1 hd, 2 xp installs both as C

#1
Hi,
I am after creating 2 xp installs on one hard-drive, but both need to be C: when booted up. Is this possible with EasyBCD? if not what can I use do to this, and what is the procedure in doing so?
Many thanks
 
#2
well, I can answer your 1st question, no Easy BCD would not be able to help you with this.
xp can be dual booted with a 2nd copy of xp, but not sure how both showing as C: would work.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
The disk lettering is an internal construct of the running system (entries in its registry), and has nothing to do with the boot process.
EasyBCD is a BCD manipulation tool. The BCD is a feature of Vista/W7, it doesn't exist in XP, so you couldn't use EasyBCD anyway.
You can easily set up a multiple XP boot with all XPs seeing themselves as C:\ if they're on separate HDDs.
It's more difficult if they share a disk.
Generally speaking, the rule is
Install an OS from a running system by clicking on setup.exe on the installation disk and the new OS will take the next available letter, unused by the running system. (i.e not C:\)
Install an OS by booting the Installation CD and it will use C:\ as the OS partition letter.
Note the generally above though.
I happen to know from experience that XP, installed from the booted CD can still use notC:\ if it detects another partition with Windows installed. (This doesn't seem to be the case with Vista and W7).
You could try Installing the 1st XP, then when it has completely finished, use a partition manager app to turn on the "hide" bit in the partition table, in an attempt to stop the 2nd XP install from detecting the first. (and unhide it again when the 2nd install is finished)
It's not something I've done (I don't mind that my XP is D:\. It's not a problem as long as the running OS cannot see a C:\ disk which isn't the OS), so I can't guarantee that it works, but I can't see another way of doing what you want.
Why is it important to you that the OS is C:\ ?
The only problem of the OS not being C:\ is that 3rd party apps (Adobe notably) will try to put common files on C:\ even if you instruct the install to put the app on D:\.
If C:\ is a different OS with it's own apps then you'll get the installs scrambled together with unpredictable results.
This only happens though if the running OS can see a C:\ drive.
You can use a registry hack before you install any apps to make C:\ invisible, or you could install grub4dos as your boot manager and use it to hide the other XP each time you boot one.
 
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#5
many thanks for the informative reply. We are running some new exam software (we are a college), and it is a requirement that it HAS to run on C:, and on its own partition etc. So the machines in one classroom will need to be dual booted from the current xp, and a new xp just for this exam software.

Addendum:

"You can easily set up a multiple XP boot with all XPs seeing themselves as C:\ if they're on separate HDDs"

What would be the procedure to do it this way?
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
Just do a standard install from the booted CD to each HDD with the other HDDs temporarily disconnected, so each one thinks it exists in a vacuum.
You can then reconnect all the HDDs and either use the BIOS ability to temporarily alter the BIOS boot order to pick one of the XPs, or more conveniently, choose one of them to be in control of a multi-boot menu.
The XP disk which is 1st in the BIOS boot sequence, can simply have its C:\boot.ini file edited to insert extra entries describing the other XP systems. They will then appear as choices in a menu when the PC is switched on.
The syntax for boot.ini is described in the wiki
You'll need to add lines in the "operating system" section

from

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP" /fastdetect

to

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP2" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP3" /fastdetect
 
#7
many thanks for your help, was a success.
In the end, did the two hd route as you suggested, and used the registry to hide the drive in each xp.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
Glad it was successful. The registry hack doesn't work for all configurations (mine for example), but you know you're OK if you can't open files on the other OS through Explorer.