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  1. #1
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    Windows Dual Boot Using CMOS

    Hi,

    I read an article recently (in PC Mag or PC World, I forget which), about an alternative to using Windows 2000's dual boot screen. Essentially you used CMOS to change the drive you wanted your computer to boot to each time you turned on your computer. This seemed like an attractive alternative to me, because I could set up two varieties of Windows on two separate drives and have absolutely no connection between them - they wouldn't know the other exists.

    I tried that last night, but it didn't work. I have two internal hard drives, C and D on the same connector. In CMOS I made the D drive the bootable drive. I already had Windows 2000 installed on the C drive, so as a test I decided to install it again on the D drive as a clean install. If that worked, I could then format the C drive, switch around the boot order again, and install XP (or something) on it.

    Instead, two things went wrong. First, the installation of Windows 2000 on the D drive went fine, but when it came time to reboot the computer, I would just get the message "Press Any Key to Reboot." Doing so would reboot the computer again, but all I'd get was that message. Only when I put the C drive back as the boot drive in CMOS would it boot normally.

    Secondly, once I did that and it did boot normally, I got the Windows 2000 boot choice screen, showing my two installations of Windows 2000. Obviously, they each "knew" about the other, so I didn't have the completely independent boots that the CMOS option seemed to offer from this article (which I can't find now - argh!).

    Any ideas as to what I've done wrong? Do the C and D drives have to be on different connectors? Do I have to create a special Boot partition on the D drive (i.e. does it have to be identical in that respect to the C drive.)? I can't see how it would be necessary to change the drive settings (Slave vs Master) because that would hardly be convenient to do each time, and would defeat the purpose of the CMOS dual boot system.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    John

  2. #2
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    Re: Windows Dual Boot Using CMOS

    You need a third party software such as "Boot Magic" to do this. But be aware that the none used drive would be hidden from you and would not be able to access any files that were on it.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: Windows Dual Boot Using CMOS

    Yep, works great. Done it in the past. Just one thing... you can only have one drive in the system during the install of each OS. Windows install routines, and most linux distros too, replace or alter the boot loader on the first partition of the first hard drive, NTLDR in this case. As a side note, you don't actually have to physically remove the drive from the system. You could just change the hard drive definition in the BIOS from whatever paramaters are in there to NONE. This will work for windows, which relies on the BIOS for such things. Linux, however, bypasses much of the BIOS and loads it's own code.

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    Re: Windows Dual Boot Using CMOS

    I had my system set up that way at one time completely by accident. I had the existing hard drive with XP on it, I bought a new hard drive and used the software that came with it to completely copy everything over from my old hard drive to my new hard drive. But when I set boot up sequence for boot devices as IDE-0 ,CD-Rom & Floppy in BIOS , it would boot up to my old hard drive. If I changed 1st boot device to IDE-1 it booted up to my new hard drive. I could use the files from the other hard drive while booted up to either one. Like I said that was done completely by accident. Of course I have since learned a great deal more about Computers and how to set up a duel boot system so I have never tried to copy that arrangement since.

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    Re: Windows Dual Boot Using CMOS

    or try a hardware solution called nicklock

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    Re: Windows Dual Boot Using CMOS

    There are some "know-how" to install your configuration.

    First of all, if you want completely "hide" one drive from another, you need third-party utility, as Dave said.

    Second, you must know that Windows installation has two parts: (a) system files, that make drive bootable, that's why such drive is called system drive (partition), and ([img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] Windows files, that make Windows running; such drive is called boot drive (partition). System and boot drives can be the same drive; there is only one system drive in each configuration and one or more boot drives. Multibooting switch (Win2k-based or third party) must be on system drive. System partition is the first partition on the first drive (i.e. your c: drive).

    Third, your computer BIOS (Basic Input-Output System) can change the order your computer looks for hard drives (in other words, which drive is the first one). To do so, your hard drives must be set as Cable Select (CS). Look at your hard drives: you will see the jumper on each with several positions. Depending of your hard drive manufacturer, jumper positions are different. Usually there is a sticker on your hard drive with jumper positions explanation. Also you must have partition at the beginning of each drive that contains system files and can be the system partition.

    And at last, because in such configuration Windows installations will "see" each other anyway, why bother with BIOS (or, as you said, CMOS - Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) operating system switching, when you can use more user-friendly Windows one?

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