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Message started by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 18th, 2010 at 12:51am

Title: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 18th, 2010 at 12:51am
Hello, and thanks in advance to anyone willing to help; I appreciate it. I've just finished setting up a dual boot configuration--Windows 7(native OS)/XP Professional--on my HP Pavilion dv4 2040us, and as both operating systems are tweaked to my preferences, I'm wanting to backup in case of some catastrophic event (or if I simply want a fresh install). I'm using Macrium Reflect Free Editon, and I know that Win 7 has a "System" partition that I must image WITH the primary Win 7 partition in order to reinstall Win 7. However, I'm not sure if the XP partition is standalone or requires files from one of the other partitions. Basically, I want to make backup images of each OS individually so that I can reinstall one without effecting the other, if so I choose, but I'm not sure exactly what needs to be imaged together in order for this is be possible :o . Thanks for your patience, and thanks again for any help.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by Brian on Feb 18th, 2010 at 1:15am
@ LouieChuckyMerry

I haven't tried Macrium but I've read good reports.

Can you look in Disk Management. Tell us what partitions are present, their sizes and drive letters.

When you start the computer do you see a black Microsoft boot menu with WinXP and Win7 in the menu?

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 18th, 2010 at 7:19am
Thank you very much for your help.  Disk Management shows:


Win7 C:; Simple; Basic; NTFS; Healthy (Boot, Page File, Primary Partition); 200.35 GB (90% Free)

XP D:; Simple; Basic; NTFS; Healthy (Primary Partition); 97.54 GB (93% Free)

SYSTEM[No Drive Letter]; Simple; Basic; NTFS; Healthy(System, Active, Primary Partition); 199 MB (79% Free)


And when I start my computer I do see a black Microsoft boot menu giving me the choice of Windows 7 or XP Professional.  If it matters, I used EasyBCD to set up my dual boot configuration.


Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by Brian on Feb 18th, 2010 at 10:43am
MudCrab,

Could you offer some advice here as I know you are more familiar with Microsoft dual boots?

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by Tator on Feb 18th, 2010 at 11:30am
I've run dual boot Win98/Win2k for years and recently added WinXP resulting in a triple boot system.  The boot.ini and other boot loader files for Windows are always on the primary partition on C drive which means boot menu for a multi boot system will appear only if those files appear on the C drive.  I suspect the EasyBCD boot files should be similarly located.

I use Ghost 2003 and Seagate DiscWizard to create images of Win98 on C drive, WinXP on D drive and Win2k on E drive.  No Windows version is dependent on the other versions, but boot.ini and other files required for loading boot menu must be on C drive for the boot menu to appear and allow selection of OS to boot.  Hope this helps..

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 18th, 2010 at 7:17pm
Tator: thanks for the information. After reading your post several times very slowly-- ::)--I think I get your gist. Please correct me if I'm wrong (and thanks): I can image each partition/OS independently (although I MUST image the System and Win 7 partitions together), because if I reinstall the Win 7-System image then it has all the necessary boot files to boot properly AND if I reinstall the XP image then it would boot properly because the primary/C:/Win 7-System partition is already installed with the proper boot files. And if I reinstalled both partition/OS images at the same time then all would boot properly, too, because all boot files would be present.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by Tator on Feb 19th, 2010 at 9:48am
Yes, that has been my experience up to WinXP.  However, I just remembered I've read where Win7 users of Ghost 2003 had to do a repair install to get Win7 to boot after restoring a Win7 image which is pretty easily done.  I have no experience with Macrium Reflect Free Editon and don't know if the Ghost 2003 boot after restore issue arises or not, but I suspect it should be able to be fixed by repair install if it does arise.  Perhaps a Macrium Reflect Free Editon user with Win7 might know for sure.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 19th, 2010 at 7:56pm
Thanks for the added information. I'll Google about and see what I can find, then post anything relevant.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by NightOwl on Feb 20th, 2010 at 12:32pm
@ LouieChuckyMerry


Quote:
I've just finished setting up a dual boot configuration--Windows 7(native OS)/XP Professional--on my HP Pavilion dv4 2040us, and as both operating systems are tweaked to my preferences, I'm wanting to backup in case of some catastrophic event (or if I simply want a fresh install).

This may be a situation where you have put the *cart before the horse*!!!!

It's important, if you wish to use imaging backup solutions--and use them with ease--you need to understand at the beginning how you are setting up dual or multi-booting. Here's some good references:

A Guide to the Multiboot Process

(Note: the above has not been updated for Win7--talks about Vista only--but applies to Win7 as well, at least for the most part!)

Dan Goodell's "Understanding MultiBooting"


Quote:
I'm using Macrium Reflect Free Editon, and I know that Win 7 has a "System" partition that I must image WITH the primary Win 7 partition in order to reinstall Win 7.

As soon as you report that Win7 has a separate *System* partition present, this would suggest that you have used Win7 as the *first* OS that was installed--because WinXP would not have created a separate initial *System* partition.

Out of curiosity--it appears that you are using the *Microsoft* way of Multi-booting--and every *Guide* I've seen says you must install the older Win OS first, and then the newer OSs in order of the next version--because if you install the newer first, then when you install the older versions--they will not be aware of the newer boot loader requirements of the more recent OSs--and will over-write the needed boot files in the process--so what exactly have you done to work around that?


Quote:
If it matters, I used EasyBCD to set up my dual boot configuration.

It definitely does!!!!! I'm not familiar with EasyBCD--but a quick read of their information suggests that it allows one to more easily *edit* the Microsoft's way of multi-booting--but is still essentially using the the Microsoft way:

EasyBCD Documentation

EasyBCD FAQ


Quote:
Does EasyBCD work without Windows Vista?

The official answer is no. But in reality, EasyBCD doesn't actually require Windows Vista itself just the bootloader that comes with it. You can follow these steps to install the Vista bootloader on a non-Vista machine once that's done and working, EasyBCD should run without a problem and with no limitations.

Having not worked with EasyBCD, I clearly do not understand what exactly that comment means--is EasyBCD using Microsoft's multi-boot method--or not--I just can't tell from that information!


Quote:
Disk Management shows:


Win7 C:; Simple; Basic; NTFS; Healthy (Boot, Page File, Primary Partition); 200.35 GB (90% Free)

XP D:; Simple; Basic; NTFS; Healthy (Primary Partition); 97.54 GB (93% Free)

SYSTEM[No Drive Letter]; Simple; Basic; NTFS; Healthy(System, Active, Primary Partition); 199 MB (79% Free)

Again, the above suggests that the multi-boot is using the *Microsoft* way of multi-booting--because there is an assigned drive letter for the second OS partition in addition to the first with the *C:\* drive letter.


Quote:
However, I'm not sure if the XP partition is standalone or requires files from one of the other partitions.

If you understand, at least in general terms, what is discussed here: A Guide to the Multiboot Process, then it would seem that the necessary boot files for WinXP will also be located in the Win7 *System* partition and dependent on it as well--but, depending on how EasyBCD functions--maybe that's not the case!

So, the best way to establish multi-booting--at least for ease of imaging and restoring OS partition images without them being dependant on other partitions as well--is to format the HDD ahead of time with the needed partition structure you desire (not using Win7's formatting which by default, I think, will create that separate System partition)--there may be a work-around to prevent Win7 from creating the *System* partition.

Use a boot loader that switches the *Active* partition for each partition that will have an OS installed on it--this will keep each OS partition separate from the other--and when each OS is booted, it will have the *C:\* drive letter assigned to it--other partitions will still be visible to the Active OS, and can retain their drive letter designations--so you can have a shared *data* partition, etc.. In Disk Management, the other OS partition will be visible, but its status will be *Healthy (Unknown Partition) because it will be *Hidden*, and will not be directly accessible from the current active OS--so it's protected from inadvertent changes!

Now you will have a single OS partition that has all the necessary boot files on it and independent of any other OS partition--and WinXP will not have boot files that are dependant on Win7's *System* partition and Win7's boot files! You can create and restore images of that single OS partition without effecting any other OS partition.

You may be able to still do that on your setup--I think Brian has reported a way to eliminate the Win7 *System* partition and restore boot-ability to the Win7 OS partition--and I think you can do a WinXP repair to the WinXP partition--but, I have not done these things, so you need to find an outline of the exact steps so you can protect you current OS partitions.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 21st, 2010 at 9:30pm
NightOwl:   many thanks for all the information and links.  Everything I know about computers I've learned since I bought my first laptop almost 4 years ago.  Of course, in that time I've experienced the aphorism "A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing" on more than one occasion, but I've also been helped by numerous kind people such as yourself who took time from their day to point me in the right direction.  I look forward to gaining a much greater understanding of multiboot configurations, as well as how to image them effectively, so thanks again for your help.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by Pleonasm on Feb 23rd, 2010 at 6:53am
LouieChuckyMerry, as an alternative approach, have you considered simply running Windows XP Mode within Windows 7 rather than using a dual-boot configuration?

See: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/default.aspx

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 23rd, 2010 at 11:09pm
Pleonasm: Thank you for the idea. I'd read about this in passing some time ago, but had never really considered it.  I was ignorant enough to purchase an OEM copy of XP Pro before I purchased my Windows 7 laptop, thinking that I could simply dump 7 and install XP.  Stop laughing.  I've since come to like 7, but figured that I might as well get some use out of my XP license (I've a couple of legacy apps), so I went for the dual boot.  Of course, after reading NightOwl's post and all the links and various other Googled info, I'm in the midst of changing from a Windows-controlled dual boot to an independent dual boot using GAG Boot Manager.  Although it's not recommended, I'm trying to make this functional with both OS's already installed (I really don't want to tweak another XP install).  Any idea how to change a boot path?   ::)  Seriously, if this fails or proves unwieldy, then I'll certainly look into your idea, so thanks again. 

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by Brian on Feb 24th, 2010 at 3:03am
@ LouieChuckyMerry

This should help.

http://www.themudcrab.com/separatevistaxp.php

http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=392&pt_sid=729796eef304ad26ee8895879c32041b

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by NightOwl on Feb 24th, 2010 at 10:34am
@ LouieChuckyMerry

I would be interested in your report as to how you used EasyBCD, and if it is, in fact, an enhanced way of using the *Microsoft* way of multi-booting.

I'm still curious how you added WinXP to an already existing Win7--did EasyBCD help you get around the WinXP install over-writing the Win7 boot files!


Quote:
I'm in the midst of changing from a Windows-controlled dual boot to an independent dual boot using GAG Boot Manager. Although it's not recommended, I'm trying to make this functional with both OS's already installed (I really don't want to tweak another XP install).

Well....you might have to *bite the bullet* on that one!

It's probably *easy* to put Win7 on a separate primary bootable partition because it is installed on a C: partition.

Buried in my previous comments above, but not explicitly stated is that your WinXP is installed on what it sees as a partition with the D: partition letter assigned to it. If you attempt to put it on a separate primary partition that the system now assigns as the C: partition when you make it Active, and attempt to boot--all the system files will be listed in the Registry as looking for D:--and not C:!!!!

So, the needed workaround is can you modify your current WinXP's registry to look for C: when loading--or is there a way to change what drive letter is *seen* by the system when booting--i.e. D: . I don't know if either of those workarounds are available, and/or if various boot managers have the ability to help with that issue.

And, of course, if those workaround exist--will that make imaging of individual partitions going forward *easy* or difficult.....the first workaround should make imaging *easy*, but the second workaround--don't know what *magic* is being used to trick the system into seeing the primary, active, boot partition as D: !

Let us know what you find out....

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by Brian on Feb 24th, 2010 at 10:47am
@ LouieChuckyMerry

When you are booted into WinXP, what are the drive letters for WinXP and Win7?

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 24th, 2010 at 8:45pm
Brian:  thank you for the links for separating OS's.  Of course it was the first thing I read on my freshly updated clean XP install!, but I appreciate the thought and I've bookmarked the pages for future referencing.  To answer your later question, when I was using EasyBCD to manage the dual boot the drive letters were a bit of a mess because the Win 7 OS hid the 200MB Win 7 System partition but the XP OS recognized it.  So, when I was booted into Win 7 the Win 7 partition was C: and the XP partition was D:, but when I was booted into XP the Win 7 System partition was C:, the Win 7 OS partition was D:, and the XP partition was E:.  Definitely a bit confusing.  Before I reinstalled XP, I Googled around until I found a way to eliminate the System partition in Win 7 (http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprogeneral/thread/fab5b917-f184-40eb-ba4e-b4530965adac) so that I wouldn't have to deal with this.  Once Win 7 was on a single partition, I reformatted my XP partition and did the clean install, and GAG Boot Manager recognized it straight away.  Using GAG's "Hide Primary Partition" feature, I now seemingly have 2 independent OS's, each of which are assigned drive letter C: when booted (and also don't acknowledge the existence of the other partition).

NightOwl: from what I read, EasyBCD is an enhancement of the Microsoft boot manager and not an independent boot manager (http://download.cnet.com/EasyBCD/3000-2094_4-10556865.html). ; With Win 7 already installed, I formatted a new partition and installed XP on it.  Then, I used EasyBCD to reinstall the Win 7 bootloader (http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/8790/dual-boot-your-pre-installed-windows-7-computer-with-xp/). ; My technical knowledge is limited, but I can follow direction reasonably well.  And you were correct: I did have to bite the bullet (heck, what's another couple hours after sooo many).  Once I reinstalled GAG Boot Manager and added each OS, they're seemingly independent of each other; each partition has it's own boot files and as far as I can tell their only commonality is the GAG GUI (http://gag.sourceforge.net/). ; I've already imaged the XP partition using Macrium Reflect Free Edition, and was going to see if I could reinstall it on a test partition after I finish this post.  And I'll let you know what I find out.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by Brian on Feb 24th, 2010 at 8:59pm
@ LouieChuckyMerry

That's great work. As your WinXP wasn't C: drive when booted into WinXP you did the correct thing by not following the information in my links.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 25th, 2010 at 1:36am
OK.  I've imaged the XP partition and reinstalled the image on a different test partition, using Macrium Reflect Free Edition 4.2, and all seems fine (I'm using the TestPartition/OS to type this message).  A few notes:

1) The 6GB XP OS on a 98GB partition took 3m43s to image selecting 'Image Entire Partition' while keeping the default settings, and left me with a 4.7GB image.  The Macrium user interface was very intuitive (no need for a help file, at least for this task).

2) After making a 17GB test partition with the intent of reinstalling my 4.7GB image, I discovered that due to some (poor beta testing?) reason, I was unable to reinstall to a partition or hard drive less than 98GB (the size of the originally imaged partition), even though the actual data was only 6GB.  Hmmm.  After some Googling, I learned of an app, also free, called RoboRestore:

"RoboRestore is a free utility that works with image files created with both Macrium Reflect free and full editions.  RoboRestore uses Microsoft's Robocopy utilty to copy files from a disk image to an existing file system. The existing file system can be any size greater than the used space of the partition saved in the disk image. This effectively overcomes the issue with a normal disk image restore that prevents restoring to a smaller partition than the original."

RoboRestore was also very simple to use, and the reinstall only took a bit more than 4 minutes.

3) Both the image and the reinstall were performed while booted into my Windows 7 OS (C:), but all of the files that were made/stored or reinstalled were on different drives.

My next test will be to image my Win 7 OS and reinstall it to a test partition.  I'll let you know what happens.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by LouieChuckyMerry on Feb 25th, 2010 at 4:49am
Results for the Windows 7 OS/Partition image test:

1) It took 12m24s to process the 26GB OS into a 14.3GB image file, running Macrium Reflect Free from the OS that was being imaged.  I checked the Macrium Recovery CD that I'd burned when I first installed the program, but that's only useful for restoring, not imaging.

2) The Recovery CD suffers the same "New/Old Partition/Hard Drive Sizing" problem that the program does, so I had to use RoboRestore running in the Windows 7 OS that I had originally imaged to reinstall it's image in the Test Partition.  Reinstalling took 37m13s, and when I tried to boot the Test Partition I received the error "NTLDR is missing."  I reckon that this isn't a major issue--Google is my friend--but annoying nevertheless.  What if I'm reinstalling the image because the Windows 7 OS/Partition is fully corrupted?  I guess that I'll install Macrium in the XP OS/Partition and image/reinstall from there to see if that works (but what if the entire hard drive is corrupted?).  Too many questions. 

Anyway, if somebody has a quick fix for the missing NTLDR I'd love to know it.  Right now I need a break.  Ahhh, does anybody have experience with other freeware imaging programs, something that they could recommend wholeheartedly?  Clonezilla?  Anything?  Thanks.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by Tator on Feb 25th, 2010 at 9:30am
I don't know for sure, but I suspect the problem may be the need to do a repair install mentioned in my reply #6 in order to get restored Win7 image to boot.  I suggest trying the repair install unless someone else has a simpler fix.

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by NightOwl on Feb 25th, 2010 at 10:32am
@ LouieChuckyMerry

Great feedback posts! Thank you.

I think Tator is probably correct--if you use a cloning tool to restore a Vista or Win7 to anything but its original place on the source HDD, you are likely to run into boot problems--and, if I understand correctly--as long as your setup is not too complicated, the installation Windows CD can run a *fix boot* routine to get you back to a bootable system.

These resources can answer some of the issues that have to be dealt with:

Vista's (and Win7) New Partitioning Rules

Vista's (and Win7) Boot Files

Cloning Vista (and Win7)

If you make the proper BCDEdit changes so it does not look for specific HDD ID's and offsets, then you will have a more *generalized* boot setup that will probably allow for restores such as you have done to a *test* partition!

Title: Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Post by proximityinfo3 on Jul 17th, 2010 at 12:34am
The boot.ini and other boot loader files for Windows are always on the primary partition on C drive which means boot menu for a multi boot system will appear only if those files appear on the C drive.

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