How to create a bootable HD in XP?

  wily earthworm 11:11 17 Apr 03

I have recently added an additional HD to my PC and have installed XP onto this disk. I did this whilst running my orignial installation of XP on my old HD. Therefore, I now have a dual bootable system which means that I can run either XP installation on either HD. I only intended to keep this configuration whilst I installed all my apps onto the new HD. Now that I have done this I wish to wipe my original HD (using it for data storage) and boot directly to my new HD. However, at the moment I can only boot to my old HD because only this one contains the dual boot files.

Therefore, can anyone tell me what files I need to install on my new HD to allow me to directly boot to it and load my new XP installation?

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  scotty 13:11 17 Apr 03

Try disconnecting your old disk, reconfiguring the jumpers on the new disk to make it the master and try re-booting.

Alternatively, there may be a setting in BIOS which allows you to define the disks and the order in which they are checked for operating systems.

  Big Elf 13:21 17 Apr 03

If scottys suggestion doesn't work I notice that the boot settings are in the boot.ini file. Unfortunately I don't know whether changing these would work. Hopefully someone with more knowledge on this may be able to help.

  Big Elf 13:24 17 Apr 03

P.S. I wouldn't suggest changing boot.ini without sound advice as you may end up not being able to boot at all.

  wily earthworm 14:09 17 Apr 03

Thanks for the advice. But I think that the answer lies in adding the correct boot.ini files to my new HD. Both my HD's are masters on separate IDE channels. I have tried setting BIOS to boot to my new HD but get an error saying that an OS cannot be found. I can therefore only boot to my old HD then select which installation of XP to load up.

  woodchip 14:25 17 Apr 03

It may be quicker to clear both drives and load XP to new drive

  woodchip 14:27 17 Apr 03

PS or remove old drive and set new as master that may work

  temp003 08:24 18 Apr 03

For the "new" hdd to be bootable, (1) it must have a primary partition; and (2) the primary partition must contain the necessary boot files for XP, namely ntldr, and boot.ini.

If the XP partition on the "new" hdd is already a primary partition, then it should not be too difficult. I think by default XP installation will have created a primary partition on the new hdd in which to install the 2nd copy of XP.

I suggest you do the following:

(1) Make a bare boot floppy to back up the existing boot files for the existing configuration.

(2) Copy the files ntldr and to xp partition on the "new" hdd. Create a new boot.ini in the xp partition on the new hdd, or copy the old one there and edit it.

(3) Set the "new" hdd to primary and the old hdd to slave. Try booting. This may not work. If not, use XP Recovery Console to repair it.

Step (1) is optional. To make the boot floppy, keep your existing disk configuration. Boot into either XP. Insert a floppy disk. Right click drive A and select Format. On the window that appears, just click Start. Do not tick any of the options. You must take this step even on a brand new floppy.

Then go to your C drive, and locate the files C:\ntldr, C:\, and C:\boot.ini

If you can't see them, click Tools, Folder Options, View tab, and (1) tick Show all hidden files and folders (2) untick hide file extensions for all known file types and (3) untick Hide protected operating system files. Click OK.

Copy the three files to the floppy disk. The disk serves 2 purposes (1) as a backup of the boot files and (2) you can boot into either XP (on the existing configuration) with the floppy. If you like, you can test the floppy by restarting the computer with the floppy (provided that in BIOS the floppy drive comes before the hard disks in the boot sequence). You should still get the same boot selection screen.

Step (2). After creating the floppy (and testing it if you choose to do so), remove it. Now copy the same 3 files to your XP partition on the "new" hdd. I assume it's the first partition on that 2nd hard disk.

Since you are about to change the hard disk configuration, you need to make sure that this boot.ini file contains the right path to the right XP installation.

Since you intend to have a single OS only, the boot.ini file should be edited to reflect that.

Double click the boot.ini file on the "new" hdd. It should open in Notepad.

Edit it so that it reads as follows:

[boot loader]



[operating systems]

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

This assumes that your XP partition on the "new" hdd is the first partition. If your version of XP is the Pro version, change Home to Professional. [In fact you can change the words in the quotation marks to anything you like, but do keep the /fastdetect parameter.]

Save the changes and exit Notepad.

Step (3). Now turn off the computer. Set the "new" hdd to Primary. No need to change things in BIOS.

Then start the computer to see if it can boot. If it boots straight into XP (without an OS selection screen), then it's a success.

If it does not boot, or if you still get an OS selection screen, the computer is not booting from the "new" hdd. In that case, the "new" hdd probably has no primary partition. If that happens, post back for the Recovery Console Option.

  wily earthworm 11:04 22 Apr 03

Thanks Temp003 for that in depth advice. I'll give that a go. I'll let you know how I get on.

Thanks again,

  wily earthworm 20:20 17 May 03

Thanks for the detailed advice. I followed your instructions but unfortunately I still cannot boot from my new drive. I'll just explain my configuration again to ensure you understand how I have gone about things.

To begin, let me say that both of my HD's are set as masters on separate EIDI channels. I also have 2 CD-ROM drives that are set as slaves.

After I had installed my new drive, I installed a new XP OS on it whilst I was running my original installation of XP that was installed on my old HD. This resulted in a dual boot system. As my old HD was connected to EIDE channel 1, and my new HD is connected to EIDE channel 0, I soon found out that I could not boot from EIDE channel 1 as, I have since found out, the 3 necessery files that you listed above, were missing.

Could you please tell me where I should go from here? I'm eager to wipe my old drive and use it solely as a data storage drive. I'm already running out of space on my new one!!

  zanwalk 20:38 17 May 03

Your best option here would be to boot from the XP CD with only the new HD connected. When you reach the 'Welcome to Setup' screen select 'R' to enter the Recovery Console, from there use the 'Fixmbr' command to write the MBR (master boot record) to the HD. Afterwards, before starting the computer again, reconnect the old HD and make sure you have the BIOS set to boot from the new HD. Everything should then be OK and you will be able to format the old HD.

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