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2 Copies of Windows on 1 System

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August 17, 2006 5:48:28 AM

I have family members who are not very PC savvy, to say the least :wink:. I'm tired of them eventually messing up our PC's, and I'm building a nice Core 2 Duo system soon. I would like to run 2 copies of Windows XP on the same system, but preferably on different HDD's (the primary, which will get used the most, and 1 separate for everyone else's use). What is the best way to do this? Just stick another HDD in the PC (They would both be SATA II)? This seems like the easiest way, but how do I choose which HDD I would like to boot from everytime I turn on the PC? Or are there any exterior USB HDD's that support booting from with an OS installed (i don't think any ordinary one would work, but hey, thats why I'm asking :)  ). If I really have to, I could just create a small, separate partition that would act as my second HDD. But again, how would I choose which partition I want to boot from when I turn on the PC?

More about : copies windows system

August 17, 2006 7:01:04 AM

Newer BIOSs usually allow you to choose a boot device by pressing a key when the computer boots. If you have OSs on partitions, then you will have to install a boot loader. Since I use Linux, I usually install LILO or Grub which allows me to choose either Windows or Linux or whatever. I'm sure there are others that are easier to install and configure (for Windows). That's how it is done.
August 17, 2006 7:53:31 AM

just install the second copy to another HDD for security purposes, or a second partition.

Edit the boot.ini file.

Name 1 install yours, name the other family or whatever.

I would recommend some type of drive encryption for your install so they don't infect it with viruses like kama sutra.

In this fashion, you will be automatically prompted each time the system boots without having to hit a key at the right time to invoke it.

example of 2 seperate HDD's boot.ini:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Pro (Personal)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Pro (Family)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

You would only need to have one drive "active" and bootable, since it has references to the second drive.
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August 17, 2006 8:32:31 AM

Quote:
just install the second copy to another HDD for security purposes, or a second partition.

Edit the boot.ini file.

Name 1 install yours, name the other family or whatever.

I would recommend some type of drive encryption for your install so they don't infect it with viruses like kama sutra.

In this fashion, you will be automatically prompted each time the system boots without having to hit a key at the right time to invoke it.

example of 2 seperate HDD's boot.ini:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Pro (Personal)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Pro (Family)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

You would only need to have one drive "active" and bootable, since it has references to the second drive.


Yep, that is the way to go but... how do you prevent the 2nd (or 1st) Windows from accessing the other Windows?
August 18, 2006 4:55:34 AM

Would there be any reason for one Windows to access the other?
August 18, 2006 12:15:25 PM

You are correct in that there is no reason for one Windows to access the other Windows. The question wasn't well formulated. It should be: How do you prevent the user on D: to access the partition C: where D: is the users boot partition.

Example: Two partitions with Windows XP, one for daddy, one for the kids. The kids mess things up quite frequently and should by no means mess up daddy's partition with all its important data.
August 18, 2006 2:22:27 PM

Properly set up security on your systems, not giving kiddies administrative rights, and settings daddy's files as unmodifiable by non admins.

Another option would be to unmount the disk using diskManager so that it's not visible from MyComputer. This would prevent non-techie kiddies from casually messing around with files on the second drive, though not really provide any form of security against a purposeful approach.
August 18, 2006 3:06:07 PM

yes emogoch is right...the best way to set up is give all the kiddies just standard user accouonts. those accounts are safe because they do not have enough permissions to alter important operating system files. for instance normal 'user' accounts cannot alter the contents of the applications folder, nor can they add or remove drivers etc etc, all they can really do is execute existing apps and change their own destop settings and create and modify files and folders only in their own 'profile' folders which are created when you create new users.

then you can further limit what files they can viewon other disks with NTFS permissions....so any spare disks you have for music or films etc etc. you just either deny their permissions altogether or just give them the read only permission for the whole disc so all they can do is view files not move or delete them

to get to the said permissions you have to untick the 'enable simple file sharing'. in windows explorer/tools/view. then right click on a disk and youll see the NTFS permissions under the security tab.

you can create users from start/manage/local users and groups

give it a try by creating a user...then logging on as that account, then trying to remove drivers or installing apps etc...youlll find you cant do anything that will damage windows. then that way you have a whole spare disk


good luck
August 18, 2006 3:18:05 PM

well you could just create a limited user account for them. that would kill 2 birds with 1 stone. if you have 2 hdd's 1 as IDE and the other as SATA you can set the BIOS to boot from either the SATA/SCSI or the IDE.
also what you could do is to patition your primary to a main section for your main stuff and another smaller say 5 or 10 GB patition for Linux. since they arnt very computer savvy they really will be stumped on how to mess up your OS...
August 20, 2006 4:08:53 AM

Actually im just a teenager and I'm building the PC for my dad :lol:  . Only him and I will be using the PC, unless I install 2 operating systems. It's my mom and sister that cause problems. But not by deleting or moving files accidentally. When they have their own user accounts, they pretty much leave everything alone. It's the internet that helps them mess up the computer (spyware, adware, maybe even a virus). And it doesn't matter how many protection and security programs I install, because as we all know, the clueless PC user is the worst security threat :)  . And even if the PC doesn't get bombarded with pop ups and homepage hijacks, it still gets bogged down to the point where I don't want to use the PC. Im sorry I wasn't specific in my original post. Thanks for all the feedback already, I learned a lot of good tips.
August 20, 2006 5:41:14 AM

Quote:
Actually im just a teenager and I'm building the PC for my dad :lol:  . Only him and I will be using the PC, unless I install 2 operating systems. It's my mom and sister that cause problems. But not by deleting or moving files accidentally. When they have their own user accounts, they pretty much leave everything alone. It's the internet that helps them mess up the computer (spyware, adware, maybe even a virus). And it doesn't matter how many protection and security programs I install, because as we all know, the clueless PC user is the worst security threat :)  . And even if the PC doesn't get bombarded with pop ups and homepage hijacks, it still gets bogged down to the point where I don't want to use the PC. Im sorry I wasn't specific in my original post. Thanks for all the feedback already, I learned a lot of good tips.


Here is another possibility for you,

Use VM (Virtual Machine) software. Have your Mom and sister use the VM for whatever they want to do. It doesn't matter if they get viruses, spyware, adware or any other kind of junk, you can "refresh" the VM at anytime from the original VM setup that you'd keep as a backup. You can setup a script that starts the VM automatically when they logon. Done right, they wouldn't even know the difference.

The downsides to this solution are,

1. It consumes a fair amount of memory, you should dedicate at least 256MB of memory to it (512MB recommended).

2. VM software is not cheap. There is an open source version "Xen" that runs unpatched on NetBSD but, it would be no picnic to set that up in a way that your Mom and sister wouldn't notice "there is something different" about their Windows installation.

3. Setting them up in a network (which you'll need to do if you are using a router to acces the net) is a bit more involved in a VM. In other words, you will have some learning to do upfront before you can hand your Mom and sister their own Windows box.

The advantages on the other hand are great,

1. You don't have to worry about viruses or any other junk. Refreshing the VM can be done in seconds.

2. Nothing that happens in the VM can bother the underlying O/S.

3. You can "borrow" the computer from your Mom or sister at any time. They don't even have to logoff, you do whatever you want in the underlying O/S, expand the VM window and hand the PC back to your Mom or sister. They'll be exactly in the same spot they were before you borrowed the machine.

4. You can setup other VMs for your own purposes. For instance to surf the net without worry about viruses and other crudware. You can have VMs to test software you downloaded, if it is lame and wrecks the VM, no sweat! If it is good, transfer it to the underlying O/S.

HTH.
August 20, 2006 1:50:12 PM

deleted
August 20, 2006 3:02:35 PM

Mircosoft now offer Virtual PC 2004 for free unresticted download.

I believe that VM Ware are also now offering a free version too.
August 20, 2006 3:18:11 PM

Speaking of VMs I'd like to use one on my PC so I don't have to reinstall my windows installation ever.Could u guys provide download links if they're free.does anyone have info about microsofts virtual PC?is it a vm?can it be refreshed like a vm?what are the requirements of it?thanx in advance 8) :) 
August 20, 2006 5:22:32 PM

Thank you for the reply but I wasn't the one asking the question. AJ6065 is. I suppose he will read your reply to me and get the info.
August 20, 2006 5:25:32 PM

I wasn't aware that MS was giving a version of Virtual PC for free.

The last time I checked VMware gave 30 day trial versions of theirs but I haven't checked in a while. It would be quite nice if they offered the workstation version free. (I doubt they will do that but it would certainly be nice)
August 20, 2006 6:40:50 PM

well to answer your question....if you install more than one copy of windows then windows installs something thats called the 'boot loader' which is a little menu that comes up when you turn on the machine that gives you the choice of which operating system to boot into....good luck

it would be a good idea to give them limited user accounds anyhow, and to deny those usernames access to your drive aswell at the root of the drive

the deny NTFS permisssion will take precedence over everything else so...

mum user account FULL CONTROL set to DENY
sister user account FULL CONTROL set to DENY...then your windows drive will be safer
August 20, 2006 7:07:24 PM

Quote:
I have just checked where I saw that it was free,

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3293

its VMWare Server that is free.


Thank you for pointing that out. That is great. The article also mentions that Virtual PC from MS is also free now - more good stuff.

Either one of these would be close to the perfect solution for the OP.
August 21, 2006 5:18:27 AM

Quote:
well to answer your question....if you install more than one copy of windows then windows installs something thats called the 'boot loader' which is a little menu that comes up when you turn on the machine that gives you the choice of which operating system to boot into....good luck

it would be a good idea to give them limited user accounds anyhow, and to deny those usernames access to your drive aswell at the root of the drive

the deny NTFS permisssion will take precedence over everything else so...

mum user account FULL CONTROL set to DENY
sister user account FULL CONTROL set to DENY...then your windows drive will be safer


Thanks for the reply, that's just what I wanted to hear. I think I know exactly what the boot loader you're talking about is. Is this it? And it will come up automatically, without me having to do anything, right?

August 21, 2006 10:47:42 AM

yes that is correct it comes automatically if there is more than one entry in the boot.ini, and you can make any of the operating systems the default choice, so that if you just switch on and go make tea it will automatically load for you after a specified timeout.

as you install the operating systems they are added to the boot ini for you, but the latest one is automatically set to default i think.
here is my boot ini

[boot loader]
timeout=20
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windoze XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Windoze XP2 Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Windoze 64 Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINNT="Windoze 2000 Server" /fastdetect


you can actually make the boot loader come up without actually having more than one windows or partition just by adding a second entry into the boot ini....you could just duplicate your existing entry, so then you get 2 choices that point to the same operating system ....you can check it out that way :) 

good luck
!