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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    Help! I've just bought a new dual core PC with Win Media Center as the OS, and two 250GB Sata HD's. (It's a HP Pavilion PC, btw). I understand that the underlying OS is actually XP Pro. I have backed up and removed the HP recovery partition on the booting HD, installed Partition Magic v8.0 and attempted to create some new partitions. First, I have reduced the active OS partition from it's original 230-odd GB to roughly 40 GB. I then created another Primary Partition of roughly 55GB on which I wanted to install XP Home and use that partition solely for music (i.e home studio, recording etc). Lastly, I turned the remaining 130-odd GB of space into a Logical partition, which I intended to use a Data storage, available to whichever OS was currently active. However, in my haste to get this done, I only noticed afterwards that Boot Magic, which did the trick very well on my old computer, does not work with NTFS file systems, which is what I understand both XP Pro and XP Home to be. Another, bigger problem is that Partition Magic is also telling me that the 55GB Primary Partition I created is not a bootable partition. I am thoroughly confused about this 8GB Boot Code Boundary, cylinders and all the other tech talk which is frightening the life out of me. Can someone PLEASE tell me a relatively foolproof way I can create a dual-boot system as I've described, using both my existing XP Pro (Media Center 2005) and a new copy of XP Home, so that I can divide up my first 250GB Sata HD as described. You have my eternal gratitude in advance!

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    Welcome to Woody's Lounge !! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    I'm curious about your hardware setup. As we recently had a post from a Lounger who had just purchased a new system and wanted some help repartitioning and straightening out a mess he has created when attempting this himself. He thought he had a 160GB drive with a 40GB drive for backup. Turned out his system was setup in a RAID Mirror Array. Since you mentioned you have 2 hard drives I want to be certain it's not a RAID setup.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    First, thanks for the response, Doc. Boy, could I do with the help! The drives are specified as 500 GB (2 X 250) SATA 3G 7200 rpm drives No specific mention of a Raid array was made when I bought the system, since it was large capacity I was after. (There is also a 300GB Media Drive which I have yet to use). In Device Manager, there IS a Raid Controller indicated. However, I have installed stuff on the OS drive which has not been mirrored onto drive 2. Also, I have installed about 120 GB of stuff on drive 2, which seems to be accessible as if it was a separate drive. Incidentally, I have not yet set up the 'Media Center' aspect of this system. Quite frankly, I would rather have had a bog-standard OS like XP anyway. However, I'm concerned that the system hardware has been set up with all sorts of fancy drivers for Media Center, so if I was to strip it down to basics - or even reformat the main drive and install XP from scratch, I might not be able to get everything working together properly. Hence leaving Media Center (XP Pro) where it is and creating another OS partition. Please Doc, is there a cure for my woes, or will I require expensive and constant Microsoft medication for the rest of my life? Cheers!

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    I've got a rather uncomfortable feeling that you also have a RAID setup. The simple fact that you are talking about a Raid Controller and "mirrored onto drive 2" would seem to indicate that you are running a RAID Mirror Array.

    You are correct that the underlying OS for Media Center is XP Pro. Media center has added bells and whistles. As for "stripping it down to basics", I think you need to rethink what your basics are now. If you are indeed running a RAID Array it is an entirely different animal, hardware-wise, and I'm afraid Im not going to be of much help there. I don't know the first thing about RAID technology.

    It seems that the manufactures (your box is an HP and the other box I referenced is a Dell) are selling RAID boxes to the general public without explaining the technology properly. Or perhaps I'm confused. But if you have your system setup as a RAID Mirror Array you need to do some reading about the technology before you start changing things around or you could end up with a very expensive doorstop. <img src=/S/sorry.gif border=0 alt=sorry width=15 height=15>

    I'd contact HP support, your OEM (Original Equipment Manager), and ask some serious questions about your hardware.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    I assume that your PC is still able to boot Windows. If not then the advice will need to be very different...

    Can you please have a look in disk management and post a screen shot showing your current partition layout. To start disk management you can right click My Computer, select Manage and then choose Disk Management on the left. We need to see the disk layout at the bottom right of this screen.

    If your backup of the HP recovery partition is a proper image backup, or you have created a set of recovery CDs, then I would strongly recommend that you restore the original configuration and start again with a partition manager that supports the NTFS file system.

    Also, can you explain why you want to dual boot XP Home and XP MCE. Media Center Edition will almost certainly be able to do anything that you want from XP Home and it would be much simpler to just use the one version of Windows.

    StuartR

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    Thanks again, guys. Yes, I DO appear to have a Raid-capable set-up, but it also clearly was not configured to work 'straight out of the box'. BTW, Doc, I wrote that the 2 hard drives DO NOT appear to be mirroring each other - i.e, stuff I'm writing to one drive is not being duplicated to the other. Judging by what I'm able to write to my discs right now, it appears that neither Raid 0 nor 1 are being used. Both the HD's are shown as different drives. Doc, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments about manufacturers/retailers who sell highly complicated set-ups without adequate explanation. Neither the salesmen in the store where I bought this machine, nor anywhere in the manuals or on-line support is there ANY mention whatsover about RAID or how to get it working properly. Believe me, I would not have been in such a hurry to make changes if I'd known I had to get to grips with RAID first!
    StuartR, thanks again and a screenshot of the disc layout is attached. When new, there were 2 drives indicated, HP Pavilion 'C', and New Volume 'D'. As you can see, using Partition Magic I created an extra Primary Partition, Music 'E' and a Logical data partition, Data 'G'. Had I been able to set up a dual-boot system, obviously the current 'C' and the new 'E' would both have been 'C', depending on which one was 'active' at the time. Drive 'C' would contain Media Center/XP Pro, as now, and the other 'C' would be XP Home. I would change the label and letter of the logical partition to Audio 'D', since all my existing Audio data is stored to that path.
    Why dual-boot, you ask? The existing Media Center OS and partition would be for all the normal computer stuff - Internet browsing/downloading, word-processing, MP3-related stuff, home office work, games etc. All of this activity - and especially the associated background actions of Firewall/Anti-Virus protection, is precisely the sort of bloated excess you DO NOT WANT when trying to record/playback high-quality Audio. So, as a musician, I want an OS partition that I can strip down to the bare essentials for maximum Audio performance - no Internet access, no background tasks constantly erupting and causing severe glitches when I'm in the middle of a recording session. In short, a system that is lean and mean! Unless you can advise me differently, I can't see any other way to achieve two conflicting aims than by dual-booting to different Partitions which are effectively two different machines. Apologies for the verbal (written) diarrhoea. After THIS post, I'll keep it to 2 or 3 lines - promise!
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  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    OK, this doesn't look too bad. Just to make sure that your disk partitioning software hasn't done any damage, you should run CHKDSK on each partition.

    If you aren't happy with the disk letters assigned to each partition then you can change these from within disk management.

    You should be able to boot from your Windows XP Home disk and install Windows to a different partition, this will automatically configure the dual boot stuff on the primary drive. Have you tried doing this?

    StuartR

  8. #8
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    Hi,S. What you suggest would have been my next step, until I read that Partition Magic's otherwise excellent 'Boot Magic' utility can only operate from a Fat32 partition and NOT NTFS. This, plus my RAID/not RAID doubts stopped me from proceeding. On my previous computer I dual-booted by adding XP Pro to my existing Win Millenium Edition setup. (Yes, this was about 470 years ago!) I seem to recall that I had to make the bootable partition - the 'C' Win ME one - hidden before I could reboot and install XP Pro, and also make the new virgin partition 'active' so that it could be seen with the bootable CD. Presumably I need to do the same again this time? Are you also saying that, once XP Home is installed, the next time I boot up I will be automatically offered some kind of menu from which to choose an OS? If so, does this happen anyway or will I have to configure anything myself first? Thanks again, btw.

  9. #9
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    I haven't done this for a long time, but my memory is that Windows XP will set the Boot.Ini on the active bootable drive so that it can load Windows from either of your two boot partitions.

    StuartR

  10. #10
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    Hi again, SR. By an amazing coincidence, less than two hours after my previous post and on my way to another tedious 12 hour Night Shift, I purchased the March issue of the excellent UK mag 'Sound On Sound' - and guess what it contained? Not only an article about dual-booting but, much more specifically, an article directly addressing the problem of 3rd-Party Boot Managers which, like Boot Magic, can only be used from FAT32 partitions. They previewed a number of Utilities which can be used with NTFS partitions, and ultimately recommended a piece of Freeware called the GAG Graphical Boot Manager at http://gag.sourceforge.net. They add that in-depth tuition and helpful screenshots can be found at http://users.bigpond.net.au/hermanzone/p12.htm.
    I intend to complete all this restructuring of my computer this weekend when I have some time off, and I hope to be able to post back with news of a successful new dual-booting, multi-partioned leaner, fitter Wunderkomputer despite Mr. Gates' worst intentions! Cheers for now.

  11. #11
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    Best of Luck !!! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/thumbup.gif border=0 alt=thumbup width=15 height=15>
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  12. #12
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    Re: Dual-Boot Problem With XP Pro (Win Media Center (XP Pro) SP2)

    If you are only planning to boot two different installations of Windows XP then you really don't need a third party boot manager. Windows does this perfectly well for itself.

    I guess if it works, and it is well documented, then it might save you some time and trouble though.

    StuartR

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