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  1. This is a lengthy post and I re-arrange a paragraph for clarity... content the same. Should I repost this in a shorter version, since I haven't heard back from anyone and this might be too long? In a nutshell, I am concerned about applying a clean install of Windows 7 over Windows Vista which has a multi-partition configuration (Users and Program data). Also, I would to preserve this configuration and possible fully move Program Files directories off C: partition to its own partition on E:. Lastly, will a Windows install only affect the partitions hosting the previous OS (Vista), Users and Data? Since my old multipartition configuration had program files distributed between the partition hosting vista C: (default location) and another partition E: (selected at manual install), a clean inmstall of Windows 7 might not touch the E: partition but the program might need re-installing and/or registry back-up merged back in for some programs... Would it better to back my user data and wipe all partitions and re-create them during windows 7 clean install? For further details please refer to the post above. Thanks. I am an enthusiastic noobie looking forward to Windows 7. Vista was a temporary install on my first custom PC since there was a free upgrade option when I pusrchased it. Also Vista has been a little disappointing and frustrating at time switching from XP - Windows 7 seems promising according to the reports on this forum. Thank you in advance for your answers. Donat
  2. Edito: This is a lengthy post and I re-arrange a paragraph for clarity... content the same. Should I repost this in a shorter version, since I haven't heard back from anyone and this might be too long? Hi, I received the Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit free update and I am preparing this transition by doing the usual back-up (user data, ...) and rounding up programs to be re-installed. I would like to preserve the same multi-partition set-up I used with Vista install and I described below. I also hope to be able this time to successfully move the program Files directories to another partition than the OS default partition this time. Before, I get started with a "fresh install" I have some questions (see "Questions" below). Last summer I successfully installed Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit using an unattended install from a copy of the Vista OEM DVD (inc. install.wim) and my custom unattend.xml answer file saved onto an external usb hard drive. The target hard drive was configured with multiple partitions, as I used to have on my XP system and which is also in preparation for future hard drive additions (i.e. easily done by cloning partition image to hard drive upgrade). This unattended install is described in this post: http://www.msfn.org/board/relocate-c-users...p;view=findpost This approach allowed to successfully create and define the User and data Program Data directories on a separate partition (i.e. F:). However I was not able then to move the Program Files folders and left them on the OS C: partition, and I had to manually select my dedicated Programs partition located on E: during each application custom installations. The multi-partition set-up on my current Vista systems and which I'd like to keep for Windows 7 is defined as follow: Vista C: (os, and some program which installed there by default) Swap D: Progs E: (applications and games) Users F: (default user locations Media H: (recorded TV, music, ...) Note that the pagefile.sys use for swap/paging file is set to a constant size of 9344Mb (about 9.19GB) on D: partition (9.24Gb), and no paging file is set for C: drive (i.e. OS partition). My system has 3x2=6Gb OCZ 1600 DDR3 ram. My questions before getting started: 1)a) Is a copy of the Windows 7 DVD loaded on L: drive to my external usb hard drive G: using xcopy L:\*.* /s/e/f G:\Windpows7_DVD the correct approach to make a copy OS source DVD for install? (I forgot how I copied Vista last Summer). Are these options parameters with Xcopy the one I need? 1)b ) If I did not want to use an external drive, would it be ok to use the H: partition of the same physical drive that he target OS partition (just curious, I would use USB external drive)? I am planning to restore user data back-up on freshly created user account since I heard that user data can't be directly transferred between Vista and Windows 7 (in particular user profiles, program data, ...). All program will be re-installed too for a fresh system. An image of the OS will be back-up after fresh install and patch applied and before programs are installed. 2)a) When using my custom answer file will a "clean install" wipe out not only the OS partition (on C: ) containing Vista but also the partition and/or directories containing the User and Program Data (on F:) -or- do I need to wipe them (i.e. User and Prog. data) first before the system install? 2)b ) On a multiple partition, only the partitions with OS and Users an programs data/files are modified and in my case the H: (and E: drive) should be preserved after Windows 7 clean install. Is this correct? I just came across another method to sucessfully move the Users and Program Files directories to a different partition than the OS. It uses robocopy, rmdir, mklink /J and regedit at the command prompt (accessed with shift+F10) at the user account creation prompt. http://tuts4tech.net/2009/08/05/windows-7-...on/#comment-393 3) Shall I use my unattend.xml files for install, which uses <FolderLocation> to set Users and Program Data to a different partition) before carrying on with the method described in this link above to also move the Program Files (inc. Program Files (86))? Or shall I just follow this second method and not use the <FolderLocation> in my answer file to define Users location during the <settings pass="oobeSystem">? 4) If moving the Program Files and the symbolic Links properly define the appropriate Directory junctions (for C:\Program Files, ....) to a partition other than the OS C: partition, then how large the OS C: partition needs to be to hold Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit? (Again the paging file is not set on C: but D:) Note that before a clean install of Win 7 over Vista, the OS partition is 29.8Gb and 24.2GB in this current configuration is used not only by Vista HomePremium 64Bit but also by some program installed on C: since I was not able to move the Program Files directories when Vista was installed last Summer. If it is much more than I need for full Windows 7 Home Premium install, I would not might changing my hard drive partitions to provide more disk space for program or User data or Media partitions I would prefer my Windows 7 system install to start right away (i..e "on the right foot") with the creation of Users, Program data and Program Files directories and the associated registry and system parameters set accordingly. None of the method can do this without a minimum of tweaking. The second method is applying this changes by using the command prompts (shift+F10) when the user account creation prompt is displayed. The unattended approach creates these during oobeSystem pass, but does also require some registry values to be changed... 5) Between the Unattended approach using an answer file and the method above after Windows 7 seven installation just at the user account creation stage, which is recommended by the experts here and why? I realize this is a very detailed and lengthy post. Thank you in advance for reading and taking the time to reply and help me clarify these points before I get started with Windows 7 updgrade clean install over Windows Vista OEM. Donat
  3. Hi MCoreD and others, I read with great interest what you all discussed on this thread as I am trying to reproduce teh multipartion install I was used to under Windows XP. As I mentioned in another thread http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...mp;#entry873267 I was wondering if, after a successful unattended Vista install using FolderLocations option to set custom Users and ProgramData locations, a tweaking of the registering of the remaining explicit location still originating form C: and/or the creation of symbolic link were required. It looks like the install of Windows Vista Home Premium (64bit) OEM (for custom system builder) did creat a junction for Users. However it does not look like ProgramData had junction created. Further details in the post above document the entries in the registery still referring to C:\Users or C:\ProgramData . Regarding Program Files and related folder, is a registery entry modification with symbolic a proven and reliable method to redirecting my installed programs to a custom location. In other words, I'd be interested to know if there is method to have default install location to another partition showing when installing new program which is and not interfering with and transparent to Vista OS. Thank you in advance for your suggestion. Donat
  4. Hi, Thanks for the replies. The last three days I could not log on my account... it was resolved by deleting my browser cookies suggested bu the Forum administrator (duh, I did not think about it ). Anyhow, since my last post I successfully carried out an unattended install of my OEM Vista Home Premium (64Bit) SP1 using the FolderLocations option in the "oobeSystem" settings pass for Users and ProgramData. C:\Users was set to F:\Users and C:\Program Data is now F:\Program Data (using <ProfilesDirectory> and <ProgramData>). Note that it took me several failed attempt to trouble shoot to draw the conclusion that the use of <ProgramFiles>E:\ProgramFiles</ProgramFiles> is not a supported settings according to install log/message. It is confusing because it was reported on posts for multipartition uninstall from others? Is it unsupported because I was using SP1 and it is only available for newer Vista and/or WAIK version? As a side note, in the process of troubleshooting the unattended install, I deleted and created all my partitions and volumes at least 5-6 times and carried out at least as many Windows vista install if not more. Would writing zero my WD Black series 750GB drive recommended or an overkill to start from a clean slate? (In order words, is deleting all partitions on a drive leaving not trace and mess?) After this full/clean install all path variables such as variables %PUBLIC%, %ProgramData% ,..., do refer now to the custom locations on my F: partition. C:\>echo %PUBLIC% %PROGRAMDATA% F:\Users\Public F:\ProgramData I am still in my very first login session with a dummy admministrator account "Dummy" since the completion of the fresh install. This account will be deleted eventually when all is squared away. :?:The issue for me now is to clarify before I go any further that according to your experiences of similar install if this is going to be stable (i.e. side effect, update issue, slower operation,...) and if a symbolic link is still required in my case? :?: What are the consequences of disabling all folder virtualization after accrying such User and ProgramData folder relocation mentioned by Cluberti? (I am new to Vista and Folder Virtualization features). :?: Regarding Program Files and related directories (Commons, (86)), is a relocation by registry editing without side effects possible and well tested? I can save to an alternate location by browsing during most new program install would prefer that this would be the default if possible... Regarding registry values... I noted that all the values are set to root from C: in this locations when searching for C:\Users: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Advanced INF Setup\IE.HKCUZoneInfo ...\IE40.UserAgent HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Recording HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Advanced INF Setup\IE.HKCUZoneInfo ...\IE40.UserAgent HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders and for C:\ProgramData: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Reliability Analysis\RAC HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYTEM\ControlSet001\Control\BackupRestore\FilesNotToBackup HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYTEM\ControlSet001\Services\luafv\Parameters HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYTEM\ControlSet001\Services\PEAUTH and similarly few more in \ControlSet002 and ControlSet003, CurrentControlSet There is a Junction (not a symbolic link) created by Vista install in C: partition for C:\Users but none yet for ProgramData (See below listings for all my main partition folders). Again, should one be created or Vista will actualuy do that for you as it did for Users? In a nutshell: Does a Junction (or a symbolic link) circumvent the need to change the values explicitly referring to location in C: instead of custom location? Are the change made in the Registry permitted by Vista and persistent, or restricted even to administrator and refreshed after reboot (i.e. making changes ineffective)? What free search and replace registry parameters do you recommend to use in Vista 64Bit? (the couple I tried during my live test installs did not work or missed a lot... which generated a mess). This is a lengthy post. I apologize, I hope you understand that starting from bare system I hope to get it right from the ground up and avoid problems down the road because of poor choices and preparation. I read a lot about this subject in the last week since I finished building my first custom PC and first transitioned from XP (32bit) to Vista Home Premium (64Bit) using the system builder OEM DVD I purchased. I look forward to this clarification to finish off the install and start installing programs and creating account on my PC with confidence. Thank you for reading and thank you very much in advance for your replies. Cheers! Donat >>>> Partitions/Volumes used to relocate default C: Users and Program Data folders. <<<< The Page File will be set to none on C: (saving 6Gb) and set/relocated instead in Volume D: labeled Swap (10Gb). D: could be merged back in the future is C: was getting too full. All programs will be installed on E: and user data on F:. I have currently 530Gb Unallocated partition left on this hardrive that I would like to use record media with my HD TV dual Tuner card. C:, E:, and F: are as follow: C:\>dir /a C: E: F: Volume in drive C is Vista Volume Serial Number is 4440-E6CF Directory of C:\ 07/27/2009 05:07 PM <DIR> $Recycle.Bin 07/27/2009 05:56 PM <DIR> Boot 01/20/2008 07:50 PM 333,203 bootmgr 07/27/2009 05:56 PM 8,192 BOOTSECT.BAK 11/02/2006 08:42 AM <JUNCTION> Documents and Settings [C:\Users] 07/27/2009 05:04 PM 6,754,287,616 pagefile.sys 01/20/2008 08:04 PM <DIR> PerfLogs 11/02/2006 08:44 AM <DIR> Program Files 11/02/2006 08:36 AM <DIR> Program Files (x86) 07/27/2009 06:17 PM <DIR> System Volume Information 07/27/2009 05:05 PM <DIR> Windows 3 File(s) 6,754,629,011 bytes 8 Dir(s) 14,562,594,816 bytes free Volume in drive E is Progs Volume Serial Number is EC03-803D Directory of E:\ 07/27/2009 05:07 PM <DIR> $RECYCLE.BIN 07/27/2009 08:41 AM <DIR> System Volume Information 0 File(s) 0 bytes 2 Dir(s) 85,802,811,392 bytes free Volume in drive F is Data Volume Serial Number is C009-8B5B Directory of F:\ 07/27/2009 05:07 PM <DIR> $RECYCLE.BIN 07/27/2009 05:05 PM <JUNCTION> Documents and Settings [F:\Users] 07/27/2009 05:05 PM <DIR> ProgramData 07/27/2009 08:42 AM <DIR> System Volume Information 07/27/2009 05:07 PM <DIR> Users 0 File(s) 0 bytes 5 Dir(s) 53,246,435,328 bytes free
  5. Solutions from my online search about the relocation of default directory for user profiles and program files are a little confusing. With XP nlite it was easily done (and/or editing the winnt.sif file). I would be interested in also relocating the Program Files and Program Files (x86) to another partition/disk for my Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit operating system running on my Intel Core I7 920. Is there a reason not to? My partitions are as follow: c: label Vista d: label Swap e: label Programs (for Program Files and Program Files (x86) f: label Users, for all user data. also I will add a partition for Video TV recording files.... Would the approach below work similary to the relocation of user profiles? If so, what is the parameters name in Autounattended.xml file? Thank you, Donat
  6. Thanks for the clarification. Better safe than sorry. You did not scare me but maybe invited me to over think the partitioning and the XP install, which is not a bad thing. I like very much the idea of an extra nlited XP Home which means that I'll have two shots at experimenting - one more reason to cater for such recovery OS. Actually once this extremely nlited XP (for recovery) is installed first, I could then use Disk Management from that XP to partition and format the remaining logical volumes in the extended partition before installing the second XP Home OS and the programs and user data... On a different note, it would also allow me to test the integration into my custom made XP install CD my Toshiba manufacturer specific drivers (and hot fixes) install (See post http://www.msfn.org/board/understanding-Dr...-i-t126223.html for which I had received no replies). I am researching on this forum about guidelines for an extremely nlited XP OS slimmed down to about 200Mb as you suggested. It does not seem trivial but you seem to have something specific in mind. If you have any good thread to get started for me to read or an nlite session.ini I could start from, I'd appreciate. At any rate, I'll start with what you suggested in "very general terms" (i.e. no network, ..., just disk drive + utilities) and see how it reads on a VM first. But this is going beyond the scope of the thread. Note that I did compile an Ultimate Boot CD 4 Windows with Bart PE and application for my system already, using the same I386 folder as a starting point since I only have an OEM recovery system CD. It's been useful for maintenance like XP repair install which was not possible from my Laptop recovery CD I am also wondering if a virtual Machine, e.g. using VMWare, could be used from usb similarily for maintenance on physical system. Regarding fdisk, actually I was thinking along the line of of Super Fdisk or SPecial Fdisk SPFDISK partition tool... which might be what you refereed to as FreeDOS Fdisk. I also heard of another reputable freeware Ranish Partition Manager, a boot manager and hard disk partitioner. Again, thanks for the clear and to the point answers - kudos. It was helpful and full of very useful informations. I hope it will help other "newbie" like me to read this. Donat
  7. Wow, thanks a lot of Jaclaz. What a primer. Between the reading I did on FAT and NTFS and partitioning and your last reply I am stoked. Your recommendations makes a lot of sense and I can relate to your philosphy. If I understand correctly how the partitioning tool used at/by XP install, once the first partition has been created, e.g. C:, subsequent partitions created will be (automatically/by default) placed within an Extended partition and created as Logical drives. Such approach would automatically built the lay-out you suggested, isn't it? If this is correct this would be the simplest closest to "a standard" (Windows) approach - I should probably stick to it. I have used a virtual machine to practice the partitioning with both Disk Director and XP install (aborting before XP install by pressing F3). Another common tool I haven't used in many years is fdisk from a boot disk. I'll try it later on with my vm. It might be more explicit than the implied and simplistic Windows XP install approach to partitioning. Regarding the "set active" option in Disk director and fdisk, it should assigned automatically left as-is to partition 1, the primary partition with the emergency OS, isn't it? Regarding the light OS for recovery in the Primary partition should be installed 1st or after the OS XP Home system in the extended partition? Also I am assuming that the boot.ini would need to be edit when both are installed. Last question... I will format all the drives after partitioning, although I could let xp install do it on the partition 2 (i.e. 1s logical drive in extended partition according to your scheme). Regarding the "base booting" files on the first partition (primary, C:), should they be copied by hand or when running format C: /s? I think I am feeling better prepared and informed for the partitioning of my 60Gb laptop hard drive. Now I only need to get my mind around the best route to "integrate" my laptop specific drivers (and hotfixes) into my custom XP Home install, which I posted on another thread but did not get any reply yet. (Remember that I am trying to work around and control the OEM recovery install from manufactuer's to factory defaults with bloatware - it is looking good os far). Anyhow, equipped with all the good suggestions and explanations from this thread and the 160Gb Maxtor external back-up drive with an image back up of my current system, I hope I won't be another case of PBCAK. Many thanks again Jaclaz for taking to read my lengthy post and for such a detailed reply. Donat
  8. Jaclaz, This sounds like a good strategy, "grazie tante" for the suggestions. Sorry if these are simple questions: How do you handle the system/os in a logical volume (inside the extended partition along with programs and data volume partition) and a second ("light") version of the OS? Dual boot set-up? By light os do you mean a duplicate of I386 folder for recovery or a stripped down to the minumum (removing all unecessary components, ...) of XP os? ALso I noticed you recommended FAT16 for primary partition C: of emergency OS; FAT32 for the pagefile.sys partition and I suppose also for the System D: (i.e. active partition); and I assume NTFS for the other two logical volumes programs and data. I am curious, what is the reason to use FAT16 for OS? Is is because it is more space efficient and those data are less conducive to fragmentation, which is more of an issue with FAT16? Why not FAT32? Also for the partitioning is Acronis Disk Director fine or you would advice with another tool. I did found it a little quirky at first. A friend also has Partition Magic and could help me with if it is better and has more functionality and flexibility that the basic windows commands from boot-up. Thank you in advance for clarifying all these points. I feel that I have been a lot in the last week or so but I suspect that my questions may sound a little trivial to some experts on the forum. SO thanks again for taking the time to answer. Donat
  9. uid0, You are right. I already used a version of my custom XP to do an install repair of my real Toshiba Laptop system which went well. I am learning how much VM are in a world of their own... Regarding multi-partitioning, it went well and as planned, but there is a clash with the cd drive assignment for the physical drive. It is normally d: but now thee is a partition d:, which make the cd to auto connect as a different drive letter (e.g. H:). I wonder if cd drive letter could be reassigned later or can it be down during install since the drive letter assignment of my partitions was done automatically by Windows? I am not sure this would behave teh same way on my physical machine. If I follow you I should not integrate drivers in my XP custom CD or try multiple partitioning or anything with nLite for a first install on my VM. Note also that my custom XP was rebuilt from OEM I386 folder install. Would the recommend that I use a regular/Vanilla XP Home? It would defy the purpose of testing my OEM XP Home install with a test run on VM before applying to my pysical system. I have an OEM license with my latop and do not own a license for Home XP retail, I just have a CD from an old computer. Would it be ok for the sake of testing my VM install XP Home retail copy without registering (with a grace period of 30days) to try my VM? Ultimately, I would like to carry a fresh install XP Home on my Toshiba laptop using the original license/key as is supposed to but with control of the install without the bloatware and Toshiba factory default install. There is two route I am investigating: 1) Execute a partial recovery cd install but preventing the bloatware install (e.g. edit of install.ini on CD image) and then moving program files and Profilepath folder location and update registry entries... 2) Installing OS alone from the custom XP I am made and integrate/re-install OEM specific drivers. Maybe I am a little be ahead of my self here. Donat
  10. I am 2/3 of the way through the install and after the 2nd reboot (i.e. after drivers, win OS and component install) the VM froze up at the Windox XP screen. Is it a bad sign and how do I trouble shot this? Note that I did boot in the VM/XP Home in safe mode (no internet). I just too a snapshot. I guess there is a fundamental issue I may not have considered. If the VM is a generic machine using hardware indirectly would teh OEM specific drivers be unsuitable for the VM then? For instance there is an integrated ATI Radeon XPress 200m Series display adapter on my physical laptop, which drivers was provided by Toshiba and not ATI... It is one of the driver I integrated in the install can it fail the VM? Conversely, I did not remove any hardware component with this first XP Install iso image, would this create an issue with the proper drivers to install (in this case OEM rather than Windows')? Also, since windows XP is mounted from iso, does it to be disconnected (i.e. ejected) at some point during the install sequence (in between reboot)? Thank you in advance for your help, Donat
  11. Hi, I posted a similar message on this forum a few days ago. It was lengthy, which might be the reason why I did not receive any answer (see link). http://www.msfn.org/board/Drivers-integrat...el-t126149.html Forum moderators forgive me for the shorter re-post and move/append it as necessary to the old one. I have been spending a lot of time reading the posts here and on the web since the nLite guide is not very detailed. In a nutshell, I am trying to understand what happens when nLite integrate the drivers I extracted from my OEM XP Install on a Toshiba Satellite Laptop with DriverMax application. My questions started from the message/comment associated with Drive integradtion steps in nLite, recommending to remove the related hardware component. Does it mean that the "integrated" drivers, some of which are specific to hardware (i.e. OEM), might be overwritten or Windows might choose its generic drivers if newer one are found later on during the install? In othert words what would happen if I installed without trying to remove any hardware components for which I integrated my drivers with nLite? Also, I noted that after the integration of drivers there was no $OEM$ folder created. So what is the difference between the approaches described below: via WINNT.SIF: http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/view/web/34/ via CD : http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/view/web/35/ - and - doing a driver integration in custom XP Install with nLite? I am anxious to start my installation on the real machine. For now I am testing my installs using a VM and try to figure this out by trial and error and researching on the posts. Thank you in advance for your replies and suggestions. Donat
  12. Thanks for all these clarification. Great link to making a page file monitor console Jaclaz, and on my current system so far it looks like my pagefile.sys file is too large and underused... Now the question to I need a partition with a pagefile.sys with variable or fixed size or leave in CD with a fixed size. Since it is created a boot up, if C: is not having enough contiguous pace wouldn't a pagefile be fragmented from start then even with a fixed size? Anyhow the question of this thread was also about the multiple partitions approach and possible issued such as program files on a different drive. I read that so program may not use the environment variable for program files path and install and/or look in the standard location on c:. If it were an issue would leaving a c:\program files be a way to circumvent such possibility? Thanks, Donat
  13. OK, I figured what happened. (I think I do). At one point I changed CD rom o auto detect instead of d: (corresponding to the physical system I am trying to mimic). Today, I deleted the raw files corresponding to my partitioned virtual HD and recreated a new HD hardware and tested my new partition using DDirector again. I only created teh 1st primary partition (C:) and automatically it was also set as active. I can reproduce this error by selected Use physical CD drive auto detect - and then the boot order in Bios is not resolving it. Now I am ready to test my XP custom install. The question is it a better practice to use XP CD install to partition and format at a fresh install or Disk Director is equally suitable? Donat
  14. Hi uid0, I created all the partitions in Disk Director, then I formated them all one by one again with DDirector in NTFS format... At one point after partitioning, before or after formatting, I selected the first partition (i.e. c:) to be active, which was not necessary since it is the only primary partition in my set, wasn't it? I did not install XP. So you recommend that I format at XP install or before format install with a boot CD? (how?) I tried to change the boot order, placing teh CDROM first and not to avail it would not boot and displayed the error message. I have disconnected teh drive from my VM, deleted the raw file on the physical disct and added Hardware/Drive (to create a fresh virtual drive). I hope it is the right aproach. I could have started from scratch but I was curious if I delete and recreate a drive for a vm. At the moment the drive is slowly being recreated. It takes time since I chose allocate all space now. thanks, Donat
  15. I am wondering if by selecting C: are primary and active partition, it would prevent loading from anywhere but c:, which is empty (hence ntdlr missing on a healthy and normally bootable cd(s)). The problem now is I can use disk director from bootcd, so in any case I am stuck since I can't find a way to load my bootable CD - the VM stops after Bios is loaded. Acting on hunch, I will delete my current disk and repeat the procedure but create c: partition just primary. Does this seems like a reasonable explanation? [i did not hear from anyone on that yet, so I am answering my own question and will post if this resolve my issue.] Donat

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