I've install windows XP on another partition of mine (the I: drive) and basically wiped the original C: drive expecpt for the windows bootloader that sits on there. I'm worried that if I wipe the C: drive and put archlinux on there that windows XP on the I: drive (which depends on the bootloader on the C: drive to boot) will not be able to boot without some painful process. Is there some way to move the windows bootloader on to the I: drive?
doesn't the windows installer install their bootloader on the partition which it install to? in that case you would have a bootloader on both I: and C:.
if you just copied windows over from a linux bootcd or something then just copy it back! or maybe that won't work.... this isn't linux i forget. maybe you could do that and then run an search & replace "I:" to "C:" on the windows registry through some third party tool. then also do the same for windows dir. I don't know..
or waaait if what you say is correct:
step 1. install arch on C:
step 2. boot with win XP install cd and go into recovery console or whatever it's called. there's a program there called fixmbr that "fixes" XP's bootloader/bootrecord. run that. Or maybe you could run this through wine on archlinux if you can find it on the internets.
step3. bootup with arch cd again and reinstall grub.
tada! problems gone. this is what i did once to install linux. i know it works. anyway regardless, you should get yourself a good livecd. the best one is INSERT. i can vouche for that <:) Saved my ass always. Surrender is not an option!
if none of this sounds appealing doesn't XP have some inbuilt partition tool which can move xp from one part to another? maybe that works...
KISS = "It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience." - Albert Einstein
You could escape more problems by leaving Windows on the first partition. Windows needs to be the C: drive because everybody thinks so. GRUB should not be loaded to the partition of any operating system is on, because it will format that entire partition as boot and install GRUB on it. Put Windows back where it belongs, and install grub to hda (hda0?), instead of hda1 which is where Windows is at. Hda is the beginning of the drive, which is the bootsector. Windows does not need its own bootloader, so you'll be overwriting it with GRUB (by installing to hda) and adding a space and the below lines to the menu.lst file:
# (1) Windows
So when the GRUB menu comes up, you have a Windows option that will boot perfectly. So, install the Arch Linux operating system to that other partition (what was going to be your Windows I: drive) instead. You'll be glad you did.