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How Do I Make A Windows Xp Partiton Bootable?


purplespider
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Originally my laptop had Windows XP Home installed on C:,

 

I installed Windows XP Pro on a new partition I: so the sytem is now a dual boot,

 

I now want to get rid of the C: partition so that my only OS is XP Pro on I:,

 

But boot.ini is on C: not I:, so I'm afraid that if I delete the C: partition my system won't bootup.

 

So how can I make sure the drive I: is bootable?

 

Thanks

James

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James, you've got a problem, there...

 

You see, the hard drive has this tiny little area, right on the first sectors, called the Master Boot Record (MBR). In this area, there's a tiny piece of software, called the boot loader. It's a low level program that sits between the BIOS and your operating system. When your computer boots up, it's up to the BIOS to make it work for the first few seconds and then, when it's time to load the operating system, the BIOS passes control to the boot loader. On Windows, the boot loader is that ugly black screen that allows you to chose if you want to boot Windows XP Home or Pro. Once you select which OS you want to boot, the boot loader calls the corresponding OS loader and off it goes.

 

Windows' boot loader expects to find the boot.ini file somewhere in the C drive, just like you said (I'm not sure if it has to be on some specific hard drive sectors or not). So, if you get rid of the C partition, you'll get rid of boot.ini and the boot loader won't be able to present you the available options.

 

And now comes the bad part: theoretically, you could try to copy boot.ini to partition I, use something like Partition Magic to wipe out partition C and expand partition I to occupy the space previously taken by partition C. Partition I would then become the only partition on your disk and would be renamed to C.

This would possibly allow you to start booting windows XP pro, but only if the boot loader doesn't need boot.ini to be in some specific hard drive sectors. But I think you'd still have problems, because since XP Pro was set up on partition I, it would be looking for some stuff on I: but since there's no partition I anymore, the system would probably crash and stuff like that (not that it's not a normal thing for Windows to do but it would do it even more... :dance:).

 

So... I'd say that your best bet is to make backups of everything, wipe out the partitions on your disk, create a single primary partition and reinstall windows.

If you have the time and patience, you could try that theory of copying boot.ini and if it works, you'd post the results here, 'cause I'm curious to see if it would work :dance:

Edited by TCH-Raul
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I'm with Raul. This could be tricky. I tried something similar last week. I have XP and Red Hat linux installed to dual boot. I needed to copy some stuff over for my daughter from her laptop so I used Partition Magic to delete the linux partition (sorry, Raul, I know you are about to stroke out as you read this) and convert it to a Windows partition so I would have the space I needed. All worked fine until I went to reboot the next day. Since I was using Lilo as a boot manager I suddenly was unable to boot into any OS.

 

I ended up reinstalling Red Hat and lilo and all is back to normal.

 

Bottom line, back up everything before you proceed!

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Just out of curiosity, why did you install home and pro? Theres isnt that much difference in the two, pro has a few more admin tools and networking tools but they are both the same OS more or less.

 

I have pro on 3 computers here and home on a fourth, i cant think of a time i have ever needed any of the "extra" stuff on xp pro.

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you could try to copy boot.ini to partition I, use something like Partition Magic to wipe out partition C and expand partition I to occupy the space previously taken by partition C. Partition I would then become the only partition on your disk
This is what I was planning to do but does there have to be a C: partition? cause I was just going to leave the partition as I:. If there doesn't have to be then I think I might just give this ago and see what happens, but are there not other files which I will need to copy across to I: from C: like NTLDR which I keep coming across when searching for help about this on google, what is NTLDR?

 

Just out of curiosity, why did you install home and pro?

 

Well my laptop originally came with Home installed, but got to a stage when it was getting a bit clogged up as they do, so just decided to put Pro on it instead of starting with Home again. Also when using my laptop in the CompSci labs at Uni, I can use the Remote desktop feature in Pro, as it only works one way in Home (can't remember which way though)

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Hmmm, well I copied boot.ini from C: to I: and then deleted the C: partition using partition magic, now when I try to boot the sytem up it says "NTLDR is missing, Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart" and will get no further :)

 

Anyone know how I can recover from this?

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That looks like its Windows' boot loader that is missing. It was probably in the C partition. I have no idea how you can recover from that... I don't think it's possible to install just the boot loader with MS tools but if you want to try, you can install another boot loader, like Grub, and try to access the Windows instalation from there. It's a long shot but the other option I see is that you reinstall Windows.

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Hmm, ok.

 

I came across this while searching google: http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000465.htm#b

 

It has several solutions for the missing NTLDR and the one which seemed like the problem i was having was to restore NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM back to my hard drive from the XP Pro CD, I've tried this but it hasn't made any difference.

 

Surly this can easily be fixed by just working out which files I need to put on I: to make it bootable, but its just a matter of finding out which files they are, oh well time to go googleing!

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OHHH YESSSSS!!!!!!!! I FIXED IT!!!!! :dance: :whip: :lol:

 

Went into the XP Repair console thing from the XP Pro CD and did a dir on I:, NTLDR or NTDETECT.COM did not appear to be there so the first time i tried to copy them from the CD it must not have worked, so I copied them over again, did a 'fixboot' and 'fixmbr' just to be sure and when I rebooted, BINGO, straight into XP Pro!

 

Thanks for your advice guys!!

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