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Electrical Engineering/Installing Multiple Operating Systems in a Computer.


QUESTION: Dear Prof Cleggsan

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

For example : Microsoft Windows and Linux.

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.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Yes. They do it all the time.  I don't know the total complications for various systems and how to make the switchover but I think it is a little more complicated than you have outlined.

And you can find other ways and solutions on google.

Have a wonderful day.

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

QUESTION: Dear Prof Cleggsan

Thank you.

Similar to a single hard drive with dual os windows and linux installations possible, is it also possible to install dual os windows and linux installations in a single Pen Drive i.e. USB Flash Drive ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

The computer bios must be reprogrammed to recognise the USB device first; then when booting up it will look to the flash for the OS.  I think you can load two different OS on one flash, but flashes are cheap now days so you would be better off using two (or more) flash drives each with an OS.

The boot time is slow because it must essentially load the operating system into memory of the pc system.  That process takes a few minutes; maybe 10 to 20 minutes.

It is probably not a practical solution because of its awkwardness.  If you could convince a manufacturer to program a computer with a fully prepared bios and high transfer rate it could become more effective.

If you wanted to the OS to reside on the USB flash and operate out of that it would require complete redesign of the PC architecture. The final solution would be a slow pc because shuttling data back and forth from the pc to the flash would be slow.

A better solution are the new all in one chip computers that have everything but display and keyboard/mouse on one chip nearly like a thumb drive.

You can google, if you haven't already done so, and find lots of comments about using the flash or thumb drive for OS operations.


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