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Hiding Hard Drives - Dual booting

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey guys! I have Windows 7 installed on a SSD right now and want to install Windows XP on a spare HDD I have. I'm a little confused with how Windows 7 now deals with booting (heard there is no more boot.ini). If I install XP on the second drive will it add info to Windows 7 boot files (what do they call it)?

Would I be better off to unplug my Windows 7 SSD when installing Windows XP so it doesn't mess with the Windows 7 boot stuff and then just use my motherboard's bootup hotkey to select the HDD I want to boot from?

Other question is about hiding HDDs from one OS to the other. When I boot into Windows XP I would like the SSD to be inaccessible and when I am in Windows 7 I would like the XP drive to be inaccessible. If I go to Disk Management and remove the drive letter, it won't show the drive in "My Computer" but will it be 100% inaccessible? Would disabling the drive in "Device Manager" be a better way to do it?

I'm basically worried about booting into Windows XP with my SSD running because I don't want XP to be writing anything to the SSD, auto defraging it or something. Figured hiding it or disabling the drive would be the easiest and safest way.

In case anyone is wondering.. Windows 7 will be for gaming and everyday use. Windows XP will be strictly for recording, editing and mixing music. So I don't need to share files between the two operating systems and would rather have them separated.

If anyone has a good article on how Windows 7 deals with booting (no more boot.ini) feel free to post it up.
Edited by danpluso - 3/4/11 at 12:21am
post #2 of 7
I have no idea about the hiding the drives bit, but I do know that installing XP on a separate disk will do nothing to your boot process. You'll have to use your mobo's boot menu to choose which OS to boot to. The only time you'll have to worry about the dualbooting you mean is when you have 2 OSes on one drive, so one drive with 2 or more partitions.

Hope that made sense
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
From my experience, I have witnessed otherwise.

I had Windows 7 on one drive and I installed Windows 7 on another drive. It added the new Windows 7 to the list of bootable operating systems and would ask me which one I wanted to boot to upon startup. When I unplugged the drive that had the new Windows 7 install on it, it still remained on the list of bootable operating systems. It seems like it all gets added to one master list of bootable operating systems or something.
post #4 of 7
You could use BCDEdit to remove the extra entry.
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post #5 of 7
I have not dual booted 7 and XP, but I don't think you'll have to worry about the XP installation doing anything to your SSD--defrag isn't usually enabled by default in XP, and as long as it's not your system disk (or pagefile disk, which you can manually change), then it won't do jack with your SSD.

Also, can you use Virtual XP? Windows 7 premium comes with virtual XP. I use virtual XP on my work laptop that runs 7 Premium, and as long as you're not trying to play a game, it runs just like a discrete XP install from within 7--it's actually beautifully seamless, and I've had no problems with hardware recognition/installation and USB device use. It's freely included with 7 premium, so maybe that's worth a shot?
    
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post #6 of 7
http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1

EasyBCD is a free tool to let you set your bootloader how you like it. Install windows and then fire this bad boy up. KaChing.
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post #7 of 7
The classic way dual boot works is to have 2 OS's residing on the same drive. You have to install the OLDER OS first, then the newer. I don't think you can dual-boot off 2 drives, you'll have to do it as biltong is describing unless you find some detailed info about how to manually configure Win 7's boot loader, which is not going to be easy and you can screw up your existing install of Win 7.

If you break Windows 7's boot, you'll have a hell of a time trying to repair it, I'll tell you that right now.
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