What is XXCLONE 
 Theory of Operation 
 F A Q 
 About Us (Pixelab) 
 Other Products
On-Line Manual 
Installation & Activation 
Volume Clone Operations 
Cool Tools 
Technical Notes 
About Self-Bootability 
A Crash Course on Windows Booting 
BIOS Settings 
About the BOOT.INI File 
Boot Error Messages 
Release History 

BIOS Settings

Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide a concrete instruction for everyone due to the countless variations in the BIOS menu and the available flexibility in the field.  This page provides a few advices that should be applicable to many cases.

    With most computers, you may enter the BIOS menu within the first few seconds of system power up by pressing the DELETE key (in some computers it may be F2, F8, Ctrl-S, etc.).
  • In setting up the boot device priority list, we suggest to put the CD-ROM/DVD-ROM first, the Floppy Disk Drive (FDD or USB-FDD) next, and then, the hard disk last.  The idea is to place the CD-ROM or FDD devices ahead of the hard disk so that you may manually override the normal (hard disk-based) boot sequence by inserting a bootable CD or a QBD.
  • The BIOS setting that always affects XXCLONE operations is the boot device selection list.  It comes in a variety of menu styles and organizations.  The common theme is that it allows you to select which hard disk to be the first disk (Disk 0 in the boot menu designation).  To test the self-bootability of a cloned volume, you may select the disk that contains the volume as the boot device.

      In the DOS and Windows 9X environments (FDISK), the hard disks are numbered starting Disk 1.  However, in the NT-family and Windows Vista, the first disk is Disk 0.

  • Another useful technique that relates to XXCLONE is that the BIOS lets you disable a hard disk during a boot test.  For example, if both the Source and the Target volumes are in different disks, you may disable the disk with Source volume via a BIOS setting.  This technique is often much less time-consuming than swiapping disks physically.

      If your computer does not have a floppy disk drive (FDD), we recommend that you acquire an external USB-FDD as a convenient way to control the boot process.  We consider it a good investment with the affordable price and the fact one such device will serve all of your computers.
  • Many computers come with a BIOS that offers a choice for the External Hard Disk in the boot device list.  As a mater of fact, you may choose the external USB-disk as the boot device.  But, you will most likely be disappointed. 

    Although such a setting allows you to let your external hard disk to take part in the first phase of the boot process (to provide the boot menu and you may choose an interal disk successfully), Microsoft will not let you successfully initialize a Windows system using an external volume. Alas, this is a deliberate design (presumably to prevent a software piracy.)

  • You should be aware of one important fact that the disk numbering scheme used by the BIOS which also applies to the disk number parameters in the boot menu is NOT always consistent with the disk numbering scheme shown in the Disk Management utility when you have both Serial ATA (SATA) and Paralel ATA (PATA, or the traditional IDE) type disks. 

    Whereas the Disk Management utility always shows the PATA disks before the SATA disks, the BIOS settings may select a SATA disk as the first disk.

    This discrepancy is due to the fact that the Windows system directly accesses the disk drives from scratch by completely ignoring the disk numbering scheme used by the BIOS.  Since XXCLONE is a regular application just like the Disk Management utility that accesses the disks through the Windows system API, the disk numbering scheme used by XXCLONE is consistent with that of the the Windows system.

    Since the disk numbering scheme of the BIOS applies to the initial boot sequence up to the boot menu selection phase, the disk number specified in the BOOT.INI file should be consistent with the BIOS scheme.  Yet, some of the lines in the BOOT.INI file that are automatically created by XXCLONE (Make Bootable, Add Test Boot or Make QBD) may become inconsistent to the reality when it is actually processed in the context of the particular boot sequence.

    Unfortunately, XXCLONE cannot easily determine whether such a discrepancies may play an adverse role when it prepares a line for inclusion n the BOOT.INI file.  There is no automatic solution to this except that the user needs to be vigilant to this potential discrepancy.  Our suggestion is to add an entry that covers the case for a different disk number. 

    One sure case that seems to applies to all cases is that the initial boot disk that is selected by the BIOS which loads the BOOT.INI file to show the boot menu is always treated as Disk 0 in the context regardless of how Windows (and XXCLONE's display) labels the disk.  In other words, the Self-Boot setting should refer to its own boot volume as Disk 0.

    This topic is covered in the BOOT.INI File page once again.

  • Let me summarize this page by rephrasing the key point of the above which is the most common pitfall for many users.

    Remember that Windows' view of the disks may be different from what your BIOS sees them.  Even if you can see the target disk on the Disk Management utility display, the boot process may not detect the disk if your BIOS is not properly configured.  This is due to the fact Windows bypasses (ignores) the BIOS settings while the boot procedure has to operate under the system environment that is initialized by the BIOS at the beginning before Windows takes over the control of your computer.