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Change partition from non-bootable to bootable.

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Bud Norris, Feb 9, 2005.

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  1. Bud Norris

    Bud Norris Thread Starter

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    I read all the messages about making sure the partition is botable. However nothing was mentioned about changing a partition that has an existing OS working on it from not bootable to bootable.
    I have two HDD with two partitions each. One HDD has Windows 98 on partition 1 and storage on partition 2. The other drive has Windows 2000 Pro on partition 1 and Windows XP Home on partition 2.
    When I set up my partitions with Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Tools, the only partition that was made bootable was the one active partition with Windows 98. The other three partitions are primary but non-bootable.
    I use the Windows loader to access each OS.
    Now I need to format the Windows 98 partition but can't take a chance of wiping out the MBR which is on the first disk and thereby having no way to access Windows XP for regular operations until I get 98 working again.

    So does anyone knowif it's possible to change the status of a working partition (Windows XP) from non-bootable to bootable without destroying the partition? Other wise I have to completely clean both drives and start over from scratch installing all the OS.
     
  2. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    You can do it...... but.... it breaks the rules set by MS about the sequence of installing operating systems, and involves some manual intervention. It would be easier to achieve if you use a third party boot manager rather than the MS one.
    MS actually lie to people when they say that they support multiple boot. In fact they don't. What happens is that they put some code on the actual bootable disk (in all cases the first partition that the BIOS finds that is marked active) that is, in this case, the 98 disk. This code then looks at a file called boot.ini and does 1 of 2 things.
    If a 9x/ME OS is selected it temporarily rewrites the boot code to bypass itself and boot to the OS on the current disk, and does a software boot. If the selected OS was NT based it just passes control to the start up code for that OS on the appropriate disk.
    Now what you want to do involves removing all this controlling software(the MS 'boot' manager) so you have to be careful what and how you do it.
    Look up installing 98 after 2k or XP on google. There are several good write ups available.
     
  3. Bud Norris

    Bud Norris Thread Starter

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    Thanks for your reply Dave.
    It seems that the more I inquire about this the more complicated it gets.

    Do you know of a way to 'see' these hidden MBR files?

    Will installing an OEM boot manager wrest control of the MBR from the MS bootloader?

    I know the BIOS looks for the first active drive on the first selected HDD which in my case is EIDE0 with C: the active/bootable partition. However changing the BIOS to look at EIDE1 first should cause the active/bootable drive/partition, if found, on that HDD to boot.

    I tried changing ,in BIOS, the boot drive selection, from EIDE0 to EIDE1, hoping I could boot to XP which is on EIDE1. But with the partition with XP being set as non-bootable that won't work. Thats why I want to change the partition setting to bootable.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Right now Windows 98 won't boot. I upgraded a program and all of a sudden Win98 won't boot and just keeps restarting into "Safe Mode". I can't figure out what to do fix the problem while in safe mode. I think the upgrade somehow screwed up the registry because everytime Win98 boots to the safe mode I see a flash of the configuration updating window just before it boots to safe.

    So I want to format the C: drive that has Win98 and reinstall Win98 back on the same drive. I know I can do this using the startup disk with CD support. My problem is if I format the C: drive I believe it will wipeout the Master Boot Record (MBR) with the boot manager file, then I won't be able to boot to XP unless that drive is set as bootable.
    I know about the boot.ini file and it is in the root dir of the C: drive. This I could copy and reinstall after Win98 is installed but if the MBR is wiped out it will not even be looked at.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I just bought Partition Magic 8.0 hoping it may be of use in changing the settings.

    If all else fails I will wipeout both HDDs and repartition and reinstall the OS. I want to change my partition arrangement anyway, so as to make smaller partitions for the OS since I don't store my saved data on the same partition or drive as the OS in case of disk failure.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    A boot manager is definitely the easiest idea. It will prevent having to reinstall the most recently released OS every time you reinstall one of the older ones, and makes for quick and easy control of which OS to boot into, and which OS will be the default.

    This boot manager can be run from a floppy, if you prefer, or it can be installed to the heard drive, regardless of what file system is used (Some boot managers require that they be installed on FAT32 or some other particular type of partition). The manager can be installed to the HD from the floppy, and it can also be easily uninstalled from the floppy, returning things to the way they were before installation.

    http://gag.sourceforge.net

    Of all the ones I've tried, this is the only one that has remained problem-free, even with Linux, Solaris 10, or FreeBSD occupying the other partitions.
     
  5. Bud Norris

    Bud Norris Thread Starter

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    Thanks Elvandil I will try it.
     
  6. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    Bud, as said yes, installing a boot manager will help. I use http://www.symon.ru (a small fee) because it has a lot more than a boot manager built in, but in any you should go for one that installs in the first track.
    Use Partition Magic to set the XP partition active. You should then Format the 98 partition.
    You will have to boot from the XP install CD and go to the recovery console to rebuild the boot files that XP put on the active partition. Once there you do a fixmbr and a fixboot. Also you should check the boot configuration. I can't remember just now what the exact command is (I'm on 2k just now)
    I am just going to do this same thing with a customer's machine if you want to wait until I get back.
     
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