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Active" status in Disk Management



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 18th 04, 06:54 PM
Timothy Daniels
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Default Active" status in Disk Management

"Waraf Nido" asked:
QUESTION

Can some explain the Status data I see in XP's Disk Management . What is
the "Active" status saying in my situation?

------

BACKGROUND

I have several hard drives. On one of the hard drives I have a backup clone
copy of my XP system partition.

On the Disk Management console, XP lists this copy partition with a status
of "Healthy (Active)".

I understand "Active" to mean that the swap file is on that partition. But
it is not. The Virtual Memory window in System Properties shows that only
the system partition on C has any swap file on it.

In fact, if I remove the hard drive with the "Active" partition on it then
Xp boots just as before except this time it does not say any partiton is
"Active".

What is the "Active" status saying?



By experimentation in the past, I've found that the "Active" partition
is the partition where the master boot record (MBR)says the boot.ini
file is, which in turn tells which partition to boot the system from. You
can switch the partition in which the boot.ini file is read by merely
changing the "Active" partition by way of the Disk Management utility.
When you first clone a HD and tell it to copy the MBR as well, you're
also telling the Destination HD to look at the same partition on *it* to
find the system to boot as the Origin HD. You can reset this after the
cloning by resetting which partition is the "Active" partition.

You can tell by this, then, that you can put multiple clones of the
1st HD on your 2nd HD, and you can select which boots up by making
sure that the boot.ini file on the "Active" partition has a pointer to the
desired partition (i.e. the desired clone). At boot time, XP's multi-boot
feature will ask which partition to boot, and you highlight the desired
system (having names that you can supply in the boot.ini file) using the
Up and Down arrows and then pressing Enter. You can always use the
boot.ini file on the 1st HD if you include information in its entries saying
which HD to look at for the system partition, or you can use a boot.ini
file in the 2nd HD if you designate that HD as the higher priority device
in the BIOS' boot sequence (i.e. the BIOS' boot priority list). Initially,
of course, the 2nd HD will have a cloned boot.ini file that thinks it is in
the 1st HD, so it will have to be adjusted accordingly if you have been
using the boot.ini file in the 1st HD to select from system partitions that
may have included some that were on the 2nd HD.

*TimDaniels*
  #2  
Old September 18th 04, 07:06 PM
Timothy Daniels
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Default

"Timothy Daniels" wrote:
"Waraf Nido" asked:
What is the "Active" status saying?



By experimentation in the past, I've found that the "Active" partition
is the partition where the master boot record (MBR)says the boot.ini
file is, which in turn tells which partition to boot the system from. You
can switch the partition in which the boot.ini file is read by merely
changing the "Active" partition by way of the Disk Management utility.
When you first clone a HD and tell it to copy the MBR as well, you're
also telling the Destination HD to look at the same partition on *it* to
find the system to boot as the Origin HD. You can reset this after the
cloning by resetting which partition is the "Active" partition.

You can tell by this, then, that you can put multiple clones of the
1st HD on your 2nd HD, and you can select which boots up by making
sure that the boot.ini file on the "Active" partition has a pointer to the
desired partition (i.e. the desired clone). At boot time, XP's multi-boot
feature will ask which partition to boot, and you highlight the desired
system (having names that you can supply in the boot.ini file) using the
Up and Down arrows and then pressing Enter. You can always use the
boot.ini file on the 1st HD if you include information in its entries saying
which HD to look at for the system partition, or you can use a boot.ini
file in the 2nd HD if you designate that HD as the higher priority device
in the BIOS' boot sequence (i.e. the BIOS' boot priority list). Initially,
of course, the 2nd HD will have a cloned boot.ini file that thinks it is in
the 1st HD, so it will have to be adjusted accordingly if you have been
using the boot.ini file in the 1st HD to select from system partitions that
may have included some that were on the 2nd HD.



I should add that a bootable system must be in a Primary partition,
and since the OS limits the number of Primary partitions to four, you
can have only 4 bootable partitions (i.e. bootable clones) on a HD.

*TimDaniels*
  #3  
Old September 18th 04, 07:40 PM
Pavel A.
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Posts: n/a
Default

"Waraf Nido" wrote in message ...
QUESTION

Can some explain the Status data I see in XP's Disk Management . What is
the "Active" status saying in my situation?


"Active" means the partition that BIOS uses to boot
(in case more than one partition is bootable).
That's all.

--PA


  #4  
Old September 18th 04, 09:15 PM
Eric Gisin
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Posts: n/a
Default

"Waraf Nido" wrote in message
...
QUESTION

Can some explain the Status data I see in XP's Disk Management . What is
the "Active" status saying in my situation?

There are three values that can follow Healthy.

Page File: obvious
Active: partition marked bootable
System: current OS volume

If more than one apply, only the last in this list will appear.

  #5  
Old September 19th 04, 12:25 AM
Timothy Daniels
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Pavel A." wrote:
"Waraf Nido" wrote:
QUESTION

Can some explain the Status data I see in XP's Disk Management . What is
the "Active" status saying in my situation?


"Active" means the partition that BIOS uses to boot
(in case more than one partition is bootable).
That's all.



More specifically, the "Active" partition contains the boot.ini file
which specifies the partition from which to load the system FOR
THAT HARD DRIVE. This means that a partition on the 2nd HD
can be "Active", but if the 1st HD is higher in the BIOS' boot sequence,
the booted system will come from the partition that the boot.ini file in
the 1st HD's "Active" partition designates. In the case of only one
partition on a HD, that partition seems by default to be the "Active"
partition. If the 2nd HD is made higher in the boot sequence, the
"Active" partition on that HD will be used to supply the boot.ini file.
This means that on the 2nd HD, partition 2 can be the "Active" partition,
but the booted system can come from another partition if the boot.ini
file in partition 2 designates that other partition. Keep in mind that
the boot.ini file can designate a partition on ANY HD to be the one
from which to load the system. Specifally, the boot.ini file in the
"Active" partition on the 1st HD can designate a partition on the 2nd
HD from which to load the system, and vice versa. BTW, the
partition from which the system is loaded is called the "System"
partition by Disk Management.

*TimDaniels*
 




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