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How Best to set up Dual Boot system on One SSD without losing Performance?

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August 31, 2013 6:25:18 AM

Hi, all!

I'd like to set up a dual boot rig using just one Crucial M500 480GB SSD as my primary drive (along with an i7-3820 cpu and Assus P9X79-E WS mobo, and external HHDs for backup and additional storage).

At boot-up, I'd like to ba able to choose between running WinXP 32-bit PRO or Win7 64-bit PRO, depending on the game or application I'd like to run. (I'd prefer not to use Win7's "WinXP mode," as an alternative to a dual-boot system.)

From trying to research the above, I'm concerned about losing SSD performance...as I've read that the SSD should run in AHCI mode to maximize performance, but that WinXP won't boot if my primary drive (the SSD) is set to run in AHCI mode. If this is the case, is there any easy workaround I could use? (I've not yet installed any O/S.)

Would there also be a problem with losing TRIM or other SSD functionality with such a dual-boot system?

Any suggestions, advice or tips will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, guys!

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a b G Storage
August 31, 2013 6:44:50 AM

Hi,

You can install and run WinXP in AHCI mode by using a driver disk during installation (you'll need a USB floppy drive which will need to be plugged into the system at power-on prior to booting XP setup so that the BIOS will emulate a regular floppy drive). You should be able to find a suitable driver (look for an "F6 installation disk" or suchlike for XP or Server 2003 32-bit edition) on Intel's website, which you can then unzip onto a floppy disk to make the supplementary driver disk. Then press F6 while XP setup is loading (look at the status line at the bottom of the screen - it'll say something like "Press F6 to load addtional SCSI/RAID drivers") and give it the driver disk. It should then be able to see your AHCI controller and the SSD.

I don't know whether XP supports TRIM, though, even when AHCI is enabled. I have a feeling it doesn't. There may be some utility you can download from the SSD manufacturer or elsewhere to manually trim the filesystem periodically, either from within XP or from your Win7 installation.

Stephen
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August 31, 2013 7:08:55 AM

molletts said:
Hi,

You can install and run WinXP in AHCI mode by using a driver disk during installation (you'll need a USB floppy drive which will need to be plugged into the system at power-on prior to booting XP setup so that the BIOS will emulate a regular floppy drive). You should be able to find a suitable driver (look for an "F6 installation disk" or suchlike for XP or Server 2003 32-bit edition) on Intel's website, which you can then unzip onto a floppy disk to make the supplementary driver disk. Then press F6 while XP setup is loading (look at the status line at the bottom of the screen - it'll say something like "Press F6 to load addtional SCSI/RAID drivers") and give it the driver disk. It should then be able to see your AHCI controller and the SSD.

I don't know whether XP supports TRIM, though, even when AHCI is enabled. I have a feeling it doesn't. There may be some utility you can download from the SSD manufacturer or elsewhere to manually trim the filesystem periodically, either from within XP or from your Win7 installation.

Stephen




Thanks for the great AHCI and TRIM suggestions, Stephen.

...Any suggestions on how best to set up the dual boot system on a single SSD, where I could choose which O/S to use at boot-up...without sacrificing any SSD performance?

Mike
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a b G Storage
September 1, 2013 3:32:25 AM

stereoeggs said:

...Any suggestions on how best to set up the dual boot system on a single SSD, where I could choose which O/S to use at boot-up...without sacrificing any SSD performance?


I've never done a dual-boot XP/7 setup so I can't speak authoritatively on it but if I were doing it, I would probably set up XP first in one partition then Win7 in a second partition. That way, the Win7 installer should pick up the XP boot-menu entries when it installs the Win7 bootloader. (If it doesn't, I'm sure there are plenty of references online as to how to manually add XP boot entries to a Win7 boot menu.) If you do it the other way around, XP Setup will overwrite the Win7 bootloader with its own and you will have to use Startup Repair from the Win7 DVD to make your Win7 system bootable again.

The XP and Win7 versions of NTFS interoperate fine as far as I can tell so you should be able to access files from one OS on the other without any difficulty, apart from possibly having to add extra permissions to folders that you use on both because your user account will have different Security IDs on the two OSes even if it has the same name. I wouldn't recommend trying to do fancy tricks like sharing the user profile between the two OSes; it's possible (I've tested it on a network using roaming profiles, simply to see what would happen) but the differences in the way the profile is laid out on the two different versions cause all sorts of confusion.

(I've also found a manual TRIM tool here which is intended for precisely your application. You would need to periodically run it from Win7, pointing it at your WinXP partition. It will then scan the partition for free space and issue TRIM commands for it. No idea whether it works as advertised or is even safe as I don't have the means to test it.)

Stephen
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a c 886 G Storage
September 2, 2013 8:52:31 AM

install xp first, using it to partition it into two or more pieces.
After xp is installed reboot wth the win7 install and install to the win7 partition you already made.
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September 12, 2013 8:09:08 AM

I think should be fine. dual boot means install both operation system, so with SSD, reading are much faster, so it should not affect performance that much.
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