Hardware Help!: Replacing Slave Drive

While I’m not Case or Vede, I can pretty much swap out a motherboard, jam everything back in, seal it all up with Elmer’s glue and chicken wire and get a cursor blinking on the monitor without too much electrocution. But this little stunt has me licked.

I have a primary 80GB hard drive with WinXP on it as my D: drive. However, the machine I am using it on used to be my Win98SE machine. Since I didn’t feel like making the great leap forward into XP, I let it become a dual-boot machine with Win98 still an option at start up. Win98 resides on a 10GB slave drive that was bizarrely partioned into C: and G: (E: is my DVD-ROM and I have no clue why it skipped F: and went to G: ) when XP and the new drive was installed.

Ever since then, I have been completely unable to tell that damn machine to ignore the C: (where the 98 sleeps at night), and just boot up to sunny Mr. XP on the D:. The dual-boot up screen gives me no option to just ignore C:.

So I bought a new 120GB to replace the 10GB (I don’t want to chain it because I’ve added a second ROM drive, an ethernet and a firewire cards, and I don’t want tax the power suppply). I thought I’d just swap out the 10 Gigger, set the jumpers, put 120 Gigger where the 10 was, fire it up, set the BIOS to detect it and the damn thing would boot to XP and I’d be on my way.

Uh, no.

I get some sort of NON-BOOT DISK ERROR PLEASE TRY AGAIN. No matter what I put in the DVD-ROM drive, it won’t boot. So I had to swap the 10 Gigger back in just to start the thing up and post this message.


    • How do I tell a dual-boot system to simply boot to XP and ignore the C: ?
    • I have to make the new 120 Gigger the C: drive don’t I? I thought there first physical drive had to be C:. Is that right?
    • I don’t have a floppy drive, but the hard drive came with a 3.5" boot disk. Will I have problems getting this thing to boot without a floppy drive? I really don’t want to by a floppy drive just for this.

The first person with a helpful response gets…uh…my undying gratitude!

If the “dual boot screen” you are referring to is the Windows XP loader, you probably need to edit the boot.ini file that feeds that loader.

Or if you want to use the GUI: right click my computer> properties> advanced> startup and recovery settings> default operating system and select XP as the default. That should get you to boot into XP by default. Depending on where your boot files live, you may be able to swap out the little drive for the big one. If it still complains, you’re going to have to reinstall XP. Make sure your system is set to look at the DVD drive on startup, and put your XP cd in the drive. Watch as it starts up, because it may want you to hit a key before it will boot from the CD.

The thing is that the entire XP bootloader is on the C drive. You take that out, everything goed buhbye.

What you need to do is get the XP bootloader on your new drive. Do do this, make and use a recovery disk or boot from the XP CD. Install the new drive, get to the recovery console, and type FIXBOOT.

What they said.

However, you may want to eventually simplify your setup. Unless you desperately need Win98 for something, you should probably do a clean install of XP at some point and reinstall your apps. I ran a dual boot Win9x/WinXP setup for awhile, and it was never as stable as I would like. I finally took the plunge, reinstalled XP to a clean disk, and have been much happier since.

And I don’t miss Win9x.

Thanks for the help, guys. I’ll give those suggestions a try tonight.


do this

[li]Install the new drive as the master. Check the jumpers to ensure that you have them set properly. Some drives have different jumps depending on whether they are the master in a single drive system or the master in a dual drive system. WATCH for this!!
[/li][li]Install the old drive as the slave but disconnect the drive cable and power supply!
[/li][li]Find something like Partition Magic (you might find other cheap and free alternatives online) and partition the entire new drive as C (don’t format it yet) then make it the active drive. If you fail to do this, you will have incorrect drive letters when you install the OS. You can also do this during the OS install if you so prefer.
[/li][li]Go into your BIOS and set it to boot from CDROM. Then insert the winXP CDROM and install. During installation, you will be prompted to either repair an existing install (if you have the slave drive connected, it will find the OS on the slave drive) or create a new one. Create a new one on the NEW DRIVE. Format it for NTFS
[/li][li]Once the OS install is done and you’ve got your desktop, you will notice that your new HDD is now C: and your CDROM is D: Go into Control Panel/Admin Tools/Computer Management/Disk Management and left-click on the CDROM. Then change its drive letter to something like Z (I have my CDROM and DVD on all my machines as Y/Z). Then shutdown the OS and turn off the power.
[/li][li]Connect the slave drive’s cable and powersupply, remove the OS CDROM from the drive and reboot. Go into your BIOS and make sure that all drives are detected. Then proceed to the OS. Here you will find that you now have C: D: Z: drives. From here, you can transfer your sensitive data from the D: drive to the C: drive or just continue using the D: drive as-is. Though you might want to nuke the D:\WINDOWS folder. In fact, you really should remove all your stuff from the D: drive and reformat it.

No, you don’t need a floppy drive. But trust me, you’re better off with one. Or at the very least, a miniature USB drive like this 64MB one (I have the 256MB version).

Hope this helps. If you need further assistance, catch me on ICQ because it is highly unlikely that I’d be able to post again once Tom crawls out of bed.

(Thread drift warning)

I have an old W98 machine I use to play some old DOS games that won’t run on XP. I’m getting ready to give away the 98 machine and was planning on setting up a dual-boot, if possible, on my current rig. But I don’t want to do that if it’s unstable.

It seems like there ought to be a DOS emulator for XP out there somewhere, but I’ve never found one. Does anybody know of one?

Thanks for the step-by-step, Derek. I’ll give this a try as I was unable to successfully get things going with the FIXBOOT trick using recovery mode and the WindowsXP disc. I’ll hunt you down on ICQ if I contine to have trouble.

Why do you need a DOS emulator? You can just as well go to www.bootdisk.com and download a bootdisk image and create it. Make sure you have a FAT or FAT32 partition for your DOS games, then when you want to play them, you boot off the floppy. No emulator required.

And setting up a dual boot system (I have two quad boot systems actually - WIN98, WIN2K Pro, WINXP, SuSE Linux) is only unstable if you can’t keep stuff separate. For e.g. the Program Files folder will be shared by all installed WIN OS apps. Don’t do that.

Instead, install WIN98 to C:\WINDOWS and WINXP to C:\WINNT (or similar).

If you know what you’re doing, then you would just use a tool (e.g. PM) and hide the WIN9X partition so that WINXP never sees it. In fact, if your WINXP partition is NTFS, then the WIN9x partition will never see it. Problem solved.

WIN9X partition - FAT32
WINXP partition - NTFS

However, the WINXP OS will see the WIN9X partition but programs will NOT attempt to use the Program Files folder on that partition unless that is the OS you booted to.

WINXP, like WIN2K, comes with a good dual OS boot loader which works just fine. You just have to know what you’re doing. Here are some helpful resources on my site. Troll the list and you should fine a tweak on dual boot systems.

No worries. If I’m not on ICQ, just email me. I’m at work and my email gets auto-checked every 30 mins.