Dual Boot With 2 Instances Of Win 7 64 Bit Home Premium

#1
I have a computer with a copy of Windows 7 64 bit home premium which was the original O/S that came with this computer. This is a legit copy!

What I am wanting to do is to make a partition & place an unopened OEM copy of Win7 64 bit on it and create a dual boot situation.

I intend to use EasyBCD as a part of this install. First of all I need to know which should come first: (1) install EasyBCD on my old working copy of Win 7 or (2) make the partition first and then install Easy BCD on my old win7 O/S? Finally would come the install of my OEM version. BTW I do have enough disk space to make the dual boot possible.

What, if any, problems I might encounter in doing this dual boot? I have experience with dual booting XP but that was years ago. I didn't use any special software at that time since i let Windows manage the dual boot. I once even took 2 identical hard drives and partitioned each of the exactly in half and put on them 4 instances of XP. I did use separate full install copies of XP in doing this. A never had a problem with this quad boot situation. You may ask why did I do this quad boot in the first place. My answer is as follows: (1) I wanted to do it, (2) I had the money, (3) I had the media, (4) I had the necessary knowledge.

Please let me know if what I wish to do is feasible. The reason for not just reinstalling my old Win 7 O/S is that i wish to keep it intact and due to the fact that I have lost install files and/or license keys so that reinstalling some of my software is impossible. I no longer have the means financially to replace them. I am now a senior citizen and live on a very fixed income. I also filed bankruptcy in 2009 in order to keep the apartment that me and my father (1916-2008) lived in.

Any help and assistance is highly appreciated! Thank you :smile:
 
#2
Yes you can do this. Here is how -I- would do it.

I would buy an identically sized disk. I would then do an image backup of the computer disk to an external USB disk. I would then unplug the internal disk of the computer and replace it with the blank disk. Then I would restore to that.

When the copy of the disk was working fine then I would start experimenting with dual boot on it.

By now you should have gotten the idea that if you can't afford to backup right now in a way that allows you to do an image restore, you have no business fooling with dual booting on a system with irreplaceable data. Nothing is worse with a machine than people who say "I tried this simple click and my disk and it's data vanished, what do I click to get it back" Answer: sometimes, nothing. Sometimes, reinstall is the only way.

Now, to get to the meat of it.

First you have to determine if your disk is MBR or GPT. Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer management, Disk Management.

Right-click on disk 0. Properties. Volumes..

Now look at the partitions. If there is a partition that says EFI then you have a GPT+UEFI setup.

if you have GPT then you must use EBCD 2.3 Which is beta software right now. If you have GPT + UEFI - then good luck. Report back here and let us know if it worked or not - and congrats, your on the bleeding edge. Bleeding edge people bleed sometimes. If you can't afford to bleed - stay away. There be Dragons here.

if your Win7 system is just GPT then EBCD 2.3 will probably work OK. Just shrink the windows partition, boot the win7 installer, select the free space, and windows 7 should install and setup a boot manager. If it does not then install EBCD and see if it recognizes both windows partitions and allows you to manipulate the boot menu.

And if you have read all this and figure "this sounds easy enough I'm not going to bother backing up first" I'll lunge through your Internet connection and slap you silly.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#3
Installing a new OS into empty space you've created is not going to cause any problems.
However, identifying that empty space during setup might potentially cause you problems you didn't expect, like losing your current OS.
That's because disk letters are not "real".
Previous tales of woe like "I definitely installed x into the "D" disk I'd pre-allocated, but now my "C" disk has disappeared completely and I've just got the new OS !" are too common to count.
Disk letters are a virtual map of partitions/devices in the registry of the running OS.
If you create a space called "D" on your PC, no other copy of Windows on the planet (and that includes the proto-OS on the install CD/DVD) knows about it.
When you boot the installation media, what it calls "D" has no relationship to anything you did in a previous boot.
The only foolproof way to identify a disk location absolutely, in a way that will be recognized by any other OS, is to use the "label" field when formatting the disk space into a partition.
Call it "Space for my new Windows 7" (and give it any disk letter you like) and when you boot your W7 DVD and it asks where you want to install the new OS, the labelled space will make it obvious (and safe)
Your old W7 (being in the "active" partition) will automatically have an entry for the new W7 added to the BCD by MS, and dual-booting will just happen.
You don't even need EasyBCD, though you can subsequently use it to beautify the names in your boot menu (e.g "main W7" , "Test W7") if you wish
The disk label can be edited simply by right clicking the partition in Explorer and renaming it to whatever (e.g. "Test W7")
It's good practice to assign meaningful labels to all of your partitions, saves no end of confusion (and possible finger trouble)
 
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