Add XP to existing dual boot, Win2k + Linux

Microsoft Windows xp professional editio...
September 25, 2009 at 11:04:41
Specs: Windows 2000/Mandriva, 3GG dual core 64 bit/ 3GB Ram
I have a dual boot machine set up. Already existing is Win2k and Mandriva Linux. I want to add Win XP Pro to the mix as a third boot option without damaging existing setup which uses Grub to boot. I don't care what manages the boot options however. I have Partition Magic which includes an optional boot manager that can be installed if this would be better than Grub.

Hope someone has some good suggestions for me prior to starting.

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September 26, 2009 at 18:35:10
Need more info:
1)how many hdd's ?
2)output from linux's 'fdisk -l' -l is a small L not a one.
3)what is on each partition as listed by fdisk.
4)need to know if XP will be installed onto a primary or extended volume partition.

It will likely mess up GRUB but it can be reinstalled. You can also setup XP's boot.ini for all 3 OS's if gurb is installed on Mandriva root (/) partition and on same hdd.

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September 28, 2009 at 07:41:34
I have two HDDs lot's of space to spare.
Most space is extended.

HDD 0: ( present OS boot drive )
*Win2k 70MB ( 65 GB Free )
*Linux 7.1GB Boot
*Linux 3.9GB Swap
*Linux 59.2 GB All Else

*8MB unallocated
*48.8 NTFS ( mostly empty )
*97.65 NTFS ( 55 GB Free )
*130.77 NTFS ( 87.5 GB Free )
*20.83 NTFS ( encrypted for bookkeeping )

With Partition Magic I can also re-size the partition that contains the Win2k since it is mostly free space. I don't install programs on the same partition with my OS.

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September 28, 2009 at 18:33:05
From what you posted can not tell what partitions are primary or logical volumes. With out the info can not give good advice.

Some facts:
1) when you install XP or W2k they will rewrite the boot code in the MBR. If GRUB is in the MBR you will need to reinstall it.

2) XP will write its boot files to the active/boot primary partition if it is NTFS or FAT32, even it you select to put the OS files on a different partition.

3) There must be a NTFS/FAT32 primary partition that XP can make active for its boot files.

4) If you re-size a partition there is always a possibility of data lose, so backup any important data, favorites, email,address boot ,ect.

You can use the "hdd1" for XP and GRUB on 'hdd0' to select OS's with no problems. If you do, I would disconnect "hdd0" , during the install. Then reconnect and boot into linux and edit menu.lst file to add XP.

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Related Solutions

September 29, 2009 at 08:39:47
Win2k is already there. All data and most programs are in separate partitions from the OS so that is not an issue. That includes emails etc. I use TBird email and those folders are in a partition that is backed up and also accessible from the linux version of TBird so all contents are the same from any boot.

If I should lose a boot partition the worst that happens is I have to reinstall some applications. I have gone through this a number of times w/o problems when it comes to adding linux to an existing windows machine but have never added another version of windows to a machine already set up with both linux and an existing windows OS.

I have even considered just replacing the Win2k with the XP since it is supported less and less. I have a license for XP already that is not being used on any machine. The only reason I would keep the Win2k is that I am familiar with it and it is stable.


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September 29, 2009 at 14:10:02
You just install XP. It will bork your Grub. You then re-install and edit grub conf to work with the installs. Be sure to copy what you have now for pointers.

A much easier way would be to run a Virtual machine and not bork anything.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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September 30, 2009 at 07:20:51
My only concern with a virtual machine is that most I have seen are slow compared to a direct installation. Also a virtual machine still depends on the "host" OS so if I install XP virtually inside Win2k and for some reason that goes bonkers I can't access the XP to go about my work until I fix the Win2k.

I think for the sake of real redundancy I would prefer a separate installation for XP so it does not need to depend on any other OS to function.

I have Super Grub on a CD so even if the MBR is taken over by XP I can boot to any of the OS's via the SuperGrub disk and fix the boot manager.

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September 30, 2009 at 14:04:03
Modern computers are made to run VM's
A supported processor can run a guest near or above native speeds.
A VM is a file it can be moved, it is not host dependent. It can be copied and run as long as you don't suffer a hard drive fail. Which of course you'd lose all data.

There are a few hundred web how-to's on dual booting.

The only thing I forgot is that you may need a loader on the "partition" and not in the MBR. That is all on the grub docs and other how-to's. Many linux distro's still have difficulty or impossible to easily tell how you want the install to work.

There are also things like wubi and co-linux.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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October 1, 2009 at 07:30:53
I may give the VM a try. Which one would you suggest?

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March 7, 2010 at 05:20:35
i am a computer novice, i can do very basic tasks. like running a antivirus software.

is there an easy way to dual boot if i have Windows XP allready installed. i want to run Suse, but if someone can suggest a more user friendly os that is cool.
thanks george

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