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Question about Dual Booting Win8.1 Pro and Win7 Ultimate


NEURO2014

New Member
Posts
10
#1
Greetings,

This is my first posting in the EightForums, having spent most of my time the past few years in the SevenForums. But now I have Win8.1 and so I'm here.:cool:

I have a dual booting question about what I want to do and how to do it. I've read many of the docs on these forums about dual booting Win7/Win8...but I'm unclear about how it will work in my situation.

My rig previously had Win7 Ultimate x64 that was clean installed on a single hard drive. I recently clean installed Win8 Pro x64, then upgraded to 8.1 Pro, on a twin hard drive (both drives are same make/model of WD). So now, I currently have both operating systems on their own separate hard drives.

If I want to boot to the Win7 hard drive, I plug it in and unplug the Win8.1 hard drive. If want to boot to Win8.1, it's vice versa. In other words, I never have both drives plugged in...because I just don't know what would happen if both were plugged in. I'm leery of plugging both in (though I do have backups).

Another thing that makes me unclear is that the Win7 drive has a System Reserved, while the Win8 drive does not. So I don't know how this will affect a dual boot. I took screen shots of each in Disk Management (below) for examination by someone.

Both drives are in their own hot swap bays, so it's easy for me to pull a drive depending on which O/S I want to boot to. I just undock one hard drive from its bay when I want the other hard drive to boot.

Win8 is plugged into SATA Port 0 of the motherboard
Win7 is plugged into SATA Port 1 of the motherboard

What I would like to do:
I want to have both drives plugged in at the same time to create a dual boot system. Will Win8's boot manager automatically see and deal with the Win7 drive and give me the Win8 boot options menu on startup so that I can choose which O/S to boot to?

Or is my configuration of the drives incorrect and will both being plugged in bork both drives? Or is there something I can do to fix this so that I can use both drives for dual booting?

This is the first time I've ever tried to dual boot and I've read many of the docs in this forum...but I just don't know if what I've got will go right or not.

Thanks for any help given about this and I'll let you know how it goes. Screenshots are below.

Win7 Disk Management (has System Reserved)
Win7_DiskMgmt2.jpg


Win8.1 Disk Management (has no System Reserved)
Win8_DiskMgmt2.jpg
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Self-built
    CPU
    Intel Core i7
    Motherboard
    Intel DP55KG
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI
    Browser
    IE11

NEURO2014

New Member
Posts
10
#2
Bump...anyone? Over a hundred views and no one has any input?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Self-built
    CPU
    Intel Core i7
    Motherboard
    Intel DP55KG
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI
    Browser
    IE11

CountMike

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Guru
Belgrade , Serbia

Posts
4,664
#3
So let me get long and short of it. You have W8 on one HDD and W7 on another and they were installed separately, with only one HDD being present at the time. I did the same thing when starting new OS so they do not mix. I had both HDDs permanently connected to the PC and used "fast boot device menu" (in case of my MB it was F12 button) and then choose which HDD to boot from. Check your MB manual to see which button activates that option.
When I was sure that I'm staying with Windows 8 /8.1 as primary system I used "EasyBCD 2.2" https://neosmart.net/blog/2012/announcing-easybcd-2-2-windows-8-dual-booting-and-more/ from Win8 to make it a dual boot with automatic menu when starting computer but can still boot separately using F12 button during the boot P.O.S.T..
That way I do not have to connect/disconnect HDDs to choose system to boot from.
One more thing, you can keep both drives connected all the time and computer is going to boot from first HDD it finds the OS on. Again, you can set that in the BIOS by choosing "First (or default) boot device.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home made
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen7 2700x
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime x470 Pro
    Memory
    16GB Kingston 3600
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus strix 570 OC 4gb
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 960 evo 250GB
    Silicon Power V70 240GB SSD
    WD 1 TB Blue
    WD 2 TB Blue
    Bunch of backup HDDs.
    PSU
    Sharkoon, Silent Storm 660W
    Case
    Raidmax
    Cooling
    CCM Nepton 140xl
    Internet Speed
    40/2 Mbps
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    WD

NEURO2014

New Member
Posts
10
#4
So let me get long and short of it. You have W8 on one HDD and W7 on another and they were installed separately, with only one HDD being present at the time. I did the same thing when starting new OS so they do not mix. I had both HDDs permanently connected to the PC and used "fast boot device menu" (in case of my MB it was F12 button) and then choose which HDD to boot from. Check your MB manual to see which button activates that option.
When I was sure that I'm staying with Windows 8 /8.1 as primary system I used "EasyBCD 2.2" https://neosmart.net/blog/2012/announcing-easybcd-2-2-windows-8-dual-booting-and-more/ from Win8 to make it a dual boot with automatic menu when starting computer but can still boot separately using F12 button during the boot P.O.S.T..
That way I do not have to connect/disconnect HDDs to choose system to boot from.
One more thing, you can keep both drives connected all the time and computer is going to boot from first HDD it finds the OS on. Again, you can set that in the BIOS by choosing "First (or default) boot device.

Hi Mike...thanks for helping out.

Long and short of it is 'yes': I have Win8.1 Pro on one HDD and Win7 Ult. on another HDD. I'd like to keep them both connected and have the option during boot to select which O/S to boot into.

After connecting both drives (and hopefully booting into Win8 by default), would I be able to go into Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > Advanced tab, then in the Startup and Recovery box, click the Settings button, then select my default boot O/S and other settings?

Would that work?

My other concern was the Win7 drive having a System Reserved, but the Win8 drive doesn't. That won't cause any issues with either O/S on boot, will it? I don't know enough about this to experiment and blow something up, so any help is appreciated.

Thanks again.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Self-built
    CPU
    Intel Core i7
    Motherboard
    Intel DP55KG
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI
    Browser
    IE11

CountMike

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4,664
#5
I found that using "EasyBCD" is easiest way make dual boot in cases like this, it can find both systems automatically and will let you set defaults without installing any files except for initial setup. Once you have your dual boot you can uninstall the program and do all other changes from Advanced tab as you said. About the last question, no you are not going to "Blow up" anything and two systems are not going to interfere with each other.
After booting in each system, go to "System Restore Settings" in it and set Restore settings for only that HDD and OS, if it is not already set.
If you install any other OSs on separate HDDs without other ones present, you can keep adding HDDs and systems on them 'till you run out of space and than some. I also have an XP on another drive and a Linux drive too. Those I keep invisible to W8 and W7 and choose their boot thru BIOS. Also have another Linux distro, Hireens boot disk with W7 and Linux, windows To Go and assorted antivirus and troubleshooting programs on separate USB thumb drives but boot them thru BIOS if need be.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home made
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen7 2700x
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime x470 Pro
    Memory
    16GB Kingston 3600
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus strix 570 OC 4gb
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 960 evo 250GB
    Silicon Power V70 240GB SSD
    WD 1 TB Blue
    WD 2 TB Blue
    Bunch of backup HDDs.
    PSU
    Sharkoon, Silent Storm 660W
    Case
    Raidmax
    Cooling
    CCM Nepton 140xl
    Internet Speed
    40/2 Mbps
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    WD

Edwin

Well-Known Member
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Guru
Posts
1,759
#6
@ NEURO2014:
You should be able to set up your system as you described and achieve the desired results. Keeping all drives 'online' will be fine. Don't worry about the 'System Reserve', it's been created and there it will sit.
One peculiarity I've found is that if you install the W7 os last you see a boot screen such as this:

(example) View attachment 39140

if you install the W8 os last you will see this:

View attachment 39141

or, you could install this light, 'free for non-commercial use' piece of software called iReboot from NeoSmart and not have to look at either screen:

iReboot:
Download iReboot - NeoSmart Technologies

Hope this helps a bit. :)
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 7 Home Premium
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP Pavillion
  • PC2
    Tablet - Windows 10 Home

CountMike

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4,664
#7
Those are results before installation of systems, he already has them installed on separate HDDs and separately from each other,which is btw. cleanest way to do it.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home made
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen7 2700x
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime x470 Pro
    Memory
    16GB Kingston 3600
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus strix 570 OC 4gb
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 960 evo 250GB
    Silicon Power V70 240GB SSD
    WD 1 TB Blue
    WD 2 TB Blue
    Bunch of backup HDDs.
    PSU
    Sharkoon, Silent Storm 660W
    Case
    Raidmax
    Cooling
    CCM Nepton 140xl
    Internet Speed
    40/2 Mbps
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    WD

NEURO2014

New Member
Posts
10
#9
@CountMike and theog
Thanks guys...I've done some reading on EasyBCD and will give that a try.

@Edwin
That blue Win8 "Choose an operating system" screen is exactly what I'm hoping will happen by default. Both operating systems are on two separate hard drives. Win8 is on SATA Port 0, Win7 is on SATA Port 1. Does that blue "Choose" screen only appear if the two operating systems are on the same hard drive...or will it work with two operating systems on two different hard drives?

I'll try connecting both drives and see if BIOS will load up Win8 off Port 0 first by default...and maybe see Win7 on Port 1, then give me the blue "Choose" screen.

I'm going to do more reading on EasyBCD too. Learning lots of new things here about dual booting...it's fun, but still a white knuckler since I've never done it before. Always that way the first time for anything.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Self-built
    CPU
    Intel Core i7
    Motherboard
    Intel DP55KG
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI
    Browser
    IE11

genet

New Member
Guru
Posts
879
#10
edit: Note that these instructions only work if the hard drive has an MBR (Master Boot Record) partition table. Here is some info about MBR and GPT partition style: link

I want to have both drives plugged in at the same time to create a dual boot system.
The bootrec /rebuildbcd command will search for Windows installations not included in the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) and then ask you if you'd like to add one or more to it.

Connect both drives to the Computer.
- Windows 8 > SATA port 0
- Windows 7 > SATA port 1

- Boot the computer using the Windows 7/8/8.1 installation media.
- On the first screen, press SHIFT+F10 to bring up command prompt.
- Run the following command at the command prompt.

bootrec /rebuildbcd

bootrec rebuildbcd.png

Choose an operating system.png

Windows 8.1 Disk Management.png

Windows 7 Disk Management.png


bootrec /rebuildbcd

The bootrec /rebuildbcd command will search for Windows installations not included in the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) and then ask you if you'd like to add one or more to it.

You should see one of the following messages at the command line.

Option 1

Scanning all disks for Windows installations.

Please wait, since this may take a while...

Successfully scanned Windows installations.
Total identified Windows installations: 0
The operation completed successfully.

Option 2

Scanning all disks for Windows installations.

Please wait, since this may take a while...

Successfully scanned Windows installations.
Total identified Windows installations: 1
[1] D:\Windows
Add installation to boot list? Yes<Y>/No<N>/All<A>:

If you see:

Option 1: This result most likely means that Windows installation data in the BCD store exists but bootrec couldn't find any additional installations of Windows on your computer to add to the BCD.

Option 2: Enter Y or Yes to the "Add installation to boot list?" question.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Lenovo G580
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-3230M
    Memory
    8 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, standard user account
    Other Info
    UEFI firmware (BIOS) embedded Windows 8 product key.

whs

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Germany/Florida

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4,514
#11
I would leave it as is and change the boot sequence temporarily with the BIOS. No need to unplug any drive. If you go into true double boot, you may encounter more problems.

The other option is to run one of the systems in Virtual. That's how I do it. That is the best of all worlds because you can run both systems in parallel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYapSD6ttQ4


[video=youtube;iYapSD6ttQ4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYapSD6ttQ4[/video]
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Vista and Win7
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    2xHP, 2xGateway, 1xDell, 1xSony
    Hard Drives
    5 SSDs and 12 HDs

Tepid

Vapor
Power User
Posts
835
#12
I would also recommend EasyBCD.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Self Built
    CPU
    I7-3770K
    Motherboard
    ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77
    Memory
    CORSAIR 8GB 2X4 D3 1866
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GTX680 4GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ASUS 24" LED VG248QE
    Hard Drives
    SAMSUNG E 256GB SSD 840 PRO -
    SAMSUNG E 120GB SSD840 -
    SEAGATE 1TB PIPELINE
    PSU
    CORSAIR GS800
    Case
    CORSAIR 600T
    Cooling
    CORSAIR HYDRO H100I LIQUID COOLER
    Keyboard
    THERMALTA CHALLENGER ULT GAME-KYBRD
    Mouse
    RAZER DEATHADDER GAME MS BLK-ED
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    APC 1000VA -
    LGELECOEM LG 14X SATA BD BURNER -
    CORSAIR SP120 Fans x 3 -
    NZXT 5.25 USB3 BAY CARD READER -
    HAUPPAUGE COLOSSUS
#13
I use EasyBCD to boot other OS's installed on my drive which can be frustrating if you're in one OS and want to sneak into another. I have a number of specialist programs unique to my business that run on Microsoft. I do web development on FreeBSD and Linux. I have recently installed https://www.virtualbox.org/ on my Microsoft partition and it's brilliant. I can run multiple OS's from within Windows 8.0. You'll need at least 4GB RAM memory.

I suggest you install Virtualbox on one drive and run either W7 or W8 as a virtual machine. It's easy peasy :geek:
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.0