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Windows 7: Loading Win7 on two separate HDD drives, same computer.

01 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
Loading Win7 on two separate HDD drives, same computer.

Greeting all!,

I have a question regarding the install of Windows 7 Professional 64 bit. I've done this on one HDD successfully and due to conflicts with additional software I wish to reinstall Win7 on a completely new HDD (on the same machine). This way I can keep both programs separate also leaving me with an additional OS in case the other fails. I plan to use the BIOS to switch to the other drive (boot order) when I wish to use the other software on occassion.
I plan on backing up my files onto an external drive.
So my question is as such, can I load Win7 onto a separate drive and switch the drive of which to boot from to achieve my goal?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Dec 2010   #2

Win 7 Home (twice, dual boot) 64 bit

I have a dual boot system with Win 764bit Home Edition on 2 HDs like you're describing. Works flawlessly. I use EasyBCD to manage my bootloader, it's a free download and very easy to use. I've created a partition on one of my drives for data storage and pointed both operating systems to store data in that partition. Also synced these data files to an external HD along with a backup of both operating systems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2010   #3


It is always better with separate HD's to boot the OS's via the BIOS Boot order or one-time Boot menu key.

Set the preferred OS as first HD to boot, or boot the other using the key for Boot menu to choose it's HD:
  • Asus - F8
  • HP/Compaq - Esc
  • Sony - F2
  • Acer - F2
  • Gateway - F10
  • eMachnes - F10
  • Toshiba - F12
  • Dell - F12
  • IBM/Lenovo - the blue Thinkvantage button
This keeps the HD's independent to come and go as you please.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Dec 2010   #4


I'm not getting any popularity prices with this, but I still feel it is an important thing to tell:

Please keep in mind that what you are planning to do is not allowed by Microsoft, it is very clearly against Windows 7 EULA.
a. One Copy per Computer.
You may install one copy of the software on one computer. That computer is the "licensed computer."
Please do not PM me telling I'm a PITA. I know it already

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2010   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

Thanx for your replies!
Now I ponder the course and how to of this endeavor. Do I just insert the CD and boot up as a clean install and choose the appropriate drive of which to install the OS. Should I unplug the existing HDD and then reconnect it when I'm finished installing? I've haven't had time to do thorough research on the EasyBCD so until I do let's just concentrate on the install and selection of the drive.
If it's not too much trouble list the sequence of this process.
Kari, if you view this post again I just want you to know how I appreciate your concern.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2010   #6


Yes, unplug the other OS HD when you are installing. This keeps them independent booted via BIOS as explained.

You do not need to use EasyBCD which interlocks the HD's when you have OS's on separate HD's.

If you don't have separate Product Keys for each OS, you will have 120 days to decide which OS you want to keep:
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2010   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

Thanx Gregrocker!,
While on the subject of OS. I have a new copy of XP Home SP3 of which I was going to use until I saw Win 7 was about to be released. So I ordered the Win 7 only to find out it was an upgrade. I wanted the full version so I waited until Win 7 was out. So now I have XP SP3 with an unused version of Win7 upgrade. If I wish to install it this way I would have the License key for the upgrade version and wouldn't fall into the issue of expiration. Can I manually transfer the data I wish to keep/archieve onto my additional (storage) HDD's - internal and external while using different OS's?
Each OS will see all the components installed on the machine but through the functioning OS of choice? Correct?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2010   #8


If you had XP you never needed to buy Win7 full version. You dont' even need the XP installed to qualify for Upgrade version - just have it on hand and not use it again while its the qualifying XP or Vista.

You can of course use a Data HD or partition to store your OS User files, sharing these files between the two OS's. Here's how to link to those User folders from each OS: User Folders - Change Default Location

A more practical usage of two Win7's is on separate machines. May I ask why you want to put two Win7's on one machine? Perhaps we can suggest alternatives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2010   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

Here's the wrinkle!
I'm using two different video editting programs of which have conflicts (slight but bothersome) between them when installed on the same machine. It is a real nuisance when capturing video. I've contacted the manufacturer and they said the two programs do conflict in certain situations (not always) of which they have no answer for or fix. They recommended using one or the other (of course theirs) to resolve the issue. If there is any interruption (even for a picosecond) while capturing the video stops and the sound continues. Then I have to delete the recording and start all over from the beginning. Why would I want two programs - simple - both have features I like and wish to use when compiling the finished program/video. One program has a better editting format and the other has better cature features. Once I have the video in digital format it matters not where or how it's on my machine. Also after installing both programs weird things were happening to my computer. The floppy drive would activate trying read a disc that wasn't installed, IE would stop responding and windows explorer would freeze from time to time. I've since re-installed the OS and all of the software except the one video capture program. So far all is good and well regarding the system, working as advertised!
So I figured if I could run each program separately and store the video I could access it when I need it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2010   #10


Try turning off all programs in the msconfig>Startup list which absolutely do not have to start up with Windows - AV and gadgets is all I use. Startup Programs - Change

All others are freeloaders on your startup time, RAM and CPU, and can spy on you.

It also gives them the ability to conflict more with other programs if they are running all the time in the background.

If they need to update themselves, they'll let you know when you use them. They don't need to hold a phone line open to home.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Loading Win7 on two separate HDD drives, same computer.

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