6/23/2006

Whoops. Windows Server 2003 and dual booting

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I have two hard drives, one is a 160GB hard drive and the other 120GB. On the 160GB I original had Windows XP installed on it. On the other I installed an evaluation of Windows Server 2003. The first hard drive was the main drive, and thus had to retain a Windows NT master boot record in order for the other drive to boot. Unfortunately when I decided to install FreeBSD I kind of spaced out on that fact and made the 160GB a dedicated FreeBSD drive. This meant that my Windows Server 2003 OS was inaccessible, however I had a lot of crap on that drive, and I wanted to continue my evaluation.

What I did was unplug the FreeBSD hard drive and plugged the Windows Server 2003 hard drive into the primary master IDE channel. I then tried to fix the master boot record in the recovery console with the command fixmbr However upon reboot it still didn't recognize the OS. I also tried fixboot and a few other commands, but it became obvious to me that it wasn't working. Next I tried to do the repair installation, but again I was greeted with the NO OS FOUND, PLEASE INSERT BOOT DISK. Finally I said screw it and opted for a clean install. Of course it detected my previous installation, and asked if I wanted to overwrite it and install to the WINDOWS folder. I opted to install the new version in a folder called WIN2K3, just so I didn't accidentally lose any files. As luck would have it, after it got done copying the files to the installation folder, it rebooted and showed both installations on the boot selection screen. From that point all I had to do was select my old Windows Server 2003 installation and I was good to go. Since I had previously tried doing the recovery installation I had to go through that process, but now I am happily running it again with all my programs and files just as I remember them.

It is kind of lame having to switch IDE cables every time I want to switch operating systems, but I guess that's the price I have to pay for wiping out Windows on my main disk. If anyone has a better solution to this I would love to hear it, but for now this will suffice.

UPDATE: Just a quick note. I've recently decided to simply disable whatever hard drive I don't want to boot into through the BIOS and it works perfectly.

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