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can I install XP on 2nd internal drive w/o reformatting?


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#1 teiresias

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 02:16 PM

Hi! I'm hoping you can help me out with a problem I'm having regarding installing XP to a partition on an internal hard-drive with data already on it in other partitions, but no OS on that drive yet.

Situation:
I need to install an operating system (preferably Windows XP) on the newer of my two internal hard-drives, as the original [C] is failing and soon the newer drive will be the ONLY internal drive. The newer drive [WD] was already formatted and partitioned months ago, with a primary partition (O:) made to put the OS on and others for data/files. Ideally, I would have simply installed XP to (O:) and then added [C]'s files to [WD]'s other partitions [N], but I have not been able to find my install disc for quite a long time now, or borrow one either. So, I backed up all my data onto [N] with the intention of installing an OS to (O:) later - I still just boot from [C], but with both drives turned on in BIOS.

Question:
I now have an XP install disc, and can install it onto (O:), so this is my question: can I install an OS to (O:) without having to wipe and reformat the entire [WD], since doing so would make me lose all data on [N]? I have left (O:) untouched after formatting it when I formatted and partitioned [WD] upon installation, so none of its space is taken and if (O:) needs to be formatted again during the XP installation process, that's fine.

For some reason I have some weird idea in my head that if (1) suddenly [C] is gone before [WD] is given an OS, I'll have to format all of [WD] before adding an OS, as without booting, the partitions wouldn't be recognized — but if (2) I try to install an OS onto (O:) while I can still use [C]'s OS, I can install XP on (O:) without affecting [N] and have the computer be multiboot, then switch the boot priority to (O:) over [C] so when [C] dies, I will be able to boot [WD] fine. Is (2) true, or does the presence of an OS on another drive [C] have no factor into whether I have to format [WD] before installation of its OS?

All issues of hard-drive failure and backing up data aren't my focus, as I technically have everything on [C] and [N] backed up on an external hard drive - (I'll tackle boot-issues after [WD] actually gets an OS installed, unless the current partition setup on [WD] would make booting problematic once [WD] is the only drive and [C]'s OS is gone, therefore I'd have to change the partition/formatting config on [WD] before installing XP) - right now I'm simply interested in whether—given (2)'s circumstances—I can install XP to (O:) as it is, or if any installation onto [WD] automatically requires formatting of the entire drive and therefore loss of its data.

Such a data loss would not be permanent, but it'd be a real pain in the neck to try and transfer hundreds and hundreds of gigabytes back onto [WD] from [C] (which has a really slow data-transfer rate) and the external drive, as I can't have this computer turned on for hours at a time, so copying everything from those to back to [WD] would take quite a while. More importantly, though, I dislike having all my files saved in only one place (it's dangerous), as the majority of everything on [N] is now only on the external drive, as [C] with its 144 usable GBs can only fit a tiny portion of my data.

I'm not sure which specifications should be provided in this scenario, but:

[C] is a Seagate ST3160023AS SATA (160GB) and is currently running Windows XP Prof. SP2 2002-version; [WD] is a Western Digital WDC WD2001FASS-00U0B0 SATA (2TB).

The current partition/format info of [C] and [WD] is as seen in this screenshot of Disk Management:
http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/5871/intdrivespartitionsfull.png

Note: [N] refers to N:, P:, and Z:, and (O:) is the 40-GB NTFS primary partition I've left alone - I haven't yet assigned it a drive letter as I was unsure whether the letter would automatically change itself to being "C:" once it is the only internal drive and assigned to be the standard/first boot-method option, i.e. if the letter C: MUST assigned to _some_ drive.

I'd appreciate any assistance that any of you might be able to provide! Thank you for reading this far, if you see this line, lol - this IS a rather lengthy post. :)

Edited by teiresias, 05 November 2010 - 02:20 PM.


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#2 hamluis

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 03:20 PM

Quite simply...the biggest key to how installs can be accomplished..or whether they can be accomplished...revolve around the media/disk that will be used for the attempt...and the license for the install.

<<I now have an XP install disc...>>

Do you have a license to go with that disk? If it's not a valid MS Genuine XP CD...all bets are off, IMO.

If it is a MS Genuine XP CD and it's a MS OEM/Home Builder version...it probably expects to find an empty hard drive and won't install on a hard drive with partitions.

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 08 November 2010 - 02:56 PM.


#3 Baltboy

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 10:54 PM

Installing using any version of XP onto a drive with other partitions will work fine as long as it a full version(OEM versions included) and not an upgrade. A few things would have to be done. First Windows wants to create and format the partition to be installed on so before you attempt to install XP delete the Newly created OS partition. Disconnect your existing C drive and install XP using the now free space on the new drive. Once you have it up and running you may or may not be able to see your existing partitions. If you cannot then you will need to scan for disks and import them. Then just hook up your old C drive (as a slave if it is IDE) and trandfer over anything you want before ditching it.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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#4 teiresias

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 12:49 AM

Thank you for the replies!
----

hamluis, the situation is this: my C drive has XP Prof. SP2 installed on it from a valid MS Genuine XP (Prof) CD, which is OEM. That has been missing/lost for over a year now, though I am pretty sure it is SOMEWHERE in this house; I just haven't been able to find it. Misplacing the disk means I also misplaced the product key typed onto the sticker on that disk's case; however, I recently found out about programs like License Crawler, and found the product key through that. I reinstalled XP on C: from the same disk several years ago, so I think the product key in the registry should be the valid one and not a generic one ... hopefully.

However, the disk I now refer to having in possession is another MS Genuine XP Prof. (OEM) CD with the product key sticker on it, which was loaned to me by a tech-support friend. I was hoping to be able to use this 2nd CD but input my original product key / license, as the disk is the same OS version as my original one. But, now looking into things after reading your posts, I came across an article which says that an OEM installation is "tied to the motherboard it is first installed on" - does this mean that if my friend has already used his disk to install XP on another computer before, I won't be able to use it to install XP on mine? If so, finding my original install disk and using that would fix the problem?

====
These OEM restrictions present another problem, though, which I assume (?) should be handled in a separate thread?: by 2011, I'd planned on custom-building a new computer (though keeping the monitor, mouse, keyboard, sound card, hard drive(s), maybe the CD and DVD drives, as I at least need a new case with much better airflow/cooling as my current Dell Dimension 5100's case is absolutely horrible for airflow (I can't add any fans, and much of the components are blocked so I can't effectively clean dust/etc. out of important parts) - I've had multiple hard drive failures with this computer so far, and both of them have started with warnings about temperature before escalating to more warnings. I'm even always getting temperature warnings for my newer drive, though it hasn't ever shown any errors or problems yet, so I want to move the drive into a better set-up case so it won't be put in conditions potentially conducive to its premature failure down the road as well.

So, if I manage to install an OEM version of XP onto my new drive, when I build the new PC, I'll have to incorporate the same motherboard (and its concomitant parts) if I want to be able to have that computer recognize the operating system already installed on my drive?
===
--------------

Baltboy, thank you for the instructions; I understand them clearly. :) Do you think there would be a compatibility problem if I attempted to use a genuine OEM XP disk to cleanly/full install XP onto my newer drive, but said OEM disk is a different disk (though same version) than the OEM one I had used to originally install the C drive, with the possibility of someone else having already used that CD to install Windows to another computer?

The article I linked to when replying to hamluis stated that the OEM disk would then become linked to that computer's motherboard, which makes me assume I wouldn't be able to use it to install XP on mine, which has a different motherboard. I suppose I could simply attempt the installation and find out in the process, but don't know whether a failed attempt would somehow damage/alter something.
------------
Thank you for any reply you two (and anybody else) make!

Edited by teiresias, 06 November 2010 - 08:57 PM.


#5 hamluis

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 01:05 PM

"OEM" means at least two different things in Computerdom.

Manufacturers such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, eMachines, etc...are routinely called OEMs. The disks from any of their systems...is not the equivalent of a MS Genuine XP CD.

Microsoft also historically has sold "OEM" licenses for Windows. A few years ago when they squelched a number of retailers from selling licenses without CDs...they started calling their "OEM" editions by the monicker of "System Builder". I have several of these MS licenses and CDs.

If you see a MS pronouncement wherein they refer to "OEM", they probably mean HP, Dell, etc. If you see an advertisement referring to "Windows 7 OEM" they really mean the System Builder edition.

Louis

#6 teiresias

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 08:50 PM

Thanks - I hadn't known that. My computer (though I've replaced a few parts later on), and I think the install disc too (the serial number has OEM for digits 6-8), were bought online from Dell, so I assume that as you say, that disc isn't "the equivalent of a MS Genuine XP CD" - I don't remember what it looked like, physically, or had written on it, save that there was a sticker with a product key written on it either on the actual disc or the case-slip.

This newer XP Prof. CD lent to me labels itself OEM, but has a "Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity" sticker on the CD case-slip (it's the same as the OEM COA [Released Fall 2001] graphic on this Microsoft site), and the disk itself has tons of different holograms on it and Microsoft text, so I assume THAT one is genuine.

Which would you suggest trying to use in an installation onto this new drive? :step1: my missing "OEM" disc which apparently isn't "the equivalent of a MS Genuine XP CD", or :step2: this XP CD lent to me, which I assume IS genuine. Or, is there some other method you would recommend (like if neither CD would be a good idea)?

I would appreciate any assistance! :bowdown:

Edited by teiresias, 06 November 2010 - 08:56 PM.


#7 hamluis

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 11:33 AM

The holograms...indicate that it should be a MS Genuine XP CD...that's one of the ways Microsoft protects its licensed rights.

Bottom line...I find that any doubts that I may have regarding problems of O/S installation...are all resolved by actually trying to install same.

The install process takes a total of about 35 minutes to find out the answers to all projections about problems encountered during the install effort.

Louis

#8 Baltboy

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 09:06 PM

The CD itself means nothing except that it must match to the type of product key you are using (i.e. OEM with OEM, Retail with Retail, ect) The key it what becomes associated with the computer so as long as you are using your key and have not rebuilt your entire computer there should be no issues. The only issue you may encounter when using the OEM disk to do a fresh install (I'm assuming you will be using your original product key here) is in activation. If you have changed a large number of internal parts on the PC you will more than likely have to call Microsoft. Legally once you have changed that much stuff they do not have to activate. However I have done the same thing many times for people and have never been rejected by microsoft.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Mark Twain




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