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Creating 2 separate boot drives

Last response: in Windows 7
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January 19, 2013 1:01:19 PM

Hello I have 2 separate hard drives in my computer both have windows 7 installed on them. I'm wondering if it is possible to select which drive to boot from on start up in a really easy manor. On my old computer i had 1 hard drive separated into 2 boot partitions and when i booted my computer up it used to come up with a selection of which partition i wanted to boot from without having to press F12 to select the boot drive. I want to know if this is possible to do with 2 separate hard drives. The reason for this is my mother wants to use the computer and she's not that computer smart so I dont want her to get a ton of viruses on my hard drive. Now as she's not very good with computers going into the bios every time is going to be too confusing for her to choose which boot drive to start from instead of just having a simple option to just click the one she wants to use.

Sorry I dont really know how to describe what I want that well but if the above info is too confusing please say so, and I'll try again. Thanks in advance
a b $ Windows 7
January 19, 2013 1:09:11 PM

You can add the second win7 installation to th boot.ini of the first one. Goggle tells you how. But that will not hinder the viruses from infecting both drives, as they are both accessible from both win installations.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 19, 2013 1:10:06 PM

Use this software to set up the boot menu:
http://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/
I'm fairly sure you can rename the options, adjust the timeout, etc. I don't know if you can create a mouse-interface boot menu that way, though. It'd probably be keyboard interface.

However, unless you use some kind of drive encryption, programs on her computer would be able to access your hard drive, so just having a boot menu wouldn't protect your hard drive from viruses on her side.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 19, 2013 1:14:43 PM

The easiest thing to do would be to give your mother a restricted user account and install firefox/chrome/opera/favourite browser here... into sandboxie, sandboxie will isolate the instance that firefox runs within and not give it access to the operating system directly or any storage as sandboxie runs it within a sandbox as the name implies.
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January 19, 2013 1:20:25 PM

Yes you can.
The simplest way would be to select the drive to boot through "boot options" when you power on the PC using the Bios hotkey(usually F10-but may vary depending on bios).
But you will have to do this every single time when you start the PC.

Personally I think there is not much point in doing this since both of your OS are Win 7.
Just use the better version. Create a "Standard user" account for your mother. Use a good antivirus. So even if she download a virus it will (hopefully) stay in that account.

Even if you & your mother keep using those separate Win 7 there is no guarantee that the virus won't get into the OS you are using. Since both drives will be accessible to both OS' and being the same Windows system.
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January 19, 2013 1:31:03 PM

If you are really concerned about her infecting your computer the best solution would be to have her get her own computer.

The less likely solution is to install the separate drives and only have the one plugged in you want to boot. Then when she needs to use the computer you plug the SATA cable into her drive and boot. That way the other drive is not seen by the OS that's currently booted. For all intents and purposes, it will only be a single drive computer. This seems like a lot to go through just to have security from the possibility that your "mom's" browsing habits will infect your computer. Off the top of my head I can't think of a better way.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 19, 2013 1:32:03 PM

Or another alternative would be to purchase a Hot swap drive bay that would allow you to remove your HDD from the system before she uses the system and set it up so that your HDD is the first drive in the boot chain so when it is connected the system boots from it but if it is removed then the system boots from her HDD. That way all of your data stays stored away with no chance of her messing it up (and keeps her from viewing your Porn collection ! :o  )

Something Like this unit which fits in a 5.25" bay and allows a 3.5" HDD to be removed and put away. Amazon has them for around $20

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