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WinXP boot problems. 

I have a laptop that came with Win98.  Of course, it doesn't come with a real install disk, just this 'recovery' disc that ghosts the OS onto the drive.  This image includes a big pile of crap software that I don't want.  I bought a WinXP Home upgrade package.  The upgrade is not bootable.  You have to run it from a working version of Windows.  If you install to the same partition it leaves all the crap you already have even if you tell it to do a clean fresh 'this will delete all your data' install.  It's frustrating. 

I discovered that you can install to a different partition.  So, I made another primary partition and installed to that.  Now I have a C: drive that is the original Win98 partition with all the stuff that was there and a F: drive that is the new WinXP OS.  The problem is the computer is still booting off the C: drive, despite the fact that all the XP stuff is on this screwy F: drive.  The boot.ini file is on C: and so is io.sys and autoexec.bat and stuff but I don't even know if these things are even used any more. 

I want to just delete the partition that is C: so I can install Linux, but I know that if I do then the computer won't boot.  I tried disc part of the Computer Management control panel an it refuses to do anything with the two partitions because they contain system files. 

I have googled and search Microsoft's site and I can't find any information about how to correct the NT boot loader.  I have sysed a drive before to make it bootable, back in the 98 era, but I don't know how to do it under WinXP. 

Can anyone help me out here?  TIA

The C: partition is partition 1 and F: is partition 2, if that helps at all. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Actually, you should be set up perfectly.

Put the install distro into the CD, and it will recognize the NTFS partition - and it will even note that there is an entry for the WinXP OS and will enumerate its kernel as bootable.

The real question is what important data is left around on partition #1?

Also, if you try this, you need to know that if may fail miserably ad that all data on your drive may be lost.  So, be aware of that risk.

When you install the Linux distro, you'll be shown your partitions:

/dev/hda1  # might be your partition #1
/dev/hda2  # might be your partition #2

You will be able to identify which is which by partition type: NTFS vs. FAT.

You'll have to reformat the FAT partition into Linux partition types and a swap partition.  Once you've done that, and perform the install, the linux boot loader (I use LILO, but I'm told GRUB is better) will give you a choice for booting kernels.

If you lose all your data, sorry, but it is a risk you need to be aware of.


nat ersoz
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Sounds like you need to stop throwing away your money on MS software.

Did you try using a boot disk and installing WinXP from there?  Get a win98 boot disk or make one from your current install (control panel->add/remove programs->boot disk in win98 at least).

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

No, unfortunately, he's not okay. He's right that there are files on the C: drive that he absolutely cannot get rid of.

You can't find anybody around you that has a legit CD of Windows 9x or 2000 that you can use to get a REAL clean install?

Brad Wilson (
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

This is why I always ask what CDs you get along with a system purchase.  I badly wanted one of those Fujitsu touchscreen laptops, but didn't get one because with them you don't even get a recovery CD...all you get is a separate "restore partition."  They don't even include software to back up the partition; you have to buy your own.

It astonishes me that any company would sell you a $2000 laptop and not even include a $1 backup CD.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The thing that really irritates me is that the Ghosted software restores the whole disk, and not the partition, so even if I make a separate D partition so my data is safe, the restore CD will wipe the data partition out.

Whether this is simple carelessness, or an underhand agreeement with MS to foul up partitioning so people can't install other Os's I don't know.

With Win 98 I got round the problem by using a pirate copy of the OS instead of the restore disk, but with XP that doesn't work. Partition Magic and then making your own clone of the partition will do the trick, but why you shouldn't have to go to all that trouble, and the average laptop user is not going to be able to, and quite possibly lose all his data.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

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