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  1. #1
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    Dual boot (XP Pro with SP1)

    My XP Pro laptop has a single NTFS hard disk with under 10 GB used out of the 30 GB single partition. Presently it is used for my personal stuff.

    Next week I will install a full version of my company's ERP software and my laptop will become both a server (running MS SQL Server) and a client to that server so that I can train users on the product. The software will occupy about 8 GB.

    I want to set up my laptop for a dual boot because the server-side stuff uses a lot of background processes that just aren't necessary when I use the laptop for my personal use. Also, I don't want my personal stuff to intrude when I use my laptop for training and demos.

    I would like to prepare my laptop for the dual boot before I take it to the office for the ERP software installation in midweek. I will also back up my settings and documents etc (on CDs) before I start. I am willing to buy Partition Magic (or similar) if it helps.

    I would appreciate any and all advice, instructions, good and bad personal experiences and pointers to other resources.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Re: Dual boot (XP Pro with SP1)

    Let me remind you that dual-boot computer looks like two computers in one box. In case of XP, these two virtual computers will "see" each other similar as they are on the network.

    First of all, you will need Partition Magic, or you must delete your existing installation and start from scratch.
    Second, you must decide how much room you need for each installation. Your installation already occupied 10 GB, server will need at least 8 GB (from your words) and you will need some room to "breathe". Minimal Windows XP installation requires 2 GB, with Office at least 4 GB. I would propose 5 - 8 GB for second installation.

    Install Partition Magic. Shrink your existing partition freeing 5 - 8 GB in the end of the drive. If you run Partition Magic from the hard disk, you can uninstall it - you don't need it anymore.
    Boot your laptop from your Windows XP installation CD and install Windows on the unallocated space. Install SP1 (if your installation CD not includes SP1 already) and all your laptop-specific drivers.
    One more very important thing. After you install Windows second time, edit BOOT.INI file in the root of your C: drive to distinguish two installations:
    you will see something like this

    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS="Micros oft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)WINDOWS="Micros oft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

    Change first - partiton(1) - "Microsoft Windows..." to something like "WIndows XP with SQL Server" and the second - partition(2) - to something "Windows XP for training". It will help you to tell which installation are you booting to.

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS

    Timeout is amount of seconds boot menu are on the screen. You can change it, if you want. You can also change default partition (installation).

    Remember, you must install all programs you need for the second installation (Office, Acrobat Reader, etc.) once again as on a new computer.
    Now you are ready.

  3. #3
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    Re: Dual boot (XP Pro with SP1)

    Your very clear response is greatly appreciated. The sentence that answered my unasked question was the one that said the two virtual computers would see each other as though they were on a network. Those few words cleared up a lot of my mushy thinking and I believe I now have the concept right.

    I'm not saying I can't get your instructions wrong, but I'll try to get it right first time!

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