Two HDDs

  Toolman 21:11 04 Mar 2004

I replaced my 40Gb with an 80 Gb HDD. Both have XP HE. I now have put the 40 Gb back in as a slave. I want to be able to choose which drive to boot from when I turn on, ie, C or D drive. I don't want a caddy, I don't want to enter BIOS every time. I want to be able to switch between the two. Is there a snazzy utillity to do this or am I expecting too much?
Can anyone help me please?

  Diodorus Siculus 21:17 04 Mar 2004

bootmagic might do it for you, but you have gone about it the wrong way.

  Diodorus Siculus 21:19 04 Mar 2004

Sorry, I meant to move down a line, not post!

Anyway, I was going to say that if you boot with the XP CD in the drive, you should be able to reinstall XP onto the 40GB drive and it will then give you a choice.

  temp003 02:43 05 Mar 2004

Both copies of XP, when they were on their own, were the C drive. If you don't want drive letter changes (so that shortcuts to programs and registry references don't need to be changed), you'll need to use third party software such as bootmagic suggested by Diodorus, which comes with Partition Magic.

Note that bootmagic has to be installed on a FAT partition. If you don't have unpartitioned space left, you'll need to use PM to create a small
FAT partition and install BM there.

With this kind of dual boot, when you're in one OS, it can't see the other partition where the other OS is installed. But either copy, when loaded, will regard its own partition as C.

  temp003 02:57 05 Mar 2004

You can also use XP's native dual boot capability. The way to do it is to set BIOS to boot from the master (as usual), and edit the C:\boot.ini file on the master hdd to add a reference to the copy of XP on the slave drive, and you'll get a dual boot menu when you start the computer.

The only snag is the slave drive will have a drive letter other than C, maybe D or another letter. You'll need to manually change the desktop and Start menu shortcut properties, from C to the new drive letter, and change references in the registry from C to the new drive letter. Not difficult, and no real risks involved, but just tedious.

With this kind of dual boot, either copy of XP can see, read and write to the other partition. You can also back up the entire copy of XP while running the other copy of XP (without having to go into DOS), which is very quick. You can get access to system files on one copy of XP while running the other copy (e.g. deleting stubborn files which refuse to be deleted while Windows is running).

It's also free. If you want to try this route, post back.

  Diodorus Siculus 07:40 05 Mar 2004

Toolman - please post any queries you have in this thread, not via email.

When I said you went about it the wrong way, I meant that you could have installed the new hdd, and then installed Windows onto it.

Then copy your data there and install any programs you want.

Then boot with Windows disk and format the old disk, and then install Windows onto it. That way you will get an option at startup.

What temp003 has said above should clarify the matter for you.

  temp003 08:06 05 Mar 2004

Toolman has also emailed me to say he's interested in the "free" bit. Perfectly undertandable, but you do realise that the "tedious" bit is really very tedious.

Also, what Diodorus said is correct. In fact, you can still do it by doing a format and reinstall of XP on the 40GB disk (but have to make sure that in BIOS, the first hdd to boot from is the 80GB master and not the 40GB disk, otherwise, you won't have a dual boot).

  temp003 08:21 05 Mar 2004

The free bit. First, boot into the XP copy on the master 80GB disk. Double check that C partition is the 80GB disk.

Back up your boot files. In My Computer, click Tools, Folder Options, View tab. (1) Tick "Show hidden files and folders" (2) Untick "Hide file extensions for known file types" (3) Untick "Hide protected operating system files, then say yes (4) Click OK.

Insert floppy. Right click Drive A and select Format. Click Start and do not tick any boxes. Must take this step even if you use a brand new floppy. This step will make your floppy XP-bootable.

After formatting floppy, go to C drive and copy 3 files from C to floppy: ntldr,, boot.ini. Remove floppy.

Now edit c:\boot.ini. Double click c:\boot.ini which opens in Notepad. Add the following new line to the very end of the text.

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="XP on Slave" /fastdetect

The words in quotation marks can be anything you like to distinguish the 2 copies of XP.

After adding the line, click File, Save. Exit Notepad. Restart computer.

You should then get a dual boot menu. Use down arrow on keyboard to select XP on Slave and press Enter. Fingers X'ed, it should load XP.

That's the easy bit, if it works. The tedious bit is in the next post.

  temp003 09:30 05 Mar 2004

After you load the XP on Slave, go into My Computer and check what the drive letter for the 40GB XP partition is. I'll call the new drive letter X for whatever it is.

To make all the old shortcuts work, you need to change all "C:\" references to "X:\". [There might be some programs which can do this for you.]

First change Folder Options to show hidden files, protected OS files, and file extensions as above.

Then go through all the following folders, and every subfolder within them, right click every shortcut, select Properties, Shortcut tab, look at the target box, and if there is a reference to C:\... , change C to X, and click OK.

If the target refers to %systemroot% or words in % %, leave it alone, and click cancel.

If there is no shortcut tab in Properties, or no target box, or target box is greyed out, you can leave it alone.

The folders are:

X:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu

X:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Start Menu

X:\Documents and Settings\[any account name]\Start Menu

X:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop

X:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Desktop

X:\Documents and Settings\[any account name]\Desktop

X:\Documents and Settings\[any account name]\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

This takes care of all the shortcuts on the Start Menus and Quick launch bars.

One more icon - the My Documents system icon at the top left of your desktop. Right click, Properties, Target tab. See if it refers to C:\Documents and Settings .... If it does, change C to X and click OK. Then you will get asked whether you want to move the documents to the new folder, remember to say NO.

If there is another account, log on to that account and change the desktop My Documents icon target as before, and say NO to moving documents.

  temp003 09:54 05 Mar 2004

Registry. Click Start, Run, type regedit and press Enter.

I don't know whether you've been in regedit before. If you haven't, you need to be careful, but it's not as daunting as it appears.

Back up the entire registry first. On the left, single click My Computer to highlight it, then at top left, click Registry and select Export registry file, and save it as SlaveComputer.reg at a location you can remember (preferably still on the Slave 40GB drive). If anything goes wrong with your editing, just right click the .reg file and select Merge to restore it.

After backing up, in regedit, with My Computer still highlighted, click Edit, Find. In the box, type C:\ and click Find Next.

Do the following slowly, don't rush.

The item containing a reference to C:\ will be highlighted for you. If the highlighted part is on the right hand pane, double click the highlighted item and change C to X, and click OK.

Then press F3 on the keyboard to find the next item. Repeat ad nauseam.

If you come across any highlighted item on the left hand pane (under MountPoints), don't change it. Leave it and just press F3 to find the next one.

After making all the changes, exit regedit.

Test the OS, and the main programs. Give it some time, and if things seem OK, delete the SlaveComputer.reg file.

Although it sounds like a long process, it is still quicker than formatting, reinstalling XP, Windows updates and all programs. It's just very boring, but you don't have to do it all in one go.

But if you should decide not to take this route, that would be quite understandable.

  Toolman 17:54 05 Mar 2004

Thanks to Diodorus Siculus and temp003. You've both been really great. I think I'll take temp003's route and do it this weekend and not when I'm tired.
All the best to both of you.

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