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Author Topic: Dual Boot Win7 - Win7  (Read 4842 times)
czb
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« on: September 10, 2009, 04:28:36 AM »

Hi,

I would like to have one production system and one "playing" system. I can not use virtualization as I have only 2GB of ram (I think it is not enough for two Win 7 systems). So I would like to have dual boot of two Win7 systems. I have Win7 on C drive. I have created new partition F and installed another Win7 hoping that Win7 will create boot loader to let me decide which version of the two win7 to load. It did not happen. So I tried to create boot loader by easybcd but it looks like it is not able to create win7 boot loading option. So do you have any idea how to make win7 - win7 dual boot to work? Or any other ideas how to have 1 system for playing and installing all crazy stuff and the other for serious work?

Thanks for any idea.

Oldrich
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2009, 05:10:23 AM »

I haven't tried it with 2 copies of Win 7 but I have got Win XP, Win Vista and Win 7 running on a single box.

I would guess (from previous versions of windows) that you would need to do the following (assuming you want two clean installs and don't mind wiping your hard disk completely):

1. Backup all your data/partitions that you want to keep.

2. Insert the Windows 7 DVD and reboot from the DVD

3. When you get to the installation point that offers the choice of Customise your installation choose that (don't go for automatic install or upgrade)

4. Use the partition tool at the bottom of the screen to delete all of the partition(s) from your hard disk (you are going to need 4 partitions to complete this which is the maximum number of primary partitions allowed).

5. Create a Windows Partition the size that you want and install Windows 7 to that (note Windows 7 also creates a small boot partition)

6. Once everything is up and running the way you want reboot from the Windows 7 DVD and use cutomise installtion again

7. Create a new partition in the blank space you left behind for the new copy of Win 7 and install it there

8. When you reboot you should get the option of two versions of Windows 7 at boot

9. In windows open the disk partition manager (click Start and type diskmgmt.msc) and allocate the remaining space on your hard disk as a partition for shared data.

The only problem you will now probably have is activating both copies as MS will treat them as separate installations and you are only allowed to install once. I know it is on the same machine but they are a bit paranoid about dual booting because they can't easily tell if you have two identical PCs. In the past with Windows XP I had multiple boots and after a long phone call they allowed me to install multiple times on one PC but it really depends on who you get on the phone.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2009, 05:16:08 AM by Carol Haynes » Logged

czb
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 06:30:51 AM »

Thanks. I did it as you said but this:
8. When you reboot you should get the option of two versions of Windows 7 at boot
did not appeared. That is the problem. I do not know why... Sad
So now I have 2 partitions with two win7 systems, 1 hidden win7 partition and 1 "data" partition and I just need to enable boot options...

about the licence: I am going to use win7 trial version. 90 days is for playing more than enough Wink
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mwang
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 06:51:56 AM »

I also have two win 7 installed on two different partitions. There are two ways to make this work:

1. set up the 2nd system from within the 1st win system. I.e., boot into the 1st win 7, and run win 7 setup there. The setup program should create the boot loader menu you need. There will be only one boot loader, residing on the 1st win system's base hard drive.

2. set up the 2nd system by booting from the win 7 DVD (or thumb drive). There will be two boot loaders, each on each win system's base hard drive. There's no boot loader menu to choose from the two system. Instead, you choose which system to boot into by telling the BIOS which HD to boot from. Most modern BIOS allows you to do so, I believe, by hitting a hotkey (F8 for my ASUS motherboard/AMI BIOS).

Win 7 setup program searches for a current Windows boot loader on the default boot drive when setting up a new system, and adds to it if it finds one. For the 2nd method to work, as a result, you need to set the 2nd HD as the "default boot drive" (1st priority) in BIOS when setting up the 2nd system, otherwise win setup would find the boot loader on the 1st HD and add the 2nd system to it (creating a boot time menu). The result would be the same as the 1st method. That could be what you want, but if that's the case it's easier to do it the 1st way (installing from within the 1st system), for it installs faster that way.

Note that you can create a separate boot loader on the 2nd HD afterward even if you use the 1st method with the "bcdboot" command. So that should be preferred. I took the 2nd route only because of a special condition. My 1st system is on a HD, while the 2nd is on an SSD. Win 7 has some special optimizations for SSD, but I found it didn't apply those optimizations when I install it from within the 1st system.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2009, 07:02:06 AM »

Try using EasyBCD to create a second boot entry from within the bootable installation. You need to set the path of the second installation to the drive letter recognised by the running system (eg. your running system is on drive C: but the non-booting version appears as drive E: then set the path in EasyBCD to E:\).

I have had mutliple Win 7s during the beta period without problem (but I was mixing XP, Vista, W7x32, and W7x64). The other alternative is to try installing the 32 bit version as one system and the 64 bit version as the dual boot - I had no problem with this mixture in the RC faze but I haven't tried it with the full version. Currently I have the full RTM version installed and licensed so I don't want to mess it up by playing.

Another alternative is if you have a Vista disc then install Vista, then install Win 7 as a dual boot option and then upgrade the Vista copy by running the upgrade from within Vista?
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f0dder
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2009, 10:48:43 AM »

Depending on what you need to do on the test install, 2GB of RAM just might be enough, actually. Granted, you probably don't want to have Photoshop and SQL server and other memory hungry stuff running at the same time, but for simple testing purposes my guess is that it'd work.

Or you could shell out for some extra RAM, it's not super expensive atm smiley
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czb
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2009, 01:54:57 PM »

1. set up the 2nd system from within the 1st win system. I.e., boot into the 1st win 7, and run win 7 setup there. The setup program should create the boot loader menu you need. There will be only one boot loader, residing on the 1st win system's base hard drive.

yeah that is what I have tried but, I do not know why, win 7 did not create loader menu...

Quote
Try using EasyBCD to create a second boot entry from within the bootable installation. You need to set the path of the second installation to the drive letter recognised by the running system (eg. your running system is on drive C: but the non-booting version appears as drive E: then set the path in EasyBCD to E:\).

I have also tried that. But there is no option for Win7. There is only vista / longhorn option which does not look like it is working. I always set up the second system correctly with correct letter assigned but still no option appears at the boot.

What I would like to do is to have one system for work and the other for stuff like F# which needs beta of ms studio etc... So I would not worry about messing up the system.

Thanks for your ideas I will keep trying until I make it work smiley. Or another ram might also be a solution Wink
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f0dder
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 03:48:29 PM »

Thanks for your ideas I will keep trying until I make it work smiley. Or another ram might also be a solution Wink
It would by far be the most comfortable solution - virtual machines (especially with disk snapshots!) are so much easier to maintain than dualbooting, and it's much nicer just booting the VM than having to reboot your system.

I might have a spare block or two lying about, if they weren't stolen when my basement storage room was broken into; but with the prices the postal service charges, it might end up being more expensive than buying locally ;P
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2009, 04:10:17 PM »

The "Vista / Longhorn" option in EasyBCD should really work just fine. Can you see the second Win 7 install drive for within the one which is currently booting? What error do you get if you tell EasyBCD to add an entry for "Vista / Longhorn" on the drive and then select it at the boot menu?
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mwang
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2009, 05:53:26 PM »

It would by far be the most comfortable solution - virtual machines (especially with disk snapshots!) are so much easier to maintain than dualbooting, and it's much nicer just booting the VM than having to reboot your system.
Agreed. My secondary Win 7 (not actually 2nd system since it's installed first) was my only Win system before I got the SSD, and is kept for maintenance purpose. I boot into it only when I need to image or restore my main system, or when I need to wipe the SSD clean. OCZ's "sanitary erase" tool only work in Windows.

czb, assuming you still want to try, the "bcdboot" that comes with Win 7 should work. Boot into the 1st system, and execute "bcdboot e:\windows" should do it (assuming the 2nd system is on e: when seen in the 1st system). Try the "/m" option if bcdboot can't find your original system. The GUID can be found with EasyBCD. And I agree that the "Vista / Longhorn" option in EasyBCD should really work just fine.

How many physical HDs do you have? (Are the partitions on the same HD or on different HD?) If you have more than one, are all of them MBR disks? (Any of them GPT?)
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czb
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2009, 11:20:03 AM »

Hi,

thanks a lot for your ideas. Bcdboot works just great Thmbsup One little issue. When the pc starts, before the screen where I choose the system I get warning:
pci controller error
but the booting procedure continues. Do you know what it means?

Thanks
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mwang
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2009, 06:33:15 PM »

I doubt it's related, unless you have a pci raid card or whatever else that controls HDs. The fact that it appears before the boot option screen and you can boot without problem indicates it's a different issue.

What PCI controllers do you have? (Chances are I can offer little help even if you tell me what you have, but there are plenty more knowledgeable people here.)
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