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Windows 7: 2 SSD - 2 OS - on 1 PC at same time, Possible?


13 Jul 2013   #1

Win 7 Ulti 64X
 
 
2 SSD - 2 OS - on 1 PC at same time, Possible?

Hello guys! New here, so i hope someone may answer my question.

So here is my question.
Is it possible to boot 2 OS from 2 SSD ( 1 OS on each ssd) on 1 PC at the same time? I got 2 x 27" monitors, so i thought i could have 1 os on each monitor.

I have tryed Virtual Machine from microsoft, but the problem there is that i need to install a new fresh windows 7 on it and i dont want that , i want it just to connect it direct to my old ssd. So i can have one monitor with my new ssd and one monitor with my old ssd.

So is this possible, or must i just give up hope ?
Thanks for everyone who reply back!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Jul 2013   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Not possible, not without using a virtual machine.

The reason being that operating systems control the hardware on which they are running. They will not share this with another OS, even if it is the same version of Windows. That is just not in the nature of an operating system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2013   #3

Win 7 Ulti 64X
 
 

Hey!
Bah... that it dident work (
But is this possible then? Use a Virtual Machine to connect it direct to the old ssd? (without converting the ssd over to vhd file with disk2vhd)

Anyway thanks for reply back!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Jul 2013   #4

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

A class 1 hypervisor could do the trick. It is a more extreme version of virtual machine running on its own little OS.
Citrix released their own XenServer hypervisor for free, but my experience with hypervisors is limited, so you will have to read the manuals they provide to make it work.

Or search for other class 1 hypervisors.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2013   #5

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobafetthotmail View Post
A class 1 hypervisor could do the trick. It is a more extreme version of virtual machine running on its own little OS.
Citrix released their own XenServer hypervisor for free, but my experience with hypervisors is limited, so you will have to read the manuals they provide to make it work.

Or search for other class 1 hypervisors.
Another quite good method (although it's essentially a Hypervisor) is to run VMWARE's FREE Esxi product -- however you will need to have a separate machine to act as a console for the virtual machines and Esxi is quite picky as to what hardware it will work on. If you DO get it to work it's brilliant as the OS overhead is absolutely TINY -- you could boot from a small USB for example.

It's also very picky on the network card(s) you use too --if it doesn't like your network card it won't boot --the INTEL PRO Nic cards though usually always work.

You can also use Hardware Pci passthru which means you can use some of the REAL hardware on your Virtual machines too.

Free VMware vSphere Hypervisor, Free Virtualization (ESXi)

I've had 6 VM's concurrently running using ESXI and I could have run at least another 12 or so. There's almost NO HOST OS overhead -- as I said the esxi hypervisor is TINY. !!

You need the separate machine to act as the "virtual console" for the various VM's -- access to the VM's is via a sort of "RDP" interface -- i.e a remote console - this is not unusual since this is how these VM's would behave in practice --you'd use a laptop say to logon to the VM at work or something like that. The Esxi Server could be half way round the planet for instance.

Another solution is to use VMware workstation -- these can run several VM's CONCURRENTLY on a single HOST machine in the BACKGROUND so users can log on to these VM's without even needing a logon / userid / account on the HOST. You also can start / stop these as System / start up tasks so the machine doesn't need to have a user logged on at all on to the HOST machine. Ensure you've plenty of Memory on the Host machine if you do this though. !!

(Note though VMware workstation is a PAID for commercial product -- however if you can afford it - well worth the money if you want to try this type of stuff out. You can't do this with the FREE VMWARE PLAYER unfortunately).

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2013   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

Any free virtualization platform will do, this can easily be done simply by installing the second OS on a virtual machine (with the vhd on the second SSD) running on Virtual PC, VirtualBox or VMware Player on fullscreen on secondary display while the host is using the primary display.

This is in fact how I run Windows 7; I have Windows 8 Pro host using display 1, running Windows 7 on a vm on full screen on display 2.

Although my vm runs on Hyper-V, it does not have to be a hypervisor. Really, Virtual PC, VirtualBox and VMware Player can easily do the same.
2 SSD - 2 OS - on 1 PC at same time, Possible?-screenshot-26-.jpg
Display 1 on the right the Windows 8 Pro host, display 2 on the left the Windows 7 Professional guest, vhd stored on its own HDD. Seamless; clicking mouse in respective display captures mouse and keyboard functions for that OS.

Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2013   #7

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server
 
 

Hi there
The main problem with vmplayer is that you can't run the VM's in the background - which means that you have to have at least ONE user active on the host to start the VM's.

As background processes these can be started as service when the system boots and be shut down if you shut down the host so nobody needs to be logged on to the HOST at all - handy when running remotely.

Now I'm not quite sure what the OP wants -- if he just wants to run more than one VM concurrently and he's the ONLY user then that's fine as you just switch from VM to VM like any other windows task.

However once you start thinking about multiple users or want to access these VM's remotely then running them as Background services IMO makes a lot more sense.

I'm lucky as I got VMWARE workstation through work via a site license so I didn't have to pay for it.

Esxi is also another FREE interesting solution providing you've got enough patience to set it up and have a spare machine say a laptop to use as your VM console. Having no (or very minimal -- Esxi is TINY and boots up in about 10 secs flat even from a non SSD device) overhead of a HOST OS is definitely a great way to go if you want to do a lot of work on Virtual machines.

Having tried a lot of alternatives I'm actually going back to Esxi for all my VM's -- I don't think I can legally keep the VMware workstation software once I've finished my contract anyway although I might be tempted to purchase my own copy.

BTW for training VMware workstation has a very interesting feature - you can define the VM you are using so that the actual virtual disks never get updated - after the users session the updates are wiped so the next user can use the "pristine" VM for his / her session. This is a great feature if you are giving training courses for all sorts of software / applications. I actually use this feature when giving PHOTOSHOP classes -- I have 4 VM's running and teach 4 students at a time -- and they all get their individual machine to work on. - By taking Snapshots also you can restore the individuals VM for their next session -- hands on experience is far better for the students too.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2013   #8

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

I think that a hypervisor allows you to route different keyboard and mice to a different OS/VM, which I think a normal virtual machine cannot do.

Or maybe not, maybe you just need to add them and link them to the virtual machine. Virtualbox should be able to do that.

hmmm, off to do some tests.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2013   #9

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobafetthotmail View Post
I think that a hypervisor allows you to route different keyboard and mice to a different OS/VM, which I think a normal virtual machine cannot do.

Or maybe not, maybe you just need to add them and link them to the virtual machine. Virtualbox should be able to do that.

hmmm, off to do some tests.
Hi there
Even on VBOX you can access a VM with a different keyboard / mouse / monitor if you want -- just access your VM from a remote machine via RDP (if Windows) or VNC (if Linux) -- these days RDP will supply FULL screen properties such as showing the desktop background themes just like a LOCAL machine too for the remote virtual machine. If using RDP though ensure you are either on a LAN or you have a fast internet connection.

Now on the SAME machine this could be a problem -- you could certainly attach a USB keyboard and Mouse to the VM (attach ONLY to the VM - and DO NOT have this keyboard and mouse plugged in until AFTER you've powered on the VM and you are ON the VM) but you'd have to inhibit keyboard controls from the main computer -- and since the VM software (VBOX) in your case is set up to intercept certain keyboard combinations then this could be tricky - especially switching from full screen to windowed mode or back again.

There's no problem in using multiple keyboards and mice on the same machine - but what they DO could be interesting -- please post back your experiences on this. - I would go for the RDP solution - but again this really needs a separate client machine like a spare laptop.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2013   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

It's very clear that we read the OP's question differently. As I read it, the OP was searching a simple solution to run two operating systems from two SSDs simultaneously on one computer using two displays, one for each OS. As it is practically impossible to one person to use two mice and keyboards simultaneously, I read "between the lines" that the OP would still be using only one mouse and keyboard. Also, OP did not mention anything about running one OS "in the background" without booting the other; instead the original post gives impression he wants to always boot to these two OSs when the PC is started.

In my opinion OP asks a simple question and I gave him / her a valid and simple answer.

Second try:

A computer can boot to and run only one OS at the time. If you want to run two operating systems simultaneously on one PC, the second one must be installed as a virtual machine. This vm can be stored on your secondary SSD if you want to.

All basic virtualization platforms as for instance Microsoft Virtual PC, Oracle VirtualBox or VMware Player can then produce what you are looking for, to let you run two operating systems simultaneously on one computer in respective displays. You can run your host system on display 1 and set the guest vm to run on full screen on display 2. Now simply move mouse to either display to use the respective OS, using the same mouse and keyboard on both machines. There's absolutely no need for secondary mouse and keyboard.

The guest can be any OS you want to, be it another Windows, Linux, Solaris Unix or whatever.

How do you create your vm is of course your business. You can not use an OS installation on HDD or SSD as it is, it must first be converted to a virtual machine. Easiest would be to install the OS on vm from scratch, doing a clean install.

This is your only alternative to run two operating systems simultaneously on one PC.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 2 SSD - 2 OS - on 1 PC at same time, Possible?




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