Question Dual-Boot Installation - 2 copies of Windows

nickeh1

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I am setting up the dual windows on my laptop. The laptop has 2 drives (ssd 256gb and hdd 1tb).
I am wondering if someone can give some advice on how the dual-boot windows installation should be achieved.
The purpose of putting dual boot windows on this laptop is that we run a server at local events from time to time. We have noticed that if we use the laptop (one operating system) for both personal use and the server, the applications installed on Windows used for general use, interferes with the server.
To avoid this, we want to create a second installation of Windows which will have server data only and be used for this only (no personal use). The other copy of Windows (which already exists) will be used for general use.
I have some initial questions as listed below:
  • Would you agree the best way for us to do this would be dual-boot?

  • Can I dual boot 2 x Windows 10’s?
    or does it need to be Windows 10 and another version of Windows such as Windows 7?
    Windows 10 already exists on the laptop from factory.

  • The current Windows is installed on the SSD as it came factory loaded like this. I need the second installation of Windows (used for Server only) to also be installed on the SSD. This is because the server will need the power of the SSD to run efficiently. Would it be possible to split the SSD into 2 partitions? Could there be any complications around this?

  • If I split the SSD and have 2 partitions on the SSD each with a Windows copy,
    Will I be able to access the 1tb HDD drive (also in the laptop) from both Windows copies from within Windows?

  • Is dual-boot Windows difficult to achieve? How should I install the second copy?
Any advise would be really appreciated on how I can best achieve this.
Look forward to hearing from you.
 

USAFRet

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Since this system has 2 physical drives, the safer way forward by far is to have an install on each physical drive.

Why does the server need to also be on the SSD?
Given a 256GB SSD, you're going to run into space issues trying to split that in half, one for each OS.
Yes, Windows will run in a 120GB space. But it will need far more hands on maintenance to keep that space under control.


What will you use the Server install for?
Have you considered running that in a VM, rather than the native drive?
 

wpgwpg

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I am setting up the dual windows on my laptop. The laptop has 2 drives (ssd 256gb and hdd 1tb).
I am wondering if someone can give some advice on how the dual-boot windows installation should be achieved.
The purpose of putting dual boot windows on this laptop is that we run a server at local events from time to time. We have noticed that if we use the laptop (one operating system) for both personal use and the server, the applications installed on Windows used for general use, interferes with the server.
To avoid this, we want to create a second installation of Windows which will have server data only and be used for this only (no personal use). The other copy of Windows (which already exists) will be used for general use.
I have some initial questions as listed below:
  • Would you agree the best way for us to do this would be dual-boot?

  • Can I dual boot 2 x Windows 10’s?
    or does it need to be Windows 10 and another version of Windows such as Windows 7?
    Windows 10 already exists on the laptop from factory.

  • The current Windows is installed on the SSD as it came factory loaded like this. I need the second installation of Windows (used for Server only) to also be installed on the SSD. This is because the server will need the power of the SSD to run efficiently. Would it be possible to split the SSD into 2 partitions? Could there be any complications around this?

  • If I split the SSD and have 2 partitions on the SSD each with a Windows copy,
    Will I be able to access the 1tb HDD drive (also in the laptop) from both Windows copies from within Windows?

  • Is dual-boot Windows difficult to achieve? How should I install the second copy?
Any advise would be really appreciated on how I can best achieve this.
Look forward to hearing from you.
- Yes you can dual boot Windows 10. I do it all the time.
- Yes you can partition the SSD if it's 500 GB or more. As has been pointed out, partitioning a 240 GB SSD makes awfully small partitions.
- Yes both partitions should be able to access the HDD.
- When you install Windows on a 2nd partition, dual boot is automatic. You'll get a menu with a choice when you boot up.
 

USAFRet

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The way I'd probably do this:

Win 10 on the 250GB SSD.
Partition the HDD into 200 and 800GB.
The Server OS goes in the 200GB partition.

The 800GB partition would be usable by either OS.


Or, depending on actual use needs...the Server running a VM instance.
 

nickeh1

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Thanks for all your replies.

Server needs to be on SSD because it requires data to be processed quickly.

Regarding issues with the SSD space not being enough to split partitions for 2 windows installations, I've been told that we only require 30gb of space for the server data. Let's push that to 50gb to be on the safe side.

I've read online that Windows 10 64bit OS install requires about 20GB.

In my drive detail for the SSD it says
Capacity 227,570,348.032bytes (227gb).

If I split the SSD for a second partition as follows:
Partition 1 - 157GB - For personal use - Can use the HDD for additional storage once it runs out.
Partition 2 - 70GB - For server use only

I don't think VM is possible due to how we run the server. The server runs docker. Seems safer option to dual-boot Windows 10.


@USAFRet You said "Since this system has 2 physical drives, the safer way forward by far is to have an install on each physical drive. " Why would it be safer? Are there any complications in me doing the above?
This is the laptop: https://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Product.aspx?id=2RR84EA&opt=ABU&sel=NTB
Only I've upgraded the ram to 16gb.
 

USAFRet

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"Safer", because each physical drive would have its own boot partition. Can't interfere with the other, especially if any troubleshooting is needed.


The initial install of Win 10 needs 20GB free space.
That quickly grows, especially in an every day use PC.

My current C drive, WIn 10 Pro and just the applications, is ~200GB consumed in a 500GB drive. The largest single component in there is VisualStudio, taking up around 130GB.
All my actual data lives on other drives.

My wifes minimal use system (Win 10 Home(?) ) clocks in at around 60GB consumed space in a 250GB drive.


Your proposed split is doable, but a bit too tight for my use.
And a 256GB SSD really only leaves you 200GB to actually work with. Don't fill it up past that.

How to?
So...140GB for your existing Win 10 and 60GB for your Server.

Take a full drive image backup of your current 256GB drive, just in case things go weird during this process.
Squeeze the current C partition down to 150GB.
Install the Server in the remaining space.

It should work, and at boot time you should be presented with a menu to choose which OS to boot into.
 
I have done this on my travel laptop (a lenovo Y700).
The original install runs the windows 10 64 bit that came preloaded.
A copy of windows 10 32 bit runs on the second drive(a ssd) so that I can still run civilization 2.42, my all time favorite game. I installed this with the original m.2 drive disconnected.

The trick is in how to boot each.
When running windows 10 you need to be able to shut down so your next power on lets you enter f12 and select the boot device. An obscure(at least to me) trick is to hold down the shift key while powering down windows 10.
When you power on, F12(at least on my laptop you can select the boot device.
I suggest differing wallpapers so you can tell which version you are running.
By default, each windows sees the other drive. If this is a problem, you can change that.
 

nickeh1

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Ok, so it may be better to do the following:
partition 1: 150gb
partition 2: remaining 77gb

@USAFRet You mentioned windows 10 size can increase over time? Do you mean the actually space of windows 10 install? Could future windows updates increase the size of it drastically?

@geofelt I dont quite understand what you are saying I should do with booting. I'm not sure how this works. Will I need to set something special up in boot bios for this to work properly, after performing the second windows install on partition 2?


I read somewhere else: "Multi-booting with the same OS on both partitions is not a problem. However, Windows 8.x/10 come with Fast Startup turned on by default, and that can interfere with dual-booting and cause data corruption. Make sure you disable Fast Startup on both installations. "

Do you agree I should disable Fast Startup on both windows installs?
 
By default, windows wants to boot quickly.
It does so from the last device it booted from and quickly reads a file of the contents of the os part of ram.

To boot from a different device you need to break that default so you can enter bios and pick a boot device.

No, you need do nothing special installing either os. Just do not have the second device available during the process.
 

USAFRet

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Yes, the consumed space will grow over time.
Some applications put things on the C drive anyway, temp files, Win updates, etc, etc.

My wifes very minimal use system which is used for pretty much only facebook, email, Solitaire....the C drive is ~60GB consumed on a 250GB drive.

It may start at 20GB...that never lasts.


And yes, turn Fastboot OFF.
 

USAFRet

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Alternate path forward:

Replace the 1TB HDD with a 500GB or 1TB 2.5" SSD. Partition that in two (200GB and 800GB) and use the 200GB partition for the Server, and the 800GB for whatever.

This gives you SSD speed for the server, and 2 completely independent OS installs.
Select which one at boot time, by interrupting the boot process.
 

nickeh1

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@USAFRet your suggestion of replacing the 1TB HDD with another SSD may be the best route for this.
I actually have a spare 500gb SSD laying around.

How much space do I need for the drive for the server? All it is going to contain is a copy of Windows 10 + Server Data(30gb).

If I split the partition for the second SSD(newley installed), into 100GB and 400GB(whatever is remaining).

I can use the 100GB for the server. Can I later increase that partition and change them, so for example it is as follows -- 150gb and 350gb(whatever is remaining)?

Currently I have Windows installed on the 256gb SSD. If I choose to keep it that way, then install a second ssd of 512gb,
Can I use the 2nd partition of the 2nd SSD for installing things which will be accessed on the first SSD?

Will I still have problems in the future with installation and accessing files?

If I install 2 Windows on 2 separate drives, can I use fast boot or should it still be disabled?
 

USAFRet

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Yes. ~100GB for the server function, the rest for shared space.
And if you already have a 500GB SSD not being used...free fast space!.

You can manage the partition sizes later, but it's better to do it once, the right size, the first time.


For the Win 10 on the 250GB SSD...you want ALL your applications on it, except maybe games.
Those you put in the remaining space on the other SSD.
Of course, things like movie/pic s/docs...those can go anywhere, and be accessed by either OS.
 

nickeh1

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@USAFRet Would it be strange to have DRIVE1:256gb SSD and DRIVE2:500gb SSD?
I guess it really makes no difference.

I just think it would be better to have it the other way around.
This would mean I could have 500gb ssd for my general windows use.

and 256gb for server only... but its a lot of hassle to reinstall everything on my windows which is for general use which is already in use on the 256gb SSD...


So i'm thinking to do the following...

Keep my current 256gb SSD with windows as it is (however it's almost run out of space).
Install the 500gb SSD to replace the 1tb HDD.
Split the 500gb SSd into 2 partitions (100gb + 400gb)
100gb is for the server.
Extra 400gb can be used as additional storage for my windows which is for personal use.


Unless you can think of a simple way to get everything that is on my current 256gb SSD over to the 500gb?
I guess theres no simple way of doing that.



You said above youll want all your applications on the 256gb SSD... Does this mean I can't use the 400gb space from the second SSD to install applications to be used on the windows which is for personal use? Why would this be a problem?
 

USAFRet

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Migrate the Win 10 from the 256GB to the 500GB SSD?
Probably a lot easier than you think.
We can explore that option.

The reason I mentioned your Win 10 applications should also go on the 256GB drive, is that there is no real reason not to. Applications don't consume a lot of space.
Games, movies, music...those are the space suckers.
The entirety of a large application like the whole MS Office, with all the options checked....doesn't equal to 1/2 a movie.
 

nickeh1

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@USAFRet Thanks - Can I copy the entire contents of the 256GB SSD to the 500GB SSD?
What is the easiest way to achieve this?
Will this create any complications in terms of Windows key/validity, bios, any application registrations etc.?
 
I am a fan of the Samsung ssd migration app.
It is a C drive mover, which is different from a clone app.
The difference is that a clone is a bit for bit copy.

It will move windows from your 256gb drive to one of their ssd devices.
Going to 500gb will leave you a bunch of space for expansion.
You can download the app and user instructions here:
 

USAFRet

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@USAFRet Thanks - Can I copy the entire contents of the 256GB SSD to the 500GB SSD?
What is the easiest way to achieve this?
Will this create any complications in terms of Windows key/validity, bios, any application registrations etc.?
-----------------------------
Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
-----------------------------
Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
Power off
Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
Power up
Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive
Click the 'Clone' button
Wait until it is done
When it finishes, power off
Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD
This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
If good, continue the power up

It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

If it works, and it should, all is good.

Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe all partitions on it.
This will probably require the commandline diskpart function, and the clean command.

Ask questions if anything is unclear.
-----------------------------
 

nickeh1

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Hi @USAFRet @geofelt @wpgwpg

I am going to carry out the installation today.

I have decided to do the following.
  1. Remove the HDD and replace with the 500gb SSD.
  2. Clone the current 250gb SSD to the 500gb SSD.
  3. Format the 250gb SSD and install windows, ready for the server installation
My only concern is with the cloning as per your instructions above.
I plan on using the Macrium Reflect (if that is the best available option)? Can you confirm? I do not have samsung drives.

In the above steps you said:
"This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive"

I have just opened up the laptop and found that the current SSD in the laptop is an 'M2 SSD'.
This means I will not be able to swap sata cables (i think) because its a totally different slot than the standard 2.5" SSD.
Do I need to swap the SATA cables around?
Do I need to disconnect the M2 SSD after cloning to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the 2.5" SSD?


Also final quick question, I've seen on eBay you can buy Windows 10 keys which claim to be genuine. They're just 99p like the one in this link: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1min-delivery-Microsoft-Windows-10-Pro-Professional-32-64bit-Genuine-License-Key/401844360095?epid=6031187488&hash=item5d8fca539f:g:gpcAAOSwIUddUD3x
Can I trust this? I guess if I make a windows install to USB from Microsoft official website iso file then use this to activate it should be ok right?


A quick response would be really appreciated as I am carrying out the work on the laptop tonight.

Thanks, look forward to hearing from you.
 

nickeh1

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I successfully installed the new ssd and cloned the drive.

Now I have a problem where I don't know how to boot in the new cloned drive. I have gone to bios and changed the boot order as new cloned drive boot first but I just don't think it's booting. I don't know.. I can't tell which one is which as they are identical. Does anyone have any suggestions?
 

USAFRet

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I successfully installed the new ssd and cloned the drive.

Now I have a problem where I don't know how to boot in the new cloned drive. I have gone to bios and changed the boot order as new cloned drive boot first but I just don't think it's booting. I don't know.. I can't tell which one is which as they are identical. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Physically remove the old drive and see what happens.
 

nickeh1

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@USAFRet I have removed the old drive after cloning, and get the following page with only the cloned drive in the laptop.


I have tried re-ordering the boot order in bios so that the cloned drive boots first and i still get this same screen.
What should I do?

Please note, I cannot change sata cables as the old drive (removed) is an M2 SSD, and the new one is a 2.5" SSD.
 
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