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2 HDs 2 OSs

Last response: in Windows 7
March 4, 2010 6:16:50 PM

I have a Hard drive setup with Vista and want to add a brand new Hard Drive and install Win7. I hope to choose the boot drive in the bios (as I plan to rarely use Vista). If I mount either drive from the opposite drives OS will I ruin the MBR (making that OS unusable)? Will I have any trouble copying my documents from this Vista drive to my new drive while I am in Win7?

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a b $ Windows 7
March 4, 2010 6:46:46 PM

Just install Win7 to the other hard drive and it will automatically set you up to choose which ever OS you want. If you want to, you can even go in and set up the boot menu to set Win7 as the default with say a 5 second time out at the menu? That way, if you don't choose, it will boot into Win7 by default.

Here's how.

  • Launch an administrator console window to the OS prompt in Windows 7
  • View the current default boot setup after installing Windows 7. It's probably already Windows 7. To view the default boot setup, run bcdedit /enum {bootmgr}
  • You might see something like this:
    1. Windows Boot Manager
    2. --------------------
    3. identifier {bootmgr}
    4. device partition=\Device\HarddiskVolume1
    5. description Windows Boot Manager
    6. locale en-US
    7. inherit {globalsettings}
    8. default {current}
    9. resumeobject {24a500f3-12ea-11db-a536-b7db70c06ac2}
    10. displayorder {current}
    11. toolsdisplayorder {memdiag}
    12. timeout 30

  • The default value of {current} in this case would mean whatever OS you allowed it to boot up into. If you are in Windows 7 (without choosing at the menu), then it's already set for Windows 7. If it's Vista, then you need to do the next step.
  • To change the default entry if it's NOT Windows 7, then run the following command: bcdedit /enum
  • Note which entry is for Windows 7 and note the value of the identifier attribute. You will use that value in the following command to change the default boot entry to Windows 7: bcdedit /default <id>
  • Next, change it's boot time-out to 5 seconds: bcdedit /timeout 5

    That's it. Now it will boot into Windows 7 within 5 seconds if you don't choose a menu option.

    As for copying documents, just use the Easy Windows Transfer program. Go into Vista and run it from the Win7 DVD to get it installed/updated and then run it in Vista to backup your files to a directory/usb stick/DVD.

    Then, boot back into Win7 and run it from your start menu and restore all your user account documents/settings/etc.
    a b $ Windows 7
    March 4, 2010 7:13:32 PM

    If you want to do as you said and pick what os to use in the bios then just disconnect the vista drive, then install win7 then reconnect the vista drive.
    Related resources
    March 4, 2010 7:32:58 PM

    Thanks for the info. I have done the whole dual boot thing before but I thought you could only do that with different partitions on the same drive. Most likely, I will remove the vista HD when I am done grabbing my files so switching the whole system to a dual boot menu is a waste of time and effort. I want to grab the files at my leisure from the Vista HD. My REAL concern is that mounting an HD (with a bootable OS on it) from another HD and OS would somehow strip the bootability out of it. Can anyone answer this question?
    a b $ Windows 7
    March 4, 2010 8:25:49 PM

    It's better to dual-boot using two hard drives... 2 partitions on one drive is always an option, but I've always found it better to use separate drives.
    a b $ Windows 7
    March 5, 2010 5:14:07 PM

    no problem mounting 2 drives that are both bootable.
    a b $ Windows 7
    March 5, 2010 5:30:35 PM

    You don't have to have both OSes on the same hard drive. I had my Vista booting up on hard drive 0 and installed Windows 7 on hard drive 1. Eventually, I removed Vista and to this day, it still works just fine.
    March 5, 2010 5:44:31 PM

    Best answer selected by Silex99.
    March 5, 2010 5:45:37 PM

    Thanks everyone. I thought it was fine to mount a bootable drive. I just didn't want to be sorry if I was wrong!