Dual booting windows 7 and 8 on separate hard drives

What is the best method for installing and booting Win 7 and 8 on separate hard drives?
Reply to cigarman
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More about dual booting windows separate hard drives
  1. Its very simple, set up the PC with 2 HDD's.
    Disconnect one and install lets say W7 on the one you have connected. Once its all set up shut down the PC and disconnect the W7 HDD and connect the second empty HDD. Now install W8 on the second HDD. Once that's all set up you now have the ability to boot into which ever OS you choose by pressing the boot option key during start up, its F9 on my set up. but you can find out which key is yours by entering set up at start.

    Mactronix :)
    Reply to mactronix
  2. I struggled with this for a while and then decided to just use the command prompt. if you currently have a Windows 8 computer and want to add Windows 7 that is already on a separate drive. Install your drive into your computer, boot up into Windows 8. Move your cursor to the top right corner and choose Settings, then at the bottom of the slide out click on Change PC Settings. The screen will change and on the left side choose General, the right side will change, scroll down on the right side to Advanced Startup, click on Restart Now. Then choose Troubleshoot, then choose Advanced Options, then choose Command Prompt. Sign in on the Command Prompt screen. When the command prompt window opens you will type: Bootrec.exe /ScanOS to determine if the system recognizes a windows OS, if so it will list them out and where they are. To add the Windows 7 OS to the Boot Configuration type: Bootrec.exe /RebuildBcd this will scan disks for all installations compatible with Windows and allow the user to choose which to add to the boot configuration store. when completed type Exit in the command prompt and the command prompt window will close and you will have the option on the screen to Use another operating system.
    Reply to Breagan
  3. I was able to get a machine to dual boot 2 Windows 8 OS's off different hard drives. My motherboard and drives are set up for UEFI, so this may not be applicable if you are using MBR. In your case, plug in one hard drive and install Windows 7. Then plug the other hard drive (leaving the Windows 7 drive plugged in) and install Windows 8. Windows 8 will be able to find the boot partition on the other hard drive and add itself without ruining your Windows 7 boot. You may have to disable fast boot in your BIOS to get the options for which OS you want to boot into.
    Reply to bochiger
  4. cigarman said:
    What is the best method for installing and booting Win 7 and 8 on separate hard drives?


    Depends on how you want to choose which at boot up.

    1. Choose via the Windows boot manager
    Connect one drive
    Install Win 7
    Leaving the Windows 7 drive connected, connect the other drive
    Install Win 8 on the new drive.
    The Windows boot manager will appear when you start, and let you choose which to boot into

    2. Choose via the BIOS selection
    Connect one drive
    Install Win 7
    Disconnect that drive
    Connect the other drive
    Install Win 8
    At bootup, you have to select which via the BIOS boot menu.
    Reply to USAFRet
  5. So about installing Windows 7 on the same hard drive that Windows 8.1 is already installed on, but in a new partition, is it possible? Just wondering in case I grab a Windows 7 software disc for dirt cheap.
    Reply to Joseph DeGarmo
  6. Ideally, you install the older OS first. Win 7, then Win 8.
    The Win7 install may mess up the Win 8 boot info.


    And there is no "Windows 7 software disc for dirt cheap". It costs what it costs.
    Reply to USAFRet
  7. I am having a similar problem. I have installed Win 7 ult on one HDD and then 8.1 on a second and that worked fine but now I can't select the windows 7 disk as the boot default. I can still select it from the boot menu and boot it without issues but it is not on the list of devices to make the default. I am guessing this is an issue with the BIOS but I have checked that it is up to date. I want to be able to boot win 7 most times without spamming F11 and boot windows 8.1 occasionally. BTW motherboard/BIOS is ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Performance.
    Reply to lanksterlama
  8. hi,
    mine is not a solution but I have a similar problem, having disconected my primary drive (win7) I have tried to set the boot sequence to boot from my dvd so I can install my 2nd o/s but in the boot options I have somehow disabled the dvd drive and I cannot enable it,it does not react to any key board command both drive are enclosed in parethesis meaning they are diasbled. bios is american megatrends Vr 02.61.
    Can anyone help?
    Reply to longshanks62
  9. Mine is also not a solution but my friend was able to do a dual boot of two different OS (windows 7 and Ubuntu) on his self built computer. According to what I could tell, he connected two different motherboards together, with two different hard drives and place them all in one custom made tower. They all connect to one (three actually) monitor and you could see him switch between two different OS environment by doing some kind of click and drag from the corner of the desktop. How he actually did this, I have no clue, but after googling it there were others who did something very similar (hardware-wise).

    Just to let everyone know, the performance of his computer did not boost 2x or whatever just because he rigged two motherboard together. It was literally know different from having a single mother board in a computer. The only difference was that the tower was larger. Whether he used a special chip or software for connecting the motherboard together for the dual boot, I am not sure. However, it looked cool. However, he told me he took the whole thing apart and created to different computers. Something about, it is not very efficient having two OS running at the same time even if they have their own resources...

    Oh yea. Sorry for necroing the post.
    Reply to BlackHawkRider
  10. Breagan said:
    I struggled with this for a while and then decided to just use the command prompt. if you currently have a Windows 8 computer and want to add Windows 7 that is already on a separate drive. Install your drive into your computer, boot up into Windows 8. Move your cursor to the top right corner and choose Settings, then at the bottom of the slide out click on Change PC Settings. The screen will change and on the left side choose General, the right side will change, scroll down on the right side to Advanced Startup, click on Restart Now. Then choose Troubleshoot, then choose Advanced Options, then choose Command Prompt. Sign in on the Command Prompt screen. When the command prompt window opens you will type: Bootrec.exe /ScanOS to determine if the system recognizes a windows OS, if so it will list them out and where they are. To add the Windows 7 OS to the Boot Configuration type: Bootrec.exe /RebuildBcd this will scan disks for all installations compatible with Windows and allow the user to choose which to add to the boot configuration store. when completed type Exit in the command prompt and the command prompt window will close and you will have the option on the screen to Use another operating system.


    Thank you so much. This also works for dual booting Windows 7 and Windows 10. http://s26.postimg.org/defws0aux/myoschoices.jpg
    Reply to hwaynew
  11. Sorry if I posted this in the wrong forum, but I am new to this site.
    I have a Lenovo Thinkpad and I have hard drive cloning software. I want to take advantage of the free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 which expires this week, but I don't plan on using Windows 10 for a long while. My idea would be to clone my existing windows 7 hard drive to a separate hard drive. Then on one of the two hard drives I would do the upgrade. I would then remove that upgraded hard drive and install the other hard drive into my computer so I am still running Windows 7. I would simply set aside the upgraded hard drive until some future, long term, time when I felt like switching to Windows 10. Ist that reasonably possible or would there be complications with licensing? Thanks
    Reply to Marco_man
  12. Marco_man said:
    Sorry if I posted this in the wrong forum, but I am new to this site.
    I have a Lenovo Thinkpad and I have hard drive cloning software. I want to take advantage of the free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 which expires this week, but I don't plan on using Windows 10 for a long while. My idea would be to clone my existing windows 7 hard drive to a separate hard drive. Then on one of the two hard drives I would do the upgrade. I would then remove that upgraded hard drive and install the other hard drive into my computer so I am still running Windows 7. I would simply set aside the upgraded hard drive until some future, long term, time when I felt like switching to Windows 10. Ist that reasonably possible or would there be complications with licensing? Thanks



    Please start a new thread on this.
    This current one is 18 months old.

    THanks.
    Reply to USAFRet
  13. Breagan said:
    I struggled with this for a while and then decided to just use the command prompt. if you currently have a Windows 8 computer and want to add Windows 7 that is already on a separate drive. Install your drive into your computer, boot up into Windows 8. Move your cursor to the top right corner and choose Settings, then at the bottom of the slide out click on Change PC Settings. The screen will change and on the left side choose General, the right side will change, scroll down on the right side to Advanced Startup, click on Restart Now. Then choose Troubleshoot, then choose Advanced Options, then choose Command Prompt. Sign in on the Command Prompt screen. When the command prompt window opens you will type: Bootrec.exe /ScanOS to determine if the system recognizes a windows OS, if so it will list them out and where they are. To add the Windows 7 OS to the Boot Configuration type: Bootrec.exe /RebuildBcd this will scan disks for all installations compatible with Windows and allow the user to choose which to add to the boot configuration store. when completed type Exit in the command prompt and the command prompt window will close and you will have the option on the screen to Use another operating system.



    One change to the above, a slightly different path to that advanced options during boot,
    Hold the SHIFT key while clicking Reboot, then procede with the following ( unchanged from above)

    After rebooting, and given the following options, continue...choose Troubleshoot, then choose Advanced Options, then choose Command Prompt. Sign in on the Command Prompt screen. When the command prompt window opens you will type: Bootrec.exe /ScanOS to determine if the system recognizes a windows OS, if so it will list them out and where they are. To add the Windows 7 OS to the Boot Configuration type: Bootrec.exe /RebuildBcd this will scan disks for all installations compatible with Windows and allow the user to choose which to add to the boot configuration store. when completed type Exit in the command prompt and the command prompt window will close and you will have the option on the screen to Use another operating system.

    edit: correct spelling add email notification
    Reply to Jupiter2
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