View Full Version : Dual boot of Windows 7 and Windows server 2008 R2

08-02-2011, 03:47 PM
I have a set of hardware that are suited for running 64 bits and I would like to run Windows 7 and Windows server 2008 R2.

From all I can find on the web almost all posts on dual boot are using VHD on the same hard drive. All posts seem to praise this new way for dual boot and no one seemed to have mentioned any drawbacks, if any, on this configuration. I have 4 hard drives on the machine and can use separate hard drive for each OS. I haven't found out a confirmed way to set the dual boot in non-VHD way. And I am not fully aware all the pros and cons of using VHD for the dual boot. I assume I can use two separate hard drives for VHD. Before I changed my machine I want to know this much better. Anyone had suimilar expereince of best post please point it for me. Thanks.

p.s. My current configuration is dual boot of Windows XP pro and Windows Server 2003 on two drives. Yes, it did need a little extra configuration to be able to boot both at choice and microsoft has specific instruction on that.

08-02-2011, 05:38 PM
Another thought is if I can from one OS access a file that was created and resides in another OS and vice versa suppose I have administrator account or have been given the access right. I asusme I can just as I am with the traditional dual boot of Win2003Server/XP

08-02-2011, 06:45 PM
It really depends in many ways how good your hardware is as to how well it will perform with a virtual environment. Personally, I'd go with the dual boot on two separate hard drives. Here's how...

Install and configure Win 7 on Disk 1
Boot from the 2008 R2 installation disk and install the server on Disk 2.
A dual-boot option screen will be created, allowing you to choose which OS you want at bootstrap.

08-04-2011, 11:57 AM
That's my preferred way to install them. Two things I am not so sure now.

1. After installation, if both can be started without any issue. After I installed XP and 2003 there was booting problem (can't start 2003 server) and I could search and find solution at microsoft. If 7/2008 has issue all I can find now is dual boot on VHD on same drive.

2. if the traditionl way on two drives is better or worse than VHD way. But this issue does not matter much as long as I can run both OS.

08-05-2011, 10:35 AM

Win 7 & Server 2008 lend themselves readily to dual-booting, whereas XP is just a tiny bit of a fiddle. For example, I have a test machine at work which dual-boots XP and Win 7. XP gets installed first and then Win 7, and the latter takes care of the boot menu. If you install it the other way around, that's when it gets fiddly.

How well VHD performs depends on how much resources you can assign to it when you're running two OS's concurrently. What's the hardware spec for the machine you're intending for the job?

In all honesty, I would still go for the 2 x HDD option, since I think you'll find this easiest to work with in the long run.

08-05-2011, 11:52 AM
Just throwing this out there-- another route you could take is to virtualize one of the operating systems using VMware or VirtualBox. Just a thought.

08-05-2011, 02:57 PM

That's a decent idea; however, it'll all depend upon the hardware as to how well it'll perform. We've got 5 virtual servers running under VMWare, but we had to ensure the physical hardware is top-notch. Furthermore, setting up VMWare can be a bit daunting for someone who's never touched that before.

Virtualbox is another decent suggestion, although we go back to the same question regarding the specs of the PC, and that's why I was hoping 4thpc would be able to enlighten us in that respect.

Paul Komski
08-05-2011, 11:34 PM
Using two hard drives should be a no brainer on most hardware as long as the drivers are available for both OSes. To avoid conflicts just have one hard drive attached at installation time.

You can either change the BIOS boot order manually or on many machines there is usually (an often unpublished hotkey) a way of getting a one-off boot menu at start-up.

There are a number of 3rd Party Boot Managers such as Smart Boot Manager (http://www.paulski.com/zpages.php?id=1612) or BootIt Bare Metal (http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-bare-metal.htm) (formerly BootIt NG) that can be used to give you a boot menu at start-up and the native Win7 BCD should be capable of being edited to allow a dual boot. Geekish if you learn how to use the command line in Win7 (http://www.vistaclues.com/how-to-edit-the-bcd-registry-file/) or easy with EasyBCD (http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1).

08-15-2011, 12:43 PM
OK, I finished the dual boot installed. My PC has core 2 duo 2.13 CPU, 4 GB DRR2 memory and evga 680i board, not update-to-date but still suitable for 64 bits. My old XP pro occasionaly gave my blue screen and I never got rid of it. Hopefully it won't happen in windows 7.

I used my preferred way to install and it's the also the one that LochLomonder recommended. It worked with a little glitch after install. Actually this is the only way to complete it given the fact that I had XP and 2003 on my old 2 drives. Because it does not allow me to use the DVD to install with windows opening at all. WHen I tried to boot from 2008 R2 DVD it told me to stop install and instead open 2003 to use DVD install. Winthin 2003 the install can't proceed because it's 32 bits. Another little hassle is when I installed the 2008 R2 I had to guess which disk is my target because my two disks are of the same size. From the 2008 R2 install screen it's not obvious which disk has the Windows 7. So I guess Disk 0 has windows 7 and disk 1 is my target for 2008 R2. I was right and it did not give my trouble.

Installed Win 7 64 bits first, Cutomer (fresh) install. Then added disk 2 and custom install Win server 08 R2 on it. After install 2008 R2 I saw windows boot manager take care of dual boot. However, when I started windows it was stuck. I had to boot from Hard drive and could not boot from 2008 R2 disk. I could boot Win 7 from hard disk. Set the default to windows 7 and shut down. Waited 2 minutes and restarted again. From this point I could choose either 7 or 2008 R2 and started at my choice. Now the only problem remaining is both 7 and 2008 R2 could not recognize ethernet adaptor and I could not use internet. I searched on another PC and found that ethernet adaptor "disappeared" in many people's PC after they installed Windows 7, both 32 bits and 64 bits. I updated to the latest BIOS/Driver dowload from motherboard manufactur and it did not solve the issue. Just found out at evga support tickets they suggest me to reset the jumper on the board. It probably will solve the issue.

p.s. issues prior to the success install
I had gone through some pain and wasted much more time on this than the real time needed to install the dual boot. Basically the "NTLDR is missing" and "Error loading OS" messages while booting from CDROM. I searched and found these issues were so widespread and many many issues could cause these messages and prevent the installation of windows 7. I had to try each possible cause and eventually found out that the disk I used was not burned into image disk directly from the iso file from microsoft.

Another thing is, if dual boot or multi boot can't be installed successfully, simply install each OS on a separate hard disk. Install those disks and boot from hard disk when the BIOS shows up if you can remember which OS is on which disk. It's awkward but it works with just a couple of more steps and takes a few more seconds at start up.

Thank you for your inputs. And I hope my experience may help others in similar cases.