Where in a multi-boot environment are the locations of the Boot, System, Page File and C: drives determined?

HCIT

New Member
#1
Hi,

For simplicity, I have two drives, the first is a RAID5 array with two partitions, P(0,1) and P(0,2), and the second is a basic drive with one partition, P(1,1). P(0,1) has Windows 10. P(1,1) has Windows XP. I have used MiniTool Partition Wizard to copy Windows XP from P(1,1) to P(0,2) and used EasyBCD to set up a multi-boot in Windows 10 to the Windows 10 partition and the two Windows XP partitions. Booting to P(1,1) works OK with P(1,1) as the C: drive. Booting to P(0,2) succeeds, but only if P(1,1) is present and becomes the C: drive and stores the Page File with P(0,2) as the Boot drive and P(0,1) as the System Drive. Without P(1,1), booting to P(0,2) fails just after logging in.

For resilience, I only want to use the RAID drive. Where in a multi-boot environment are the locations of the Boot, System, Page File and C: drives determined?

Regards,
Andy Dransfield
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Disk Management flags have the following meanings

"boot" = "this is the system you're running"
"system" = "this is where I found the boot files for the currently running system"
"active" (on the first HDD in the BIOS boot sequence) = "this is where I started the search for the boot files"
"active" (on subsequent HDDs in the BIOS boot sequence) ="this is where I will look if I don't find something in the MBR on the first HDD"

"C" drive doesn't exist in the physical world.
It's a virtual tag which only exists in the mind (registry) of the running OS.
Both my W7 and W10 are "C" in their own worlds, but each is "D" in the opinion of the other.
Drive letters are assigned either :-
by you using Disk Management to associate a letter with a particular device or partition, in which case it's mapped that way (on that OS only) until someone changes it.
by the OS dynamically at POST, in which case it will remain consistent until a h/w change alters the POST detection sequence.

Setup will assign C to the new OS during installation if you boot the installation DVD, but will assign the first unused letter if you run Setup from the DVD on a running copy of Windows.
 

HCIT

New Member
#3
Terry,

Unfortunately, I have a situaton that doesn't quite fit your description. P(0,1) contains Windows 10 which is the System partition where the multi-boot options are defined. P(0,2) contains a copy of Windows XP which is the target of a multi-boot option and is labelled as the Boot partition, but it is not the system that is running as P(1,1), the original Windows XP partition, is labelled as C: and holds the Page File. It is also Active. So, where in the boot process is the location of C: defined? P(0,2) will not boot without the presence of P(1,1)?

Regards,
Andy Dransfield

P.S. I've tried to attach a screen dump of the Computer Management, Disk Management showing the disks layout, but it is rejected as too large.
 

HCIT

New Member
#4
Terry,

I should also add that if I define P(1,1) as the target in the multi-boot options, then it becomes the Boot partition and IS C:?!?

Andy
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
If Disk Management marks it "boot", then that's the running system.
That flag is Disk Management's way of telling you which system is running.
XP did not follow the same logic when assigning the internal disk letters as Vista and subsequent Windows (described in my 1st reply), so you will not necessarily get an XP OS calling itself C when you install it via booting the setup CD.
That appears to be the case in your configuration. Your XP systems have been assigned letters which are consistent seen from either point of view regardless of which one is running at the time.
The page file is movable and re-sizable at the user's will. It gets a default size and placement on the original OS's partition, but you are free to put it anywhere convenient. (It's best off the sysres HDD to avoid head thrashing, a rarely used data storage device is best)
Everything you need to know about Windows' pagefile.sys including deleting and moving it
If you have a multi boot with more than one XP, then W10 bootmgr cannot chain to two different NTLDRs and a two stage boot is needed, XP being selected from the bootmgr BCD menu, and NTLDR presenting a second menu with the multiple versions of XP defined in boot.ini
It's all described here, along with Neosmart's version of NTLDR which can remove the need for the two-stage boot and specify multiple XPs in the BCD
Windows XP
If you want to move "system" to somewhere different (i.e. not have to have a particular drive mounted to be able to boot the PC) then you can do that as described here
Changing the Boot Partition


(confusion often arises due to MS use of the terms "boot" and "system" as described in my original reply, in directly the opposite way to which the terms are often used colloqially (see above link e.g.) and by Linux)