Dual hard drives

By Poppa Bear
Oct 8, 2008
  1. I am running two hard drives, an 80GB IDE & 500GB SATA on an ASUS P5LD2 SE motherboard. WinXP Home was originally loaded on the IDE HD set as master. I upgraded by adding the SATA HD and did a fresh installation of XP Home onto the SATA with the intention of copying all the relevant data files from the old system onto the new.

    This all worked successfully, and gave me a dual boot option on boot-up. I then formatted the old IDE HD with the intention of using it as a storage depot. However, my new installation on the SATA HD would then not boot.

    I used a floppy disk NTLD Boot Loader program to boot back into the new system on the SATA HD and tried to modify the boot.ini file, but ended up wrecking it, and couldn't boot into the new system even with the floppy.

    As a work-around I reloaded a bare-bones copy of XP Home on the first IDE HD and this restored the boot file so I again had two boot options on boot-up. I then modified the boot.ini to only show the new boot option on boot-up.

    My question is: Can I create a boot.ini on the SATA operating system so it will boot independently of the IDE HD as I want to format the IDE HD?
  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    boot.ini comes after certain operations run from the partition loader code which accesses the partition table to identify the primary partition, extended partitions and active partition which is needed to determine the file system and locate the operating system loader file - NTLDR. NTLDR will then switch the processor from real-mode to 32 bit protected mode which memory paging is enabled. NTLDR will call upon the boot.ini file which is located at the root directory to determine the location and entries of the operating system boot partition. At this point in time, the bootup menu is displayed on the screen to allow you to select an operating system to start from if you have more than 2 operating systems installed in your computer. NTLDR will pass all information from the Windows registry and Boot.ini file into Ntoskrnl.exe

    All this is currently on your IDE drive. To create the same thing on a SATA drive set as the boot drive in the bios you need to do a few simple things, probably with only the SATA drive connected. You can use a special Recovery Console tool called Fixboot to fix it. Start by booting the system with the Windows XP CD and accessing the Recovery Console.

    Create a new master boot record, and then run Fixboot if you get stuck (or reearch before you start)
  3. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7

    Thanks for that info. Since I'm a novice at boot files, after booting from the XP disc, opening the Recovery Console, and typing in "Fixboot [D]:" where D is the letter of the SATA HD ..... what comes next? I've never done this before.
  4. pcaceit

    pcaceit TS Rookie Posts: 315

    Open my computer and double click on drive C:
    from folder options > View > advanced (i am on vista so might be wrong) TICK "show hidden files and folders", UNTICK "Hide protected operating system files (recommended)", UNTICK "Hide extentions for known file types"
    click "APPLY"
    copy the following files from drive C:\ to your drive with the version of xp you want to use.

    Boot.ini (or just "boot")
    Bootsect.dat (if its there)

    open boot.ini (the copy on your new xp) it should looke something like this:

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /usepmtimer /usepmtimer /noexecute=optin /usepmtimer
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /usepmtimer /usepmtimer /noexecute=optin /usepmtimer

    Change the entries rdisk(0) to rdisk(1)
    and save changes (you might have to right click on the boot.ini icon, select properties and unselect "read only")

    Right click on my computer and select "manage" then select "disk management"
    Right click on your sata ((Disk 1) at the top or on the usage graph) and select "Mark partition as active"

    Reboot and Enter you bios and set your sata as first boot Hdd (keep your CD/DVD and floppy as first and second boot device's)

    Insert your xp cd disk in your cd/dvd drive, Save your new bios settings and exit.

    Boot your xp cd when system restart: Enter the recovery console:

    Type "fixmbr DeviceHardDisk1" (without quotes) then enter
    type "y" then enter if confirmation is asked

    Type "fixboot D:" (without quotes)
    type "y" then enter if confirmation is asked

    Type "exit" to leave recovery console and system will automatically reboot.

    Remove you xp cd.

    If the system boots into the version on your sata then you have success.

    if it fails: enter the bios and set your ide hdd as first boot hdd again. and let me know what happened.

    if successful then you can format your ide drive as planned.
    I would recommend that you use the disk management to delete the partion then recreate it and then format it. (this will remove the active setting on the drive.)

    let us know how this works out.
  5. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7

    Hi Paecit,

    Thanks for all that info, it's really appreciated. Haven't had a chance yet to do what you suggested, but will do ASAP and let you know how it turns out. Up until now I've never known exactly what and where to type stuff in to edit boot options, and whenever I winged it by trial and error adjustments, I would not be able to boot back into the OS if it was wrong... very frustrating. Thanks again for all your effort. Bernie

    Hey Paceit,

    You're a genius. Sorry took so long to get back, but didn't have time to do what you said. Finally did it today and it worked like a charm. I'm over the moon.

    Had to make a small modification. My BIOS wouldn't give me the option to set SATA as first boot priority, but by setting SATA/IDE Configuration to Legacy and then setting Legacy IDE channels SATA + PATA, it then picked up and booted into the SATA drive OS. I then deleted the IDE partiton, re-created a new partition and formatted it as you suggested and it all worked fine.

    As a final test I removed the IDE Hard-drive from the PC and it still worked fine. Thought I might have to change the rdisk(1) back to rdisk(0) after I removed IDE Hard-drive, but this wasn't necessary.

    Thanks heaps. Bernie Poppa Bear

    Hi pcaceit,

    I'm new at posting threads and replies. I've tried to send two replies to you but think I've only replied to my own thread, so I hope this gets thro to you.

    I think you're a genius. I did what you suggested and it worked like a charm. However, I had to make one modification.

    When I tried to set SATA as first HD boot priority in the BIOS, it was not shown as an option. I changed the SATA/IDE Configuration to Legacy, and set the Legacy IDE Channel to allow both PATA & SATA. It still wouldn't allow SATA as first HD boot priority, but when I re-booted, it went straight into the SATA OS.

    I then did as you suggested and deleted the partition on the IDE drive, recreated it, and formatted it. When I rebooted it once again all worked fine.

    As a final test I disconnected the IDE HD from the PC, and it still all worked fine.

    Once again, I want to express my extreme gratitude. I've played around with dual partitions on one hard drive for a long time. I knew by trial and error the boot material was on the first partiton, but I never knew where to find it or how to transfer it onto the second parition so I could delete the first partition and just boot into the second. You've made my month.

    Cheers Poppa Bernie Bear
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