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  1. #1
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    Can I rearrange WinXP / Win7 dual boot configuration?

    First of all, I'm running a home-built system, two physical hard drives (250gig each) plus assorted optical drives and external eSata drives for archives.

    The first HD (Disk 0) was my original system drive with WinXP Pro 32-bit (OEM). The second (Disk 1) was my data drive and all my "stuff" is on it, including My Documents.

    About 18 months ago, I decided to go the Dual Boot route. I shrunk down the XP partition to half it size and installed Win7 Pro 32-bit (OEM) in the now empty space at the end of Drive 0. Based on something I read, I used VistaBootPro (installed in Win7) to manage my boot up. Most of the time I was booting into XP from the menu choices on the BIOS boot screen. As the death date for XP approached, I began booting directly to Win7. All has been working well and I've kept both systems up to date with latest patches.

    Now, I'd like to pull Win7 off of that second partition (Drive 0) and move it to its own new hard drive. I have Acronis 2011 Backup and I could make an image of Win7 partition. But, when I try to make the image, Acronis tells me that I'll lose by boot information and wants to include the XP partition in the image.

    I'm assuming this is because the system is actually booting based on the MBR in the XP partition and "jumping" to the Win7 partition. VistaBootPro apparently modifies the MBR to make this happen.

    Can I do what I want to end up with? Three drives, Drive 0 with WinXP, Drive 1 with Win7 and Drive 2 as my data drive? I really want to move the Win7 installation, not do a fresh install from scratch.

    This is my first post on the Forum (I think), so apologies if I haven't included information that might be useful to solve this for me. I'll happily reply with more info if needed.

    Thanks in advance!!

    Ron H
    Last edited by rjhodges; 2014-05-23 at 19:31. Reason: Additional info

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    Star Lounger leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjhodges View Post
    The first HD (Disk 0) was my original system drive with WinXP Pro 32-bit (OEM).
    Always keep that drive first and/or do not do anything else that would change that drive letter as seen by BIOS, likely "C". XP can be installed anywhere, but then its drive letter must always remain the same since the drive letter as seen by BIOS and the one in XP's registry must match.

    Now, I'd like to pull Win7 off of that second partition (Drive 0) and move it to its own new hard drive.
    You can have (and I believe you can move) Win7 anywhere you wish and it will always still call its own partition "C" and show the XP partition with no drive letter while running (unless you assign one). But to move Win7 successfully, you might have to clone the partition rather than using an image and then change its new partition's UUID to the UUID of the previous location since Win7 goes by that rather than by "C"...and then delete the original partition and re-make it so it will have a new UUID and not confuse Win7's location. To see Win7's UUID, you can use EasyBCD or GParted in something like Puppy Linux running from a CD.

    Win7's boot loader should have picked up XP and could have been handling your booting just fine all along, and that is what I would use now. To do that, use Win7's startup repair with things as they are now, then move your Win7 and get the UUID correct and delete its original partition and the boot loader should get to the new location just fine.

    note: Xxclone might clone that Win7 partition and take care of the UUID issue all in one shot, and I would test for that by doing the clone and then temporarily disconnecting your first drive and using Win7's startup repair to get the new Win7 drive booting and running before deleting the original Win7 partition. Then after that, you could actually boot Win7 from either drive, but the XP drive will still always have to be first in order for XP to run.
    Last edited by leejosepho; 2014-05-23 at 21:08.

  3. #3
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    Based on the message from Acronis, it sounds like you got suckered into setting up your dualboot using Microsoft's sloppy, pseudo-multiboot method. (With a true multiboot, each OS would have been setup as a standalone partition and you could simply clone each partition independently from the other.)

    Trying to cleanup Microsoft's mess can get a bit convoluted, but I suggest trying the following low-risk approach first.

    Step 1: Download Macrium Reflect Free. Install it and use it to create a "Rescue CD". (I'm recommending Macrium because it's got a useful function you'll use in Step 5 that most other programs don't have.)

    Step 2: Make a partition image of only the Win7 partition. You've got the luxury of a separate data disk, so for speed I'd just store the image somewhere on that disk.

    Step 3: Remove your current Disk0 (XP+Win7) and replace it with your new Disk0 (the one you want to put Win7 on). Keep your data disk installed as Disk1.

    Step 4: Boot from a Rescue CD (depending on which utility you used in Step 2) and restore the Win7 partition from the image you stored on the data disk.

    Step 5: Boot from the Macrium Rescue CD. Find and execute the menu function named "Fix boot problems".


    The advantage of this procedure is your original Disk0 is still intact and unaltered, so if this doesn't work you can simply swap it back in with no harm done.

    Acronis may be able to handle Steps 2 and 4, but if not the Macrium CD can. I've never found Acronis to be reliable enough for me to personally recommend, but if you're more comfortable with it I'd go ahead and give it a shot at Steps 2 and 4.

    In Step 5, Macrium's "Fix boot problems" feature can scan and fix the MBR on the new disk, fix the partition boot record, recopy the boot files (which will undoubtedly be missing because they were previously on the XP partition), and rebuild a new BCD on the new disk.

    Caveat: I'm not sure if you need to first create a partition on the new disk for Macrium to see and restore into, but I always do that as a matter of routine. You should be able to use any partition manager of your choice to create a blank partition and set it active in the new disk's partition table.

    If this works, it's the easiest way to get your existing Win7 moved over to the new disk. If it doesn't work, swap the original Disk0 back in and see if anyone else has any suggestions.

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    New Lounger
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    Thanks to both of you for your responses. I like the approach suggested by "dg1261" since his explanation used the term "low-risk approach"! And, it sounds logical and simple to me. At age 71, I've seen my share of PC disasters and I'm not feeling too experimental at this time.

    If I create a partition image with Macrium Free and write it to one of my external eSATA drives, will the Rescue CD be able to see the external drive? I can also plug it in as a USB drive if necessary. I can't use my existing data drive as it's short of space.

    "leejosepho", I found your comments about drive letters interesting. I always though that the drive letters are assigned by the OS, and I find no place in my BIOS to set drive letters. I can establish boot order, with or without booting from an optical drive, but no place for drive letter assignments. In fact, both my WinXP and Win7 partitions boot as Drive C:, with the other one assigned as Drive D:. My data drive stays as Drive E: in both cases.

    One other question. If I can successfully image the Win7 partition to a new drive and successfully boot from it, could I then have both it and the original WinXP drive installed and boot to whichever one I want? I think the BIOS allows me to select the active boot drive. Does EasyBCD give me any benefit for this scenario?

    Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions. I'll give this a try over the next couple of days and report back.

    Ron H

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjhodges View Post
    If I create a partition image with Macrium Free and write it to one of my external eSATA drives, will the Rescue CD be able to see the external drive?
    It should, but test it to be sure. After you make the CD, boot from it with your external drive plugged in and see what you find.


    I always though that the drive letters are assigned by the OS [...]
    They are. If you're really interested--and at the risk of information overload, see my webpage here. (That was written for XP, but Vista/7/8 still use the same principals.)


    One other question. If I can successfully image the Win7 partition to a new drive and successfully boot from it, could I then have both it and the original WinXP drive installed and boot to whichever one I want? I think the BIOS allows me to select the active boot drive. Does EasyBCD give me any benefit for this scenario?
    Okay, I missed that part in your original post. I thought you were getting rid of XP and going to a single boot, but upon rereading I see you want to run three internal hard drives and keep dual-booting.

    In that case, disregard my plan. It could be used, but since you've already got a working Microsoft-style dual-boot installed it would be more work to switch multibooting methods at this point.

    If you want to keep dual-booting but just move Win7 to a different place, it will probably be easier to just clone (or image/restore) Win7 to the new disk and then use a BCD editor to adjust the BCD (which in your case is on, and will stay on, the XP partition) to point to the new location.

    To avoid drive letter issues on the clone, clear Win7's [MountedDevices] registry key (see Method 2) before cloning the partition.

    There are several tools for editing the BCD ... most of which I'm not all that familiar with, so maybe others will jump in with useful suggestions. (I use Boot-It Bare Metal's Partition Manager for BCD editing, but that seems like overkill for a one-time task.)


    Dan

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    Dan - thanks for the reply and additional information. Last night late, I did get Macrium Free downloaded, installed and the Rescue Disk built and tested. I was able to make an image of the Win7 partition and store it on my external eSATA drive.

    I then booted from the Macrium CD and it did indeed see the eSata drive and I located the Win7 image I had saved.

    After this holiday weekend is over, I'll try restoring the image to the new hard drive and see if I can boot from it. BCD Editor (of some sort) might be necessary, but I should be able to get through it.

    Regarding Macrium, I had not heard of it previously. With your instructions, I got it installed and working. This morning I was looking at a recent issue of the British "Windows 7" magazine and there were complete instructions for doing a backup with Macrium!! Coincidence? I think not! Thanks again.

    Ron H

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    Star Lounger leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjhodges View Post
    Thanks to both of you for your responses. I like the approach suggested by "dg1261" since his explanation used the term "low-risk approach"! And, it sounds logical and simple to me. At age 71, I've seen my share of PC disasters and I'm not feeling too experimental at this time.
    We said essentially the same thing, just differently. Get Win7 working with its own loader on its own drive, then add the first drive back in and use Win7's startup repair a second time to get it booting from there, then use either EasyBCD or bcdedit (my own preference since EasyBCD alters XP's ntldr) to add an entry for XP:
    http://diddy.boot-land.net/bcdedit/f...les1.htm#ntldr

    I always though that the drive letters are assigned by the OS, and I find no place in my BIOS to set drive letters.
    You can assign drive letters during booting and before any OS is running, if necessary (such as if you were moving your XP installation), but I was referencing "Disk Management" as first found in Windows 2000.

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    OK folks - sorry for the long delay in continuing this thread. I was out of town and just now getting back to my "Relocate Win7 partition" issues.

    I used Macrium to backup my Win7 partition from the original location. It is one a second primary partition on Drive 0. The first partition, primary and active, is the WinXP installation.

    I originally had VistaBootPro on the Win7 partition but I have uninstalled it and replaced it with EasyBCD, installing it on both the Win7 and WinXP systems.

    So, my original configuration was:
    Drive 0, Partition 1 = WinXP (primary and active)
    Drive 0, Partition 2 = Win7 (primary)
    Drive 1, Partition 1 = Data Drive

    Last night I added the new third HDD to my system. I added the third HDD as Drive 1, moving the original Data Drive to Drive 2.

    Before restoring the Win7 backup to the new drive, I used EasyBCD to set the WinXP system as default boot.

    First issue: Booting Macrium from CD, I was able to restore the Win7 image to the new drive. BUT, it did not go into the starting space on the empty drive. Rather, it installed to the same location as on the original Drive 0 (partition 2) and left a big chunk of unallocated space at the start of the drive. Any way to fix that? I wanted to extend the Win7 partition to use the whole drive.

    Second issue: When I rebooted into WinXP, it could not see the Data Drive (now Drive 2). If I boot into Win7, it sees the Data Drive and all is well. When I originally installed WinXP I had to prepare a driver disk for my Mobo (Gigabyte) and load it with F6 as part of the install. Do I need to somehow rebuild that diskette and somehow add it into the WinXP system? All drives are SATA, non-Raid.

    Thanks in advance if anyone still wants to comment on this, I'd appreciate it.

    Note: I also have the latest/final version of Partition Magic (Ver 7 I think). Is it usable on modern systems? I have it on bootable diskette/CD.

    Thanks in advance!

    Ron

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    Star Lounger leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjhodges View Post
    ...a big chunk of unallocated space at the start of the drive. Any way to fix that? I wanted to extend the Win7 partition to use the whole drive.
    With Win7 running, you should be able to go into "Drive Management" within "Computer Management" and let Win7 expand itself into the entire drive if there are no other partitions.

    Second issue: When I rebooted into WinXP, it could not see the Data Drive (now Drive 2). If I boot into Win7, it sees the Data Drive and all is well. When I originally installed WinXP I had to prepare a driver disk for my Mobo (Gigabyte) and load it with F6 as part of the install. Do I need to somehow rebuild that diskette and somehow add it into the WinXP system?
    First take a look in "Disk Management" in XP to see whether a drive letter simply needs to be assigned.

    Note: I also have the latest/final version of Partition Magic (Ver 7 I think). Is it usable on modern systems? I have it on bootable diskette/CD.
    I almost never use any third-party partitioning utility when or where Windows is able to do its own stuff (and the same with Linux and GParted).

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    Do I need to somehow rebuild that diskette and somehow add it into the WinXP system? All drives are SATA, non-Raid.
    You should not need that disk when prompted to press F6 to install drivers for the HDD when installing Vista, 7 or 8.
    Example of an explanation: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/d...s&dlc=en&lc=en

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    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    rjhodges

    Perhaps the drive 2 is controled by a different chip and needs that driver??
    Just a guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjhodges View Post
    First issue: Booting Macrium from CD, I was able to restore the Win7 image to the new drive. BUT, it did not go into the starting space on the empty drive. Rather, it installed to the same location as on the original Drive 0 (partition 2) and left a big chunk of unallocated space at the start of the drive. Any way to fix that? I wanted to extend the Win7 partition to use the whole drive.
    Any decent partition manager should work. My preference is for the Partition Manager in Terabyte's Boot-It Bare Metal, but the freebie Mini-Tool Partition Wizard should work adequately, as well.

    Do not use Microsoft's Diskpart or the Disk Mgmt utilities built into Windows. They are crippled and bug-ridden. In your case you need to slide the entire Win7 partition forward to the front of the disk, then extend the back end of the partition to fill the entirety of the disk. Microsoft's tools are incapable of moving occupied sectors, which prohibits them from relocating the beginning of any partition and thus they cannot achieve the first of your two-part task.

    (FWIW, Macrium might have worked as intended if you had created empty partitions on the new disk before restoring. IMHE, if you tell Macrium to replace an existing partition, it restores to the same place as said existing partition. OTOH, if you tell it to restore to unallocated space (i.e., unpartitioned space), it must first create a partition into which it will restore the contents of the image. It sounds like, given the opportunity, it will create that partition in the same relative location as the source was. I don't have extensive experience with Macrium, but I've seen many imaging/cloning utilities that behave similarly, so that wouldn't surprise me. Instead of letting Macrium choose where to put the partition, I might have suggested manually creating the partition where you wanted it and then letting Macrium replace it. Now that it's after the fact, though, I'd just use a partition manager to move it where you want.)



    Second issue: When I rebooted into WinXP, it could not see the Data Drive (now Drive 2). If I boot into Win7, it sees the Data Drive and all is well. When I originally installed WinXP I had to prepare a driver disk for my Mobo (Gigabyte) and load it with F6 as part of the install. Do I need to somehow rebuild that diskette and somehow add it into the WinXP system? All drives are SATA, non-Raid.
    I don't use VistaBootPro or EasyBCD, but don't imagine either would be causing the problem. As Lee said, you probably just need to assign a drive letter in Disk Management.

    The F6-floppy is unrelated and not relevant. That is only to add SATA drivers into XP at the time XP is installed because SATA drivers are missing from the XP installer. However, your XP is already installed and the SATA drivers have already been installed, so the F6-floppy would serve no further purpose.



    Note: I also have the latest/final version of Partition Magic (Ver 7 I think). Is it usable on modern systems?
    Partition Magic was designed for partitions that started and ended on "cylinder" boundaries. That used to be a requirement for a proper partition layout. But the notion of "cylinders" has been a pointless concept since the advent of IDE drives and translating controllers a couple decades ago, so modern operating systems and partition managers don't adhere to PM's standards anymore. Partition Magic cannot be used on a drive with partitions created by modern utilities because it will view those partitions as invalid. Furthermore, internal counters in the PM code weren't large enough for very large sector counts, so PM will fail on disk sizes over about 500 GB.

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    Wow - thanks for all the replies! I tried a few things and have had moderate success. Let me review the situation now.

    I rearranged the drives so that Drive 0 and Drive 1 were my original two drives. The added new drive was put on the Drive 2 connector. When I booted XP, it could not see Drive 0. It didn't show up anywhere, either as a drive with a letter in Explorer, or as a separate unnamed drive in Manage.

    I then booted into Win7 (second partition on Drive 0) and it CAN see the new drive without problems. It assigned it as Drive I:

    But hold on a minute -- I booted back into XP and now it can see the new drive!! Almost like Win7 did something that made the drive visible in XP. Not sure how, but I'm not complaining.

    SO, Drive I: was where I had the restored partition from Macrium that was in the "wrong" place, at the upper end of the drive space. Using Disk Management from within Win7, I blew away that partition on the "I" drive and ended up with a full unallocated drive ("I"). I then created a "simple" partition on that drive using the full drive and did a Quick Format.

    Then, using Acronis Home 11, I created an image of my Win7 partition (on Drive 0, remember) and wrote it to an external harddrive. I then restored it to the new full-drive partition on Drive 2 ("I"). This worked correctly and it occupied the space at the front of the drive. (Who knows, but Macrium might have done it this way if I had created the partition first before doing the Macrium restore.)

    So, we're making progress!! I now went into EasyBCD and added another entry for Win7. I named it Win 7 New and renamed the original as Win 7 Old. With a little bit of testing, I found I can boot to Win XP (first partition on Drive 0), Win 7 Old (second partition on Drive 0) or Win 7 New (single partition on Drive 2). Everythign seems perfect!

    BUT - I couldn't leave it there. Since the Drive 2 version of Win 7 was a direct copy of the one on Drive 0, how could I tell if this was REALLY booting the new copy? I know, I'll change the Desktop background image on one of them.

    Well, that didn't work? No matter which Win 7, New or Old, I select from the Boot menu, the desktop background is the same!?!?. EasyBCD has a little utility called System Information. It shows that the "New" version runs from drive "I" and that the "Old" version runs from drive "C"

    So, I'm almost where I want to be, but why is the desktop background image the same on both versions? No matter what I do, they both end up the same. What's the best way to really verify that I have two separate bootable Win 7 partitions?

    Thanks again in advance...

    Ron Hodges
    P.S. Thanks for the comments on Partition Magic. I suspected it was a bit old to know about more modern drive configurations and I didn't try to use it.
    Last edited by rjhodges; 2014-06-10 at 04:33. Reason: spelling, punctuation

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    Star Lounger leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjhodges View Post
    Then, using Acronis Home 11, I created an image of my Win7 partition (on Drive 0, remember) and wrote it to an external harddrive. I then restored it to the new full-drive partition on Drive 2 ("I")...

    ...went into EasyBCD and added another entry for Win7. I named it Win 7 New and renamed the original as Win 7 Old.
    If all of that included copying the "Boot" folder typically located inside the Win7 installation, then the BCD in each location (old or new) points to the same original installation. To fix that will require making a new BCD for the new installation.

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    Thanks Lee - I do understand what you are saying about copying the Boot folder. I will do that eventually as my main intent is to "decommission" my WinXP drive and have only a Win 7 system. In my current system, the Boot folder and associated files are on the WinXP partition.

    When I used EasyBCD to create the new entry for the new Win 7 partition, I specifically told it to use the partition on Drive 2 (drive letter "I").

    Later today I'll try copying the Boot goodies to the new Win 7 partition and then booting directly to it by changing the boot drive in the BIOS. I understand I'll maybe need to use my Win 7 Install Disk to fix boot problems.

    Ron

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