actually boot from the disk and just reboot with the CD to set up OSS. This is *much* safer! ;-)

    Too bad none of this is documented ;-)

    I noticed that:

    1 - Before, all the files were in the one BOOTWIZ directory on the one partition, and all the other ones just had a context.oss file.

    2 - Now the two bootable partitions have a few other files and dirs, and the DATA partition has the main install, and all the other ones just have the context.oss file.

    It seems OK now - so thanks again for your insight.

    rgds,
     
  9. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    You're welcome for the help. Now that your system is setup, hopefully you won't have further problems with OSS.

    OSS puts a BOOTWIZ folder on every partition, but the main one (where OSS is installed is the important one).

    The reason I recommend installing OSS into a non-OS partition is that if you ever need to use TI to restore the OS partition then you don't have to worry about restoring old OSS files and risking screwing up your system.

    Most of this is documented in the forum, but you have to search for it and it can be kind of hard to find sometimes. Acronis doesn't mention any of it in their support info and none of it is in the manual.

    Also, these bugs (the grayed-out boxes and the cross-linking) have been around for a long time and they still haven't fixed them. Now they have the Vista bugs on top of those. Additionally, Acronis Support seems to pay virtually no attention to the DD forum. I think the only posts made recently were from a thread that got posted in the wrong forum and was then moved to the DD forum. If it had originally been posted in the DD forum I doubt it would have received a reply from Support.

    Once you get familiar with the "quirks" of OSS and figure out how to get around the "bugs", it does become easier to use and configure.
     
  10. jbraner

    jbraner Registered Member

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    This makes sense.
    By the way - after reinstalling (from Boot CD) onto my data partition, I had to run a "Repair/Update Acronis OSS" - so that I could run the OSS setup from windows (as well as when booting) and to be able to run DD at bootup time (this option had become greyed out after the re-install)

    All looks good now.:)

    It's a shame about the support situation, but I can't say that Symantec support is any better...

    rgds,
     
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