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Dual Booting & Partitioning Help

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Hi all,

I have a problem that I need help with please.

I have a Dell E-310 2.80GHz Pentium-4 running Window MCE 2005 (as installed by Dell).
PC does NOT have a TV tuner or anything else other than CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive.
NIC port is built-in, video and audio are also built-in and use shared memory.
All of Dell's JUNK has been removed from the HDD. One heck of a job to do!!
The Hard drive (80GB,SATA) is partitioned (at this moment) as follows:

C:==NTFS, Primary,10GB, Windows MCE OS only as loaded by Dell, all Dell's extra JUNK is gone from it;
D:==NTFS, Logical, 2GB, Page file fixed at 1,000MB;
E:==NTFS, Logical, 5GB, Temp files & TIF's;
F:==NTFS, Logical, 5GB, My installed application programs, MS Office, Spybot, Avast AV, Nero, etc.;
G:==NTFS, Logical, 10GB, My documents, music, pictures, etc.;
H:==NTFS, Logical, 10GB, Basically empty;
I:==NTFS, Logical, 20GB, Backup images of other partitions, copied to CDs/DVDs for archival;
J:==NTFS, Logical, 14GB, Basically empty

The Page file, Temp files & TIFs went each to their own partition to help alleviate disk fragmentation of "C".

It was done this way (by a friend, after reading the article at http://aumha.org/a/parts.htm) , supposedly to make it easier for me to backup my data & such and to make whole system backup (smaller images) and reinstallation of main OS easier.
And to keep "C" as simple as possible.
I am not sure about having My installed Pgms on seperate partition though?
I will use an Imaging program (True Image from Acronis) to make backup images of partitions C:, F:, G: as necessary.

As of this moment there are NO applications loaded on the system, it is just bare-bones MCE OS.

I want to install a second Operating System to be able to use/test some (questionable) programs and to do P2P stuff so that it will not mess up my main OS.

I already have a new copy of Windows XP Pro SP2, but have been informed that I can also copy/clone/install a 2nd copy of installed OS (MCE 2005), to another partition (on same PC) to use as my TEST bed.

After putting this 2nd OS (MCE or XP Pro), on the system, I would update it with all hotpatches & fixes and then image it so I could quickly restore it to original condition if something messes it up, or it gets a trogan, worm, virus, etc..

My questions that I need help with though are:

1.) Is it better to "Clone/copy" the original OS (MCE2005) to another partition or just install Windows XP Pro to another partition? I already have new copy of XP Pro w/SP2!

1a.) If cloning MCE is the way to go, How do you "clone" it? Can/do I create an image of installed OS (using Acronis True Image), and then just restore that image to another primary part or a logical partition? Are there any "gotchas" in doing this?

2.) Wll 2nd OS be able to see & access the other logical partitions?

2a.) Has anyone anyone ever heard of the program "XOSL" Entended OPerating System Loader, it suppossedly can "hide" partitions. Does anyone know how good is it to use under XP? Or am I just making things more complicated?

3.) If I later decide to "remove" this 2nd OS and its partition,( by using Partition Magic ver-8 to delete the partition), how do I change the boot loader so only one (main) OS will show up, or none will show up & system will just boot right to OS that's left without any user intervention?

3a.) How do I specify in boot loader which OS would load first automatically, with no user intervention? I would have very little in-so-far as application programs on 2nd OS.

3b.) What would be recommended (security) programs if any, for 2nd OS? I.E.: anti-virus program, spyware checker, etc?

4.) Will I have to re-partition the hard disk to create another primary partition for the 2nd OS, or can you actually install another OS in a logical partition??

Note: **** Please comment/suggest what you think would be recommended partitioning strategy and sizes of partitions!!! *****

As I said earlier, I am NOT sure about having my application programs on a separate partition though??
The main "Program Files" folder is still on "C" and has stuff in it, put there by the OS upon installation. And if I install applications to "F", won't the system still put stuff into the Registry on "C:\" and also into "C:\Program Files\Common Files", as well as putting stuff in "C:\Documents & Settings\my user name\Application Data" ?

So I don't really understand the benefit of having a separate partition for "MY" programs. :whistling:

I realize these are a lot of questions but I am sort of a newbie (remember--you all were newbies also at one time!), and need help in figuring out if this partitioning scheme is okay or too complicated for the PC, etc.

I have tried to explain all the questions as well as possible, so PLEASE take time to read them and reply so I can figure this thing out!!

Thank you SO very much for your help in this regard and I anxiously await any and all responses!


Sue :blink:
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    Je suis Napoléon!

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my first comment is that you've got the most conveluded partitioning structure i've ever seen..and no real idea how you would manage all of that malarky...i find that anything over 3 partitions is too much..(one for the os, one for apps, one for data, OR the way i prefer one for the os, one for apps and data, one for backup)...the savings that you would get on speed for moving your page file...are only really noticed when y ou move the page file to a seperate hard drive...not seperate partition...i just think the structure you have is...well not gonna offer you much help in the long run

BUT..that said

if you want to keep this structure you can..but you'll need a place to install the second os...for that i would suggest using those two empty partitions for this (the 10 and 14 gig...maybe the 10 for the os and the 14 for everything else that os would use or maybe just use the 14 for the second os and keep the 10 for your main os...whatever)

you could either clone y our existing OS...or install a different one...i know that if you install say xp on that other partition that it will add itself to your MBR automatically and you'll have yourself dual butability (the first os installed will be the primary os and the second would be the secondary...so the primary will always be first in the list...and should boot if you don't choose the second os during boot..but that can be cahnged)
if you go with imaging y our current os...i'm not sure if the MBR would update itself automatically or if you'd have to do it manually (which can be done.)

i'm not sure if the second os would be able to see the other partitions...but it might (only one way to find out)

if you wipe the partition that the second os is on..you'll just have to fix the MBR to make the pointer go away
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