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Multiple boot images on Laptops

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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
December 15, 2004 3:32:49 AM

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
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
December 15, 2004 4:21:29 AM

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*
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
December 15, 2004 4:19:16 PM

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?

--
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A: Top-posting.
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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
December 15, 2004 4:19:17 PM

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*
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
December 16, 2004 5:49:09 PM

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
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
December 20, 2004 3:06:36 AM

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
!