Duel boot mode

Posted on 2004-10-02
Last Modified: 2010-04-10
I have two hard drives and one drive has Windows XP Pro and the second drive has Windows 2003 server standard. Is thier a way that I can have both operating systems running at the same time? I would like to run the server services on the 2003 drive and be able to boot back and forth between both operating systems. If this can be done with software, is thier any freeware?
Question by:endeakin

Expert Comment

ID: 12206460
Dear Endeakin,

In your setup, it is possible to run both operating systems seperately, however, unfortunately, it is impossible to run both at the same time.

If for some reason, like testing, learning etc. you would like to both (or more) operating systems running at the same time, you need a software called a Virtual Machine or Virtual PC, typically, this software is installed on Windows XP or similar and "emulates" a second (3rd, 4th) PC in its own window where you can simply install another (or the same) operating system seperately. Even you may go for operating systems like Linux, OS/2 since the software simulates the "PC hardware" rather than an OS.

Please keep in mind that the Memory (RAM) of you system is the limiting factor in such a setup. You should be willing to spare 100-120Mb for client OS like Windows XP and 200-250Mb for Servers (especially more services like Exchange/Sql installed).

Well, unfortunately, both of the existing solutions are paid ones;

1. VMware Workstation, available at is available for $189, and you may probably have a discount if you are in an academic environment or students etc.

2. Second option is Microsoft Virtual PC (a product MS acquired a few months ago). I am not sure it is available for sale but it is available for Microsoft Trainers and developers (so also available for MSDN subscribers), worth to check with your local Microsoft Office.

Both software perform almost the same tast so you may go for the cheaper solution.

Hope this helps,
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12207217
Don't know about VMWare but virtual PC offers an option to boot an existing hard drive partition (not requiring an image file for a hard disk).  This should allow you to boot the 2003 OS - but it would likely find MUCH different hardware.  Again, this emulates a PC by providing "generic" and "common" hardware to the OS it's booting.  You may have an nVidia graphics card, but the virtual PC will see it as an S3 Trio 64, for example.  This may present a problem with 2003 as 2003, like XP, may be sort of "hardware keyed" to your system.
LVL 37

Accepted Solution

bbao earned 250 total points
ID: 12209721
>> Is thier a way that I can have both operating systems running at the same time?
> unfortunately, it is impossible to run both at the same time.

the only way to run both OSs at the same time is to use virtual machine software such as VMware or Virtual PC.

>> I would like to run the server services on the 2003 drive and be able to boot back and forth between both operating systems.

but i think you might just mean Dual Boot, that means you can boot both OSs seperately. if the two hard drives were already installed on the machine, and then you installed the two OSs, the default setting would enable Dual Boot. if the two hard drives with OSs installed were on different machines, and you moved them into the same box, then you need to change the default BOOT.INI to enable Dual Boot.

the typical BOOT.INI looks like the following:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

just append the following line to the file:

multi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003, Standard" /fastdetect

NOTE: the partition(n) might need to change according to your hardware configuration.

hope it helps,

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