Dual Boot Two Drives with two XP

January 17, 2009 at 12:24:20
Specs: Windows XP, intel P4 CPU 3.06 ghz 3.06ghz 2.00 GBof Ram
I installed my old drive from my other computer as a slave in hopes that I would be able to dual boot both drives.

Both drives have XP.

My older drive has a full version of XP and all of my valuable programs, which will not install correctly when I try to just do a transfer. Thus the reason I wanted dual drives for the time being.

From all my reading, I learn that bringing a drive from another computer is the reason why I can not dual boot the second drive.

What can I do. I really want both drives to work so I can use files and programs from each drive.

Can you help???

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January 17, 2009 at 12:42:24
"I installed my old drive from my other computer as a slave in hopes that I would be able to dual boot both drives."
Unless that drive has a full retail licence it is illegal to transfer it to another machine.
That said there is also the difference in hardware that it was set up on.
If the programs on that drive were prinstalled by the manufacturer then the same licence conditions apply.
If they are programs you purchased, just reinstall them.
Whilst it's possible you may be able to get both to duall boot, it will fail the activation check and $MS will disable the system.

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January 17, 2009 at 13:07:28
I'll assume you have legal keys for both XP installs...HDD-1 & HDD-2. Someone else may have a better suggestion but here's mine...

- disconnect HDD-1 so nothing happens to it
- connect HDD-2 as primary master & do a repair installation of XP
- install all the drivers, run Windows Update, install anti-v, etc.
- once XP on HDD-2 is fully operational, reconnect HDD-1 as primary master & switch HDD-2 to either primary slave or better yet, put it on the 2ndary channel (master or slave doesn't matter)
- boot into XP (HDD-1) & install a 3rd party boot manager such as GAG


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January 17, 2009 at 13:13:49
Why do you want to dual boot? If you can boot from the drive that was in the computer originally you can read the data of the other drive without having to boot from it.

You will have to reinstall the applications. The is an unavoidable necessity when you start moving hard disks around. Even if you did get the drive to boot there will be a good chance the applications will not work.


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January 17, 2009 at 16:53:01

The OP has an OEM OS and programs that can't be installed on the newer computer. They are hoping to make the old drive bootable and work in the new one.


A big reason why OEM computers are cheap is because the OS and programs are keyed to the original computer (actaully the motherboard). That means they were never intended to be moved or copied to a different platform. I am fairly certain that should you try the approach jam suggested you will need to phone in for activation and will not get it.

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January 17, 2009 at 21:35:33

I like your answer but have two other questions.

But first, for all concerned...YES, I have two legal copies of XP...In fact I purchased a full version of XP professional and pay lots of money for it. I did this because my old computer had a lame install from Gateway and they would not take it back, so I fixed it by installing a full version myself.

Now my questions,

How do I do a repair install on the 2nd drive...do I have to install again with the original disk? Do I run the risk of lossing data and other programs?

When I complete the repair install how should I do the jumper for primary slave? What is the difference between a slave and primary slave.

Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.

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March 11, 2009 at 07:23:49
I was interested in this thread because I have a computer running Windows XP which is more than two years old and is showing signs that it may be a good idea to re-install Windows.
Since it has two hard-drives I can see no reason not to follow the suggestion (Response 2) of JAM, reverse the Master/Slave drive connections and (temporarily) disconnect the (now) slave drive and reinstall XP and the Motherboard drivers on the other. (I do have both the XP disk and the Motherboard driver disk.).

At this point there should be no legal problems, since I will be simply reinstalling Windows on the same computer.

I can then reinstall the programs which I require as I need them over a few days/weeks. However, I should still have quick access to a working version of any program I have not reinstalled, should I need it, by switching back to the original installation.

After six months, or so, I can then delete the original installation on the assumption that any programs not transferred are not needed. Of course, I still have the disks (or several copies of the files concerned) for all those programs if I need any of them again.

(Thanks for the information on GAG.)

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