Dual installation - swap boot disk


OSNN Veteran Addict
Political Access
21 Mar 2002
Hi guys,

I've currently got a 250GB IDE HD with XP Pro on, and this is my primary HD. I also have a 320GB SATA HD with Vista RC1 on. I installed XP about 18 months ago and Vista about 2 months ago. Now, I want to get rid of Vista completely and use XP Pro as my main operating system - however, I want to make the 320GB SATA HD my primary disk and have the 250GB IDE disk as my secondary (which I will remove completely in about a week's time). Now my problem is thus:

If I wipe Vista and install XP Pro SP2, that disk will not be the first HD to boot, I will get a menu sent up by my existing primary disk asking me which OS to choose. However, as I want to get rid of my 250GB disk eventually, I want the 320GB disk to be my primary HD which boots first. Am I able to simply unplug my 250GB IDE HD and install XP on my 320GB SATA disk, and then change the boot sequence to boot from the 320GB disk first? When I plug the 250GB drive back in will it be recognised in my fresh installation?

If anyone can even understand my ramblings they'll get reps!
Yes that's no problem but it won't have boot information written to it if I install it as a 2nd OS and will just defer to the other disk that has the boot info written to it.
Myself I would do this in DOS with Ghost 2003 but you could also go to any drive manufactures site to download tools to do this. Tools you boot to not use while in Windows.

Copy/clone the 250 drive to the 320 which will overwrite the 320. Before rebooting do a low level format on the 250 so windows does not freak out that you have two copies of XP.
Ah but the other problem is that as I've had this OS installed for 18 months I need to format it really - If I clone it I'll just have to format it again :(
Just run XP setup and when you get to the screen to choose disk to install on delete all partions on both disks. Then choose the 250 disk and format/install XP.
ah no but I can't do that as I need a lot of the stuff on my 250GB drive, which I want to copy over to my new disc once it has a fresh installation of XP on it!
Disconnect the 250 then install XP on the 350. Shutdown PC and plug 250 back in and then boot from a BartPE CD to copy data over from 250 to 350. When done with copying over data then shutdown and boot from downloaded drive tools or XP CD to erase 250 drive partition. You may be able to delete all the data on the 250 in BartPE but I am not sure. Now boot the 350 drive into Windows.
What would happen if I disconnected my 250GB HD, installed XP onto my 320GB HD, then plugged my 250GB disk back in? Would it boot to my 320GB so long as it was set to boot from that one first?
If the 250 still has XP on it and was the boot drive then Windows may not boot either drive.
Well, thanks for your help guys, I have it sorted. What I did in the end was unplug my 250GB 'primary' disk, then install XP onto my 320GB disk, making it my new primary disk. I then plugged the old 250GB disk back in, but set the boot sequence to boot from the 320GB disk first. That's exactly what it did, and now boots from the 320GB leaving the 250GB as a secondary disk (F:\) and all is well.

So there we go, the lesson to be learned is; if both your disks have boot information on them, whichever you set to load first in the BIOS will be your primary disk. Seems quite logical in hindsight :)

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