I don't agree completely with the other answers you have gotten so far.
This part of your question "but don't know if that second hard drive for
Vista should be set as active or logical" indicates you don't quite
understand the terminology enough to understand partitioning.
At first it is kind of difficult to understand the difference between a
physical hard drive and the various uses for the word "drive" when talking
about drives. A drive letter never refers to the physical hard drive - it
always refers to a partition on a hard drive or memory card or thumb drive
A brand new hard drive typically has zeros in every byte of every sector.
Prior to using the drive, you must initialize and partition it (perhaps
partitioning is initializing - I'm not sure). Windows can do this from the
instalation CD/DVD or under disc management within windows XP or Vista.
Physical drives are not 'set active' -- 'active' is a property of a primary
partition. Only one Primary partition should be active at one time. The
active partition is the one that the system will try to boot from. Primary
partitions can be hidden or not hidden. For primary partitions, only
non-hidden ones are assigned drive letters. (If you have less than four
primary partitions, you can have one extended partition. That extended
partition can be chopped into many partitions.
Following is come info I copied from here:
Most references to NT apply to WXP and Vista too.
Okay, let's do a short review. The Master Boot Record (MBR) on each hard
disk contains the Partition Table, and the computer uses the partition table
to determine how to access the disk. There is room in the partition table
for four entries, called (not surprisingly) partitions. A partition is a
portion of a hard disk that is set up to act like a separate physical hard
disk. A partition must be completely contained on one physical hard disk.
The MBR understands two types of partitions: primary and extended.
A primary partition is a portion of a physical hard disk marked as bootable
by NT, is formatted with a particular file system, and is assigned a drive
letter. With NT, there can be multiple partitions on a drive, of which one
at a time can be marked "active", meaning that you can boot from it.
An extended partition is effectively a logical disk and can be subdivided
into smaller logical drives. You can have only one extended partition per
The "System Partition" is the partition that contains the hardware specific
files used in loading and initializing the operating system. Only a primary
partition can be used as a system partition. Windows NT actually requires
that the system partition be a primary partition.
Then there's the Boot Partition. The boot partition is also used in starting
the operating system and contains the operating system files needed by the
OS. Both a primary partition and a logical drive in an extended partition
can be used as a boot partition.
Try skimming this URL and then read the parts that seem to apply to your
"Paul" <email@example.com> wrote in message
> If I'm setting up XP and Vista on separate drives for dual boot, do I make
> both drives active? I've installed XP already and will be installing
> Vista on the second hard drive but don't know if that second hard drive
> for Vista should be set as active or logical.