Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Two Isolated Win 8 installations on Single Hardware

  1. #1


    Posts : 3
    Win 8.1 Pro

    Two Isolated Win 8 installations on Single Hardware


    Here's the question:

    I have a powerful dedicated work machine that I want to also use as a play machine.

    The idea: Have two separate installations of Windows 8.1 on two separate disks, select which disc to boot to at startup (preferably by dual boot menu, BIOS as a last resort).

    I want to know if it's possible to isolate the two installations from one another. The only way I can think to do this is to disable the hard disks from within each independent OS.

    For example:

    If the "work side" of the computer uses 1x256GB SSD for Boot and 1x1TB SSD for data, and the "play side" has 1x512GB SSD, then from the "work side" OS I could disable the SSD in device manager for the 512GB SSD, and from the "play side" I could disable the 256GB & 1TB SSD's. In theory could I do this? Would that mean that essentially the data on either side would be completely invulnerable from the other side?

    Step 2:

    What's the best way of going about this? Dual boot? Single Boot with BIOS selection? Other options I haven't thought of yet? Thanks!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Frankly I would check if software/games you use would run in VM and use that as either of those two Windows from there.If you want dual boot than it's best to install Windows on separate disks with the other one disconnected during install. After that you can choose which one to start from by using BIOS or set dual boot with EasyBCD. In each of the Windows instances you can hide the other disk if you want to, depends if you're only one using computer or share with someone else you don't want to interfere with other system.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    You probably have to buy another windows license though as well. I'm sure lots of non-lawyers will pitch in with their reading of the ULA but as a non-lawyer I think if you run 2 instances of windows you'll need 2 licenses.

    I do the same actually - I have a Windows I use for work which has different software installed and I sometimes use it as a VM and sometimes boot it direct.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 3
    Win 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by CountMike View Post
    Frankly I would check if software/games you use would run in VM.
    Unfortunately due to the demands of the software/hardware, VM is definitely not an option
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 3
    Win 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by adamf View Post
    You probably have to buy another windows license though as well. I'm sure lots of non-lawyers will pitch in with their reading of the ULA but as a non-lawyer I think if you run 2 instances of windows you'll need 2 licenses.

    I do the same actually - I have a Windows I use for work which has different software installed and I sometimes use it as a VM and sometimes boot it direct.
    Do you isolate the drives from each instance?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Maybe you can do it the way I've been doing it with Win 8 and 7. Before that I did it with XP and Win7.
    I used only one drive to install win7 while the other HDD was disconnected. Once setup properly with drivers and essential programs. I than disconnect that one and connect other one o which I installed Win8. After connecting both drives and booting from each one thru BIOS, I used EasyBCD on each one of drives to set essentially dual boot with other one. So , now I can cchoose from BIOS which one to boot of first with software boot list too. Either way which ewer is first boot device in BIOS I still have choice to boot the other one too thru a boot menu.
    I didn't do it but which ever you boot from, you can hide other drive if you want to.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Two Isolated Win 8 installations on Single Hardware
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