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Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C (Read 5142 times)
haplo
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Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Apr 19th, 2006 at 3:20pm
 
Pardon my ignorance, but I have a serious question.

First I'll note that I've read all the articles on this site about partitioning, installation, etc. but I still don't have a clear answer to this one. Also, I'm no slouch when it comes to OS installs.

I've read in various places (Radified's install pages, amongst them) that's it's a good idea to install Windows on a partition OTHER than C or D. I agree. Now for my my not-so-silly question: How on Earth do you do this??!??

Sure, you can tell XP to install on some other partition, but it still creates a C: drive and sticks at least 500KB of files (ntldr, etc.) on this partition. Seems if you want to get Windows off of the C drive, it's not a good idea to leave critical system files on a drive which you cannot re-letter. I could easily create a very small partition (first) and leave these files in that partition, but it seems a bit counter productive.

Am I missing something?? If anyone here can tell me how to install XP in a partition other than C and end up with NO C drive whatsoever, please enlighten me!
 
 
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MrMagoo
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #1 - Apr 20th, 2006 at 1:46am
 
You are correct that if you install the OS to another partition, Windows may sitll put a few files onto the C drive.  However, these files are only used to boot the operating system and are not used during normal operation. 

One way you could get rid of C: completly is to start with an upartitioned drive.  Create a small partition (say 8 MB).  Windows will name it C.  Then, create another partition of whatever size you want your windows parition.  Windows will call it D.  Then, delete C and intall Windows on D.  You will have 8 MB of unpartitioned space on your drive, but it is a small loss if you really don't want a C drive.

I am assuming you are partitioning through the Windows installer.  There may be more elegant way to accomplish this task using Partition Magic or some other program.
 
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haplo
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #2 - Apr 20th, 2006 at 12:21pm
 
Maybe I'll just leave my current partitions the way they are and use the remainder of my C drive as swap space. I swear I tried what you are suggesting, Magoo, and Winblows still created a C drive and copied files into it. It was bigger than 8M, but should that really make a difference?

Also, is there an easy way to change the install directory name? It was a simple matter in Win2K, but XP seems to have dumbed-down the install process.
 
 
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MrMagoo
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #3 - Apr 20th, 2006 at 8:49pm
 
It shouldn't matter what size you make the partition.  Personally, I just make about a 1 GB partition for swap space, like you mentioned.

I don't recall Windows asking me where I want to install it.  It probably will ask if you attempt to install it to a partition already containing Windows.  It will warn you that dual booting is the devil and then ask if you want to overwrite the previous installation or install to a different folder.  I don't know how to change it on the first install, but I would be there is a way.
 
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #4 - Apr 20th, 2006 at 9:34pm
 
When I installed WinXP on a hard drive with 3 or 4 partitions it installed itself on the boot partition and named it drive I.  Now I have partitions from I through N.  I think the previous last partition on that hard drive was J if I remember correctly.  I didn't notice this at the time because I have ADD real bad.  I saw it later when I opened Windows Explorer to look for something.

I think either Windows Partition Manager or Partition Magic will permit me to rename any partition, including the boot partition.  I haven't done that because somewhere I got the message that it is a bad idea to rename the boot partition.

If that is actually OK to do than couldn't the OP just rename his C drive?

Richard
 
 
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #5 - Apr 20th, 2006 at 10:07pm
 
i checked the guide and found this:

The first screen you see says Welcome to Windows Setup. In the window beside the words Installation Type, you will see the words Upgrade (Recommended) if you have an operating system already installed.

does this not sound familiar?

obviously you need a drive with more than one partition.

windows comes with it's own partitioning & formatting utility.

step # 4 onn this page:

http://windows.radified.com/windows_install.htm

reads:

At the top of the next screen, click on the button labeled Advanced Options. At the bottom of the next screen put a check-mark in the box labeled I want to choose the installation drive letter and partition during Setup. Your system will reboot.


sound familiar?

i thought this stuff was self-evident.
 
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haplo
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #6 - Apr 21st, 2006 at 8:30am
 
This is a brand-spanking, fresh-from-the-farm, new as a fruit fly installation on an HDD that has no formatting and has never seen and end user bit in it's life. So no, I saw none of those options during the install. The first time I did it, I made three partitions, then deleted the first one, told Windows to install into the second one, but it still formatted the first one (which IT labeled C) and then copied files into it. Angry

I just wish I could find my license key for PM... (bought v.7 years ago and lost the key... blah!  Tongue )
 
 
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #7 - Apr 21st, 2006 at 9:56am
 
haplo

Quote:
I've read in various places (Radified's install pages, amongst them) that's it's a good idea to install Windows on a partition OTHER than C or D. I agree. Now for my my not-so-silly question: How on Earth do you do this??

If you read Rad's guide--he does not say you should eliminate the C:\ partition--just install the WinXP on a different partition--so it's not in the *default* location (As a side note--seems like you would want to change the sub-directory name also from the *default= : \ Windows* if using the same reasoning for not using the same *default = C:\--my two cents worth  Wink ! )

(As a second side note:  unless I'm not too clear on what this accomplishes--any *mal-ware* or virus that is being designed to work in a Windows OS, it's going to be more sophisticated than assuming the default partition and/or default sub-directory--the mal-ware writer must know as much as we do--right--so only the kindergarden level mal-ware writer is going to be fooled so easily by changing the default settings--when working with the current WinXP boot setup--one only needs to *read* the *boot.ini* file to find the location of the WinXP installation  Sad ! --so if someone more sophisticated than I would explain why this recommendation has any real *added security*--I'm open to hearing the explanation  Wink ! )

You might gain more insight into the boot process by visiting this website: 
Understanding MultiBooting and Booting Windows from an Extended Partition


I would recommend the *whole* website be read--but for your particular question--start with the two sections: 
Background - The Boot Process
, and
MultiBooting Principles


Also, Dan Goodell has this section where you can find *tools* to use in place of programs like *PartitionMagic*: 
Useful Tools for Our Project


If, you have a version of Ghost that includes DOS Ghost--you may be able to find *Gdisk* as one of the available programs that offers the ability to hide and un-hide, as well as set different partitions *active* or not.

So here's my suggestion--I have not done it and I have no idea if it would actually work--but:

Start over--re-format the HDD so it's a clean install--create your partitions--make the first one whatever size you like--it will initially be C:\, and then D:\ where you want to actually install WinXP.

C:\ is going to have the boot files, and be the *active* partition that the initial boot points to to continue the boot sequence.

Once you have everything installed, copy the boot files to the D:\ partition (ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini) from the C:\ partition, edit that boot.ini file on D:\ so it points to *partition(2)* instead of partition (1), and now change the *active* status to partition (2) (which effectively *de-activates* the *active* status of partition (1) ).

So, now the initial boot process will look to the second partition (the *active* boot partition) for the next step of reading the boot files (ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini), boot.ini will now point to the second partition for the continued booting of the OS (boot.ini does not use *drive letter assignments--it uses the ARC path), and the WinXP registry will have D:\ as the assigned drive letter for that WinXP installation.

I would assume that once everything is installed and if it all works, you could then use WinXP's Disk Management to assign a different drive letter to that original C:\ to whatever--or just leave as C:\--use it for data storage or whatever, etc.

The above, as I previously said, is a theoretical suggestion to get you where you wanted to go--I have no idea if this would cause other unforeseen *issues*--but if you are still at the initial stage of testing different installation scenarios--go for it--and I, for one, would be most interested in the results of your efforts/experiment  Wink !

I'd be interested in the comments of others regarding any *ill-logic* noted in this plan  Wink !
 

No question is stupid...but, possibly the answers are Wink !&&
 
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haplo
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #8 - Apr 21st, 2006 at 2:14pm
 
NightOwl wrote on Apr 21st, 2006 at 9:56am:
If you read Rad's guide--he does not say you should eliminate the C:\ partition--just install the WinXP on a different partition--so it's not in the *default* location (As a side note--seems like you would want to change the sub-directory name also from the *default= : \ Windows* if using the same reasoning for not using the same *default = C:\--my two cents worth  Wink ! )


Ah-ha!! This was my other question posted in one of my own replies... I haven't figured out how to change the subdirectory name from the Windows deafult under XP... I can do it on 2K...

NightOwl wrote on Apr 21st, 2006 at 9:56am:
-when working with the current WinXP boot setup--one only needs to *read* the *boot.ini* file to find the location of the WinXP installation  Sad ! --so if someone more sophisticated than I would explain why this recommendation has any real *added security*--I'm open to hearing the explanation  Wink ! )


My thoughts exactly!! When I first attempted this, I thought it was rather silly that Windows created a C drive and then placed some of the most critical OS files into it... As you say, it's a simple matter of reading
boot.ini
to find out where the rest of the OS is located. Personally I'm not worried about malware anyway as no machine I've ever owned has ever been infected with anything. I just figured I'd give this scenario a try for two reasons: A) I'm a geek. 2) There's no such thing as too much security.

I will definitely give your suggestion(s) a try and post my results next week.
 
 
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haplo
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #9 - Apr 21st, 2006 at 2:24pm
 
p.s. Now if I could decide whether to get another 74G Raptor or go with a known-to-have-a-non-fatal-defect WD2500KS for $40 less...
http://websupport.wdc.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4003
 
 
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MrMagoo
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #10 - Apr 21st, 2006 at 3:30pm
 
NightOwl wrote on Apr 21st, 2006 at 9:56am:
haplo

(As a second side note:  unless I'm not too clear on what this accomplishes--any *mal-ware* or virus that is being designed to work in a Windows OS, it's going to be more sophisticated than assuming the default partition and/or default sub-directory--the mal-ware writer must know as much as we do--right--so only the kindergarden level mal-ware writer is going to be fooled so easily by changing the default settings--when working with the current WinXP boot setup--one only needs to *read* the *boot.ini* file to find the location of the WinXP installation  Sad ! --so if someone more sophisticated than I would explain why this recommendation has any real *added security*--I'm open to hearing the explanation  Wink ! )

!


There isn't a big security advantage anymore.  As you noted, malware has become more sofisticated.
 
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Dan Goodell
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #11 - Apr 21st, 2006 at 5:18pm
 
NightOwl wrote:
"one only needs to *read* the *boot.ini* file to find the location of the WinXP installation"


It's not even that complicated.  Just read the environment.  Open a command prompt window, type "set" and press [Enter].  You'll see all sorts of data that's useful to malware programs.

Haplo, IMHO a major disincentive to putting Windows on other than C: is that it can create difficulties when restoring Ghost images.  This has been covered in other threads (how to get Windows to see itself by the correct drive letter after it's restored), so I won't rehash here.

I recommend always installing Windows on C:, and see no point in trying to change the installation directory.


 
 
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #12 - Apr 22nd, 2006 at 9:01am
 
Dan Goodell

Quote:
Just read the environment.  Open a command prompt window, type "set" and press [Enter].  You'll see all sorts of data that's useful to malware programs.

Wow!  That's a big screenful of data---like:

Quote:
SystemDrive=C:
SystemRoot=C:\WINDOWS
windir=C:\WINDOWS

I had not paid any attention to the *set* command for the *environment* since switching to WinXP--but that sure makes your installation directory pretty clear for any mal-ware/virus to find your Windows OS!

haplo

I agree with Dan's statements:
Quote:
Haplo, IMHO a major disincentive to putting Windows on other than C: is that it can create difficulties when restoring Ghost images.

I recommend always installing Windows on C:, and see no point in trying to change the installation directory.


It just makes matters difficult when you start planning backup and restore strategies!

Quote:
Ah-ha!! This was my other question posted in one of my own replies... I haven't figured out how to change the subdirectory name from the Windows deafult under XP...

I don't remember exactly where you find that option--but I suspect it's in that *Advanced Options* mentioned by Rad in his *Reply #5* above.
 

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MrMagoo
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Re: Installing XP Pro on anything BUT C
Reply #13 - Apr 22nd, 2006 at 5:23pm
 
You only get the "Advanced Options" if you are installing or upgrading from within another Windows OS.  If you are doing the install on a blank drive, as halpo seems to be, that option isn't available.  There probably is a way to change the installation directory on a bare install, but it is beyond my knowledge.
 
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