View Full Version : Partitioning\Dual booting Solutions

03-29-2007, 09:12 AM
Ok Im buying two SATA Hard drives 200gig each. When I have built my new PC I want to dual boot XP Prof. and Vista Ultimate. Would it be best to put both O/S on one of the hard drives using a 50/50 partition and use the other HD as data storage etc.. or would it be best to put XP one HD and Vista on the other. Is there any advantages/disadvantages to how I do this or is it just personnel preferance?

Thinking about it though, if I used the configuration of both O/S on one HD and this HDisk went down then I suppose ive lost functionality of the Pc. Or is this the case anyway if i dual boot the O/S on different drives anyway!!!! In other words could I still boot from the second HD if Vista was on there if the first HD went down, i mean would the Boot procedure still pick up the bcdboot.ini file on the vista drive as this would be a 2nd Master anyway!!!

How do Sata drive differ from IDE, as in you can have two devices on IDE Primary and master. Are SATA drives all Masters on there own seperate cable?

All comments welcome and appreciated


Paul Komski
03-29-2007, 04:52 PM
Personally I would install them to their own hard drives - or more precisely to a partition of reasonable size at the start of each drive. The reason being that Vista boots up things using different processes than XP so if you keep them completely separate you have the flexibility in the future to install, reinstall, repair, etc and just deal uniquely with one installation.

Satas have no master/slave relationship - they each have their own channels enumerated in the BIOS. Modern BIOS treat them (or can be configured to treat them) as if they were IDE drives; older BIOS may put them on a SATA/RAID/SCSI interface, in which case you would need the drivers to be installed from a floppy using F6 at the start of WinXP; I guess Vista is similar.

I would install them to one hard drive only in the computer at a time. After both have been installed I would use a boot manager such as BiNG or XOSL to choose which hard drive to boot up.

You can go the microsoft way and install XP first and then add Vista - but it is not as flexible in the long term as using a 3rdParty boot manager.

If you partition appropriately then you can backup Vista as an image file on the XP drive and XP on the Vista drive - giving you the added flexibillity of doing a reinstall of either OS if a HDD goes down.

Fruss Tray Ted
03-29-2007, 05:26 PM
I never thought I would live to the day that I would hear Paul's fingers 'say' to do independent installs onto separate hard drives and then put them back in the same pc! :eek:

This is what I have been doing for about 5 years now. No muss, no fuss, no worries. What I do NOT do however (not saying it is wrong) is use XOSL or other any boot managers.

Upon booting my system(s), one laptop and/or one desktop, I press whatever it takes to get into BIOS. A quick trip to the boot order and setting it to HDD-0 or HDD-1, my system boots to a 'C:' drive reflecting which HDD is actively booted to. On repeated boots to the same system there is no boot menu or need to enter BIOS and the system just boots to what it is set for, that is, until you enter again and change it back, or forth.

If I have a software that goes awry, hardware that won't function, incompatible programs, etc, all it takes is a quick reboot to the 'other side' to test and find out why or get confirmation. No need to worry if one hard drive fails or becomes unusable, you can always boot to the other.

One word: S-w-e-e-t-! :cool:

Paul Komski
03-29-2007, 09:41 PM
I'm sure its not a new thing to suggest separate installs to different hard drives other than the majority of users have just one hard drive or one operating system - I do it all the time and have one bootable array and two other bootable hard drives in my current system. Sometimes changing the BIOS is used and sometimes a boot manager. Using SBM on a boot floppy can be one of the easiest ways of switching and which avoids installing boot managers to the hard drive or having to go into the BIOS setup. One of the reasons I use BiNG so much is not only as a boot manager but also to have a partitioning/imaging utility available at every reboot if wanted.

One nice use of SBM in a two-hard drive setup is to have it configured so that by default it boots the second HDD when you boot to the floppy and hit <Enter> but with no floppy in the drive the first HDD boots. That's quite sweet I think. One shouldnt forget that there are some BIOS which have a special <hotkey> which will simply give you a list of boot devices, without having to go near the main BIOS setup at all.

On most BIOS SBM can also be used to boot to a CDROM so one can have HDD before the CD in the boot order and thus speed up boot times by the system not having to look for a boot sector in the CD drive. One can then just pop in the floppy instead of going into the BIOS setup and changing the boot order, when one wants to boot to a CD.

Soooo many ways of "skinning cats" and its useful to know as many ways as possible to suit all possible tastes - or "horses for courses".

03-30-2007, 05:27 AM
I have the SBM bootable floppy right at the front of my box of floppies, and within arms reach at all times. :)

Right behind that is "Image for DOS", and behind that BiNG. :D

03-30-2007, 06:10 AM
Ok great thanks for the help guys.

Reading the info I probably now will install the two O/S on two separate SATA drive say of 150gig each and use my 300gig IDE hard drive for storing shared data.

Do the SBM and Bing programs need to be purchaed to take full advantage of the workings or are they shareware apps?

And is it best to use Fdisk to partion drives if need be, or let Xp\Vista do it or can you use the Bing SMB apps again?

Thanks again

03-30-2007, 08:06 AM
1. How to make a free “Smart Boot Manager” bootable floppy
This makes it easier to boot a chosen drive from among a list of detected and displayed drives.

03-30-2007, 08:56 AM
Nice one ill try this!!

Paul Komski
03-30-2007, 12:53 PM
Do the SBM and Bing programs need to be purchaed to take full advantage of the workings or are they shareware apps?SBM is freeware and BiNG is a 30day functional trial before it becomes functional nagware when installed as a boot manager. There are some preliminaries in the links in my sig, which includes a self-extracting download for SBM which will format a blank floppy in a trice.

And is it best to use Fdisk to partion drives if need be, or let Xp\Vista do it or can you use the Bing SMB apps again?I wouldn't use Fdisk on large hard drives. BiNG will do all the partitioning you like or else do it during the windows installations. SBM is just a boot manager.

If using BiNG or SBM as a boot manager you will need to set the non-default boot hard drive with a swap option. Post back if you have any difficulty understanding this or of setting the configuration.

03-30-2007, 05:12 PM
BiNG is a 30day functional trial before it becomes functional nagware when installed as a boot manager.
Just as a note on BiNG. I had installed it on one of my machines and didn't get around to entering the registration strings for a long time. After 30 days it becomes nagware like you said, but that only lasts about a week to 10 days (I forget exactly how long) then it won't function at all anymore. It boots to the BiNG screen, just sits there and beeps very loud and won't let you boot.

At that time I figured I had better enter the registration strings before it blew up or something. :p :D

Paul Komski
03-30-2007, 10:01 PM
If one wants legitimate and good freeware to do most of the things that BiNG does as "cheapware" in a single application - then one can use:
XOSL (http://www.ranish.com/part/xosl.htm) as a boot manager
QTparted (from a live Knoppix CD (http://www.knoppix.org/)) as a partition manager
DriveImageXML (http://www.runtime.org/dixml.htm) (from an NT-based OS or on a BartPE CD) to create and restore image files.
You need a WinXP installation CD in order to build a BartPE CD (http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/).

Forgot about GParted (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php) on a mini CD as another way or running a Linux Partition Magic Clone.