Solved Boot program allowing choice of HD's to boot from

March 25, 2014 at 09:58:41
Specs: Windows 7/Win XP, AMD FX-4100 Quad 3.25 GB Ram
I have WinXP on existing drive. Want to install Win7 on new separate drive and have both drives in stand a lone. I want to isolate WinXP drive from Internet and use for on hand compatible programs. At boot up have the option to select WinXP hard drive or Win 7 hard drive. Both Drives would have separate operating systems as one would be 32 bit and the other 64 bit. Is there a boot up program that will allow this to happen?

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March 25, 2014 at 11:11:37
The Windows 7 boot loader will do that. It ought to set the boot menu up automatically when you install Windows 7. If not then the program EasyBCD provides an easy means to manipulate the boot menu.

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March 25, 2014 at 15:50:58
Your BIOS can probably do that too. The advantage is that you are NOT tied to Windows or any other OS. Add or remove drives at any time.

F11 at start up on my computer takes me to a menu that allows me to boot to any boot device in the system. You can set a default device (drive) and still boot to any other boot device at any time.

Of course, if you do not want one of the OSes to have internet access, you can disable in that OS it in any number of ways.

message edited by OtheHill

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March 25, 2014 at 16:46:43
✔ Best Answer
You might consider the future situation too... If/when decide to drop XP....

If the win-7 boot loader is on the current (XP) HD (0) and win-7 on the second HD (1).... then if you remove the XP drive, or do anything to it which removes/erases the boot loader then you lose access to win-7; at least until you do a "wee" bit of work and tweaking...

A lot be said I think on this occasion for an add-in boot manager as already suggested. Install win-7 on its own drive (as you intend) - disconnect the XP drive first... Then reconnect XP drive as Master and win-7 as Slave; and then install the add-in boot manager to XP drive and configure it boot to either drive?

If/when you remove XP from the system at some future time, the win-7 drive could be set/physically positioned as Master, and it would boot without the add-in utility?

Bios switching would effectively allow the same future proofing of the win-7 HD to boot without any add-in.

Both approaches would preserve the registry entries for win-7 as c: - which is how it would boot up; if win-7 is installed as a stand alone (the Master) drive (with XP drive disconnected during win-7 installation).

The other option might be to install win-7 as above (disconnect XP drive whilst installing win-7), then reset XP drive as slave and add it to the win-7 boot loader. Both OS will boot as c: with no problem, and the XP drive can be deleted anon without affecting win-7.

Similarly - having installed win-7 as above, set it as Slave to XP drive, then establish the win-7 boot loader on the XP drive (set as Master). Again each OS will boot ok as c: ....

Used to do this kind of tweakery a lot with mixes of NT and W2K on separate drives; and often with '9x thrown in for good measure; and later with XP in the mix too.

NT, W2K, and XP refer to the registry during boot up to determine and assign the drive letters various; and whatever was written during setup is what is assigned when booted through to desktop etc.

I still have one elderly system that was configured/built that way with with all of the MS OS installed upto/including XP-Pro.

message edited by trvlr

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March 26, 2014 at 05:58:53
Thank you for your response. You offered up a lot of considerations. Now it's decision time.

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March 26, 2014 at 06:17:33
Thank you for your response.

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