Multi-boot OS with hidden partitions

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Multi-boot OS with hidden partitions

Postby unclebump » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:38 pm

What's the best way to take a system with Win 7 x64, Vista x64, Win7 x86, all on one hard drive, and have the other partitions hidden while running each OS? I started with acronis OS selector, but got fed up with the constant mbr error 3 issues. Moved to paragon HDM 11 professional, but the boot manager won't hide the other OS. Now trying to use BIBM. I would like to keep the existing partitions and not have to reload everything. Win 7 took over the booting of each OS. Any time that I run startup repair, it puts all three in the BCD files. I delete the entries inside the partition work, bcd edit button, but they won't do a normal boot. I can double click in the direct boot menu and each system will boot. I have several partition and complete disk backups along the way. Should I put only one OS on a drive at a time and make them boot, image each one, then restore to a new drive? I tried on the direct boot menu, to make the other partitions hidden, and they still show up inside windows explorer, when I double click on an OS.
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Re: Multi-boot OS with hidden partitions

Postby Brian K » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:53 pm

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Re: Multi-boot OS with hidden partitions

Postby rustleg » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:35 am

Whenever I have run multiple Windows systems on one PC I have always set up the boot item for each in BIBM so the partitions containing the other OS(es) are not in the Master Boot Record (MBR). Also I always use "do NOT limit primaries" - which means you only ever use BIBM to do any partition work - because this allows me to have 4 primary partitions available to each OS. When each OS runs it thinks the parts of the disc which contain the other OS partitions is just free space. In my experience no application or Windows itself ever tries to use this "free space". There's no conflict and each Windows uses its own boot loader unaware of other OSes. All simple. I've never had to mess with BCD edit.

Ideally you need to "move" the user data folders to a separate partition (e.g. D drive) for each OS so that you can use the data with any of your OSes. This also has the benefit of not having old data mixed in with your OS system images.
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Re: Multi-boot OS with hidden partitions

Postby Bob Coleman » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:04 pm

rustleg wrote:Whenever I have run multiple Windows systems on one PC I have always set up the boot item for each in BIBM so the partitions containing the other OS(es) are not in the Master Boot Record (MBR). Also I always use "do NOT limit primaries" - which means you only ever use BIBM to do any partition work - because this allows me to have 4 primary partitions available to each OS. When each OS runs it thinks the parts of the disc which contain the other OS partitions is just free space. In my experience no application or Windows itself ever tries to use this "free space". There's no conflict and each Windows uses its own boot loader unaware of other OSes. All simple. I've never had to mess with BCD edit.

Ideally you need to "move" the user data folders to a separate partition (e.g. D drive) for each OS so that you can use the data with any of your OSes. This also has the benefit of not having old data mixed in with your OS system images.


Yes, but, in this case, it appears the OS partitions are already dependent on each other.
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Re: Multi-boot OS with hidden partitions

Postby rustleg » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:19 pm

How are they dependent on each other? The OP says they boot independently from the direct boot menu. I suspect it's a question of setting boot items for each system where the other systems' OS partitions are not selected. But this sounds too easy, perhaps I am missing something.
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Re: Multi-boot OS with hidden partitions

Postby TeraByte Support(PP) » Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:44 pm

They may have been independent to start with and are now in a mixed-up/unknown state. I would suspect they are mostly intact, though.

Personally, what I would do is convert the drive to EMBR so you can enable unlimited primary partitions and then setup each Boot Menu entry with only that Windows partition in the partition table. Then try to boot it. If it doesn't work, edit the BCD (you can do this with BIBM) or run a boot repair (may take two or three runs). Since only one Windows partition is visible at any time the Windows boot repair won't be able to grab the other installations and add them. Of course, if you convert to EMBR and unlimited primary partitions you will need to image with the TeraByte imaging programs. Using a different imaging program may result in data loss.

After everything is working correctly, the drive could be converted back to MBR and standard partition hiding could be used. Either way should work.
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Re: Multi-boot OS with hidden partitions

Postby Bob Coleman » Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:24 pm

rustleg wrote:How are they dependent on each other? The OP says they boot independently from the direct boot menu. I suspect it's a question of setting boot items for each system where the other systems' OS partitions are not selected. But this sounds too easy, perhaps I am missing something.


You may be right. I guess I thought that
unclebump wrote:... Win 7 took over the booting of each OS. Any time that I run startup repair, it puts all three in the BCD files.


implied some dependence, but I, admittedly, don't understand direct boot and may not understand the last quote above.
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