Clone/Image HDD Dual booting

Posted on 2007-11-16
Last Modified: 2013-12-02

I have a experiment that i need some help with.

I have a HP XP machine. I bought another HDD for it, it is connected to the PC and not formatted or anything as of yet.

What i would like to do is create a clone/image of the current XP installation on the other HDD and apply it to the new HDD.

Then i want to be able to dual boot into which ever HDD i want.

After that i want to upgrade one HDD to vista and have the option to dual boot into either vista or XP.

This is for testing at my job.

I was wondering what the difference between Image and cloning is?

Would an Image require me to install XP on the new hdd first before installing the image or could it be blank as i have it now?

Thanks so much guys
Question by:Crucio666
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Accepted Solution

rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 20299306
Cloning is you copy disk 1 to disk 2 (or partition 1 to another partition), and you then have 2 identical disks or partitions. Imaging means you are copying the contents of a partition into an image file, which you can later use to restore to another disk or partition. This is more like a backup. In order to make an image you need to have a working file system to store that file on, so you need make a partition on the 2nd disk and format it, before you can save the image there. When cloning you the destination can be unpartitioned or formatted.

A very good utility for cloning, partitioning and imaging is bootit-ng.

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Assisted Solution

Expert4XP earned 250 total points
ID: 20299310
Vista provides the capabilities to do just what you want.  When you start the install process of Vista, have it choose to install on the new HDD while still maintaing your xp system.  There are many detailed step by step articles on how to do this:

Regarding the difference between an image and a clone, the term clone is often used when making an EXACT image of one hard drive onto another, often larger, hard drive.  It is usually a one-time operation used to replace a failing drive with a new drive.

An image is a backup-file sector image of your hard drive.  It is usually stored on an external usb2 hard drive in a backup folder.  It is a compressed file.  If your hard drive fails, you can replace the drive, and then boot from a restore cd, and restore the most recent backup onto the new hard drive.  The advantage of drive image(s) is that you can take a new image each week and hold many versions for backup.

Symantec Ghost 12 ( and Acronis True Image 11 ( are two very popular consumer backup image products. Both are good.

Author Comment

ID: 20300384
Installing it on a new HDD also upgrades the applications i have installed on XP or does it just install VISTA as the bare operating system?
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Expert Comment

ID: 20300438
It just installs Vista on the other partition (hard drive in your case).

And sets up a dual boot environment so you can choose each time you boot to boot which ever operating system you want.
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Author Comment

ID: 20319357
So i installed it on the other HDD. It is set up for dual boot but i have a problem.

The HDD that Vista is on is labeled drive "E" instead of C.

The other HDD with windows XP is the "C" drive.

Will i run into problems down the road with Vista being on a E drive and not a C drive?

I can still see the C drive when i boot into windows XP from vista and i could see the E drive when i boot into windows vista from XP.

Please advise. Thanks
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Expert Comment

ID: 20319655
Possibly.  The dual boot process will always start on the c: drive, so if in the future you want to get rid of XP, you will have to do some boot-repair (which Vista takes care of with the dvd).

You can't have two c: hard drives on one computer.  A dual-boot-manager can allow you to have two c: partitions on a single hard drive.  It "hides" one of the c: partitions and "unhides" the other one at startup time, so you can choose which operating system (xp vs. vista) to start.  In that case what you have is closer to a standard c: partition for both vista and xp.

Referring back to your original post:
  I have a experiment that i need some help with.
  I have a HP XP machine. I bought another HDD for it, it is connected to the PC and not formatted or anything as of yet.
  What i would like to do is create a clone/image of the current XP installation on the other HDD and apply it to the new HDD.
  Then i want to be able to dual boot into which ever HDD i want.

Without a dual-boot-manager, the only way you can do that (and retain c: for both vista and xp) is to connect ONLY one hard drive at a time to your computer--not a very good solution.

I don't know of a boot manager that will somehow change your second hard drive to c: but maybe someone else does.  

Summary:  Programs in Vista should install correctly to e:\Program Files\ etc.  Everything will work fine, but down the road when you want to get rid of the first hard drive, you will have some reconfiguring to do, and you can't later change everything back to c:

You should read info on dual boot managers.  What you have done will work, but may not be what you want later on, as you indicated.

If you give up your requirement that Vista be on a separate HARD DRIVE, you can have a more normal configuration.  
Install the boot manager first on your c: drive.  Create a second primary c: partition that same hard drive (will need a partition manager program, often included with boot manager).  Hide your xp c: drive, switch to second one and install vista on the c: partition.

Kind of complicated and you need to be sure you have good verified image backups before undertaking this.  May want to consult with a PC specialist at a PC Store for help, if you need it.

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Expert Comment

ID: 20319714
No, if Vista completely installed to E:\, and has nothing except the bootloader on "C:\", then there's no problem. Just remember that when you install new software to tell it to go to E:\Program Files.

Expert Comment

ID: 20943516
Forced accept.

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