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Windows 7: A twist on Win 7 plus Win 7 dual boot


12 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 
A twist on Win 7 plus Win 7 dual boot

My adventure is similar to merlincorp in his thread: "Win 7 plus Win 7 on 2 partitions?"

The biggest difference is that I want to stay with Dual Boot indefinitely.

I do a lot of beta testing and my plan is to create an image (Macrium Reflect) and periodically restore a "new" Win 7 partition to clean out "beta rot".

From the snap, here is how my Disks/Partitions lay out:
A twist on Win 7 plus Win 7 dual boot-computermanagement-diskmanagement.jpg

Disk 1 is my existing Win 7 64-bit OS and will be the "default" boot option in my dual boot scenario.

Disk 2 is purely Data

Disk 0 is a virgin drive (no OS or Data yet) and is merely partitioned (not Active yet). This will be my second dual boot drive alternative. It is here that I want to install a second licensed copy of Win 7 Pro 64 bit on the Windows 7-Betas (H partition.

There is a partition labeled BetaBack (I which is where I intend to store an Image of Windows 7-Betas which I will use to periodically restore Windows 7-Betas (H from time to time.

Questions:
  1. I presume I should make my Disk 0 Windows 7-Betas partition "Active", right?
  2. I read about disconnecting the SATA cable from the existing Disk 1 before installing the "new" Win 7 to Disk 0. Is this applicable to my scenario? I'm hoping not, but what are the consequences one way or another?
  3. When I insert the Win 7 install DVD will it "discover" my existing Win 7 installation and ask me what I want to do? If I just tell it which Drive partition to install, will that suffice?
  4. During the usual install restarts, is there some built-in dual boot menu enabled automatically?
  5. During the customary restart process, does the install routine know *not* to boot my "old" Win 7? Or, is that why I should disconnect the old Win 7 SATA cable?
  6. How do I prevent inadvertently corrupting my existing Win 7 setup boot files which some folks seem to report?
  7. Do I need to mess with a "System Reserved" partition as described in merlincorp's thread or can I skip that step if it doesn't apply in my case?

Thanks so much guys for your incredible patience! I really learned a lot from that "Win 7 plus Win 7" thread and hope mine is as successful.

John Daigle
Evergreen, Colorado



My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

13 Apr 2011   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

The cleanest way to Dual Boot with separate HD's is via the BIOS, setting the preferred HD to boot first in BIOS setup, then using the one-time BIOS Boot Menu key which on Asus' is F8 to boot the other HD when needed.

This keeps the HD's independent to come and go as you please, whereas a Windows-managed Dual Boot will interlock them by placing the boot files for both HD's on the first installed HD, requiring repair in order to remove the last-installed HD.

To achieve this, unplug the existing Windows 7 HD during install of new Windows 7, making sure it is set first to boot in BIOS setup. After install, plug back in the other OS HD, set preferred as first HD to boot, boot other using Asus' F8 BIOS Boot Menu key.

If this isn't to your liking, keep both HD's plugged in during install to let Windows 7 configure a Windows-managed Dual Boot, or later add EasyBCD 2.02 to primary Windows 7 to add the other to Boot menu.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2011   #3

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for the quick reply!

So just to be clear:
  1. I could see rebooting to a different OS several times a day, so the term "one time" BIOS Boot Menu key is confusing. Probably not that difficult, but I've never used that and I guess I just need to look at it.
  2. "unplug the existing Windows 7 HD during install of new Windows 7, making sure it is set first to boot in BIOS setup." So, it refers to the existing Windows 7 HD, right?
Thanks again!
john
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


13 Apr 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

If you are doing testing with an OS that might lead to a frequent restore, it makes no sense to do so with a multi-boot system. I'm not sure why so many people are avoiding a free solution to this very setup....virtualization. Why mess with boot records, boot orders, etc? Simplify.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2011   #5
Microsoft MVP

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by hypertexas View Post
Thanks for the quick reply!

So just to be clear:
  1. I could see rebooting to a different OS several times a day, so the term "one time" BIOS Boot Menu key is confusing. Probably not that difficult, but I've never used that and I guess I just need to look at it.
  2. "unplug the existing Windows 7 HD during install of new Windows 7, making sure it is set first to boot in BIOS setup." So, it refers to the existing Windows 7 HD, right?
Thanks again!
john
It is called "one-time" Boot Menu to differentiate it from BIOS setup Boot order. Other times it's referred to as BBS (Bios Boot Screen).

Unplug all but the HD being installed upon during install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2011   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Are you planning to install by booting the dvd ?

Go ahead - just point the installer at your H partition.

That's all.

Restarts during installation will restart the o/s you in the midst of installing automatically - you will see a boot menu - top entry highlighted will reboot in 30 secs - if you can't be bothered waiting, just press enter.

When done , you will boot thru the same partition you are now - you will simply have another entry - allowing you to choose the existing, or new Windows 7.

You might want to change the description on the boot menu - to see easily which is which - go to msconfig boot tab and sort that out in a couple of secs.

Piece of cake.

You could have done it by now.LOL
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2011   #7

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

Thanks everyone! Works like a charm. Not one hiccup. I used the unplug HD trick. I'm using the BIOS one time boot menu approach rather than the Windows boot manager or EasyBCD at this point.
Thanks
john
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 A twist on Win 7 plus Win 7 dual boot




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