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Multiple Copies Of Xp. How Easy To Dual-boot?


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#1 ianbrodie

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 04:15 PM

I have a Dell laptop with an 80GB drive. This is partitioned into:

Something 80MB EISA Configuration
C: 53GB System
D: 18GB Unused (I think this is a logical drive in the same primary partition as C:)
Something 3GB "Unknown Partition" (I suspect this is left over from the Dell system of partitions - possibly some form of Recovery? Since I don't know what's in it, and don't use it, I'm prepared to sacrifice it)

Firstly, I'd like to adjust the partitions to give me three partitions - C: (40GB), D: (17GB) and E: (17GB). I'm planning on using GPARTED for this, as I think it will allow me to reduce the size of C: without damaging the contents. Then, I want to make a copy (image) of C: in, say D:, using Paragon Drive Backup Express. It'll take about 15GB. I think I can do all this, but it gets tricky now.

I want to restore the image from D: into E:, and boot from it. In other words, I want to test recovering from a lost or badly corrupted C:, by pretending that E: is my main partition. Just to see if it works.

My questions are:

1. When I'm re-partitioning, do I have to specify E: as anything special, in order to allow it to function as a (temporary) System Partition?
2. When I come to test E: as the alternative System Partition, how do I choose to boot from it, rather than C:? If it calls for editing Registry entries, I can't do that.
3. Have I overlooked anything?
4. Is this at all possible??

Thanks

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 05:19 PM

Hi :thumbsup:.

<<When I'm re-partitioning, do I have to specify E: as anything special, in order to allow it to function as a (temporary) System Partition?>>

You mean boot partition, not system partition...see Definition of System Partition and Boot Partition - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314470 Although it says that they don't have to be the same, XP works if they are the same.

As I understand it: I have two partitions, each containing Windows XP installs. The version that I boot into is the boot partition and is THE active partition (only one per hard drive allowed at one time)...while the other partition is a momentary system partition on the hard drive. I can have 3 system partitions and 1 boot partition on 1 hard drive, no more.

Of course, all of this is changeable because...I can go into my BIOS and alter my boot.ini file...to make any of my four partitions the bootable partition.

<<When I come to test E: as the alternative System Partition, how do I choose to boot from it, rather than C:? If it calls for editing Registry entries, I can't do that.>>

Editing or duplicating a boot.ini file is not editing the registry, see How to edit the Boot.ini file in Windows XP - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...kb;en-us;289022

<<3. Have I overlooked anything?>>

A matter of perspective, I think. IMO, your original premises/plans...were not good at all...because you are relying on one hard drive to function perfectly forever. A better premise would be to just buy some disk-imaging software, create a backup of your system periodically...and reinstall that when trouble comes (as it will).

If you are trying to bullet-proof yourself against hard drive failures...there are better ways to attempt such (not necessarily achieve such) than the method you have outlined...IMO.

<<4. Is this at all possible??>>

Sure. I don't think it's desireable, though.

Others may have dissimilar opinions :flowers:.

Louis

#3 ianbrodie

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 04:22 AM

Hi :thumbsup:.

As I understand it: I have two partitions, each containing Windows XP installs. The version that I boot into is the boot partition and is THE active partition (only one per hard drive allowed at one time)...while the other partition is a momentary system partition on the hard drive. I can have 3 system partitions and 1 boot partition on 1 hard drive, no more.

Of course, all of this is changeable because...I can go into my BIOS and alter my boot.ini file...to make any of my four partitions the bootable partition.

<<When I come to test E: as the alternative System Partition, how do I choose to boot from it, rather than C:? If it calls for editing Registry entries, I can't do that.>>

Editing or duplicating a boot.ini file is not editing the registry, see How to edit the Boot.ini file in Windows XP - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...kb;en-us;289022

<<3. Have I overlooked anything?>>

A matter of perspective, I think. IMO, your original premises/plans...were not good at all...because you are relying on one hard drive to function perfectly forever. A better premise would be to just buy some disk-imaging software, create a backup of your system periodically...and reinstall that when trouble comes (as it will).

If you are trying to bullet-proof yourself against hard drive failures...there are better ways to attempt such (not necessarily achieve such) than the method you have outlined...IMO.

<<4. Is this at all possible??>>

Sure. I don't think it's desireable, though.

Others may have dissimilar opinions :flowers:.

Louis


Louis, thanks for this.

You're right, as a survival procedure, it's imperfect, but it's only temporary. I will be installing an external HD, where I will store all recovery data/images etc. At the moment, though, I'm trying to find a recovery process that suits me.

The last time I had to restore XP, it took me between one and two days - the XP part was easy, it was all the other programs, plus all the personalisation/tailoring. I'm trying to avoid having to do that again, when I have a hardware failure or a very bad virus infection. So, I want to store a clean image of C: somewhere, that I can restore quickly. Paragon Drive Backup seems to be able to do this. Plus, it allows me to create a bootable CD. so if C: is unusable, I can boot from the CD and restore the clean C: image from the external HD. Thereafter, booting up as usual, no changes required to anything, I hope.

However, I need to test this will work, before disaster strikes. I want to copy the clean C: image onto D:, then restore it to E:. If I can then easily boot from E:, then I know that the simpler plan (above) will work.

My problem is, I don't know enough about different types of partition or drive (system/boot/logical/whatever), to set C:, D: and E: up in the first place. Nor do I know if it's possible to (temporarily) tell my PC to boot from E:, then to revert to C: after I've tested it all.

So (thanks for your patience so far), can you tell me (or point me to the info) how to do the above? Or, if it isn't possible or desireable, what should I be doing?

Thanks again for your help

#4 hamluis

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 07:06 AM

I understand, no problem :thumbsup:.

My solution to this would be (is) to use disk-imaging software (Acronis True Image and Symantec Ghost are examples) and to make periodic images and save them to another hard drive or to CD/DVD. IMO, these programs and others like them are well worth the money since they save users time, money, and frustration.

The problem with saving to a partition on the same drive...is that this really offers only the illusion of protection, since none of ever know just what part (if not the whole thing) of a hard drive will prove to be unaccessible.

This was realized a long time ago when companies like Iomega became rich/famous by offering users their (somewhat infamous) zip disks :flowers:...and when users began to use tape backups of their systems/data.

Louis




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