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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, i want to get another SSD in addition to my current Windows 7 boot drive, and two boot drives with the same copy of Windows 7, or even have one on windows 7, and one on Windows 10. I want to do this to basically seperate my workflow into two categories, my audio production needs favor windows 7, but i want to use windows 10 for everything else so it would be great to have two boot drives in my desktop.
Is it possible to use the windows 7 media that came with my pc, to install windows 7 on another hard drive(inside the same desktop), and then i guess upgrade to windows 10 while on the new boot drive so i essentially have the Windows 7 boot drive I am using right now and another drive with windows 10.
can this be done? or I would need to buy a new copy of windows?
 

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Technically, you can't have two boot drives. Windows only boots off of one drive though you can "multi boot" different Windows installations from that drive.

You can install windows to two different drives, but then you have to change the boot drive (in the BIOS) to change which Windows install will boot. There are other pitfalls to using this method too. Just suffice to say that in 6 months to a year you'll get tired of all the nonsense you have to go through and you then set up multi booting (which will be harder to do then).

A little background that may clear up things for you:
When any OS installs the install program writes a tiny piece of code to the boot sector of the drive that is set as the boot drive in the BIOS. When a computer posts it loads that tiny snipet of code into memory and executes it. The code tells the computer where the Windows folder is located so that booting can start. Note that the Windows folder it points to can be put on any drive or any partition. Technically that's where you "install to" even though the boot drive may be a different drive.

When you install another OS it overwrites that code with it's own code pointing to the folder it needs for booting. If the original and the new OS are both MS products than the second Windows Install program sees the previous code and the new code and will automatically be configured to allow multi-booting. You will then get an OS choice screen at boot up where you can choose either OS to boot. The only caveat is that you have to install the OSs in the order that Microsoft released then ie. Win7 before Win 8, Win 8 before Win 10. That's because MS changes the boot code when they write a new OS and an older OS can't read the new code, so it will just overwrite (not modify) the code and you won't get the ability to multi-boot.

You can also install multiple copies of the same OS using the same, (valid) key. But, I believe, MS limits you to three or four simultaneously authenticated installs with a single key.

I've been multi-booting for 20 years and have done it both ways. Letting Windows handle the setting up is by far the preferred way! I currently run two installs of Win 10, one for CAD and everyday computing and another for Music playback only.

I hope that helps....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

Technically, you can't have two boot drives. Windows only boots off of one drive though you can "multi boot" different Windows installations from that drive.

You can install windows to two different drives, but then you have to change the boot drive (in the BIOS) to change which Windows install will boot. There are other pitfalls to using this method too. Just suffice to say that in 6 months to a year you'll get tired of all the nonsense you have to go through and you then set up multi booting (which will be harder to do then).

A little background that may clear up things for you:
When any OS installs the install program writes a tiny piece of code to the boot sector of the drive that is set as the boot drive in the BIOS. When a computer posts it loads that tiny snipet of code into memory and executes it. The code tells the computer where the Windows folder is located so that booting can start. Note that the Windows folder it points to can be put on any drive or any partition. Technically that's where you "install to" even though the boot drive may be a different drive.

When you install another OS it overwrites that code with it's own code pointing to the folder it needs for booting. If the original and the new OS are both MS products than the second Windows Install program sees the previous code and the new code and will automatically be configured to allow multi-booting. You will then get an OS choice screen at boot up where you can choose either OS to boot. The only caveat is that you have to install the OSs in the order that Microsoft released then ie. Win7 before Win 8, Win 8 before Win 10. That's because MS changes the boot code when they write a new OS and an older OS can't read the new code, so it will just overwrite (not modify) the code and you won't get the ability to multi-boot.

You can also install multiple copies of the same OS using the same, (valid) key. But, I believe, MS limits you to three or four simultaneously authenticated installs with a single key.

I've been multi-booting for 20 years and have done it both ways. Letting Windows handle the setting up is by far the preferred way! I currently run two installs of Win 10, one for CAD and everyday computing and another for Music playback only.

I hope that helps....
thank you for the in depth info! and did you buy new seperate licenses for each of those installs of windows 10?

ill clarify a little better what i want to do. I would not have two drives plugged in at the same time. I do professional audio production and i have many apps and HUNDREDS of plugins and I usually reformat and clean install my os every 6 months roughly to keep things running ultra smooth, but everytime i do, it takes 1-2 days to reinstall, update, and install all my plugins because i dont have one single chunk of 12-14 hours to do it all. so for those 1-2 days I dont have a working computer basically. So having two drives with windows, i would basically have a backup boot drive during those times. or in case of any other emergency. i just want to find out if there a dangers to doing this regarding activation, one person told me If i install my windows license on a new drive, and i swap in the old one, it wont be able to boot up or something along the lines of my product key being blacklisted but that doesnt make sense to me
 

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Microsoft doesn't allow you to use 2 installs of 1 license key at the same time. If you get caught both installs might become "not genuine." To be safe you should either buy another copy of 7 and then upgrade one of your Windows 7 to 10 or buy a new copy of 10.

An easier way to keep your installs fresh is to boot from a live CD such as Clonezilla and image each Windows drive right after installing everything, before any crap has a chance to build up (don't browse the internet or do anything like that until image is done)
http://www.overclock.net/t/1596203/simple-windows-os-install-backup-guide-tweak-os-once-and-never-again

You can restore from the image every 6 months, then install any new updates/plugins/etc. and take another drive image.

I would recommend unplug the old Windows drive before installing a second copy of Windows, to prevent the installer from becoming confused and writing stuff on the wrong drive.
You probably already know this but as a reminder completely shut down and disconnect AC power from the wall beforehand.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltpdttcdft View Post

Microsoft doesn't allow you to use 2 installs of 1 license key at the same time. If you get caught both installs might become "not genuine." To be safe you should either buy another copy of 7 and then upgrade one of your Windows 7 to 10 or buy a new copy of 10.

An easier way to keep your installs fresh is to boot from a live CD such as Clonezilla and image each Windows drive right after installing everything, before any crap has a chance to build up (don't browse the internet or do anything like that until image is done)
http://www.overclock.net/t/1596203/simple-windows-os-install-backup-guide-tweak-os-once-and-never-again

You can restore from the image every 6 months, then install any new updates/plugins/etc. and take another drive image.

I would recommend unplug the old Windows drive before installing a second copy of Windows, to prevent the installer from becoming confused and writing stuff on the wrong drive.
You probably already know this but as a reminder completely shut down and disconnect AC power from the wall beforehand.
i see. but for example, people get new hard drives and sometimes clean install from their OS media on the new hard drive they just put into their machine and it works fine. How is this different? because technically its not "at the same time" because only one of them is plugged into the computer and running at a time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltpdttcdft View Post

Microsoft doesn't allow you to use 2 installs of 1 license key at the same time. If .
Wrong............

You can have multiple installs with he same key. Heck, You can run windows 10 without even having a key, you just miss some features and all upgrades.

I have done:
Windows XP - 4 authenticated installs with the same key
Windows 7 - 3 authenticated installs with the same key.

Currently:
Windows 10 - Enterprise three installs on two computers, but keys are not an issue with enterprise.

The suggestion to clone is what the OP needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
i would clone but i want a fresh start on the second hard drive as well
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kofman13 View Post

because technically its not "at the same time" because only one of them is plugged into the computer and running at a time.
It's not whether its "running" at the same time, its authenticated at the same time.

Microsoft does Keep records though. The nice lady you talk to to do phone authentication can tell you in 5 seconds what OSs you wave authenticated and how many of each.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kofman13 View Post

i would clone but i want a fresh start on the second hard drive as well
You can make a clone of anything. Clone a "virgin" install, clone an install with all updates, clone an install with updates and all you programs installed...whatever you need.

And a heads up about cloning. There are many free and many paid programs, all have their advantages and disadvantages. Whatever you use be sure and install the clone to be sure what you're doing works the way you need it to work.

Personally I've used Clonezilla and Partition Magic. Clonezilla is more versatile and Partition Magic is easier for making a basic clone.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ive used Macrium reflect it has worked so far.
 
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