Switch between 2 hard drives


I have Win 7 desktop with 2 hard drives. One small SSD I use for work only and it only contains few work-related programs. The second larger HDD has a cloned bootable copy of SSD (in case of failure of SSD I would be able to continue working) but also has other non-work related stuff (pictures, videos, games....).

I was wondering how to set up the system so that I get a choice of which drive to boot from every time I turn on the system. That way I could choose which drive to access depending on whether I need to work or play.

Any ideas how to do that the easiest way?

Thanks so much.


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  1. You can do that with the boot option menu of your BIOS. Go to the manual to see witch function key it is for you MoBo. You can also add the second drive to the boot.ini of the SSD. Windows will present you a menu than. BUT: because the second windows installation is a clone of the first one with the same product key, but on different hardware (the HDD) it will pretty sure ask you for activation and that will end the game after the third or fourth set.
  2. At boot time, go into BIOS and select boot order. However, I'm thinking clone not a good idea given the different ways SSD and HD work....imagine some driver issues as on the HD boot windows thinks its on a SSD.

    Here's how I do it.

    1. Install Windoze to (say 128 GB) SSD w/ SSSD connected to SATA 0 port, HD not connected
    2. Install what ya need on SSD
    3. Turn off system and yank cable for SSD, plug in HD data cable to SATA 1
    4. Install windows in 128 GB partition and install whatever again. Create new partition for rest of drive and install other stuff on there.
    5. At boot time, simply enter BIOS and select primary boot device.
  3. Thanks very much both of you. I will try both options, see which works best for me.

    Coming from Mac, this is a bit more painful. I used to clone my HDD using build-in mac disk utility on the external drive, and every time my HDD failed, I would hook-up external drive to macbook and continue working where I left off, although a bit slower given USB 2 connection. Never had an issue with the OS product key, and had 2 different external drives as a back up.


  4. Also,

    Can I use the same activation code for Win 7 on multiple HDs within the same PC?
  5. Sounds like it works for JackNaylorPE but it didn't for me. When it start the cloned version, Windows asks for a new activation. As long as you only use it as a backup and don't switch regularly that's ok. A problem only occurs with windows update. I got a message of a not genuine key or something when I tried to update the copy.
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