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Two copies of XP on system--how to remove?

by relniius / March 26, 2007 7:29 AM PDT

I was unable to boot one day, and despite clean boot, etc., I could not boot. So I installed XP again, and now am able to boot up with the original XP. It is annoying, as each boot I have to choose between the two copies of the OS.

My question: how do I remove the 2nd, more recent installation of XP? Do I just delete the directory where I installed it (/windows2)?

Thanks for any help.

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Two Copies XP
by bobbygee / March 26, 2007 8:44 AM PDT

Hi there.. I think you should reinstall your copy of XP which will remove both the copies you have at present. Though do mske sure you have all the relevant drivers etc at hand to reload. Also make sure you back up all files that you do not want to lose.

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Remove 2nd copy
by Merl Priester / March 26, 2007 11:31 AM PDT

When booting if the First one in the list goes to the correct XP install, do the following.

Open windows explorer, go to VIEW -> select "details"
Go to Tools - Folder Options -> View

check the boxes for

uncheck the boxes for


Click on APPLY
Click OK

Now go to C:
look for boot.ini and open it in notepad
it should look like this

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

You will have 2 lines starting with
The 2nd one you eill remove including the text up to and including the fastdetect word.

SAVE the file

When you reboot you will only have one entry so it will not show.

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Remove 2nd copy
by relniius / March 29, 2007 10:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Remove 2nd copy

Unfortunately, it is the second option that has the correct xp. Are the steps the same as described above?

Thanks for your help.

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copy is removed BUT...
by dcarter04 / April 4, 2010 5:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Remove 2nd copy

i had a similar problem with that and thanks to your post i got it fixed... but there is a next problem
i see a copy of windows at the bottom saying 'windows (default) each time the computer boots up that is the option that is automatically selected, where as i have too select the correct one which i dont want to do at every start up... how can i fix this?

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Re: copy removed
by Kees Bakker / April 4, 2010 6:05 AM PDT
In reply to: copy is removed BUT...
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2 instances of WinXP at bootup
by rmt2010 / May 23, 2010 11:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Remove 2nd copy

Worked perfectly for me - thanks!

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I don't know how you missed the setup on WinXP
by darclew1 / March 29, 2007 12:47 PM PDT

If I go to closed computer, turn it on hit any letter to boot, there are 2 options A & B. I usually select B and enter. It will not install at this point, just load up the file and folders. I will ask if you want to format-Y; examines your drive. You will see that it shows those 2 WINXP on C: drive. It will ask if you want to delete them select D and later it will have L to select. You will have a raw C: drive. Now to continue, hit enter. one Windows XP will load. with Bliss as the wallpaper and one recycle bin. Just make sure that everything you have is saved on CD-r's, DVD-r's, floppies or Zip Drives. Darrell L PS - owned my WINXP since January of last year. It did not come with instructions.

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Can't find folder holding 2nd Copy of XP
by JirafaBo / April 10, 2007 2:52 AM PDT

I've followed all the directions for editing the boot.ini file and have solved the problem of seeing two options on bootup, however, I can not find the file in which the second copy of XP is installed. I only have a WINDOWS file, nothin close to being a second WINDOWS file which I could delete. I obviously still have two copies of it on my drive because my memory is still occupied. Any ideas? thanks!

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by Heph_Of_IA / April 10, 2007 3:44 AM PDT

Have you viewed hidden files? In addition, try running a Windows search for a file, say regedit, to see if you bring up multiple locations, that may help you find the 1st copy of Windows. (Regedit, the windows registry editor, should be found in Windows main directory, as well as the Help directory.)

A clean reformat may be the best way to clean your system of all of the previous copy of Windows. Unfortunately, this will wipe clean any important information you have stored on your system now and may not be ideal.

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by JirafaBo / April 10, 2007 3:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Search

I'm gonna try to search for regedit and see what I find. I thought the "clean reformat was how I ended up with two copies in the first place? I'll see what the regedit search turns up.

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by JirafaBo / April 10, 2007 3:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Searching....

I found a "regedit" file in a WINDOWS file as expected and also in a file called I386. And in Windows/help as well, but that's obviously an ok file. What's the I386 junk?

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Not in duplicate then...
by Heph_Of_IA / April 10, 2007 4:08 AM PDT
In reply to: I386

Not sure exactly, but I think it is an older version or something it calls upon, but it is okay.

Have you verified that the files are in duplicate anywhere? Meaning, does your hard disk have more Used Space than it should? Regedit is automatically installed in Windows and if you are only finding one copy of it, then only 1 copy of Windows is installed.

What actually sounds like happened here is that you didn't reformat the drive, but just installed a 2nd copy of Windows right over the first. The files Windows first accesses says that there you've installed a 2nd OS (operating system). It's then stopping and asking which OS you want to boot to, in this case, both are Windows.

Windows has an option to reformat the drive, which takes about 20 minutes. Then, on top of that, there is about 30 minutes of windows installing, which will ask for time zone, name, etc. Times could easily vary by 10 minutes or more, depending on processor speed and hard drive size.

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by JirafaBo / April 10, 2007 7:25 AM PDT

I thought I was originally reformatting my hard drive when I ended up with two copies of XP. There were questions about partitions and I remember trying to delete the old version during the install from the partitioning screen during bootup. It wouldn't let me because some of the files were still in use or something like that.

I am assuming there are duplicate copies of XP because I used to have 60 GB of music on my hard drive plus XP and plenty of left over memory, now I just have XP and it wouldn't let me put my music back on the drive, it says only 17 GB available. I'm pretty sure it has to be two copies of XP taking up the memory. I've basically cleaned everything off this computer except windows and three other programs.

Do I need the disk to reformat? Or can I do it from some option in Control Panel. I do have the disk, but using the disk is what got me here in the first place. I have a new computer now, I'm just working on cleaning up the old computer for whatever I might wanna use it for.

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Reboot, reformat, and reinstall
by Heph_Of_IA / April 11, 2007 12:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Reformat

When you reinstalled windows, did you do it within Windows?

Here's what I'd like you to do, assuming there isn't anything that can't be replaced on your PC.

Reboot the machine, a black and white screen should come up at some point that says 'Press a key to reboot from disk...' or it may be a choice of Booting Windows with CD support, Starting windows without CD Support, not sure of all the options. I haven't paid too close attention the last several times I've reformatted, it's become sort of instinctual.

What we want here is to completely boot into the windows setup. THis should be a blue screen. There won't be any prompts, but at the bottom of the screen will be a display that will say things like 'reading kernel' and such. It will then ask you if you want to install windows on a partition. DON'T INSTALL IT TO A PARTITION! What we are actually doing is deleting your partitions first, so that you have only 'Unpartitioned Space'. You won't use your mouse for any of this section, just the keyboard. I think you will have to press D, and it will ask are you sure, and press L (L for deLete, in this case). Now you should have only 'Unpartitioned Space'. You will now need to partition it, I want to say F8 to continue. Format it in NTFS, non-quick version. After that, which will take about 20 minutes, you will be able to install to this drive by pressing I, I think. It should be at the bottom (I apologize, again, it's been several days since I last did this and I don't have any more PCs that need reformatting). You should finally (or it should be finally, as you should have reformatted at least a 60GB drive, approximately 20 minute long job) be getting to where it will let you install Windows and will take you to a more Windows-like screen.

After that unhelpful blue screen is gone, you will get to the basic Windows install screen. From here, it is fairly self-explanatory.

I know my instructions aren't the best, but the key here is that it sounds like you just installed and didn't reformat to clear the PC. What we're doing is completely erasing everything and doing a fresh install as if you just bought/built the computer.

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Re: 2 copies of Windows
by Kees Bakker / April 5, 2010 5:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Reformat

It's totally OK to have a copy of regedit in a i386 folder. That's a copy of the CD for possible later use. So I think that your're assuming that you have 2 copies of Windows is wrong.

It's just a case of disk space used. That can always be found, although sometimes it's a lot of work. The usual tools:
- chkdsk for the overall statistics
- treesize (free download) for the size of all folders
- using cacls from the command prompt to give you access to the System Volume Information folder (that's where system restore stores it's data and for some unknown reasons sometimes it's VERY big).


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2 copies, which one to keep?
by urhstry / October 18, 2010 1:34 AM PDT

This thread fits my problem exactly but this is what I have in my boot.ini file..which one do I delete?

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /safeboot:minimal

One of the installs works perfectly, the other one stalls the system and you have to reboot. The first one that comes up while booting is the one I use, the second one does nothing.

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You could edit boot.ini?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 18, 2010 1:47 AM PDT

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /safeboot:minimal

changes to

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Does Nothing" /fastdetect /safeboot:minimal

Save that, reboot and then you know for sure which line needs to be removed.

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