ok, i'll try to make this as plain as i can. - there are 3 hard drives involved here: C, D, and E - C and D are IDE drives. E is a sata raptor drive. - xp lived long on C, but it was time for a change, so... - circa 2007 xp is installed on E using sata drivers from floppy - Jan 7, 2008 xp crashed on E, so I started fresh on D the next day - Jan 7, 2009 11:30 pm antispyware 2009 malware suddenly pops up when i'm not even using my computer, as if it was on a time delay or was hunting for me. it blocks access to anti-malware progs and any associated websites, etc. (anyone heard of this?), prompting a fresh install of xp on E using sata drivers integrated into install cd. i only did it that way b/c setup would read drivers from floppy in the very beginning, but not after i had initiated the install process. i couldn't format C or partition anything, so i had to install xp on D, overlapping the install killed by malware, just to make the special cd so now i have a dual boot system that i never wanted. i would like to remove/format C and D, but after some trials, it turns out that i need BOTH of them in order to boot xp on E. i would guess that C hold the boot files and w/o D, those files are unsure how to handle E. in that light, i'd be making good progress if i can eliminate D from the loop somehow. Drive info: E = Disk 0 = boot. ntfs. basic. i marked it as active, but it is still labeled 'boot' and now the option to mark as active is unavailable. C = Disk 1 = system. ntfs. simple volume. dynamic D = Disk 2 = active. ntfs. basic. Boot.ini says: [boot loader] timeout=20 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS [operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS.1="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect the default is E. the other is from D. i actually deleted the windows.1 entry at the bottom, but apparently it didn't take. i can't do anything at all to C in disk management. i could format D, but that might make booting from E not work. i'm concerned that i won't even be able to put the MBR on E because of the issues w/ sata drivers, but since i never see options for repairing xp when i boot from my install cd, i really don't know. i'm sure somewhere along the way i could've done things differently, but alas, there was always some obstacle keeping me from doing what i wanted (setup can't format drive, setup can't partition drive, setup can't load drivers from floppy, not enough space on disk, ignorance, etc.) btw, i understand that the simplest solution is probably to wipe everything and reinstall xp w/ just one hd installed. but with my luck lately, i'd probably have some problem i couldn't resolve. besides, i would rather not give up on the knot so quickly. what fun is that? anyway, i would greatly appreciate all the help i can get in untangling this knot i've created. and if anyone can tell me how to remove the bug that has 2 years in a row caused me to spend my birthday reinstalling windows, that'd be great too.