Dual Boot XP and XP with 2 C:\’s

Sometimes children break things. With computers being commonly shared in homes for work and for play, occasionally what they break is your installation of Microsoft Office, rendering it impossible for you to open your e-mail.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have 2 operating systems? One for work and one for play, and to be able to hide the work from the play?

Taken alone, that’s a very VERY easy task to accomplish. But what if you’re doing this for a client and they need the system drive letter on each installed OS to be C:\, for both installations to be on the same disk, and for them to be on separate partitions?

That may not sound like much of a chore until you actually try it, and get weird drive letters for the second install D:, E:, or in my case, G:.

This took some serious mind-wrestling to work out, and you’ll need some supplies.

  • Windows XP Install CD
  • Symantec Ghost boot disks
  • A Linux LiveCD with GPartEd

There may be other ways to do this, but here’s what I did:

  1. Load GParted and split the drive into 2 NTFS Primary partitions.
  2. Install Windows XP on the first partition.
    Once this is done, you may wish to install drivers and applications common to both installs.
  3. Use Ghost to do a Partition to Partition clone, using the first as the source and the second as the destination.
  4. Immediately after Ghosting, without letting windows load, boot back into Linux. Use GPartEd to Set the second partition as the Boot partition, then open the boot.ini file on the second partition and replace it with the following:

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Work” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS=”Play” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

  5. Boot into “Play”, click the Start menu, right click the “My Computer” icon and click Manage…
    From here, click the “Disk Management” option on the left of the resulting window.
    You will see one of the disks has D:\ and C:\ partitions in that order.
    Right click D:\
    Click Change or Remove Drive Letters
    Click D:\ in the menu, and choose “Remove”
    Now the Work partition is hidden as a drive from the Play partition, and the two will both show up as C:\ when logged into them.

And there ya have it. Please post any questions or comments you may have for me.
I’m here to help!

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