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Windows 7: To Dual Boot XP & 7, Do i need both to be x64?

01 Aug 2012   #11
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

Personally, i believe multi-boot and VM each have Pros and Cons.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but i believe there are some advantages to multi-boot vs. virtualization.

With virtualization:
If the Host OS becomes not bootable for ANY reason, any and all virtual OS's can not be used.
Some things may work differently or not at all in a Virtual OS that might work if booted directly such as:
- Hardware and drivers for TV cards, Sound cards, Printer-Scanners, Media programs, codecs, utilities, ... etc.
- Games
With multi-boot:
If one OS is not bootable for many reasons, another OS may still boot up normally.
The possibility of a "VM OS" causing a particular problem is eliminated.
My primary PC has W7-x64 as the primary OS, and W7-x86 as the Test/Backup OS.
When Win7 first came out, some programs and devices did not work for me with x64 but did work with x86.
That is why i decided to use dual-boot on this HTPC.
In some cases this is still true, but i find work-arounds using x64 when needed.

With any update/upgrade for Win7, hardware, drivers, programs, codecs, etc. ... i can test if it's x64/x86 issue, if and when i have a problem.

If my x86 Test OS is in a VM, i would not have the same "confidence level" testing that way.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Aug 2012   #12
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

With current systems, there's little to worry about with hardware compatibility. Those devices, such as old printers, can easily be shared into a VM for use. VM apps have come a long way in the last couple of years.

In addition to that, multi-boot systems require boot loaders on the drive...meaning if one messes up, you likely won't be able to boot the system at all. Once you run a repair, your other OSes won't be bootable, either.

With Windows 7, there's no need to test x86 vs x64 anymore. Maybe with Vista, yes, but those days are long gone. All you do is waste a license and drive space by multi-booting the same OS. Testing is a perfect reason to virtualize, because you can build a clean VM, and back it up. Then, after testing something, rolling back takes 1-2 minutes. That's it. Same with a system restore. Again, no boot loaders to mess with.

A functioning VM is a full working computer. There's no need for varying confidence levels. It has access to your host system's hardware.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
The possibility of a "VM OS" causing a particular problem is eliminated.
I'm not sure what you mean by this, but VMs are isolated, in the sense that if one has an issue, it doesn't have any effect on the host system. That's the reason why virtualization has replaced multi-booting. If a VM does develop an issue, you can remove it or restore it from a backup with absolutely no effect on the host OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2012   #13
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

A lot of the reasoning here is based on the assumption of a problem with the boot loader.
I believe there can be many reasons for an OS to not be able to run that have nothing to do with the boot loader.

My responses below are the bold text.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DeaconFrost View Post
With current systems, there's little to worry about with hardware compatibility. Those devices, such as old printers, can easily be shared into a VM for use. VM apps have come a long way in the last couple of years.

You could be right, that's why i said
"When Windows 7 first came out, some programs and devices did not work for me with x64 but did work with x86. That is why i decided to use dual-boot on this HTPC."


In addition to that, multi-boot systems require boot loaders on the drive...meaning if one messes up, you likely won't be able to boot the system at all. Once you run a repair, your other OSes won't be bootable, either.

This is not true.
I am on a dual boot pc now and there is no multi OS boot loader.
OS boot selection is done with the "One Time Boot Up" option (F12 for me).
Also, I have run repair on a multi boot PC with a multi OS boot loader, and all OS's worked afterwords.


With Windows 7, there's no need to test x86 vs x64 anymore. Maybe with Vista, yes, but those days are long gone. All you do is waste a license and drive space by multi-booting the same OS. Testing is a perfect reason to virtualize, because you can build a clean VM, and back it up. Then, after testing something, rolling back takes 1-2 minutes. That's it. Same with a system restore. Again, no boot loaders to mess with.

Could be there's no need today - i answered that above.
It's my understanding a separate license is needed for each OS irregardless if it is in a VM or stand alone.
Am i wrong with that understanding?
Can i legally install Windows OS in a VM and not need a different license for the VM OS than the Host OS license?

A functioning VM is a full working computer. There's no need for varying confidence levels. It has access to your host system's hardware.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
The possibility of a "VM OS" causing a particular problem is eliminated.
I'm not sure what you mean by this, but VMs are isolated, in the sense that if one has an issue, it doesn't have any effect on the host system. That's the reason why virtualization has replaced multi-booting. If a VM does develop an issue, you can remove it or restore it from a backup with absolutely no effect on the host OS.

This simply means if i have a problem and I'm using a VM OS how can i be 100% guaranteed that the VM is not causing the issue.
With a stand alone OS, a VM is eliminated as a possible cause of the problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Aug 2012   #14
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

If you are running multiple OSes natively, you are using a boot loader (even if it is a default Window one). The only way around that is to physically select which drive to boot from the BIOS/POST menu. That's the reason why Windows and even Linux need to be installed in certain orders, or else one OS won't boot. For example, if you boot Ubuntu and Windows 7...and then repair Windows 7...Ubuntu won't boot anymore, as the Windows 7 boot loader will over-write it. If you swap out Ubuntu in my example for XP, the same will be true.

Yes, there is an example. XP Mode. While it isn't my preferred method of running a VM, it does give you a free license for XP to run old programs. My comments had nothing to do with licensing, though. My comments where around the simplified manner that VMs allow for OS testing. For example, I have several VMs sitting on my home tower right now. Each one is stored in a directory by default. Each directory is zipped to an archive and stored on my server. If I mess something up in a VM, or want to roll back, all I do is copy back the folder from my server, and in a minute or two, I'm back to a clean/restored state. No rebooting, no messing with boot orders, no waiting for an OS install.

As for your last point, I am starting to get the impression you haven't used virtualization before. I'm saying this not to be an ass...just an observation. If you are having a problem with the host system, and you feel the VM software may be the issue, you can easily tell. VMs don' run unless you tell them to. Even the software could be removed quickly, and reinstalled later if needed, without affecting the existing VMs. Then you can tell if the main issue went away or not. With a multi-boot system, in order to remove it, you have to mess with partitions, boot loaders, possible repairs, etc. Then, if you decide to restore it, you need to go through the secondary OS install again.

That still goes back to my third point of wondering if you've used virtualization software before. What issues are you worried about or thinking of that a VM could cause? The entire point of virtualization is to isolate the guest OSes from the host, so the host runs all the time, without issue, regardless of what you do within the virtual environment. It's no different than running any other Windows applications.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2012   #15
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

I simply tried to point out that i believe multi-boot and VM each have Pros and Cons.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2012   #16
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
I simply tried to point out that i believe multi-boot and VM each have Pros and Cons.
I'm not trying to come across as being combatitive. I see a lot of people shy away from virtualization, because of things they've heard, read, or weren't sure about. The main and real reason people kept installing the OSes natively was 3D support. If that's not needed (for simple software testing), virtualization is perfect. I've used an XP VM for a while now to run old games, like the original Age Of Empires and run an old printer/scanner for my wife to use. The software has come a long way, and fixed many of the "issues" people faced. XP runs at near native speeds, too.

I don't even run server OSes natively anymore! I have one Dell PowerEdge R710 at work, running ESXi (which is free...amazing), with 5 virtual servers running within it.

The only point I'm trying to make is that you can accomplish everything you'd need to do with dual-booting in a simpler, cleaner method now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2012   #17
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

I don't take offence with anything you say and i'm not trying to be combative either.
Feel free to say whatever you want.

I have no problem with virtualization and see the Pros/advantages.

I still believe there are Pros and Cons each way such as
With virtualization if the Host OS is not bootable for any reason then all guest OS's are also not usable.
With multi-boot, if one OS becomes not bootable another OS can be booted so the machine is still usable.

I'm most interested in the license question.

In post #12 you said "All you do is waste a license and drive space by multi-booting the same OS."
In post #13 i asked about licensing.
In post #14 you said "My comments had nothing to do with licensing, though."...

If my understanding of MS Win licensing is wrong i would like to know that (see post #13).

My main use is HTPC...are you into that?

Thanks,
David
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2012   #18
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Ah, I see the licensing confusion on my part. I didn't detail that out well enough. I meant for people who seem to want to dual boot Windows 7 to run both platforms...it means they would need to purchase a second key...as the first key couldn't be used again. The software compatibility issues have larger been fixed by now, considering the length of time Vista and 7 have been out. I had really been hoping Windows 7 and now Windows 8 would be x64 only. Oh well...maybe next time.

I think I can sum up the booting issue differences. Yes, if the Host OS becomes corrupt, you can get to your VMs to run. This is true, but VMs can also be exported to other systems as well, even if the host OS went belly up. But there's a larger point to consider. By using VMs to do testing, the host OS will run just fine. My host OS stays clean and efficient because I keep it hat way...and isolate my testing or unknowns to the VM world. In your multi-boot example, on a system with W7 and XP, if XP becomes corrupt, W7 still boots. If W7 becomes corrupt, neither will boot, as the system would be using W7's loader for both OSes. I'm leaving out hard drive failure because that screws both options up completely.

I used the run a little Shuttle box next to my entertainment center, but I did away with it. It was nice to occasionally show photos on a big screen, but it was mainly used for movie watching. The format I used for movies just so happens to work on an Xbox 360 as well, so I ended up just using my Xbox 360 and Blu-Ray player to handle movie watching, and sold the Shuttle off. As the new Atom processors get more powerful, I start having thoughts of a little silent PC going in my living room again. It's tempting.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2012   #19
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

Thanks for the clarification on the license question!

Quote:
My host OS stays clean and efficient because I keep it hat way...and isolate my testing or unknowns to the VM world.
With that approach if someone wants to use Win 7 x64 as the HOST OS and TEST in Win 7 x64 they need 2 licenses.
Is my understanding correct and this approach does require 2 licenses for hosting and testing the same OS (W7 x64)?

Assuming the Host OS is Windows, no matter how diligent anyone is something can happen to "corrupt" that OS.
I've read enough that i believe this to be true...ANY update, by ANY method, at ANY time, in ANY way, could render an OS unusable.
It could be an MS Update, Security Program update, malware, user error ... whatever...
That is my belief based on everything i know...(Murphy's law)

Please explain
Quote:
but VMs can also be exported to other systems as well, even if the host OS went belly up
If the HOST OS does not boot, how do you export a VM? (linux boot cd, ... )
I didn't know this and really want to understand this
Where do you export it to, and how does it run and access data?
I'm asking about a Home user, not a corporate environment with backup/emergency/contigency plans.


regarding
Quote:
In your multi-boot example, on a system with Windows 7 and XP, if XP becomes corrupt, Windows 7 still boots. If Windows 7 becomes corrupt, neither will boot, as the system would be using Windows 7's loader for both OSes.
I disagree.
I can corrupt a Win 7 OS so it will not boot, and still boot all other OS's including XP.
I think you are assuming a multi-os boot loader got corrupted, and not just an installed OS.
Feel free to correct me.

Quote:
As the new Atom processors get more powerful, I start having thoughts of a little silent PC going in my living room again. It's tempting.
Same here...someday
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2012   #20
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
Is my understanding correct and this approach does require 2 licenses for hosting and testing the same OS (W7 x64)?
Yes, two licenses would be needed, even if a person wanted to run Windows 7 x64 and x86, one as a host and one as a guest.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
Assuming the Host OS is Windows, no matter how diligent anyone is something can happen to "corrupt" that OS.
If the OS itself (system files, etc) is corrupt, absolutely. But, if the corruption extends to the boot loader, or the older OS needs to be repaired, you'll have to repair it then the newer OS as well. Extra steps...extra chances for something more to go wrong. I follow the K.I.S.S. principle, and that's one reason I've avoided dual-booting for almost a decade now. Less variables. If the host is the only natively installed OS on the system, you lessen the chances of doing any damage to it, especially if testing is done within the VM. Windows 7 is pretty easy to keep running stable and smooth. Yes, it is still possible to be corrupted...but not as likely as previous versions.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
Where do you export it to, and how does it run and access data?
If you had backups of the VMs, those would be easily accessible. If not, a drive can always be connected to another computer or put into an external cage, and the VMs could be accessed that way. They are just files and directories, and would be usable an accessible like any other type of file. All you'd really have to do is install the virtualization software of choice, then point it to the directory of VMs. That's pretty much it. It isn't much different than install Office on another computer, then opening Word, Excel, etc files.
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