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Windows 7: Create duplicate O/S installation - easiest way?

27 Jul 2015   #11
gregrocker

 

You can clone with Macrium.

Then use the BIOS Boot menu key to trigger booting the secondary hard drive, after setting the primary first to boot in BIOS.

If this is not satisfactory you can install EasyBCD to the primary to add the secondary on the Add OS tab to create a Windows Boot Menu.

You can use SyncToy to sync the data folders on both drives, in either or both directions, even archive changes.

There is no way to sync programs and settings changes. Easy Transfer will transfer files and settings from old to new drives but settings are a corruption path so I recommend never importing them to a pristine install, or at all.


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27 Jul 2015   #12
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I thought of EasyBCD too, but hold myself writing it as I don't know how it would behave with 2 active partitions. And it may act funny when you clone once again after editing with EasyBCD?
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27 Jul 2015   #13
gregrocker

 

The Active flag is only useful to point to the partition intended to boot the OS. With multiple hard drive OS's its always best to install them separately with the other hard drive unplugged. This way each is issued its System boot files as signified by the System Active flags (System seen only when that drive is booted), and each is independently bootable on its own if you remove the other.

If you instead leave the other OS hard drives plugged in during a new OS install to another hard drive, the installer only edits the boot files on the first hard drive's System partition and doesn't issue the OS its own set of boot files so that it is independently bootable. To later remove the System hard drive will render this install unbootable until it is marked Active and Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times with all other hard drives unplugged so they can't interfere or spoof the repair.

So the optimal configuration is to keep the other hard drives unplugged and later set preferred first to boot in BIOS setup, trigger the others using one-time BIOS Boot menu key.

Now some users don't like this method and prefer a Windows Boot menu. In this case its still best to install with the other drives unplugged and then later use EasyBCD from primary HD to add the other OS's to a Windows Boot Menu. In this case EasyBCD leaves the other drives' System Active boot partitions in place so that they remain independently bootable, while only editing the BCD on the System drive you run it upon.

In the case of cloning or imaging, the drives should already be independently bootable by including the MBR, Track0 and Active flag (as well as always Auto drive letter selection) if offered those options which are automated in Macrium. So you only need to add the clone from the Primary (first to boot) hard drive using EasyBCD.

I hope this answers fully. Feel free to ask back any questions. It's nice to have someone else interested in this stuff. It is out of respect for your abilities that I am including so much detail.
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27 Jul 2015   #14
martinlest

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

Thanks a lot for the replies, and all the detail Greg.

I thought I had mentioned EasyBCD here (I downloaded it a few weeks ago in readiness!), but I see I didn't. No matter. Great minds think alike (though yours is far greater than mine in this domain, Greg!!).

It'll have to wait till I am back in the UK, in September, as I said, and have the new rig, but I'll post back here any questions. The theory you explain is OK, but how to do it in practice I can't quite envisage yet!

Quote: "Now some users don't like this method and prefer a Windows Boot menu. In this case its still best to install with the other drives unplugged and then later use EasyBCD from primary HD to add the other OS's to a Windows Boot Menu. In this case EasyBCD leaves the other drives' System Active boot partitions in place so that they remain independently bootable, while only editing the BCD on the System drive you run it upon.

In the case of cloning or imaging, the drives should already be independently bootable by including the MBR, Track0 and Active flag (as well as always Auto drive letter selection) if offered those options which are automated in Macrium. So you only need to add the clone from the Primary (first to boot) hard drive using EasyBCD.
"

I am used to a boot screen when there is more than one O/S choice, so would ideally like to see that. Is there any chance Greg, when you have time and inclination (should the two ever coincide) you could write out a step-by-step on how you'd achieve this. I really can't visualise the process, though I guess when I have the PC it will be clearer. I don't want to mess things up and have to resort to reinstalling C drive image backups if I can possibly avoid it.

Thanks again.
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 Create duplicate O/S installation - easiest way?




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