Multiple boot images on Laptops

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

G'day People,

An unusual one for you. I am looking after some laptops (Toshiba, Win
XP Pro on domain) that are used in a training environment with some
rather specialised adaptive software. We have been having problems with
various pieces of software conflicting with each other. I need to be
able to use all this software on the same machines but not at the same
time.

What I have come up with is to have a boot manager and separate boot
images and choose the image I want to use depending on which software
needs to be used for the next class at boot up. This will solve the
problem of the software conflicts as the conflicting software will be
on separate images. That would be fine and easy, except that because it
is a training environment, I was also wanting to use Ghost or something
else that would actually install a fresh copy of the chosen image every
time the computer is booted, copy it from one partition to the C:
partition and then boot that image. I am not sure if this is possible
or not. I have never heard of ghost being used in exactly this way.
PCRDist perhaps?

Thanks in advance for any help
Craig
5 answers Last reply
More about multiple boot images laptops
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    <hardlyhome@mindless.com> wrote:
    > I am looking after some laptops (Toshiba, Win
    > XP Pro on domain) that are used in a training
    > environment with some rather specialised adaptive
    > software. We have been having problems with
    > various pieces of software conflicting with each
    > other. I need to be able to use all this software on
    > the same machines but not at the same time.
    >
    > What I have come up with is to have a boot manager
    > and separate boot images and choose the image
    > I want to use depending on which software needs
    > to be used for the next class at boot up. This will
    > solve the problem of the software conflicts as the
    > conflicting software will be on separate images.
    > That would be fine and easy, except that because it
    > is a training environment, I was also wanting to use
    > Ghost or something else that would actually install a
    > fresh copy of the chosen image every time the computer
    > is booted, copy it from one partition to the C: partition
    > and then boot that image. I am not sure if this is possible
    > or not. I have never heard of ghost being used in exactly
    > this way.


    You have two possibilities:

    1) Ghost a clone to other primary partitions on the same
    disk. Then, using WinXP's built-in boot manager,
    multi-boot to the OS of your choice. Install whatever
    applications you want on each clone. You will have
    to know how to add entries to the boot.ini file which
    is in the partition marked "active", though. This is
    the file which names the optional OSes and from
    which the menu options are presented at boot time.
    It and the loader, called ntldr, are just below the root
    of the file structure on each partition, and they control
    the multi-booting and loading procedure. If the 1st
    partition will always be the one managing the loading,
    it can be kept as the partition marked "active" and you
    can just maintain the boot.ini file that is there.

    There is one caution, though. In making clones the
    usual way (i.e. from drive to drive), to avoid having the
    clone WinXP from linking into the original WinXP upon
    the clone's 1st boot-up, it is customary to disconnect
    the original OS during that 1st boot-up. That precaution
    may or may not be needed when cloning from a partition
    to another partition having a different partition number.
    Try the cloning and boot-up of the clone. Then set the
    clone partition "active" by using Disk Management, and
    groom the clone's boot.ini for a boot-up. Then delete the
    original partition, and see if the clone still works when
    you boot the drive. Then report back here.

    2) Ghost an image file of the bare OS to another partition.
    Then restore that image to the 1st partition each time
    you need it and then install in it the software you want.

    Have fun, and keep in touch.

    *TimDaniels*
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    On Wed, 15 Dec 2004 01:21:29 -0800, "Timothy Daniels"
    <TDaniels@NoSpamDot.com> wrote:

    > There is one caution, though. In making clones the
    > usual way (i.e. from drive to drive), to avoid having the
    > clone WinXP from linking into the original WinXP upon
    > the clone's 1st boot-up, it is customary to disconnect
    > the original OS during that 1st boot-up.

    Some time ago I went into this problem, but I didn't understood it
    well. What does happen, exactly?

    --
    A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
    Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
    A: Top-posting.
    Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    "Valerio Vanni" wrote:
    > "Timothy Daniels" wrote:
    >
    >> There is one caution, though. In making clones the
    >> usual way (i.e. from drive to drive), to avoid having the
    >> clone WinXP from linking into the original WinXP upon
    >> the clone's 1st boot-up, it is customary to disconnect
    >> the original OS during that 1st boot-up.
    >
    > Some time ago I went into this problem, but I didn't understood it
    > well. What does happen, exactly?


    I don't know. And it's probably a purposeful design by
    Microsoft to keep people from making clones of its
    NT-based operating systems. What you get if you're
    not careful is a siamese-twin OS instead of 2 independent
    OSes. They do work as one if they are both kept, but the
    clone can't be separated. How the clone recognizes that
    the original OS is its "parent" remains a mystery to me,
    but once booted in isolation from the original, the clone
    becomes independently bootable. (BTW, this phenomenon
    was 1st mentioned in this NG by "Rod Speed".) I haven't
    yet found the time to experiment, but I'm hoping that this
    recognition can be blocked if the clone and its "parent"
    are on differently numbered partitions. That would allow
    clones to be put on other partitions of the same HD.
    If you find out, please post it here. It does seem that the
    2nd, 3rd, and 4th clones that are put on *different* HDs
    don't need to be isolated on their 1st bootup, but I haven't
    thoroughly investigated that.

    *TimDaniels*
  4. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    On 15 Dec 2004 00:32:49 -0800, hardlyhome@mindless.com wrote:

    >G'day People,
    >
    >An unusual one for you. I am looking after some laptops (Toshiba, Win
    >XP Pro on domain) that are used in a training environment with some
    >rather specialised adaptive software. We have been having problems with
    >various pieces of software conflicting with each other. I need to be
    >able to use all this software on the same machines but not at the same
    >time.
    >
    >What I have come up with is to have a boot manager and separate boot
    >images and choose the image I want to use depending on which software
    >needs to be used for the next class at boot up. This will solve the
    >problem of the software conflicts as the conflicting software will be
    >on separate images. That would be fine and easy, except that because it
    >is a training environment, I was also wanting to use Ghost or something
    >else that would actually install a fresh copy of the chosen image every
    >time the computer is booted, copy it from one partition to the C:
    >partition and then boot that image. I am not sure if this is possible
    >or not. I have never heard of ghost being used in exactly this way.
    >PCRDist perhaps?
    >
    >Thanks in advance for any help
    >Craig


    Have you looked at virtual PC now owned by MS I recently attended a
    traing couse which required that each student needed 3 pcs which was
    clearly impractical so we each had a dell desktop fairly modest spec
    apart from 1Gb of memory but each ran 3 virtual PC's at reasonable
    speeds.

    The software is not even particularly expensive at around £100 a copy

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtualpc/default.mspx
  5. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Tim Daniels wrote.

    >> I am looking after some laptops (Toshiba, Win
    >> XP Pro on domain) that are used in a training
    >> environment with some rather specialised adaptive
    >> software. We have been having problems with
    >> various pieces of software conflicting with each
    >> other. I need to be able to use all this software on
    >> the same machines but not at the same time.

    >> What I have come up with is to have a boot manager
    >> and separate boot images and choose the image
    >> I want to use depending on which software needs
    >> to be used for the next class at boot up. This will
    >> solve the problem of the software conflicts as the
    >> conflicting software will be on separate images.
    >> That would be fine and easy, except that because it
    >> is a training environment, I was also wanting to use
    >> Ghost or something else that would actually install a
    >> fresh copy of the chosen image every time the computer
    >> is booted, copy it from one partition to the C: partition
    >> and then boot that image. I am not sure if this is possible
    >> or not. I have never heard of ghost being used in exactly
    >> this way.
    >
    >
    >
    > You have two possibilities:
    >
    > 1) Ghost a clone to other primary partitions on the same
    > disk. Then, using WinXP's built-in boot manager,
    > multi-boot to the OS of your choice. Install whatever
    > applications you want on each clone. You will have
    > to know how to add entries to the boot.ini file which
    > is in the partition marked "active", though. This is
    > the file which names the optional OSes and from
    > which the menu options are presented at boot time.
    > It and the loader, called ntldr, are just below the root
    > of the file structure on each partition, and they control
    > the multi-booting and loading procedure. If the 1st
    > partition will always be the one managing the loading,
    > it can be kept as the partition marked "active" and you
    > can just maintain the boot.ini file that is there.
    >
    >
    > There is one caution, though. In making clones the
    > usual way (i.e. from drive to drive), to avoid having the
    > clone WinXP from linking into the original WinXP upon
    > the clone's 1st boot-up, it is customary to disconnect
    > the original OS during that 1st boot-up. That precaution
    > may or may not be needed when cloning from a partition
    > to another partition having a different partition number.
    > Try the cloning and boot-up of the clone. Then set the
    > clone partition "active" by using Disk Management, and
    > groom the clone's boot.ini for a boot-up. Then delete the
    > original partition, and see if the clone still works when
    > you boot the drive. Then report back here.
    >
    >
    > 2) Ghost an image file of the bare OS to another partition.
    > Then restore that image to the 1st partition each time
    > you need it and then install in it the software you want.
    >
    >
    >Have fun, and keep in touch.
    >
    >
    >*TimDaniels*

    Thanks for the reply Tim. A few thoughts. Number 2 wont work. Each of
    the different configurations need to be used several times each week.
    Number 1 is better but it still means that if a user makes any changes
    they will be reflected in each image and I prefer them not to be. Main
    reason for this is that some of this software is playing up so much
    that I have to give the users admin rights or it wont work properly and
    in that case I don't want them to be able to do anything that can't be
    reversed by a simple log off. I'm starting to think that is not a
    simple problem and that I may have to investigate PC-RDist further.
    >From my memories of working with it a few years ago it would let me do
    what I need to do. Hopefully :-) Ah well back to surfing the net for
    info.
    Any further thoughts most appreciated.

    Thanks again
    Craig Powell
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