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Installing different Operational systems.

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#1 rker321


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Posted 04 July 2010 - 09:21 AM

I have a 32bit computer that I want to upgrade in the following manner.
I want to have two hardrives each of them having a different Operational system. One with XP Pro and the otherone with Win 7
I want to know if it can be done, and when opening the computer can I choose which hardrive Iwant to work on.

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#2 MrBruce1959


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Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:35 AM

Hello and welcome to Bleepingcomputer.

Your question is can you put two different operating systems on the same computer on different hard drives.

The answer is yes.

When you install the OS off of the installation disk it will ask which drive you wish to install the OS too, it might list the drive by its hardware ID number.

That drive will be listed as C: and Windows will offer to install to C:\Windows

If you have both drives installed in the computer when you install the second OS on the second hard drive and the first hard drive is still installed, the second OS creates a boot menu on the first boot drive. Sometimes if this option gets corrupted for any reason down the line, one or both OSes becomes none bootable. Even if it is still listed in the list of options at boot up. The corrupted OS won't boot, in all likely hood, you'll just see a curser blinking on a blank screen, that never goes anywhere, while the other OS still boots successfully.

This is caused by a corrupted Master Boot Record at sector 0, sometimes it can be repaired and sometimes it can't and requires a full reformat of the whole drive to fix this corruption.

It is better in my option to remove the first drive and install on the second drive independently set as a master drive, then change to a slave once install is complete and choose each drive as the first boot drive through the BIOS boot option in your BIOS setup utility and switch the drives around that way.

It also prevents problems down the line if one drive fails or is removed from the system.

Windows OSes usually do not recommend dual booting computer systems for the same reasons.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 04 July 2010 - 11:32 PM.

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#3 hamluis



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Posted 04 July 2010 - 12:18 PM

Well...I disagree with the comments about dual-booting Windows :thumbsup:.

I've dual-booted versions of Windows ever since Win 95/98...and the only consideration that I find one must make (for the sake of simplicity) is to install the older O/S first, then install the newer.

The suggestion is made by MS based on the fact that a newer O/S may overwrite the boot files of an earlier O/S...which is no problem. But an older O/S cannot overwrite the boot files of a newer O/S, without more trouble than it's worth. In spite of the inconvenience...older versions of Windows CAN be installed after later versions. But it is not recommended to the average user.

Further..although it isn't necessary, I suggest installing each O/S on a separate hard drive. I don't see any value in putting the fates of two O/Ses unnecessarily on one hard drive.

Multibooting in Windows XP Made Easy - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/s...eptember10.mspx


#4 Guest_Joe C_*

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 07:58 PM

The method Mrbruce suggested is what I do with xp and windows 7 on my pc.

It is better in my option to remove the first drive and install on the second drive independently set as a master drive, then change to a slave once install is complete and choose each drive as the first boot drive through the BIOS boot option in your BIOS setup utility and switch the drives around that way.

I find this method works very well for me because each drive has it's own bootloader, They are independent of each other and it is irrelevant to which order you install the o.s.

I have some software on my pc that is not compatible with W7 so it is very easy to select the drive from the boot order ( using an F key) and boot into that o.s. If one drive fails or the MBR goes wonky I still have a bootable drive

#5 strolln


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Posted 04 July 2010 - 10:08 PM

I personally detest dual booting and I would rather install virtual software such as MS Virtual PC, Oracle VirtualBox or VMWare Player. That way I can install different OSes and run them simultaneously instead of booting one or the other. For instance, on the computer I am typing this post from, I have the main OS as Win 7 but I can bring up Virtual Machines of Win XP Pro, Ubuntu 9.1, Ubuntu 10.04, Puppy Linux and MS DOS 6.22 all from VirtualBox. I can also setup apps from those various OSes to run from an icon on my Win 7 desktop.

When you specify your VM, you can specify how much RAM to allocate, how much HD space to allocate and what hardware resources to make available to the VM. I've used VMs in my work for years in lieu of having to have multiple physical machines to be able to test multiple software configurations.

Edited by strolln, 04 July 2010 - 10:21 PM.

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