Two OS on two different HDDs - will EasyBCD work properly?


Hello everyone,
I'm mike, and I write a lot. So I've decided to post a short version for those of you who have not the patience yet know the answers to the main issues at hand.

Here's my situation in the short version:
I want to know if EasyBCD will work properly after I install Windows Vista 64-bit on a big HDD, then Ubuntu 9.04 on a smaller (yet still big) HDD?
I want to make Windows the default boot when I don't press any key during the boot-up process. Yet I need to install Windows first.
Oh and.. when exactly would be the right time to install EasyBCD on the Windows side of things? After I've installed both OS?

For those who happen to have good knowledge about partitioning, swap partitions, and using different OS on different HDDs on the same computer -
Here's the long version of my situation:

I am about to buy a new computer, with a 1T HDD. A very nice performance oriented 1000GB HDD is astonishing in my point of view.
I also have my three year old 320GB HDD from my soon-to-be old computer. This 320GB HDD has 3 partitions: Windows OS Partition, Data Partition for files and whatnot, and Ubuntu Partition.

My plan is to divide the new 1T HDD into two or three partitions:
- Windows Vista 64-bit 50GB partition.
- A huge partition for Data
- And maybe a 6 to 15 GB partition to serve as a Windows Swap partition (I'll have 6GB of RAM)

On a side note: if anyone has info on widows swap partitions, how to make one, how to designate it as swap, the benefits of using the Win so-called "virtual memory" on a partition rather than within the OS-designated partition... I'd very much appreciate info on that as well. Thanks :tongueout:

After partitioning the 1T HDD & installing Vista 64-bit on it, I plan on transferring much of the data from two of the 320GB HDD partitions (the Data & the Ubuntu ones) onto the huge Data partition of my 1T HDD.

Then defragment the 1T HDD, format what's left of the 320GB HDD, and partition it & install as follows:
- 50GB partition for the new Jakalope Ubuntu 9.04
(I know it's a lot but it can be useful when using a virtual machines to play games or office or such).
- 6 to 15 GB linux swap partition.
- And the rest will be partitioned at the mount-point of "/home" and thus will serve for configuration files, and any other file I might decide to put on that HDD for any reason whatsoever.

The questions remain as I asked in the short version I guess, in addition to seeking info on windows swap partition anywhere I can. Now you have the whole picture though ^_^
Oh wait two more questions for the knowledgable people who happen to read this mainly-about-EasyBCD post...
Is there such a thing as too large a swap partition?
And will I be able to chenge the default boot OS anytime I feel like it after I install EasyBCD? (I *think* this ones a yes but I'm not sure)
I hope it's all clear. From looking at the EasyBCD site and forum I have a feeling the answer is going to be simpler than what I would expect it to.

Seems like a great tool - can't wait to use it! :grinning:
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Hi Triple, welcome to NST.
There's no such thing as a swap partition as such in windows, though nothing to stop you making a partition and telling windows to move pagefile.sys into that partition and filling it. (I've got that situation on my old backup PC, not for performance, but to keep a cloned HDD functioning without the 2nd HDD it previously accompanied. It's not actually necessary but I did it before I understood that the disk lettering rules had changed between ME and XP, but that's another (irrelevant) story. The point is it's a very simple matter to put the Windows page file in a dedicated partition if you want to (front of the HDD is best for swap performance))
EasyBCD doesn't care where your OSs are located, and it doesn't matter when you install it. It's not a boot manager, it's a GUI app for managing the Vista/W7 BCD, and as such it's no different to Notepad. Having it on the system is like keeping a spanner in your car, It doesn't do anything unless you use it to alter something.

There is a problem with grub however that if you install it in the boot sector of the ubuntu partition and that partition is on a different HDD to the Vista bootmgr, then adding a Linux entry to the BCD will need to use the "grub is not installed....." option in the EasyBCD add/remove entries dialogue, and achieve the chaining to Linux via NST's Neogrub. (Don't worry it's all automatic).

I suggest you read the sticky thread and the embedded links for background information on dual-booting, and be sure to use EasyBCD 2.0 Beta (latest build). Don't be tempted to use 1.7 because it's not Beta. Ubuntu newer than 8.04 uses different grub syntax which is not supported in the old EasyBCD only in the 2.0 Beta.
automatically as in I do nothing? hehe

Thanks Terry :grinning:

First off, my reason for making a Windows Swap partition is actually mainly for performance. Here's how I plan on doing that.
"There is a problem with grub however that if you install it in the boot sector of the ubuntu partition and that partition is on a different HDD to the Vista bootmgr, then adding a Linux entry to the BCD will need to use the "grub is not installed....." option in the EasyBCD add/remove entries dialogue, and achieve the chaining to Linux via NST's Neogrub. (Don't worry it's all automatic)."
So by saying it's all automatic - do you mean that all I have to do is install the proccess I described in my above post, then at the end after finishing the installs of both OS - I install EasyBCD, and follow these "Add Ubuntu to Vista Bootloader" instructions?
And the "problem" you mentioned is solved without me changing a thing?

Will I be able to change the default OS loaded on boot whenever I please?

Anyhow thank you very much for the quick response ^_^
Hi TripleEye.
Once you have installed the OSes, then just add the entries to the BCD with EasyBCD beta (current build: 63), which has a lot of added features and advantages over the 1.7 release. Nothing to it. :smile:
Be sure to read the links in my sig which should give you a basic understanding on how Vista's bootloader works, and then post back if you experience any trouble.


THe best performance option is not to let the system do a lot of swapping anyway. i.e use a 64bit OS and pile plenty of RAM on the mobo.
If you put a small swap partition at the front of the HDD, you can also use it for XP or W7 if you multi-boot them. They all look for pagefile.sys, and it's only a piece of empty space. Nothing is carried between boots, so they can all be fooled into thinking it's theirs. On each system as you move swap to the new partition it'll say "there's already a pagefile, do you want to replace it ?". Say yes and it replaces one empty space with another empty space with the same name. The other systems already think they own it so they carry on using it regardless.
That saves having to allocate empty space on every windows system (the same applies whether it's in a dedicated partition or not). Mine is on my backup disk which is even better, because the disk gets NO activity other than swap, except when I back up the system before shuttting it down. Having a dedicated partition on the same HDD as the OS is going to cause as much head-contention as having the swap file in the C: drive. You'd do better to put the swap file somewhere on the Linux HDD, perhaps with some windows back-up space, where you can keep copies of your personal data safe from a wreck on the Vista HDD.
With Vista onwards you can also make use of "readyboost" if you have a large/fast flash drive. That will stop head contention on your OS drive by moving the swap activity off the HDD.
Another thing to bear in mind, is that you will have to waste some disk space using a dedicated partition. Windows won't let you allocate an 8Gb file in an 8Gb partition. You'll be being incessantly nagged by the OS to "clean up" the drive because it has "too little free space", so you'll have to leave 10% or so empty to prevent the OS from wasting any performance gained, in constant housekeeping reminders.

RAM is the best option by far.
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My point of view is a bit different. There IS one small problem with sharing the same swap partition. If you hibernate - you cause problems. So it's either you use the same swap partition for both OS, and don't ever use hibernation - or you use a swap partition for each OS. That's just FYI :smile:
In my case it doesn't matter much. My two OS (Vista 64-bit & Ubuntu 9.04) need a different file system for their swap partition anyway (NTFS vs Ext3) - and they are probably going to be on different HDDs anyhow.
On top of that - I'm going to have 1320GB of HDD, which is waaay more than I need. I really don't mind using a few Gigs for swap partitions ^_^
And I'm going to have 3x2G (6G) of RAM - which for me is 3 times what I used to have :smile: It might be a while 'till I can afford more - but I'm happy with 6G :tongueout:

The remaining most important question if already on the topic of swap partitions though, is whether or not there is such a thing as a swap partition that's too big?
(In terms of performance - not of lost HDD space that could have been used for files)

This forum is much more active than I expected :grinning:
Thanks alot for the fast replys :grinning:
I've always steered well clear of hibernate since ME, where it was more or less guaranteed to break the system, and take far more time to fix than you ever saved by the supposed quick restart.
So in my case pagefile is always just empty space to any booted system.
I'm afraid my faith in MS is still not great enough to expect my OS to be where it was previously, after temporarily switching to another OS. I'd rather play safe and save everything myself.
I'm very much "belt and braces" when it comes to protecting the integrity of my personal data, as you might have gathered from my mention of the Backup HDD, but I like to manage it personally.
I don't mind the OS protecting itself automatically (system restore etc), because at worst, a tedious reinstall, re-WUD gets everything back if it c*cks-up; but I don't trust anyone else to safeguard the existence of my photos etc.

I don't think the pagefile can be too big. It just uses what it needs.
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Haha you got me there - I too don't trust MS & I actually never use hibernation either. But as I got a lot of disk space I rather use some of it for swap just to be on the safe side.