Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

One Solution and One Caution for Dual Booting W7 with the W8 RP!

  1. #1

    Posts : 738
    1st W10 Professional x64/W7 Ultimate x64 - 2nd Remote system: W10 Insider Builds/W7 Professional

    One Solution and One Caution for Dual Booting W7 with the W8 RP!

    Unlike the successful quadruple boot seen with an existing Vista/XP dual boot when adding on both the 32bit and 64bit Windows 7 beta builds and later the RC builds back in 2009 the recent RP setup being a stand alone install as well as the recent 7 reinstall ran into some interesting problems!

    The CP when first installed saw the previous 7 install with a new boot entry added into the 7 BCD for 8. The Automatic repair formerly Startup repair for 8 was then used to update the boot sector(100mb System Reserved partition) with the 8 BCD store replacing that created by the 7 installer.

    The EasyBCD tool used for that was also installed on both the CP and then the RP to add an entry for 7 into 8's boot options. The second hard drive here was then set as the default boot drive. All went well for the first week or so when suddenly 8 kept freezing up solid! Even when just arriving at the desktop after clicking the new desktop button and 8 had finished loading up "Freeezzzzzee up!" and hard boot by the reset button!

    So what was going on? At first 8 was to see the Refresh PC option used which saves in the Windows.old folder but still wipes programs installed unlike a repair install of Windows. That saw 7 added in automatically and when 7 was selected the system would see a full restart! What?

    Within a day 7 started seeing freeze ups as well until one of those dreaded "BSODs"(Blue Screen Of Demise) struck and was analyzed by the BlueScreenView which read the memory dump showing "ntoskmi.exe" as the cause. That was after a good run of Check Disk got 7 running one day. That's a more common file corruption error going back to Windows 2000.

    Once 7 was running well again the decision to switch drive modes in the bios setup from Native ide as it is named on the board to the AHCI mode. Once 7 restarted it was all set but 8 failed to get past the new lock screen. No biggie however for that while the dual boot with BCD entry for 7 being used resulted in drive errors on the 7! Normally those were not seen with the 7 host drive set as default for a normal boot.

    The best move of course is to install the RP on either a VM or unplug a 7 or Vista drive for a clean install of the RP onto a second separate drive if you have one to isolate each version. Apparently the next and the previous don't seem to want to play together nicely!

    The RP VM on the latest release of the Oracle VirtualBox and usb plugin however has so far been trouble free for the obvious reason of being a VM install. VM Player saw a running CP but won't see the RP VM on the other program it seems in order to take a look at 8.

    If you are considering a dual boot setup just now be advised that these problems can come up on you as well. Simply seeing a clean but stand alone install of 8 is advised. On most systems you will find an F key at post time will bring up a boot device menu of options where you choose the drive to boot with for a one time boot. This will allow you to boot into 8 or other without running into disk errors at least.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    The following statements are based on empirical observations:

    On systems that can run Windows 8 preview versions without problems - without lockups or system hangs or crashes, there are rarely any problems. There may be issues with Windows 7 reporting that chkdsk needs to be run on all volumes due to Windows 8 not unmounting these volumes cleanly - either because it is a feature of the Hybrid boot mechanism, or a bug. This is unlikely to cause any problems other than nuisance and wasted time.

    I would say that the problem with dual booting Windows 8 (even with another Windows 8) is that the boot manager does not 'respect' other boot managers and BCD stores - the current 8 system's manager wants to be boss, and thus overrides the other manager settings.

    If there is a fault problem and WinRE is evoked you can end up with cross-managed systems, leading to duplicate and phantom entries in the boot menu.

    If there are stability problems, there will almost certainly be difficulties with dual booting. These will usually follow automatic repair attempts by the Windows 8 recovery environment.

    The greatest problems with Windows 8 dual booting with existing Windows 7 installations is that they (7) can be treated as on "system volumes" and then hidden by the the processes used by WinRE to repair the boot and BCD.

    Furthermore, during repair passes, the Windows 8 system files may be written to the Windows 8 Boot volume and that volume then made active, effectively isolating Windows 7 out of the system, making it inaccessible.

    The caveats I would give regarding dual booting are do not use internal fixed drives for both Windows 8 together with any other earlier Windows version.

    Worst: install dual boot Windows 8 to existing earlier Windows version on a separate partition on your PC

    It is probably less of a problem to install Windows 8 first, then add your earlier Windows system using a 3rd party utlility like EasyBCD.

    safer: Install to separate fixed hard disk and use boot time selection of boot drive


    Install windows via 'Windows To Go' methodology onto external USB drives with the system set to boot from USB before the system attempts booting from fixed Hard drives.

    safest: Do clean install Windows 8 to a separate machine if possible.

    OR run in a Virtual Machine environment.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 5,357
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin

    There is some weirdness with win8 boot process in a multiboot setup.

    I expect they will sort it out.

    I can't be specific about what is going on - but have had a variety of minor issues with it myself.

    They would not be minor issues to most users.

    It appears to be less of a problem if you use the text based boot menu - avoiding the graphical completely.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 738
    1st W10 Professional x64/W7 Ultimate x64 - 2nd Remote system: W10 Insider Builds/W7 Professional

    Unlike the smooth dual boots you cuold set up between Vista and 7 both sharing the same boot loader while one was still newer for 7 you never ran into this type of problem if things were done correctly. The boot loader for 8 while still looking much like the same thing isn't quite the same.

    The quad boot of the two 7 beta builds(32/64bit) with XP and Vista on separate drives surprizingly went well with a second primary for each 7 on the two drives used at first. With the RCs however XP was dumped first later to see Vista go before the 7 lauch date.

    With three separate versions of Windows plus two kernel types not one issue like this came up. For 8 I think you have something there SIW2 about the need for running 8 on totally separate machine if you happen to have an old beater case lying around doing nothing! Keeping the entry for one version out of the other's BCD on installs to separate drives however should be enough there however.

    The VM option is good for looks but not for testing apps too well like comparing gaming or other software performance issues. That's one of the main drawbacks for VMs while they can allow fast installs and even faster removals by simply deleting one file!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

One Solution and One Caution for Dual Booting W7 with the W8 RP!

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