Multiboot with earliest to latest Windows Operating Systems

Self build / N/A
October 8, 2016 at 13:07:45
Specs: Vista Ultimate, SP2, 3.0Ghz/2Ghz
When I built my first multiboot I remember reading an article that said you should install the OSs in the same sequence that they were released, I.e. Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP. I have a machine with Vista on it and I intend to install Windows 7 on the next partition. If I want to put Windows 10 on later, would I need to first install Windows 8? I don't know if this machine will take Windows 10 but recently I've seen some articles where people were saying that Windows 10 may be able to be installed on machines previously thought to be incompatible. So, does it matter if all previous versions of Windows are not installed if you want a multiboot with Vista, 7, and 10 or are you OK as long as the next version you install is later than the one before it?

See More: Multiboot with earliest to latest Windows Operating Systems

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#1
October 8, 2016 at 13:14:16
To make the above a little clearer: My objective would be to have a multiboot with Vista, 7 and 10. There would be no Windows 8. Would this work or would there be an issue with the boot record? Thanks.

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#2
October 8, 2016 at 13:24:10
It would work just fine.

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#3
October 8, 2016 at 13:42:07
You can have whatever order you want, but it's usually more complicated when installing an older OS after a newer one. All support for Vista ends in April 2017, so keep that in mind. Win7 support ends in 2020, Win10 in 2025.

The order should be Vista-Win7-Win10. Win8 is not required. There's plenty of tutorials out there on how to setup a dual boot system, google will find them for you. Do you plan on using one, two, or three HDDs?


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#4
October 8, 2016 at 15:09:12
Each OS in its own partition, and a separate partition for data. That separate data is thus safe from problems that may occur with any of the OS.

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#5
October 8, 2016 at 16:52:49
The reason for installing the older OS first is that that when the newer OS is installed it will know about the older OS and how to accommodate it in a dual boot. This was particularly important when installing XP and a newer OS. Vista and newer used a different and incompatible boot system than XP. If XP was installed later it would see the newer operating system it knew nothing about. It would do the only thing it could, install it's own boot system and the existing operating systems ignored. The result, only XP is shown as a boot choice. It is all fixable but takes some work.

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#6
October 8, 2016 at 17:49:47
Thanks for your responses! I plan on using the 1 terabyte drive I purchased a while back. Would be a shame to waste all that space!

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#7
October 8, 2016 at 20:39:56
Have you considered going with VMs instead of a multi-boot setup? It'll save you from constantly rebooting, if nothing else.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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#8
October 9, 2016 at 03:01:52
"...I plan on using the 1 terabyte drive I purchased a while back. Would be a shame to waste all that space!"

Just remember you will need to partition-off space for each OS in sizes equal to or smaller than the OS will support and use the appropriate file system (FAT16/FAT32/NTFS) for each. It may be easier to go Razor2.3's route and do everything via VM.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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#9
October 9, 2016 at 17:20:12
Where can I find some info on VMs? Do you mean you can put VMs for different OSs under Vista? I quess you wouldn't have to worry about drivers with VMs also. Is that correct?

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#10
October 9, 2016 at 18:44:54
Playing with VMs is easy enough if you have the correct CPU, and instructions on how to do whatever depend on the VM product in question. I use VirtualBox. It's free and it can run under Windows, but Win10 fast ring builds refuse to be emulated at the moment. Generally, you want to be able to start your VM program, configure a virtual machine, attach your boot media to the new pretend PC, and get installing the OS of choice.

As for drivers, you do need them but they're tied to the VM software you're using. VirtualBox's website calls it "VM VirtualBox Extension Pack," and you'll need to download it separately. Once you do install it into VirtualBox, you'll have a menu option to "Insert Guest Additions CD image," and that'll mount the driver CD.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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#11
October 12, 2016 at 08:55:19
How about installing a virtual machine under an OS that is about to become unsupported? For instance, can I put Windows 10 on a virtual machine with Vista as the host? After support for Vista drops off, will that affect the VM at all? Will Oracle keep supporting VMs under hosts which are running OSs that are no longer supported by Microsoft? Thanks.

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#12
October 12, 2016 at 16:00:17
Those would be questions for the VirtualBox team over at Oracle to answer. I'd imagine they'd at least unofficially support Vista as long as Win7's supported, but that's more based on similarities between the two versions of Windows. If Vista stops being supported, I imagine you'd have trouble upgrading to a newer version of VirtualBox / guest drivers, but otherwise nothing of interest would change.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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#13
October 13, 2016 at 09:40:45
What do you think about installing Win 7 on another partition and upgrading the memory to 4 GB? I currently have 2 GB of memory. I read on Oracle's site where they want the VM to have half your total memory. That way I'd have 2 GB for the VM and 2 GB for the host. Win 7 will only be supported for three more years, so I would like to go straight to Win 10 but if I choose Vista for the host, it looses support in April 2017! Also, I don't think Win 10 will install on my system. That's why I like the VM option. What would you do in my situation? I'm thinking it would be easier to just get either a new desktop or laptop with Win 10, although I would like to put the rest of my hard drive to use. Vista is installed on a 100GB partition and drive capacity is 1 terabyte.

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#14
October 13, 2016 at 15:30:01
If you want, to go multiboot, go multiboot, but it sounds like you're trying to ease yourself into another Windows OS. If that's the case, it's generally easier to do an in place upgrade to Win7. You get to keep your programs and settings, and over all it's just about the gentlest way to transition yourself.

In multiboot, it's possible to pick a "winning" OS and delete the others, but there is some cleanup involved, and you'll just have to accept C: may not refer to your current Windows drive. With VMs, cleanup is easier, but it probably won't give you an accurate picture of how that OS will runs on the raw hardware.

I would recommend getting more RAM. As VirtualBox points out, you need enough memory to run your PC, VirtualBox, and the virtual PC. I believe Win7 and Win10 both require 1GB of RAM. That leaves Vista with 1GB, and no one's happy in that situation.

As for the upcoming demise of Vista's support, don't let that deter you from playing with VMs. Sometimes I'll spin up a new VM, do some testing, and destroy it 6 hours later.

Finally, both Win7 and Win10 will give you 30 days to play around with the OS, either in a VM or on a physical machine, without a license. You don't have to commit to any particular setup immediately, so long as you don't wipe out Vista.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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#15
October 13, 2016 at 17:48:44
I think it is time for a new PC. It should comes with the latest Windows (Win 10) and enough (fast) memory (8GB or more). The CPU should be multicore supporting Virtualisation (VT-x) like Intel i7 or AMD alike. check the specs first!
http://ark.intel.com/products/famil...

I'm using VMware and the Player is still free for non commercial use. You can run most windows and Linux OS on it (32bit or 64bit). With a little tweak even MAC OSX.
http://www.vmware.com/products/play...

It may take a while to learn about VM but over time you will see the benefit of running multiple OS's at the same time and even exchange files between them by simple dragging from host to client OS desktops or visa-versa. All your legacy apps are still useable.

Success!


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