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Windows 7: Dual-booting on separate hard drive w/out integrated loader


14 Jun 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Dual-booting on separate hard drive w/out integrated loader

Essentially, I'm trying the unplug OS drive method. However, I'm running into some problems. I have an existing Windows 7 installation and want to install Windows XP as a completely discrete installation without combining the bootloaders (and just accessing via bios). The problem is that when I plug my OS drive back in, it skips the XP installation and immediately boots into Windows 7. So, I tried a bootloader and found that somehow the XP installation was missing ntldr, etc. I don't understand how this is possible seeing as how it was installed on its own, separate disk. It happens each time I try it. Is it possible that XP is writing the boot files on another internal drive (I have 4)? Would I need to unplug the other drives (I think the disk number for the XP drive is #2, whereas Windows 7 is the 0 drive)?

Thanks in advance


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Jun 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

You should have stuck with the plan and unplugged ALL other HD's during install of each OS. You were on the right track.

Post back a screenshot of your maximized Disk Mgmt drive map and listings using the Snipping Tool in Start Menu. We can see if XP boot files are on another partition as signified by the System Active flags. There should be these flags on both Windows 7 (or it's 100mb System Reserved partition) and XP partitions.

Then set preferred OS HD to boot first in BIOS setup, boot the other using HP's ESC one- time BIOS Boot Menu key at boot.

What "loader" did you install to manage the Dual Boot? If needed because BIOs boot method is not preferred I would only use EasyBCD installed to Windows 7, then add XP from it's Add OS Entry tab. If necessary EasyBCD can also repair/re-create XP boot files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Yeah, hindsight is often inconvenient. I should stop second-guessing myself sometimes, too.

I'm posting from a tablet right now, so I can't get a screenshot. I can tell you, however that my disk 1 was marked as active in addition to disk 0 (Windows 7) and disk 2 (XP)--and it's a data drive only. I'm assuming XP went ahead and decided to install it on that drive since it is ahead in the boot sequence. Can I just mark it inactive in Windows 7 disk management and be done with it or do I need to do more?

I was just using the built-in Windows boot loader, no 3rd party tools and added entries manually. At first, I suppose I was trying to avoid installing anything extra above and beyond what I already have, but it seems like it may make life easier if I do. I assume this is the "community" edition, right? Also, out of curiosity, why is the BIOS method not preferred?

FWIW, I'm using this for some legacy games only, otherwise I'd use a VM and be done with it.

Thanks for the help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


14 Jun 2012   #4
Microsoft MVP

 

Who said the BIOS method is not preferred? We've probably recommended it ten thousand times here.

But it must be done competently, and we don't advise to "just mark it Inactive" on a hunch without seeing the Disk mgmt screenshot. This kind of sloppy work leads to even worse disaster.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2012   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
I can tell you, however that my disk 1 was marked as active in addition to disk 0 (Windows 7) and disk 2 (XP)--and it's a data drive only
This is not clear. What does "it's a data drive only" mean.

If it is what I understand, then your XP bootmgr is on Disk1. Set the BIOS to boot from Disk1 and see what happens.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Who said the BIOS method is not preferred? We've probably recommended it ten thousand times here.

But it must be done competently, and we don't advise to "just mark it Inactive" on a hunch without seeing the Disk mgmt screenshot. This kind of sloppy work leads to even worse disaster.
No disaster. Everything of any importance is backed up offsite and locally, as I have planned appropriately just in case I did botch it as badly as I'm thinking.

As far as the BIOS not preferred, I inferred that from your statement above. If that wasn't what you meant, it may have been worded a bit awkwardly:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
If needed because BIOs boot method is not preferred I would only use EasyBCD...

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Quote:
I can tell you, however that my disk 1 was marked as active in addition to disk 0 (Windows 7) and disk 2 (XP)--and it's a data drive only
This is not clear. What does "it's a data drive only" mean.

If it is what I understand, then your XP bootmgr is on Disk1. Set the BIOS to boot from Disk1 and see what happens.
What I meant by "data-only" was simply storage--music, videos, documents, the like--all of which are backed up elsewhere. No OS was/is installed on that drive, at least not intentionally. It seems like the bootloader was, however, because I did not disconnect that drive in addition to the primary OS drive (disk 0).

Screencap:


Disk I is empty because I formatted it yesterday. It was the one that used to have XP installed and is the one I still want it installed on. I had used a backup yesterday to restore the MBR, system and C, so there is nothing left of the actual dual boot setup. I was hoping to try again and do it correctly, which is why I posted here. Also, from the screencap, no other disks other than C and I (Windows 7 and XP) are active. My apologies for that inaccuracy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

The only boot files on your system are the Windows 7 boot files on Disk0 which looks correct.

Its not possible to even detect where XP is installed since it has no System flag - is it I partition which is marked Active as only an OS partition should be? If not then Mark Partition I Inactive.

If so, unplug all other HD's and try to run an XP Repair Install or install XP again as it didn't write it's boot files to any partition that I can see, as also evidenced by the fact that it won't boot. To prepare best for installing XP I'd delete the partition to create and full format with XP CD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2012   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Okay, I'll delete the partition and format it with the XP disc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2012   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Okay, it worked fine after completely disconnecting all other drives. In Windows 7, I find some Bootmgr files on a non-boot drive, I guess from the XP installation (or possibly when my older ssd failed halfway through a Windows 7 install). I deleted those and confirmed everything booted fine afterwards. I was able to boot perfectly from the F8 menu to either operating system multiple times, so everything seems to be okay. This method will make imaging and backups much, much easier as well.

Thanks again for the help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Dual-booting on separate hard drive w/out integrated loader




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