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Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently (Read 12978 times)
LouieChuckyMerry
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Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Reply #15 - 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-...) 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-compu...; 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.
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Reply #16 - Feb 24th, 2010 at 8:59pm
 
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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.
 
 
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LouieChuckyMerry
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Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Reply #17 - 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.
 
 
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LouieChuckyMerry
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Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Reply #18 - 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.
 
 
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Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Reply #19 - 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.
 
 
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Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Reply #20 - Feb 25th, 2010 at 10:32am
 
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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!
 

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Re: Imaging A Dual Boot So That Each OS Can Be Reinstalled Independently
Reply #21 - 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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