Dual boot

  jerica 12:00 09 Jan 2011

OK, I've got two hard drives, I have XP on drive C. Under advice from the local computer shop I disconnected C and installed Win7 on the other drive(D)and it works perfectly except that it says it's C. I reconnected the original C drive and it only give me the choice to start XP not 7. When I start XP I look in computer and there are two drives and everything seems to work but how do I get it to start in 7 without disconnecting one of the drives everytime? Help please. Thanks.

  northumbria61 12:41 09 Jan 2011

When you disconnect one of two drives the remaining one connected defaults to "C"

You need to change to "boot" order in the BIOS - instructions here click here

  northumbria61 12:43 09 Jan 2011

For the record, the most common keys to enter the BIOS are: F2 and Delete (Del) but there is also F1, Escape (Esc) and other... - pressed as your computer is starting up. Mine uses the DELETE key

  jerica 13:19 09 Jan 2011

OK got into boot sequence but the second drive does not come up as an option. It shows two hard drives but will only let me use one to boot. When I looked at the two drives one shows SM and the other shows PM is this part of the problem or would it be easier to just leave the drives connected and try a reinstall of 7?

  northumbria61 21:27 09 Jan 2011

Windows will recognize two (or more) OS's on different hard drives provided the oldest operating system is installed first.

It will automatically provide you with dual-boot options if and only if you have all hard drives containing other operating systems connected AT THE SAME TIME of the newest operating system's installation. Otherwise you must set it up manually, preferably using something like EasyBCD.

This was done on a friends computer -
It came pre-loaded with Vista but we wanted XP so we bought a 2nd hard drive, unplugged the Vista HDD and installed XP on the new HDD.

As far as each install of the OS is concerned it was installed on C:. When we plugged the Vista HDD back in the computer still boots to XP by default but if we want Vista we press the F12key (or whatever the boot menu is for your bios) and choose the 2nd HDD.

Make sure to hide the other OS's HDD from each install under "Computer Management" so the OS or you can't inadvertently affect the other OS. This worked fantastic for our uses since we want XP 99% of the time and if we need vista it's a press of a button on boot.

  jerica 08:40 10 Jan 2011

What happens is that when I boot up I only get XP as an option, I tried to install EASY BCD but it refuses to work. If I go into bios and try to change the boot order the drive with 7 on it does not appear so I don't get the chance to use it as an option. If I unplug the XP drive it boots straight into 7 and I've got BCD installed on that but there is no XP drive for it to find.

  BRYNIT 08:59 10 Jan 2011

What you should have done to get duel boot was to leave both drives connected and select the empty drive for Win7 it would have then given you the duel boot menu to choose between XP and Win7.

This may help click here

Or click here

  jerica 10:10 10 Jan 2011

If I hit F8 on startup I get the chance to pick the drive and manage to start 7, if I let it run it doesn't give me a choice but starts XP. If I start 7 and start BCD it tells me I've got 7 and XP both on drive C, but if I look in my computer it tells me 7 is on drive C but the files for XP are on drive F. What is going on and can I fix it.

  northumbria61 11:03 10 Jan 2011

As per what I said above -

"It will automatically provide you with dual-boot options if and only if you have all hard drives containing other operating systems connected AT THE SAME TIME of the NEWEST (ie. Windows 7) Operating System's INSTALLATION. Otherwise you must set it up manually, preferably using something like EasyBCD." You didn't do that - you installed Windows 7 on your 2nd drive with your 1st drive containing XP disconnected - that is why you are not being given the duel boot menu.

BRYNIT has given you LINKS which should put you on the right track.

  jerica 12:39 10 Jan 2011

I'm not that good with computers. First link from BRYNIT I didn't understand and the second link didn't work, when I tried to repair from the 7 disc it just put me straight into XP again. BCD says that XP and 7 are on the same drive, is there any way of getting BCD to load onto XP?

  GaT7 13:08 10 Jan 2011

I've tried EasyBCD from XP & most times it doesn't work as it's trying to edit Win7's boot file, which should really be edited from within Win7 only.

If you can boot into Win7 only (remove XP drive for now), you can then run EasyBCD from there. I'll tell you what the settings should be. Once done, you can reconnect the XP drive & set the Win7 drive as the first boot drive in the BIOS. We can then change the default boot order later if required.

But please note that in such a dual-boot setup Win7 will usually/always instate itself as the C drive & the other OS gets relegated to D.


Some related info...

One thing you should have done at the beginning (& you may have to do if we can't sort this problem) was to install Win7 with the XP drive connected - i.e. NOT disconnected it as you've been advised to do.

This ensures Win7 'sees' the XP installation & automatically creates a boot manager with XP & Win7 displayed soon after the initial POST screen with a 30 sec timeout to choose the one you want to boot into at the time.

Win7 will usually display first & boot into this by default (no intervention), but you can always change which OS boots automatically using EasyBCD. You can also reduce the 30 sec timeout if desired. G

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