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Dual boot (2) XP Pro installations


The Analog Kid
Here's the deal:

At work we changed over from desktops to laptops (Thinkpad R52) a few weeks ago. So now I have this nice laptop for personal usage too, the only problem is that the idiots that work in IT locked these down so tight. User accounts only have access to write to "my documents" folders. Everything is controlled via Group Policy and SMS.

Sure, I know I could just grab the admin passwords and change settings (I already have the passwords), but I really would just like to boot to a second XP Pro install to do all the stuff I want to do and leave my work install/partition alone.

I've already pulled the laptop HDD out and ghost'd it. What I'm looking for is advice on installing the second XP install and things to avoid. I've only set up dual boot with linux before. Also, how do I differentiate the two installs?

I should also mention that there is a "hidden" FAT32 Partition, not sure if this is backup or if it's for the IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad utils.


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
OK now this is a little obvious and maybe almost a hijack....

But have you considered making the second install a Linux flavoured one? That would answer all of your questions/concernd EXCEPT your requirement for a second XP! I just have the feeling XP is not designed to play that way...

As an afterthought -what are the spec for said thinkpad? You may enjoy a little dual booting into Vista and that could be a hlf way house, maybe?


Staff member
Political User
Well how big is the hidden FAT2 partiton? Well yes you can dual boot XP with XP. First you need to create a second partition for the second XP install. Easiest way to install is if you have a bootable XP CD boot to it and install it to the new partition it should find the existing install so it should fix the boot.ini record for dual booting


Electronica Addict
Political User
You will have to setup another partition to install the second OS. Installing it on the same partition can be done, but its real tricky and not really recommended.

PartitionMagic should help with creating the new partition. Then just install it on the partition you created...I've done it before without any problems.

At boot up it will ask you which OS you want to boot up with. The only problem is that you'll have two OSs on boot with the same name, so you'll have to mess around with boot.ini to distinguish between the two, unless that won't bother you too much.

The only downfall I can see is if the hidden partition behaves bad. But in theory this should work :)


The Analog Kid
The hidden partition is 3.5GB

Yes, I know that I have to make a partition. Seeing as I don't have the admin priviliges, I am going to partion it with PM on another box. Figure keep the original partition at 20 or so, and the new one will be 50ish.

Mostly I was wondering about the boot.ini. I can just edit the second install's, so they are distinguishable.

And I haven't been keeping up with Vista, that is an idea.

The hidden partition basically looks like its Windows PE with some IBM apps.
dreamliner77 said:
ONe question about that MS tutorial...

What does setting the "default OS" in the boot.ini accomplish?
It's the one that starts up after the timeout (30 seconds default) if no selection is made by the user.


█▄█ ▀█▄ █
Political User
That 3.5GB partition sounds a bit large, are you sure that wasn't created by your company? I know you said it has some IBM apps on it and stuff, perhaps you should inquire to your IT staff if you can blow it away. Or, if you are priveleged to their imaging procedures, use your own judgement. I hate having extra stuff on my computer that I don't need, 3.5GB is a lot.

I would assume that is a hidden partition, used to restore the laptop to it's factory state from IBM.

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