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Windows 7: Trying to boot Windows 7 or Windows 8 from separate laptop drives


14 Mar 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Trying to boot Windows 7 or Windows 8 from separate laptop drives

My Dell laptop currently contains three hard drives, the main SSD drive containing Windows 7 Ultimate and nearly all application installations. Another drive is a mini-SSD that serves strictly as a fast-access data drive. The other large capacity (conventional drive) is used as the main data drive.

I decided to try Windows 8, but didn't want to "go all in" and upgrade the existing Windows 7 installation. So, I replaced the second hard drive with another of the same type and size, cloned my existing Windows 7 drive, booted the computer from the new #2 drive, and upgraded that Windows 7 installation, all without any problem at all. I can now do a selective boot from either drive and load the OS of my choice. Unfortunately, there is one annoying problem that I'm not sure what to do about.

Regardless of the OS that gets booted, during the loading process, I get messages indicating that each of the drives in the system "need to be checked for consistency". Regardless of whether or not I allow this disk check to run, both OSes will boot and everything "appears" to work fine. However, I'm afraid that things might be going on in the background somewhere that *could* render either one or both drives un-bootable at some point which could be a major problem for me, particularly if it was the original Windows 7 SSD installation.

Does anyone know why the OSes want to do this "consistency check" (which can take a long time on the large conventional drive), and/or if there's a way to prevent them? And, is there any real likelihood that either one of the OSes would do something to the other OS drive that might compromise its ability to boot? It wouldn't be my first choice, but I'd even be willing to "hide" each of the OS drives from each other if that was the only way to avoid potential problems down the road; that is, if I knew how to do such "hiding".

Another idea I had was to try to utilize the "Windows To Go" feature available with the Enterprise version of Windows 8. Apparently it's possible to install and boot Windows 8 on a flash drive and it won't interfere with any existing OS. Would it not be possible to simply use the second hard drive for the installation, as opposed to a flash drive?

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Mar 2013   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1, Windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

This problem occurs if Fast startup is enabled in the Windows 8 system.

Windows 8 uses a type of hibernation to achieve the fast startup and in doing so leaves all the drives in a state that Windows 7 doesn't recognize.
Turn off fast startup in Windows 8, see this tutorial

Fast Startup - Turn On or Off in Windows 8

With as SSD you really don't need it anyway
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2013   #3
Microsoft MVP

 

I have a question about the mini-SSD you describe that is on the laptop. Is this a caching drive, actually a chip on the HD or mobo? These are complicated to work with as we've found with several users who wanted to install Windows 7 on it even though it's onlly 32gb. It required turning off Intel controller, unRAIDing the SSD, then formatting it in Disk manager before installing to it. I don't recommend it either due the complications and pitifullly small size for an installed OS. Better to use it as cache as intended, if that's what you have.

Either way you should study the Manual carefully and pick the brains of your tech support while under warranty so you understand everything about the SSD, it's controller and how it functions as intended.

In addition to use Windows 7 as qualifying OS to upgrade to Win8 you'll need to stop using Windows 7 during the time Win8 is activated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Mar 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

Windows 8 EULA

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Microsoft
What about upgrading the software? The software covered by this agreement is an upgrade to your existing operating system software, so the upgrade replaces the original software that you are upgrading. You do not retain any rights to the original software after you have upgraded and you may not continue to use it or transfer it in any way. This agreement governs your rights to use the upgrade software and replaces the agreement for the software from which you upgraded. After you complete your upgrade, additional software will be required to playback or record certain types of media, including DVDs.
You can upgrade your Windows 7 x64 with the Windows 8 upgrade, but to dual boot you will need the full version.

Upgrade to Windows 8 - Microsoft Windows

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Microsoft
Purchasing a full version of Windows 8


If you want to build your own PC and install Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, or want an additional operating system running in either a local virtual machine or separate partition (including a Mac), you can purchase the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro System Builder products (OEM versions). If available in your country or region, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro System Builder products can be purchased at participating stores, you'll need to ask a sales rep for more info. This version doesn't include customer support.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
I have a question about the mini-SSD you describe that is on the laptop. Is this a caching drive, actually a chip on the HD or mobo? These are complicated to work with as we've found with several users who wanted to install Windows 7 on it even though it's onlly 32gb. It required turning off Intel controller, unRAIDing the SSD, then formatting it in Disk manager before installing to it. I don't recommend it either due the complications and pitifullly small size for an installed OS. Better to use it as cache as intended, if that's what you have.

Either way you should study the Manual carefully and pick the brains of your tech support while under warranty so you understand everything about the SSD, it's controller and how it functions as intended.

In addition to use Windows 7 as qualifying OS to upgrade to Win8 you'll need to stop using Windows 7 during the time Win8 is activated.
The "mini-SSD" is a 128GB Samsumg PCI-e connected directly to the motherboard via a dedicated PCI-e port. I originally had Windows 7 installed on the drive but decided that I wanted most of my application software to reside on the same drive as the OS. I reformatted the mini-SSD and now use it strictly for very large files that are modified infrequently (mostly VM files) that benefit from the solid-state speed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by theog View Post
Windows 8 EULA

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Microsoft
What about upgrading the software? The software covered by this agreement is an upgrade to your existing operating system software, so the upgrade replaces the original software that you are upgrading. You do not retain any rights to the original software after you have upgraded and you may not continue to use it or transfer it in any way. This agreement governs your rights to use the upgrade software and replaces the agreement for the software from which you upgraded. After you complete your upgrade, additional software will be required to playback or record certain types of media, including DVDs.
You can upgrade your Windows 7 x64 with the Windows 8 upgrade, but to dual boot you will need the full version.

Upgrade to Windows 8 - Microsoft Windows

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Microsoft
Purchasing a full version of Windows 8


If you want to build your own PC and install Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, or want an additional operating system running in either a local virtual machine or separate partition (including a Mac), you can purchase the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro System Builder products (OEM versions). If available in your country or region, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro System Builder products can be purchased at participating stores, you'll need to ask a sales rep for more info. This version doesn't include customer support.
I just received my System Builder disk from Microsoft yesterday. I went the upgrade route initially because I was told by the Microsoft sales person that I would be provided with a download link to the System Builder ISO. That, I soon discovered, was a large load of bologna. Rather than waste another full day of work as a result, I worked around the problem myself...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pbcopter View Post
This problem occurs if Fast startup is enabled in the Windows 8 system.

Windows 8 uses a type of hibernation to achieve the fast startup and in doing so leaves all the drives in a state that Windows 7 doesn't recognize.
Turn off fast startup in Windows 8, see this tutorial

Fast Startup - Turn On or Off in Windows 8

With as SSD you really don't need it anyway

Thanks for the info! I'll be giving it a try in the next few hours...

**UPDATE**
Your solution worked perfectly. After turning Fast Startup off and shutting down, I did have to allow Windows 7 to perform a disk check on each drive in the system one last time. Afterwards, it never asked again. I now have the best of all (Windows) worlds; I can boot either OS as desired without fooling around with dual-boot configurations that were always problematic at best for me. Everything works GREAT!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

How is a 128gb SSD a "mini SSD?" This size drive is able to handle the OS and programs if not User files. So why wouldn't you use it for that to benefit for the increased speed which is the greatest improvement one can make?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Here is how I run my Windows 8 - from an external SSD. Runs great and I do not really notice any performance difference from when I run it on the internal SSD (which, of course, you can do too).

Portable OS - Carry your OS on an External Drive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
How is a 128gb SSD a "mini SSD?" This size drive is able to handle the OS and programs if not User files. So why wouldn't you use it for that to benefit for the increased speed which is the greatest improvement one can make?
First of all, the term "mini" was not mine; I have seen it used in multiple places (including the Samsung website) to, evidently, refer to any PCIe card-based SSD, regardless of size. They are also referred to as mSATA drives as best as I can determine, leaving one to imagine that the "m" could possibly stand for mini. Who knows?

As I mentioned in another post, I did originally install the OS on that drive, but soon discovered that space ran short after installing MS Office, Visual Studio, lots of other development software, etc., etc. So I cloned that drive onto a (substantially larger and faster) 512GB SSD as the laptops primary drive and now use the "mini" as a secondary data drive. It all works quite well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Trying to boot Windows 7 or Windows 8 from separate laptop drives




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