Question Dual Booting Two Hard Drives Win 7 & Win 8

May 23, 2022
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Hi,

I'm new here, if I posted in the wrong spot, please redirect me.

I apologize in advance, I'm not very tech savvy either. I know just enough to be dangerous to myself.

What I'd like to do is be able to boot to the HD that was in my Dell Optiplex 780 Desktop, that was a Win 8/10 hybrid., that got struck by lightning as well as boot to this HD in this Dell Optiplex 745 Desktop which is running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

I currently have access to the Win 8/10 HD on this Dell 745 machine thru file explorer on Win 7.

The HD survived the hit, and it would boot up but I got an error message that it could not find a keyboard. I even got the 780 machine to go into repair mode, and it would have run if the machine would have recognized either a keyboard or a mouse. But it wouldn't, no matter which USB port I tried or which keyboard or mouse.

While reading thru the forum I found this post here: https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/dual-booting-windows-7-and-8-on-separate-hard-drives.1314086/post-9912790
that seems to be close to what I am wanting to do.

Will that work for my situation (only in reverse) as this machine has the Win 7 64-bit OS and I want to add the other HD in a dual-boot scenario that already has the Win 8/10 32-Bit OS. installed.

I did go into the BIOS on this machine thinking I should be able to simply change the boot order, but although it sees the 2nd HD it does not allow me to add it to the boot sequence. If I said that right.

Thanks much in advance for any help.
 

dwd999

Honorable
Hi,

I'm new here, if I posted in the wrong spot, please redirect me.

I apologize in advance, I'm not very tech savvy either. I know just enough to be dangerous to myself.

What I'd like to do is be able to boot to the HD that was in my Dell Optiplex 780 Desktop, that was a Win 8/10 hybrid., that got struck by lightning as well as boot to this HD in this Dell Optiplex 745 Desktop which is running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

I currently have access to the Win 8/10 HD on this Dell 745 machine thru file explorer on Win 7.

The HD survived the hit, and it would boot up but I got an error message that it could not find a keyboard. I even got the 780 machine to go into repair mode, and it would have run if the machine would have recognized either a keyboard or a mouse. But it wouldn't, no matter which USB port I tried or which keyboard or mouse.

While reading thru the forum I found this post here: https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/dual-booting-windows-7-and-8-on-separate-hard-drives.1314086/post-9912790
that seems to be close to what I am wanting to do.

Will that work for my situation (only in reverse) as this machine has the Win 7 64-bit OS and I want to add the other HD in a dual-boot scenario that already has the Win 8/10 32-Bit OS. installed.

I did go into the BIOS on this machine thinking I should be able to simply change the boot order, but although it sees the 2nd HD it does not allow me to add it to the boot sequence. If I said that right.

Thanks much in advance for any help.
If you can not add the 780 drive to the boot sequence that means that the 745 computer does not recognize it as having a bootable operating system; probably because that part of the disk or the data contained there was damaged by the lightening strike. So you most likely will not be able to do what you want. Best case scenario you rescue any essential data from the 780 disk and then try reinstalling windows 8/10 on that disk if the boot area is not too damaged. Note the the windows installer works best when only one disk is connected at installation time so you would have to temporarily disconnect the 745 disk until installation is complete. Then you should be able to reconnect the 745 disk and have the dual boot that you want.
 
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USAFRet

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What I'd like to do is be able to boot to the HD that was in my Dell Optiplex 780 Desktop, that was a Win 8/10 hybrid., that got struck by lightning as well as boot to this HD in this Dell Optiplex 745 Desktop which is running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
Moving a drive+OS between systems, even 2x Dell systems, often fails.
Here, it seems that is the case.
 
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May 23, 2022
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If you can not add the 780 drive to the boot sequence that means that the 745 computer does not recognize it as having a bootable operating system; probably because that part of the disk or the data contained there was damaged by the lightening strike. So you most likely will not be able to do what you want. Best case scenario you rescue any essential data from the 780 disk and then try reinstalling windows 8/10 on that disk if the boot area is not too damaged. Note the the windows installer works best when only one disk is connected at installation time so you would have to temporarily disconnect the 745 disk until installation is complete. Then you should be able to reconnect the 745 disk and have the dual boot that you want.
Hi, thanks for your reply.

So if I were to disconnect the Win 7 original HD from the 745 and connect the 780 HD, I wonder if it would come up with that same keyboard error on boot up as it did in the 780 machine. Because it did boot to the signin screen at windows but the system (hardware or software?) wouldn't recognize a keyboard or mouse. That would then be more definitive that the HD OS got zapped and that maybe the hardware in the 780 might be OK. Probably won't be, but I was thinking it would be nice to see if the keyboard error was from the HD - OS or the hardware in the 780.

If I tried the above, would it possibly mess something up so that reconnecting the Win 7 HD could be affected?

Thanks again.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: dwd999

dwd999

Honorable
Hi, thanks for your reply.

So if I were to disconnect the Win 7 original HD from the 745 and connect the 780 HD, I wonder if it would come up with that same keyboard error on boot up as it did in the 780 machine. Because it did boot to the signin screen at windows but the system (hardware or software?) wouldn't recognize a keyboard or mouse. That would then be more definitive that the HD OS got zapped and that maybe the hardware in the 780 might be OK. Probably won't be, but I was thinking it would be nice to see if the keyboard error was from the HD - OS or the hardware in the 780.

If I tried the above, would it possibly mess something up so that reconnecting the Win 7 HD could be affected?

Thanks again.
Generally when I want to check for a hardware vs. software error I boot the computer from a usb containing a linux live distro (e.g. LinuxMint Mate or Ubuntu Mate 21.10). But since these are Dell computers there's no way to know what will happen until you try it.
 
Reactions: NotSunkYet
May 23, 2022
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Generally when I want to check for a hardware vs. software error I boot the computer from a usb containing a linux live distro (e.g. LinuxMint Mate or Ubuntu Mate 21.10). But since these are Dell computers there's no way to know what will happen until you try it.
Thanks again. I did try to boot the 780 with a Linux USB and got the same error, no keyboard.

However, my question was about the 745 machine, not the hit 780 machine. It is the Win 7 machine.

So it is possible to damage something on the 745 machine if I try to disconnect the Win 7 HD and then connect the 780 HD with OS from the 780?

Thanks agiain.
 

dwd999

Honorable
Thanks again. I did try to boot the 780 with a Linux USB and got the same error, no keyboard.

However, my question was about the 745 machine, not the hit 780 machine. It is the Win 7 machine.

So it is possible to damage something on the 745 machine if I try to disconnect the Win 7 HD and then connect the 780 HD with OS from the 780?

Thanks agiain.
I don't think that the 780 hdd can damage the 745 since the linux fail on the 780 makes it pretty clear that its a hardware only fail by the 780. There shouldn't be any software on the 780 hdd capable of burning out the 745, its not like its holding a charge that would affect the 745. Worst case scenario after it boots you open the Device Manager and see if there are any missing device drivers.
 
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