Dual boot

  manrow 20:45 17 Apr 08
Locked

My desktop computer has 3 hard drives in it, of which two are retained solely for the storage information I want from them, as they previously ran on W98 and W2000. The other, presently my c: drive and boot drive now needs formatting and starting again. But as a coward I wish to format one of the other drives and load XP again, retaining my present c:drive in case I need drivers or whatever else I have forgotten to save before formatting.

To facilitate that is it a good idea to set up dual booting so that if my new boot drive fails to work I can swop back to the old boot drive? If so how do I do this? Or alternatively is ghosting my present disk onto one of my spares a better answer?

  GaT7 21:26 17 Apr 08

Yes, not a problem to install XP on the other drive too, just in case the main one fails/won't boot - exactly what I've done.

I feel this is safer than drive-imaging, as restoring the image is less guaranteed than having a drive with a fresh OS already installed & ready to go. There's a free boot manager like this click here you could use too.

If the drives containing the OS are of different types, i.e. IDE & SATA, you don't even have to use a boot manager. Just set your main drive to boot first in the BIOS - this is the setup I have. G

  manrow 08:25 09 May 08

Adding to this question:

Can I organise startup so that the computer asks which OS on which disk I want to use?

  GaT7 15:35 09 May 08

Yes, the boot manager I suggested should do it (not tried it myself btw).

Also use its built-in timer* if required - this will give you a few seconds (dependent on how much you set it to) to choose which drive/OS, or carry on booting to the default one.

I also have Linux booting on another drive & use its Grub boot-up manager with the timer set to 3
sec, with XP as the default boot-up OS. G

*Of course, not setting the timer will stop the bootup process & ask you each & every time which drive/OS to boot to. This could get annoying if you use one drive/OS much more than the other.

  Quiet Life 17:33 09 May 08

click here This is a good free program that works well. You could clone your old C to one of the other drives boot to the cloned drive to see it works OK and then format and reload Windows on what was your C drive.
This program saves a lot of work if your C drive goes wrong as you can then clone the cloned drive back to C.

  manrow 09:54 24 May 08

Just a little cautious here. Someone mentioned that GAG positions itself on the front of the disk. Does this mean I need to load it first onto an empty disk or will it do this anyway?

  GaT7 17:44 24 May 08

Before doing anything, it's best to backup your Windows hard drive:

? Backup personal files, emails, music, photos, etc
? If possible, take an disk image of the main hard disk partition for quick restoration. Learn how to restore your PC from the image if the PC doesn't boot

--------------------------------------------

"Does this mean I need to load it first onto an empty disk or will it do this anyway?" - it will do it, but needs to be burned to CD first & loaded on a hard drive that contains an OS to begin with. Step by step procedure follows....

Download & unzip GAG, then use Nero or other disk-writing software to burn the file 'cdrom' or cdrom.iso (size of 3.23Mb) as an IMAGE file to a blank CD. Do NOT burn as Data or any other type.

Next, leave newly-written CD in drive, bootup & go into your BIOS & set your PC to boot from CD-rom first, then hard drive.

Finally, let the PC boot from the CD & follow the rest of the procedure from the 'instructions' file* (will open with IE) under 'BOOTING GAG' (at the bottom).

Configuring comes next, & instructions (with screenshots) are viewable by clicking on the 'Configuring GAG' link at the bottom of the 'instructions' file. G

* The 'instructions' file will be located in X:\gag_4.9\gag_4.9\docs\, where X stands for the drive/path where you unzipped the files to

  GaT7 17:46 24 May 08

Before doing anything, it's best to backup your Windows hard drive:

• Backup personal files, emails, music, photos, etc
• If possible, take an disk image of the main hard disk partition for quick restoration. Learn how to restore your PC from the image if the PC doesn't boot

  manrow 09:06 26 May 08

Crossbow7

Your step by step procedures above are most informative.

But does it mean that if I follow the advice above that I can prove my computer will start using the copied files BEFORE I format and reload XP into the original 'c' drive?

  GaT7 13:09 26 May 08

I think for GAG to work (or even test it out), you need at least one working OS or Windows installation to begin with - as I've mentioned before: "& loaded on a hard drive that contains an OS to begin with." G

  manrow 09:17 27 May 08

I am beginning to wonder whether I am making this too complicated!

I have XP loaded on my c drive which has been running for nearly 4 years and hence has picked up a lot of useless clutter from software I have tried and possibly rejected, so removed but it is now slow in operation.

Since I have installed spare hard drives would it not make sense to leave the c drive alone, but install a fresh XP on another hard drive, followed up by the dual boot software referred to above? This would result in the default being a computer starting up on old XP installation in case I foul anything up on the new installation.

Opinions welcomed please!

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