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Windows 7/Installing Multiple Os in a computer.


QUESTION: Dear Scott‎‎

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: Good Morning

Yes of course you can.  Windows is fairly easy, the easiest way is to install the oldest operating system first, so if you installed win XP you would then need to install win7 on a new partition and when installing win7 will tell you about the win xp installation and ask you if you want a dual boot the be configured.

If you are planning to install an older OS after installing win8 or win7 things get a little more tricky, because the latest forms of windows use bootmanager and an oldy like win xp doesn't.  So you would need to install winxp on a new partition and then adjust the new windows config files for boot manager, there is a program that will do this for you called Easybcd which you can download for free.

There is another way to have multi boot and that is simply to have 2 hard drives, all you would have to do is to go into BIOS and change the default boot drive each time you want to change OS, these 2 OSs wouldn't now anything about each other so there would no need to change boot managers etc.

As for Linux and windows, I haven't tried it myself but yes you can dual boot, checkout this guide:



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

QUESTION: Dear Scott

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

Good morning

I'll try my best to answer your queries, firstly:

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

What you say is totally true, but think about this, if your hardrive with both OSs fails you will lose both OSs, with 2 drives you will have what we call "redundancy" where the 2nd drive could fail but it wouldn't affect your primary drive.

The thing with BIOS is it needs a primary drive which will have configs on it to point it in the direction of the OS, it doesn't have to have the actual OS on the primary drive, for example;


It sounds like there are going to be multiple users on this machine, in which case I personally would not want them to be messing about in the BIOS, because they could totally mess up the machine.

I would be inclined to use the link I gave earlier, which was:

This seems to be cheapest option if you want windows and Linux together, but like I have already explained installing different windows OSs is fairly easy, just install the oldest first.

In short it is up to you to make some decisions on how much you are prepared to spend and do you need redundancy?  You could also consider RAID arrays if you want to improve on speed and reliability and redundancy.     



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scott bartholomew


General trouble shooting Hardware issues Networking issues I am not a software developer,but I can do some basic scripting in DOS and BASH.


Worked in IT for over 10 years and currently provide software and hardware support for a very large network of computers, including servers.


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