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Windows 7: Help with dual hard drive/dual boot

04 Feb 2010   #1
antennaman

xp
 
 
Help with dual hard drive/dual boot

Here is a weird question; please help if you can:

I'm running XP on a Panasonic Toughbook laptop. I have two 160 GB hard drives, each in caddies that remove/replace in seconds from the laptop. Shut the laptop down, flip a door open, slide out the HD, install the new, close the door, boot up again. Poof...done.

The computer has a Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 1.6 ghz, 3.15 (actually 4 but the XP can't read it all) gB memory. It's got the guts needed.

I would like to purchase and install W7 Pro on one of the drives. I can as such 'ease' into familiarity with W7, experiment with compatibility with work software, but still have the full functionality of XP at hand with the other hard drive.

When/if it all works out, I can migrate data over as needed from the XP drive to the W7 drive with an external USB drive, and abandon XP.

Dual boot on one drive is not workable; the XP drive does not have the space to make that possible....I would be forever fooling around with space limitations. And, I have the extra drive/caddy already in hand (it's a spare for imaging from my backup in the event of a failure).

I'm very experienced with computers; typically people come to me for help.....but 7 is uncharted territory for me. I've given the process a lot of thought, and want to do it this way, so toward that end, your expertise on the following questions would be appreciated!

Here's the questions:

1. Will I have motherboard reporting issues when validating W7, since it is the same motherboard already registered and remaining active with XP?

2. Can I use the OEM W7 pro version, or should I buy the full install?

3. Would you recommend the 32 or 64 bit W7 version? I'm tempted to use 64, but
have some worries about backward compatibility with older software. Are my fears grounded in any reality?

Thanks a bunch for your help!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Feb 2010   #2
patio

Vista Ultimate X64/ Windows 7 Dual-boot
 
 

I'll answer as best i can here...

1) You should have zero issues here...MS would be more than happy to have as many installs out there as possible. Remember you are buying a 2nd OS to install on 1 machine...i can't see how this would upset them

2) The OEM version should be fine.

3) As far as this goes this i can only see being dependent on driver support since it's a laptop. If the drivers for your machine are available for 64bit by all means go for it...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2010   #3
Jonathan_King

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Welcome!

Have you read this tutorial? Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

I believe you actually qualify for the Upgrade version, which you can get for $100.

If you do that, see this tutorial before installing: Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

04 Feb 2010   #4
gregrocker

 

You can have a Windows-managed Dual boot by installing Win7 second using the dual booting tutorial which Jon posted above. This makes the two HD"s interdependent and harder to extricate, although we can help when you are ready to remove XP.

Since you have easier access to your HD's than most with laptops, you can also choose to have a BIOS managed Dual Boot by removing the XP HD when you install Win7. Then you can set your preferred OS as first HD to boot in BIOS, and if you want to boot the other use the F-10 or F-12 key (or whichever key is given on first bootup screen for Boot menu) to choose the other HD. This makes the HD's completely independent so they can come and go as you please.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2010   #5
antennaman

xp
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Jonathan_King View Post
Welcome!

Have you read this tutorial? Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

I believe you actually qualify for the Upgrade version, which you can get for $100.

If you do that, see this tutorial before installing: Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version
Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for the reply.

The standard 'dual boot' directions will not apply, as, like I said in my message, I need a unique approach here: The very FIRM plan is to have DIFFERENT hard drives that will be used one at a time, at different times, with only one operating system on each.

The stuff on the existing 160 gB XP drive simply will not leave room for a reasonable W7 installation....and, since I have two hard drives that are easily interchangeable, I asked myself: WHY BOTHER?

If I want to play and learn W7, in will go the W7 hard drive. When I need to do my day to day stuff until I'm ready to transition, in will go the XP drive. Naturally, a full reboot each time.

I don't THINK this action will qualify me for an upgrade, since XP is still being used. If someone knows for sure that I WILL qualify for the upgrade package, I'm all for spending less.

Let me know, please!

Thanks!!!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2010   #6
antennaman

xp
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
You can have a Windows-managed Dual boot by installing Win7 second using the dual booting tutorial which Jon posted above. This makes the two HD"s interdependent and harder to extricate, although we can help when you are ready to remove XP.

Since you have easier access to your HD's than most with laptops, you can also choose to have a BIOS managed Dual Boot by removing the XP HD when you install Win7. Then you can set your preferred OS as first HD to boot in BIOS, and if you want to boot the other use the F-10 or F-12 key (or whichever key is given on first bootup screen for Boot menu) to choose the other HD. This makes the HD's completely independent so they can come and go as you please.
Hi Greg,

Thanks for the reply!

Is there an advantage to the interdependence, and the associated trouble? I would think it would MUCH easier, and eliminate the need to 'unmarry' the two drives later, to simply have a stand-alone, clean, simple install on each.

The W7 drive will (hopefully) become the permanent drive after I learn it all and test all my work stuff out on it.

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2010   #7
gregrocker

 

If your BIOS Boot menu shortcut key (F10 or F12 normally) works then there is no reason at all to have a Windows Managed dual boot. Just set the preferred OS as first HD to boot in BIOS. If you want to boot into the other, use the Boot menu shortcut key to boot the other HD.

That way when ur ready to remove XP, you can take it out and put it in a drawer or wipe it to use as data drive. Or just don't boot it and set Win7 as default HD.

A standard Windows-managed Dual boot will be set up if you keep both drives plugged when you install Win7. It works on separate HD's as well as separate partitions. So if you want a BIOS-managed dual boot then unplug XP drive during Win7 install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2010   #8
patio

Vista Ultimate X64/ Windows 7 Dual-boot
 
 

The advantage to having 2 seperate drives independent of each other besides what you have already mentioned would be for example if you use an imaging app for backups such as Acronis or Macrium then in the case of a HDD failure you only have to recover the drive that failed...this becomes more difficult using 1 bootloader and 2 seperate drives.

You also have the flexibility of only installing the apps you use most on each drive independently.

Install the 2nd OS with the 1st drive completely removed. Then install all drivers and protection apps...update and shut down.
Then test each drive by itself and see if all is good.
If so power down and install both drives...upon boot enter the BIOS and select drive1 and do a test boot.If all is good then power down...again enter the BIOS but select drive2 and test ...if all is good you have the best of both worlds at your fingertips.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2010   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1. clearly no problem. I have Vista and Win7 running on 2 disks on the same system (no double booting - independent installations.)
2. My 32bit is OEM - no problems here.
3. I have both, 32 and 64bit (came with my new laptop). I like 32bit better. It runs smoother and all my Vista programs work. Not so in 64bit. I am having a hell of a time with the bugger.
PS: I have 3 and 4GBs of RAM
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2010   #10
antennaman

xp
 
 

Aha!!!!

I guess I wasn't clear enough.....I mentioned, but didn't stress, in the first message:

This is a 'Toughbook' laptop; it only has space for one hard drive. It can only use one at a time. It is in a 'caddy', shockmounted and contained within a heater.

I own two 'caddies', each with a hard drive in it. W7 will go on one, XP stays on the other. Shut down, change HDs, reboot.....system changes.

I was looking for advice on potential motherboard registration issues (that seems resolved by several responders, led by Patio), OEM vs. full install (your opinion?) and the advice on 32 or 64 bit systems.

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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