Components for Building Computers From Scratch/Installing Multiple Os in a computer.


QUESTION: Dear Big Wes

Is it possible to install multiple Operating Systems in a single machine viz Server, Workstation, Laptop, Mobile Devices ?.

For example : Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: There are several answers to that question.  If you desire to run two versions of Windows, it is better to run them in a different disk partition.  If you are running Linux (for example) and Windows, you can run a virtual machine.  This is really outside my area of expertise, but if you do a search for "dual operating system", you should be able to get much better answers.

Have a GREAT day.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Big Wes

Thank you.

Will this approaches also work ?.

1. BIOS program option to load Windows 7 or Linux on boot up with Two Hard drives installed in the machine. Hard Drive 1 has Windows 7 installed, Hard Drive 2 has Linux Os Installed instead of installing two Os in a single Hard Drive.

In the Bios Setup program indicating Hard Disk 1 or Hard Disk 2 as Os Booting Drive. If User selects Hard Disk 1, System will boot Windows 7.0, If User selects Hard Disk 2, System will boot Linux.

Here there will be additional cost of a Hard Drive installation in the computer.

2. If the above approach do not work because of technical reasons, Can we have multiple BIOS chips in the machine ?.

Choice given to user for loading BIOS 1 or BIOS 2 using two different function Keys, for example F10 or F11.

Pressing F10 will give the BIOS setup for Loading Windows 7 OS.
Pressing F11 will give the BIOS setup for Loading Linux OS.

IF BIOS 1 is selected during startup, Windows 7 OS will boot, IF BIOS 2 is selected during startup, Linux OS will boot.

In Both the cases, there will be two hard drives in the machine.

Can there be any advantages or useful of having more than one BIOS Chip in the machine viz Laptop, Server, Workstation, Mobile devices etc in any scenarios ?.

Can this be used as a Backup ROM Chip in case the primary BIOS Chip
fails ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar


I don't think you'll need to make changes to the BIOS.  If you have two possible boot devices, the BIOS already recognizes that you have two possible boot options.  

Further, if you have two partitions on the same physical drive, you should be able to load both O/S.  

Even further, you CAN install both O/S on a single drive, it's just not recommended.  You'll only encounter problems if both of your O/S load into the same directory/sub-directory, and they have the same file name.

If you have a lab where you can do it, just have a large drive and make two partitions on it, then install the Windows O/S on one partition and the LINUX O/S on the other.  Then boot the machine.  You will PROBABLY need to select one of the partitions as the default (I'm not sure), but the boot will pause for you to select which O/S.

If you really want to test it, you can probably just put an O/S install disk into the optical drive and reboot your machine.  If the O/S is working on the main (C:) drive, it should prompt you as to which device or O/S to boot from.  Make sure you don't accidentally reinstall the O/S that is in the optical drive.

Good luck, and let me know if it works for you.

Big Wes

Components for Building Computers From Scratch

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Big Wes


I can help diagnose most PC hardware issues. I have built the last eight computers that my family has used, and I am always going for having the biggest, fastest, coolest computer "on the block". I research EVERYTHING before I try it, and usually can find a compromise between price and performance. If you are building your own box, updating it, or fixing it, I can help. I draw the line at networking and software issues.


Spent over twenty years in the military, seventeen of them as a computer operator with a background in building and maintaining an entire military base's stock of PC (DOS/Windows) hardware, including all peripherals. After retiring from the military I went to work for a major university that had a contract for computer maintainence with a government agency. I am a retired/disabled veteran and no longer able to work outside the home.


Not much more than a few published "Letters to the Editor" of different magazines. I've also authored a novel titled, "A Bad Feeling" that you can get on the Amazon Kindle.

Associate's in Information Systems, Bachelor's in Computer Science (BCompSc). Unrelated to computer science, I also hold a a BA in History and a Master's in Political Science. What can I say? I was single throughout most of my military career and enjoyed taking courses for the low cost while serving on Active Duty.

Past/Present Clients
US Air Force, US Department of Agriculture

©2017 All rights reserved.