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Dual Boot two different XP's?

Posted on 2008-06-16
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
Hi, okay basically I've gone thru the whole dual boot process before however not in this situation and I'm curious how to go about it. I already have XP installed on my current system however I have another copy I'd like to install as well, it's a real slim version that quickly loads and I want to run a few tests. I also however don't wish to screw up my current XP install. How should I go about dual booting two copies of XP? I was thinking make another partition and set it up on there but both copies would look to C for certain boot info so I'm not sure if that would even work..

ideas?
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Question by:narcisis
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by:Frosty555
ID: 21797195
It's not too complex so long as you have pre-vista OSes. Install windows XP to the secondary partition, and then add an entry into the boot.ini of windows in the primary partition, that points to the new installation. E.g.

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Slip Boot" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

When you boot, the official boot loader will be on C:, but when you select the second boot item, it will boot the second windows up. When the second windows boots, it will should use it's own hard drive as C:.
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by:Frosty555
ID: 21797201
As always, make backups of boot.ini and have a recovery disk handy just in case. Modifying boot.ini in a bad was without a backup is one way to mess up your system, so keep a backup good copy handy. I usually just copy boot.ini to boot.ini.bak.
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garycase earned 168 total points
ID: 21797598
It's FAR better if you want a multi-boot system to use a 3rd party boot manager that allows better control of the partitions;  lets you isolate all of the OS's from each other; etc.   I use Boot-It NG for this (and most of my other) systems ... it's exceptionally reliable;  allows configurations you couldn't begin to achieve without it; and is a rock-solid little utility.   It's also an excellent partition manager & image/restore tool.   http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/index.htm

Note that every OS is completely isolated ... all of them "think" they're on the first partition (and thus install to C:) ... it's trivial to image the individual OS's and restore them at will (takes less than 10 min) ... etc.   All of my systems these days are multi-boot; and I wouldn't dream of using anything besides Boot-It to manage them.

On this system, I can boot XP Home, XP Pro, XP Pro x64, XP MCE, Vista Ultimate, Vista Ultimate x64, Ubuntu, Mandriva, and Windows 2000 :-)   The menu is currently a bit different than it was when I last took a snapshot ... but here's the menu from a couple months ago (before I added Win 2K and XP x64):   [At the time I had an additional copy of XP installed that I was doing some testing with ... similar to what you want to do]


MyBootMenu.jpg
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Assisted Solution

by:houssam_ballout
houssam_ballout earned 166 total points
ID: 21801732
Why you don't install VMWare since they are both XP?
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Assisted Solution

by:Frosty555
Frosty555 earned 166 total points
ID: 21805948
Microsoft's competitor to VMWare is Microsoft Virtual PC... and it actually works pretty darn good. In any case, though, OP wants to have two different bootable partitions, not a virtual pc.

I second BootIT NG as a boot manager, if you are looking to do this the proper way. Terabyte Unlimited makes good products. Beats the pants off of Partition Magic's bootloader "Boot Magic".
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