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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    I would like to install XP on my second hard drive but i do not necessarily want a dual boot setup.
    If a drive crashes i want to be able to boot the other drive right away.

    Can i copy boot.ini to the second drive and install XP?

    How does the OS know which drive to look on first for the boot sequence?
    What other issues will i face?

    don

  2. #2
    4 Star Lounger
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    Here are some approaches to this.

    Use a utility such as Acronis True Image to create an image backup (a clone) to the second drive on a regular basis. Get a USB (or preferably an eSATA) external case for the drive and only plug in when needed. It'll save some heat and power too.

    Get a RAID controller and run RAID1, disk mirroring. Then if one disk fails, the controller will automatically switch to the mirror drive and post a disk failure alert message warning of the disk failure. I don't recommend using a software RAID1 solution as disk writing is slow and affects performance.

    I expect you'll get loads more advice too.

    Terry

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    Don't have to do anything fancy if you don't want to. Simply substitute the connection of the installation already working with the drive you want XP on, install it, then when its up an running, shut it all down and reverse the connection again and hook up the XP drive to any available connection.

    Then in the BIOS just set the Disk boot priority to the one you want to boot to as the first one. That's it, you will still have access to the other drive when the system is running but its just an inert copy of Windows. Whenever you want to boot to the other OS simply alter the Disk boot priority accordingly in the BIOS.

    I sort of combined two computers into one that way when one of them malfunctioned (PS and Mobo) so I have two installations of XP and boot to whichever just by changing the disk boot priority setting.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    I understand your problem well. To answer you first question, simply transferring boot.ini from one drive to another will probably not work. However, you can install XP on a second drive in the same computer with no problem. At one point during the installation process, XP tells you where it's going to install, usually indicating the C; Drive. Simply change the C: to D: or whatever letter drive you want it installed on. After the installation, however, if you find that your computer does not give you a choice of which drive you want to boot, you can download a bootloader, which will give you that choice when you boot the computer. As far as I know, that is the simplest way to work on this problem, which is no different than installing two different Operating Systems on one computer, which many users have done. In this way, they have dual boot options, which you will have even though both options are xp. Just make sure you install on a second physical drive, not a partition on the same C drive as the original XP.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger
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    Here is what I do. I unplug all drives except the one I want to install the OS on. To unplug a drive, I usually just pull the power cable.

    For example, I started with XP and Ubuntu on a single drive. Then I unplugged that drive and plugged in only my second drive - I installed Win7 on it. Then I plugged all drives in. The BIOS setting indicates which drive to boot from - I set it to boot from the XP/Ubuntu drive. I also added my Win7 disk to the Grub boot listing so that I could choose between Win7, XP and Ubuntu. If I loose the XP/Ubunut drive, it is a simple matter of changing the hard drive order in the BIOS.

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Thanks all..i hadn't thought of just disconnecting the current OS drive..

    donc

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
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    The advantage of Acronis (or other disk imaging software) is that you can take scheduled snapshots of your main drive. This allows you to restore to a state closer to current than a clean install that has never been updated.

    With your idea of installing windows on the second drive, you would still need to run windows update, install your current programs and restore your data to be ready to use the machine. With images you can restore your last image (usually would take less then an hour) and you have all your current (as of last image) programs, settings and data.

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Let me ask, is this second copy of the OS on another drive using the same key legal??? I'm just not sure about that. Yes you are using only one at a time, but what would stop you, once both are set up and activated, you could always install the second HD in another PC, which would not be accepted I believe. I have to think this would be against the EULA. Perhaps I am wrong.
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  9. #9
    4 Star Lounger
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    Even if it is a retail version, the legality of installing it on 2 PCs is tenuous at best. Windows licensing is only ever for one PC.

    The problems with all these 'simple' solutions is that the idle secondary disk is not kept up to date. So in the event of a failure, you have to run Windows Update, update your AV and antimalware and install any new applications or updates to get back to the same state as the primary disk when it failed. So you may as well do a nice fresh install from scratch.

    So as I first suggested, either get hardware RAID1 or use Acronis to regularly create images to an external drive.

    Terry

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    What bertie91 said. This will give you a dual boot, and you'll be able to select a drive at boot.
    There's no problem with legality as it's the same OS on the same computer and only one copy is being used.
    The update problem will exist, but that seems every minor to me.

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    This would put the original OS on 2 seperate physical drives, not 2 seperate partitions. I realize that in a system with 2 seperate licensed copies of an OS on 2 seperate physical drives, this is a dual boot system. Note I said 2 seperate licensed copies of an OS.

    As the original post states, "I would like to install XP on my second hard drive but i do not necessarily want a dual boot setup.
    If a drive crashes i want to be able to boot the other drive right away."

    This in effect would install one licensed copy of an OS on 2 seperate physical HD's. Either one of these HD's could then be moved to a different PC. This would then be illegal. The only way to follow the intent of the EULA is to keep the spare HD blank, but available to either load the original OS or an image of the original OS onto, not have them both loaded at the same time. Once the OS is loaded onto the second drive the procedure to activate it is to contact MS at that time to allow the original key to be used. This operation is not exceedingly time consuming and would then be perfectly within the intent of the EULA.

    I guess I have to close by saying I do not really think this is legal and the writer should be leery of doing this.
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  12. #12
    New Lounger
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    new wrinkle..slipstream a boot DVD

    i have only one pc so i'm not worried about the legal issues stated above..
    i never did implement the suggestions above..

    but now with slipstreaming why can't i create a slipstreamed boot DVD and simply copy it to the second drive?

    don

  13. #13
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    Usually when someone refers to slipstreamed media they are referring to installation media. If fail to see what purpose copying it to a second HD do beyond what a CD/DVD will do.

    Joe

  14. #14
    Silver Lounger
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    Ya, and a simpler and more effective approach is to clone the drive to another similar drive and store that in a cool dry place for any future need. In the same machine it might be destroyed at the same time by anything physical that happens to the main drive. Occasionally pull it out and hook it up via SATA to USB cable and update the clone so its current if everything is working good.

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