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Windows 7/Installing Multiple Os in a computer.


QUESTION: Dear PowerEdge Tech‎‎

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

For example : Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Yes, this is possible, but there are several things to keep in mind:

- Each operating system should reside in its own partition.
- Many systems' default configuration will allow for only 4 partitions, and may the system may already be using 3-4 for its factory configuration, so deleting everything on the disk and starting from scratch may be necessary.
- Windows and Linux use different boot managers, so you need to decide how you will boot to each OS.
- It is much simpler to start from scratch, installing Windows first, then Linux, as GRUB can detect and boot to an existing Windows installation.
- "Shared" storage cannot be NTFS (because Linux cannot write to it) and cannot be EXT_ (because Windows cannot use it) ... it must be FAT32 for both OS's to read/write on it.

To give you more detailed instructions, answer the following questions:

- Which OS's are you hoping to install?
- Which system are you hoping to dual-boot on?
- Are you starting from scratch or hoping to install a second OS?
- If you aren't starting from scratch, tell me about your configuration - which OS is already installed, which partitions you have on your disk, etc.

Feel free to contact me for more details.

Good luck!

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

QUESTION: Dear PowerEdge Tech

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

It depends on what you mean by "install" dual os .. in single pen/flash drive .

If you want to actually INSTALL to and run the OS's from a flash drive, then this will not work.  Windows will not allow itself to be installed to a flash drive. Linux can be installed to and run from a flash drive, but it is against Windows licensing to run it as a "live" OS from removable media - independent of any actual computer.

Now, if you just mean you want to create a flash drive FROM WHICH you can install EITHER Linux or Windows, then my answer is "I don't know" and/or "probably".  You would probably need to have some advanced understanding of how Linux operates in order to tell it to load the Windows files instead of the Linux files.  There may be a way to do this, but I've never done it and lack the Linux skills to investigate.  I would suggest asking the question in a Linux forum for the Linux gurus :)

Good luck!

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I can answer nearly all questions about Windows 7 - installation, upgrade, virtualization (XP Mode and beyond), configuration, how to get the most out of it, how to buy it, etc. I won't pretend to know it all - nobody can - if I don't know, I will try and find the answer. If I can't find it, I'll tell you.


I worked as an analyst in Dell server support for 2 years, and have since worked with many Dell PowerEdge servers. I am currently employed as IT Manager. I have been using Windows 7 since the early Beta days.

I have a BS in Computer Science and have earned the following certifications: CompTIA Security+, A+, Project+; CIW Web Design, Database Specialist; Microsoft Windows 7; Dell DCSE Server. I am also an expert in Windows 7, Servers, and Hard Drives (I don't normally do XP - not because I don't know it inside and out, but because I have "retired" personal support for XP, and I want to see it die :)).

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