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Windows 7: Dual booting the same Windows 7 installation

28 Mar 2016   #1
zero50

Windows 7 Professional SP1
 
 
Dual booting the same Windows 7 installation

~Background~

There were some power failures last week which caused some errors on my hdd and I spent 3 days reading this forum, trying to fix my windows 7 boot.

I finally fixed it after running chkdisk through a Windows repair disk after trying various other solutions to no avail. Thankfully, no files were lost (Besides the most important stuff was backed up)

I have an anxiety disorder and I work solely on the PC.
This incident was very hard on my health so I want to make sure that whatever happens I can get to work.

So I had an idea.

~Idea~

A while back I was reading about dual booting and it seemed quite interesting.
So, I've had this idea.

I have a 1 TB HDD.

It has two partitions, "System Reserved" and "C".

I create a new partition called G of let's say 100GB.

I then transfer my music, videos, photos to an external drive.

I uninstall all unnecessary programms/games from C.

I make sure C has about 50-60 GB of used space.

Afterwards, I make a system image using either the Windows 7 built-in tool
or Macrium Reflect/Acronis and transfer all my media back to C.

Could I then restore that system image on the new partition?

The end result I want to achieve is to have a "backup windows 7 installation"
If something happens to my Main installation, I can get to work on the second one.
Of course I backup my work to an external drive everyday.
I don't want to lose any more working days...

A friend of mine suggested a virtual machine but I want to be able to play games
on the second installation and I heard that you can't play 3d intensive games on
a virtual machine (without at least the neccessary hardware).

I know my idea seems a bit weird, but it would really help me if this were possible.
I would buy a new internal drive and make 1:1 clone of the current one but I'm low
on money currently...

Anyway, I hope someone can help me either with this or with another solution.
Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
28 Mar 2016   #2
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

If you do a dual boot or install Windows in a VM you would need a second license for that install.
You can create system backup images or have a clone drive without needing a second license.
Either of these could recover your system, i only use imaging.

Post a screen print of Disk Management so we can see what you have now.
Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image

I install all my programs on the [C] partition, and store all user data on a different partition.
I'm not a gamer, and from what i know they can use a lot of space.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2016   #3
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Suggest you make an image of your system. Then you can easily replace a damaged system with the image. Here is how ==>

Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

28 Mar 2016   #4
zero50

Windows 7 Professional SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidE View Post
If you do a dual boot or install Windows in a VM you would need a second license for that install.
You can create system backup images or have a clone drive without needing a second license.
Either of these could recover your system, i only use imaging.

Post a screen print of Disk Management so we can see what you have now.
Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image

I install all my programs on the [C] partition, and store all user data on a different partition.
I'm not a gamer, and from what i know they can use a lot of space.
Here is my current setup.
(I have obscured the names of my external drives as they are named after family members)
I have made a new partition, seen as :G here.
My plan is to free most of the space on :C (make my used space about 30-50GB), make a system image of it, and then boot up my Windows 7 installation disk,
and restore the image on the second partition (Seen as :G).

What do you think? Would that work?
I downloaded Acronis and Macrium Reflect too in case they are better suited to the task.


Attached Thumbnails
Dual booting the same Windows 7 installation-disk-management.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2016   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Are you willing to buy a second license - because else you will be in trouble.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2016   #6
zero50

Windows 7 Professional SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Suggest you make an image of your system. Then you can easily replace a damaged system with the image. Here is how ==>

Imaging with free Macrium

I could just do that, yes,
but I was wondering if I could create a dual boot environment with the same installation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2016   #7
zero50

Windows 7 Professional SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Are you willing to buy a second license - because else you will be in trouble.
But, essentially it's the same installation...
Would a new license be needed?
It's the same hardware, the same software, just "cloned".
I'm not trying to evade buying a new license, I want to understand
how this stuff works.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2016   #8
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I wouldn't go down the dual boot approach.
Your best approach longer term IMO given you want a quick return to operation in the event of a major problem would be simply to use Macrium system imaging to an external HDD and make a couple of images and have a spare (internal) 1TB HDD.

However at the moment you have a large amount of data on your OS partition (~700+GB). So in this situation I would recommend you buy a new internal HDD and use Macrium to clone all of your current 1TB HDD to the new one. Note this will take some time. Disconnect the original HDD and make sure the new HDD boots by itself. If it does then disconnect it and go back to the original. If the original HDD fails then just disconnect it and reconnect your cloned standby drive.

In the longer term move your (large) data from the OS partition to a separate data partition. This will then make regular (faster!) system imaging more of an option. BTW I don't know why your smallish third partition is logical. I would be expanding it into C: as you move data off it onto a temporary data backup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2016   #9
zero50

Windows 7 Professional SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
I wouldn't go down the dual boot approach.
Your best approach longer term IMO given you want a quick return to operation in the event of a major problem would be simply to use Macrium system imaging to an external HDD and make a couple of images and have a spare (internal) 1TB HDD.

However at the moment you have a large amount of data on your OS partition (~700+GB). So in this situation I would recommend you buy a new internal HDD and use Macrium to clone all of your current 1TB HDD to the new one. Note this will take some time. Disconnect the original HDD and make sure the new HDD boots by itself. If it does then disconnect it and go back to the original. If the original HDD fails then just disconnect it and reconnect your cloned standby drive.

In the longer term move your (large) data from the OS partition to a separate data partition. This will then make regular (faster!) system imaging more of an option. BTW I don't know why your smallish third partition is logical. I would be expanding it into C: as you move data off it onto a temporary data backup.
I see. I was thinking of buying an internal 3TB Toshiba drive that costs about 100$
and a Samsung Pro 500 GB SSD. I'd transfer the windows files over to the SSD for faster booting.
But unfortunately I can't afford this at the moment.

So you 're saying I should move my larger files to another partition?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2016   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zero50 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Are you willing to buy a second license - because else you will be in trouble.
But, essentially it's the same installation...
Would a new license be needed?
It's the same hardware, the same software, just "cloned".
I'm not trying to evade buying a new license, I want to understand
how this stuff works.
Yes, if you have 2 systems installed you need 2 licenses. There is no escape. But you can avoid that with the imaging approach that Michael suggested.

PS - and don't finagle anything. You may lose the license you currently have in the process.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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