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Re-installing Windows XP onto a second hard drive

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  • User profile image
    Doctor Who

    I’ve got an old PC, which has a failing C: drive in it.  This PC has only 512 MB of RAM, and it is expensive RAM so I don’t want to upgrade to 1 GB.  It also has a second hard drive, as the D: drive, which works fine.  I am thinking of installing XP Pro onto the D: drive.  What I’m wondering about is will there be a problem making this the primary drive, especially if the C: drive fails me completely?  I believe there is a file called BOOT.INI which lists the hard drives and which one is the primary drive, etc.  My guess is that BOOT.INI is on the C: drive.  If C: fails, then won’t that make it impossible for the machine to know which is the correct boot drive?

  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    Doctor Who wrote:
    I’ve got an old PC, which has a failing C: drive in it.  This PC has only 512 MB of RAM, and it is expensive RAM so I don’t want to upgrade to 1 GB.  It also has a second hard drive, as the D: drive, which works fine.  I am thinking of installing XP Pro onto the D: drive.  What I’m wondering about is will there be a problem making this the primary drive, especially if the C: drive fails me completely?  I believe there is a file called BOOT.INI which lists the hard drives and which one is the primary drive, etc.  My guess is that BOOT.INI is on the C: drive.  If C: fails, then won’t that make it impossible for the machine to know which is the correct boot drive?


    What does RAM have to do with it? I think you're confusing yourself here. As for expensive RAM, it probably was expensive at first. You can probably get 1GB for the same price you paid. Also, how do you know the HDDs broken? I've seen many cases where people claim their HDDs are dying, and they're running high perf applications on little RAM.. might be the same problem.

    You can install XP on the D drive. Go for it. Just make sure you've got your stuff backed up.

    As for Boot.ini, that's not my "field", per sé. It is my understanding that should you have XP installed on D, and C failed, then the PC wouldn't see C and would just jump straight to D. Once you install XP onto D, you install Boot.INI there as well, so it would initialize as usual. I think Smiley

    Install XP on D, open your BIOS (press F2, Esc, whatever it says to "enter bios" or "enter configuration") and set it as the default boot drive.

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  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    Not wishing to state the obvious here, but why not swap the drives arround when you re-install that way if the current c: drive fails then it won't get in the way of the boot process.

  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    Just run a clean XP install, either by booting from the XP CD or from your existing installation. Tell it to perform a new clean installation, point it at drive D: and let it update your BOOT.INI by itself. Shouldn't be a problem.

  • User profile image
    joberschwei​ber

    In case you need to update the Boot.ini later on or even need to rewrite your MBR (if your C: drive does fail and you want to boot off the other one), you can do so using the recovery console (boot off your XP disc). The two commands you would need for that are fixboot and fixmbr.

  • User profile image
    TimP

    Lloyd_Humph wrote:
    
    What does RAM have to do with it? I think you're confusing yourself here. As for expensive RAM, it probably was expensive at first. You can probably get 1GB for the same price you paid.


    I'm guessing it's Rambus RD-RAM. Last time I checked (a few years ago), you could get 1GB of DDR RAM for around $130 and 512MB of RD-RAM was around $200. I don't know if they even sell Rambus RAM anymore (I don't see any one Newegg). I remember doing an estimate and finding that it would be cheaper to buy a new motherboard and 1GB of DDR RAM than buying an additional 512MB of RD-RAM.

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