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Dual Boot, How?

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Old June 24th 03, 02:51 PM
Paul \(Erie\)
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Default Dual Boot, How?

I want to create a Dual Boot system so I can chose either the current OS Win
2K server or the one that I want to install WIN XP Pro at startup.

I've got an 80Gb drive with about 62Gb free right now.

How do I create a dual boot and make it ask me at startup?

Will this cause any sort of problems?

Old June 24th 03, 04:36 PM
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You basically have two options, either use the MS boot loader, OR, a
third-party boot manager (e.g., BootIt NG, XOSL).

The MS boot loader is FREE and installs automatically if you install a new
(NT-based, e.g., NT, W2K, WinXP) OS to a hard drive w/ an existing OS. The
ideal situation would be W2K Server running on HD0/Part0 as C:. When you
went to install WinXP, you would leave the W2K Server partition intact and
create a new partition (HD0/Part1 as D for installation of WinXP. The MS
boot loader will automatically install the necessary boot files for both W2K
Server and WinXP on the W2K Server's partition (C and provide a selection
menu once the WinXP installation completes. It's really not all that
complicated, it all just sort of works by magic.

On the downside, the MS boot loader can't hide partitions. This creates
drive letter dependencies (as you can see, WinXP loads as D: under the above
scenario for this very reason, and subsequent OS installations will be
installed as E:, F:, etc.). You can't just copy-n-paste partitions to make
new (cloned) installations either. And all other OS partitions remain
visible to any given OS, which makes them subject to possible corruption.
This may be mitigated to some degree by using the OS itself to hide
partitions (I believe WinXP can do this to some degree), but it varies OS to
OS, and is just one more annoyance to manage. If you ever decide to delete
or move the C: partition (W2K Server), the situation becomes problematic.
The boot files for WinXP are still there, and you just can't move the boot
files to WinXP and make it a new "C:" since WinXP itself has D: drive letter
dependencies throughout its installation.

IOW, the MS boot loader is fine, it will work, but it's really a one-way
solution -- you're pretty much stuck with the current configuration once you
commit to its use. Inevitably, people start wanting to delete an old OS,
reorganize their partitions (including data only partitions or extended
volumes), add another HD, create copies/clones of the OS perhaps one for
each user, etc., and then the MS boot loader shows its warts and problems
begin. This is why you see many people on these NGs with OS "removal"
problems! The MS boot loader has merrily taken them down the yellow-brick
road to mult-boot nirvana only to find it's a one-way street!

The other option is something like BootIt NG ( http://www.bootitng.com ). A
very powerful all-in-one solution -- boot manager, partition manager, and
imaging solution. In this case, you'd merely install BootIt NG, then
install W2K Server as C: and WinXP as C:. This is possible since BootIt NG
can hide other primary partitions whenever another primary partition is
booted. And it works automatically, you merely use the Direct Boot Menu.
In fact, it's so simple, that if you've never actually dealt w/ all the
limitations of the MS boot loader before, you'll wonder what the big deal
is. Since each OS is always booted as C:, cloning OS installations is
trivial, you are only limited by the number of partitions permitted by the
HD geometry (4 primaries, OR, 3 primaries + 1 extended). But even here,
this limitation can be overcome by using BootIt NG's unlimited primaries
option (I use it all the time, work perfectly).

I prefer BootIt NG myself since it's a bargain at ~$35 (considering all you
get) and works great (been using it myself for about 3 years now). You can
also use a freeware solution like XOSL ( http://www.xosl.org ), but this
will require a separate partition manager like Ranish (
http://www.ranish.com/part/ ) or commerical solution like PowerQuest
Partition Magic ( http://www.partitionmagic.com ). XOSL is also not nearly
as well-supported (last update dates back to December 2000), whereas BootIt
NG is updated constantly (last update was June 11, 2003 w/ v1.46) and has
several supporting newsgroups.

There are other commercial boot managers as well, such as System Commander,
Boot Magic (comes w/ Partition Magic last I heard), etc. But as a software
developer of 17 years and someone who's tried ALL of them circa '93 w/ the
introduction of NT, I can assure you noone beats BootIt NG as the best
all-around solution. Each of the others I've tried always had some
limitations I found annoying. For example, System Commander no longer
allows the hiding of extended volumes, and why? Because they got tired of
the tech support calls from people trying to install their OS in an extended
volume and then losing access to it by hiding it. IOW, they crippled the
software for THEIR OWN CONVENIENCE! So, for example, if you decide you want
to create multiple extended volumes, one for each of three different WinXP
users, each w/ their own instance of WinXP, as illustrated he


Well, guess what? Each instance of WinXP is FORCED to see all other volumes
(which defeats the purpose of the exercise!), when in fact, you want to
isolate the volumes from each other for reasons of privacy, security,
data-protection, etc. And since the HD geometry limits you to 4 primaries,
you can't even workaround the situation using primaries.

I don't want to leave the impression I'm picking on SC alone, I'm merely
using SC as an example of how much I've been through the mill on all these
products. They ALL have some similar annoyance(s), some missing feature(s),
etc., that makes each less than desireable. It was only when I ran across
BootIt NG that I discovered what I think is as near-perfect a solution
available on the market today. But almost ANYTHING, even SC or XOSL, is
better than the MS boot loader. The MS boot loader is insidious because it
lulls you into thinking all is well UNTIL you start trying to work outside
its very narrow feature set (e.g., move partitions, delete an old OS, clone
an OS, etc.,), only THEN do you notice the trap.



"Paul (Erie)" wrote in message
I want to create a Dual Boot system so I can chose either the current OS

2K server or the one that I want to install WIN XP Pro at startup.

I've got an 80Gb drive with about 62Gb free right now.

How do I create a dual boot and make it ask me at startup?

Will this cause any sort of problems?


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