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Installing 2 Hard Drives with different operating systems

by romcecil / July 6, 2008 8:44 AM PDT

My computer has a IDE main drive with Windows XP SP3 Home Edition and I was wondering if I can install another Hard Drive through the S-ATA connector in the mother board with Windows Vista and later choose the booting disk when turning on the system.
Can this be done, and if so, how this can be installed?

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How I'd do it

First, make sure you're hardware is fully capable of running Vista. Next, install either OS on the port with only one drive attached. Then, detach that drive, attach the other and install the other OS. Reattach the first drive. Your BIOS should allow the option to select which drive to boot from. Pick either and boot the system. It will now detect the presence of the other drive and configure it. Shutdown and restart selecting the other drive in the BIOS. The same should happen when this OS loads. It will detect the presence of the other drive. Once you're happy that all is running well, activate OSs. You'll need to interrupt the POST each time you want to switch disks to boot from. It should be possible to edit the boot.ini of a preferred OS to allow selection of the other but I prefer this method as I keep the two drives completely separate.

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How to do when both HDDs are SATA
by Sunildohare / July 9, 2013 8:01 PM PDT
In reply to: How I'd do it

I have intel 845 motherboard based system with 250 Gb SATA HDD having windows Xp Professional. Now I would like to install a a new 1Tb SATA HDD in the system with windows 7 on it. Some of the software installed in the system works only with Windows XP so I want to retain it whereas my kids want windows 7 on the PC as operating system. Suggest how to install the OS on two different HDD. The system is already running on Windows Xp with HDD of 250 gb and three partition c, d, e. Now I plant to install a new HDD with windows 7 and would like to have the option of choosing the OS. I want to have 100Gb for installation and rest of the portion for saving files on my new 1 Tb HDD. Is it possible to merge the d and e drives on my 250 Gb HDD after transferring the files to 1 TB HDD. Please suggest the method of installation.

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If the prior answers from 2008 to now don't work.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 10, 2013 12:05 AM PDT

Then make a new post. Be aware that you can add a second drive and install Windows 7 then get a boot menu but before you do this let's hope you have a backup image of the HDD just in case you answer an install question wrong.

PS. This thread is more than 1829 days old.

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some utilities can help
by squirtlewa / July 6, 2008 2:12 PM PDT

Acronis Disk Director Suite 10 includes a multi-boot manager.

Other methods exist, too, that will let you choose which system to boot either by mouse-click or key press.

The idea is you install one OS. Install the boot manager. Install the other OS on its partition or hard drive.

Naturally for each OS you'll have to do the usual bit of tweaking and chasing down drivers. But it's basically only a bit more complicated than building two separate computers, but much more efficient on desk space.

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Its simple
by rabidmonky92 / July 6, 2008 4:43 PM PDT

boot from the windows operating system cd or dvd at start up
install one operating system to one hard drive
shut down the computer then do the same thing for the other operating system
that's what works for me and you don't need any other software because windows vista has a built in boot manager that will launch when the system detects multiple operating systems and the system wont boot until you have selected an operating system

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Steven's method is the...
by ahtoi / July 6, 2008 5:51 PM PDT

surest and least expensive way of accomplishing it but it is also problaly the least hassle free (I mean going into the bios every time is a pain in the butt). But it maybe the only way of getting 2 separate drives to boot independently. But using a bootdisk? I have my doubt.

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Responce to steven
by rabidmonky92 / July 7, 2008 12:34 AM PDT

that's the thing you don't have to go into the bios for my method when the computer starts up a screen appears asking you to pick an operating system its as easy as that

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What about windows server 2003?
by yjulaidan / December 3, 2009 2:21 PM PST
In reply to: Responce to steven

What if one hard drive has Vista and the other has windows server 2003? Will it work?

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Installing two operating systems, each on a different drive.
by fliv / July 22, 2008 1:10 PM PDT

What if I have an existing computer with Windows 98, can I take that hard drive and put it in a new computer running Vista and then select which OS I want by choosing the boot order in the bios?

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it will work but ...
by mohamed_e56 / July 22, 2008 10:19 PM PDT

you can do that but vista will be the master boot manger so if u removed the sata hard that vista one the xp will not open but if u removed the xp hard vista will work and thank you

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