Sign in to follow this  
Piyono

Dual Boot Drive Letter Assignment

Recommended Posts

Hey folks.

I used Partition Magic to add a new primary partition after the system partition on a computer running Win98 installed in a single-OS configuration.

Into this new partition I installed WinXP Pro.

I though that WinXP would automatically rename its boot drive to C:\, but it didn't. When I boot XP, The Win98 partition is still called C:\, while the XP drive was dubbed I:\.

I tried changing the drive names using XP's drive management utility, but the feature is locked out for boot and system drives.

I found a MSKB article on the matter that describes a way to change drive letters in the registry, but they don't recommend using it unless the drive letters were changed.

Partition Magic will probably let me change the drive letters, but I am concerned about any possible repercussions.

Will Win98 still boot?

If so, will the system drive be called C:\? (backing up a bit, are drive letters on a dual boot system mutually exclusive between OS's?)

Any other issues you can warn me of?

Piyono

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, that's sorta the vibe I'm gettin... but is there any way, for future reference, to install multiple OSs and have each one boot up thinking that they live on "C:"?

Boot manager? Install with other primary partitions hidden?

Piyono

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd go with what you suggest. Hide the 98 partition, install XP, install BootMagic, and let it take care of the hiding/unhiding. There's really no reason why you'd want to have the NT boot loader over anything else, and if you really want to have different C: on different OS's, using BootMagic is probably the easiest way to do it. I prefer having the drive letters consistent across all OS's, but that's just a matter of preference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drive1: primary master (win98)

Drive2: primary slave (winNT)

Drive 3: tertiary drive for data transfer on the secondary channel.

you could install win98 to drive 1, then remove it from the system and install winNT. I believe if you put drive 1 back win98 will boot to C: and winNT will boot to C:

The problem is getting a bootloader installed so you can get to winNT up. You may be able to do this simply by booting with the winXP CD in your drive (I did this once(this is after a working XP setup had already been installed and configured) and it installed a bootloader to my 1st IDE drive when I chose not to boot from CD...

Needless to say I was pretty upset that it did this, because that made the disk a system disk and prevented me from changing its drive letter... the fix was to delete all the OS files off the disk (which only worked because the files were already setup correctly on the proper disk)

So.... you can try the NT bootloader or you can install a seperate bootloader, or you can possibly use your BIOS to select which drive you'd like to boot off of if your BIOS supports that.

when you have everything configured, go ahead and install the 3rd drive on the secondary channel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forget where I saw this, but there was a switch that changed 2 drives from master to slave and vice versa....both would still be visible, bootable and "c" to themselves ("d" when in the other OS).

I don't remember where I saw this, but a multi-position switch with some jumpers could do it quite easily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

W98 will always boot to it's Drive C:. It won't pay attention to NT/W2k/XP/W2003.

The NT/W2k/XP/W2003 Pays attention to the boot drive (where boot.ini is) and typically lables it as C: (in this case the W98) The drive with the system partition (can often be different than the boot partition espically with multiple OS installations and is where the \WINNT is located) can be any drive letter that is availiable. Don't try to change Drice C: or the system partition drive letters it will only cause registry headaches as those drive letters are often hard-wired into lots of locations in the registry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark, just to keep things straight, the partition from which you boot (with ntldr and the boot.ini) is the system volume. The partition which has the Windows operating system installed to it is the boot volume.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark, just to keep things straight, the partition from which you boot (with ntldr and the boot.ini) is the system volume.  The partition which has the Windows operating system installed to it is the boot volume.

I thought it was the other way around: ntldr, boot.ini etc. is on the boot partition, while the /winnt/system32 on the system partition (hence the names).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

blakerwry, I've never had both be the same volume on my personal computer, but I think that it ends up being called the system volume.

Perhaps someone can go into their disk management console and see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only sure way to get Win 2K/XP to install as C is:

  • only one drive attached
  • make the partition you are installing to active
  • boot from CD and install

After that, you have to use a MBR boot manager or manually configure ntldr/boot.ini on your Win 98 partition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, in any case, now Win98 is not booting. I get an "invalid system disk" error when I select Win98 from the boot menu, as though I'd forgotten to eject the floppy.

Win98 wasbooting but that suddenly changed. I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything to prompt this...

help?

Piyono

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you didnt boot with the winXP CD in the drive did you?  lol...

No, there are no CDs interfering.

I choose "Windows" from the boot menu and get the invalid system disk error message.

XP boots, and checking the boot.ini file everything seems ok.

I could go fdisk/MBR but then XP prolly won't boot.

help?

Piyono

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, so I tried FDISK /MBR but I still get the "invalid system disk" error. Does anyone have any idea why Win98 might not be booting? I've gotta get this up and running ASAP. Would appreciate any help.

Piyono

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check your drive configuration. You haven't added or deleted any partitions or drives, have you? This could change the numbering scheme used in the boot.ini.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I think I've found a (the?) problem:

I just ran Fdisk for the first time and lo, it informs me that C: is the first primay DOS partition, albeit the second parition on the drive! Partition Magic, OTOH, clearly shows the partitions as I know them to be, with Win98 in the first active primary FAT32 partition on the disk, followed by an NTFS partition holding XP (which no longer boots -- Stop Error. Argh).

Since windows 98 can only boot from the first primary FAT32 partition on the first disk, could this be the reason I get an "Invalid System Disk" error?

The boot.ini looks good to me -- Windows 98 is booted from the last line which reads, "C:\=Windows 98".

BTW, I tried installing Boot Magic earlier and now I have two boot loaders to deal with: first Boot Magic and then the XP loader. Shouldn't Boot Magic have wiped out the other loader?

Piyono

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, I went ahead and wiped out the XP partition using Partition Magic and then streched C:\ to fill the unallocated space.

Windows 98 still does not boot.

"Invalid system disk

Replace the disk, and then press any key"

Tried FDISK /MBR again. No joy.

Could it be that some critical files are missing? What files does Win98 need in order to boot?

Piyono

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alrighty... add this one to you bag of tricks:

I wasn't suffering from an MBR problem at all, it seems, but a corrupt system file.

I booted from a Windows boot disk, and at the A: prompt typed

sys c:

I rebooted and all was good, although the Windows 98 splash screen appeared twice, but I'm not complaining.

Well, not yet.

Piyono

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark, just to keep things straight, the partition from which you boot (with ntldr and the boot.ini) is the system volume.  The partition which has the Windows operating system installed to it is the boot volume.

I thought it was the other way around: ntldr, boot.ini etc. is on the boot partition, while the /winnt/system32 on the system partition (hence the names).

You are correct. Sechs hasn't had his morning cup of coffee yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark, just to keep things straight, the partition from which you boot (with ntldr and the boot.ini) is the system volume.  The partition which has the Windows operating system installed to it is the boot volume.

I thought it was the other way around: ntldr, boot.ini etc. is on the boot partition, while the /winnt/system32 on the system partition (hence the names).

Nope, sechs is right. Look in any Win200X server book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No need to look in a book. According to the Disk Management console on my computer, the system partition is C: (which has boot.ini, ntldr, etc) and the boot partition is D: (Windows folder).

I thought it was the other way around too, but according to my computer it isn't, so... yeah. Does it really matter though?

Anyway, Piyono, do you still have two boot loaders showing up, or has that been fixed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this