How to setup and alternately boot dual XP Pro (currently on C dr.) from my D dr.

I have matching equal size (NTFS) drives (ordered that way) from Dell on my XP pro system (C and D).

I've replaced that Dell as my main computer with a touchscreen Windows 8 laptop.

The C dr on that Dell XP Pro. is getting flaky after six years of operation, but
I've hardly used its matching D dr.

I've backed up everything from the D dr. Now I want to boot from it alternately
with the C dr and use the C dr. OS, programs and data.  

Can I copy the OS and all files from the C Dr. on to the D dr. and alternatively
boot from it?

Can I simply reformat my D dr. and copy the whole C dr. image onto it?

If so, how?

Note: The XP will be my off-line, secured, computer used for confidential non-Internet work -- it will never go on the Internet again. The Geek Squad just cleaned all the viruses and malware from that it could find (no charge, because I have full coverage for all six devices at home).  I want to make it my off-line computer, and never again  use it with the Internet again.  So, if I have to download any utilities from the Internet, I can do that to my Windows 8 computer and just bring them over on a USB drive.

Thanks,

WS
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WaterStreetAsked:
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drfrank319Commented:
I haven't heard of anyone copying an operating system as you asked. The closest thing would be using an imaging program like Paragon Backup and Recovery or Acronis True Image Home. For example, you could take an image of C:\ and restore it to a different drive (not all imaging programs allow this, though). Your best bet is almost always to reinstall the OS. You will notice a nice performance increase.

Have you looked inside the case to see how many physical hard drives you have?

1. Scenario 1: You have 1 HDD
Factory setups usually have C:\ and D:\ logical partitions on one physical hard disk. It's like buying a 2-subject notebook--you have 2 separate areas in the same physical device.

If this is the case, D:\ isn't any less 'used' than C:\--they're both on the same electromechanical device (the hard drive).

2. Scenario 2: You have 2 HDDs
If you have a 2nd hard drive that hasn't been used much, you could take an image of C:\ and restore it as C:\ to the 2nd HDD.  However, you will not gain any performance boost, as all the problems/slowness of the original drive will be captured in the image--you would only gain some extra life of the drive itself.

You're best bet is always a clean install of the OS, if you have the recovery disks, or a hidden recovery partition.
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dhsindyRetired considering supplemental income.Commented:
If the disks are identical, check with the manufacturer of the disks for a disk-to-disk copy program.  Basically, you copy c: to d: then change the pin settings to make d: the master and c: a slave or remove it.

I did this on an old system years ago.
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nobusCommented:
Dell PC's have a recovery partition to reset it to factory state
before running this, i suggest to disconnect the C drive (with your OS) to avoid overwriting it, and connect the other drive in it's place

if you post the PC model, i can show you the exact steps.
for most, you have to use the CTRL+ F11 keys during boot; here the example for a Dimension 3000 system :  http://www.ehow.com/how_5992505_restore-3000-back-factory-settings.html
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WaterStreetAuthor Commented:
All,

I'm still considering your advice, but meanwhile, here is what I want to try initially, before my C drive becomes worse:

drfrank319

2. Scenario 2: You have 2 HDDs
If you have a 2nd hard drive that hasn't been used much, you could take an image of C:\ and restore it as C:\ to the 2nd HDD.  However, you will not gain any performance boost, as all the problems/slowness of the original drive will be captured in the image--you would only gain some extra life of the drive itself.

What are the steps for doing that?  I've backed-up all the data and files I care about from the C and D drives.

I also understand the performance aspect you mentioned, and can open a separate question here about clearing-away all the unnecessary junk and programs that I won't need for a fully up-to-date XP Pro that will never again go on the Internet.  It will, however continue to use printers and USB for backup.

Thanks
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WaterStreetAuthor Commented:
Hi again.

Please refer to my last posting.
I'm opening a new thread regarding that secondary question so don't answer it here.
I'll give you guys the link as soon as I do. Thanks.
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WaterStreetAuthor Commented:
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