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Windows Pe And Windows Xp Dualboot

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OK. I have tried many different ways to do this an have yet to find out how to get it to work.

This is the scenario:


' ' '

' Rebuild Partition ' Windows XP SP2 '

' (hidden primary) ' (Primary) '


As you can see the hard disk has two partitions. The first partition 'rebuild' is hidden and therefore not visible in windows (hidden in Windows PE1.5 with Powerquest tools. The second partition is C: and has a full standard installation of Windows XP SP2 on it.

The problem is as follows:

The first partition MUST remain hidden to Windows, not just the user

The partition layout MUST stay this way round for various reasons.

I need to install Windows PE on to the 1st (hidden) partition. What I want to do is to unhide the 1st partition and make it active in Windows (I can do this with the powerquest tools) and then reboot the machine. The machine then reboots in to Windows PE installed on the hidden partition (which no in effect has become C:)

I need to do this without hacking files etc as this is to be used in a corporate environment, so everything must be 100% legit.

Has anyone ever managed to do this? When I have tried I have found that WIndows PE and WIndows XP on the same partition work fine, but putting Windows PE the 1st partition results in it not booting.

If anyone knows how to do this or knows if this cannot be done, please can you let me know?

Many thanks in advance.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I cannot see any solution to what I have asked on those threads..

I want to have three partitions on the disk.

Partition one:- Windows PE and Windows PE Boot files **(hidden)**

Partiiton two:- Windows XP SP2 and bootfiles

Partition one is hidden from Windows XP. The windows xp and windows PE BOOT files are on seperate partitions. I want to swap the partitions over in windows using a script of sorts, so that the machine reboots in to Windows PE.

Now, all the solutions I have seen so far require the windows pe bootfiles and windows xp bootfiles to be on the same partition. I cannot have this in this case.

Has anyone any epxerience with virtual floppys or virtual partitions (powerquest and ghost)? Has anyone managed to put the windows pe bootfiles in to one of these virtual files? That was one solution I was looking at, but have come to a dead end so far.


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Could you use a boot loader like XOSL? They can hide partitions and you can default it to boot into one or the other (and password protect it, I believe). You wouldn't be able to swap which is the boot partition in Windows though.


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Well, you cannot have the solution you WANT to have, you can have a solution that is POSSIBLE.

It involves the use of a first stage boot loader, as posted above.

Your new idea, virtual floppys or virtual partitions, DOES NOT work, as the filesystem driver must be loaded into NTLDR.

You could try using the NTLDR from Server 2003 SP1 that can boot an ISO file (for WinPE), but this solution is probably not conforming to:

I need to do this without hacking files etc as this is to be used in a corporate environment, so everything must be 100% legit.


Actually XOSL is what I suggested in the threads I linked to.


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got this working with the WinPE files and the WinXP files on completely seperate partitions. Used a Powerquest\symantec tool which can switch the partitions over on the fly and reboot the machine, whilst I hide the other partition.

Works ab fab



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You can quite easily have the following,

primary-1     boot partition [can have anything on it]
primary-2     bartpe
extended      partitions, including where Windows lives

I have for example, three primary partitions, and an extended one.

BartPE lives on the non-active one, and appears at the end of the alphabet when the normal windows boots.

The main windows boot partitions are extended partitions F: and G:

BartPE is loaded by a boot-sector loader created by bootpart.exe


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you can, but that isn't what I wanted as stated in the original question. However, I am happy now, as I have it wokring as below


' WinPE | Windows XP '


Both boot completely indepently without a bootloader and are invisible to each other.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry it took so long, but the main issue with dual booting PE XP is the active disk, You just need to have a program/script launch diskpart and change the active partition, as you can hide PE from XP by putting the ID to 12, hidden. Here is a sample code for the script:

DiskPart /s changeactivepartition1.txt
Sel vol c
Sel vol d

If you need more info PM as I am hardly around anymore. HTH

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