Windows 10: Dual or Triple Boot XP/7/10 recommendations

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  1.    12 Jan 2018 #1

    Dual or Triple Boot XP/7/10 recommendations

    My current configuration is:

    Disc 0 - ntfs - 2TB XP
    Disc 1 - ntfs - 2TB Win 7
    Disc 2 - ntfs - 2TB Data (Music)
    Disc 3 - ntfs - 2TB Data (Music)
    Disc 4 - ntfs - 2TB Data (Movies1)
    Disc 5 - ntfs - 2TB Data (TV1)
    Disc 6 - ntfs - 2TB Data (TV2)
    Disc 7 - ntfs - 2TB Data (Movies2)

    YES, I have 8 x 2TB Sata HardDrives (total 16TB)

    4 (0-3) are connected to the MB
    4 (4-7) are connected to an add-in PCI card

    1) Can I upgrade the Win7 to Win10? Or will it "break" my dual-boot?
    2) OR would it be better to do a triple-boot?

    Right now there is data on disc2, but I could probably move the data and install Win10 to that drive if it's better that way.

    Is there any advantage/disadvantage to either way?

    I don't have a Win10 install disc, but I should be able to install Win7 to Disc2 and then upgrade it to Win10.

    Is there a cheap easy way to accomplish all this?
    If the multi-boot goes wrong, is there a way to fix it without erasing all my data on those first 3 discs?

    I have a Multi-boot setup because of legacy hardware and software that are not forward compatible.

    I considered adding 4 x 2TB (8TB) more, but there just isn't any more room inside my tower
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    13 Jan 2018 #2

    The best way would be to install each system on it's own disk while all others are disconnected. No mix-ups that way. After reconnecting them in your particular order, pick one which will be your main BOOT disk (usually the fastest) and make BOOT menu on it with which you can choose the OS you want to use. I use EasyBCD program EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies to do that.
    Data disks should not be affected. To keep same order of disks, disconnect just the power from them.
    I'm using 3 disks for OSs, one each (SSDs) for W10 (on Samsung 060 M.2 because it's fastest and main BOOT disk, W7 on one SSD and Linux Mint on another. For normal storage there are two, 2TB HDDs and a space in removable bay for other HDDs I use for backups.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    13 Jan 2018 #3

    Hi there

    I don't want to disagree with our "venerable" colleague here - @CountMike - but a FAR better way IMO is to run all these OS'es as Virtual machines so you don't have to re-boot every time you need to use a different OS.

    You can still assign entire "physical HDD's" to the Virtual Machines - so only the OS for each VM needs to be installed on a Virtual Disk and the physical HDD's used as data disks can be restricted to the relevant OS and isolated / hidden from the other OS'es if required.

    Files and folders can be run shared easily enough.

    It's not as hard or complex as it might seem to use Virtual Machines --software has improved hugely and the performance of VM's now can be almost as good as Native -- .

    It might seem a bit daunting in the beginning but it's surprisingly easy once you start. As a precaution don't assign any data disks until you are happy with the idea of VM's.

    If you really are up to the challenge - I'd almost suggest running a small Linux Host - running all your Windows machines as Guests. The reason is that networking is a synch --use SAMBA - built in to share between the machines and by using software RAID - built in - mdadm) you aren't restricted to the physical size of your HDD's for file sizes --simply add another HDD to the array if one HDD gets full. HDD's can be different sizes too and are far superior to Windows Storage Spaces.

    Easy to set up too -- here's simple command to get 2 X 3 TB HDD's into a 6TB RAID 0 array --really speeds up I/O -I've enough backup so RAID 0 worth it in this case.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    RAID is a bit more complex but well worth looking at.

    Nothing wrong in running multiple OS'es these days but triple booting just seems a bit of a bother and so last century !!!.

    VBOX, VMWARE (player) are freebies for VM software and also work with Linux hosts too. HYPER-V is a bit more convoluted --you need a Windows PRO or above host and it doesn't play too nicely with multi-media (Kari on these forums is the guru on HYPER-V if you need help on setting up VM's on that system).

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    13 Jan 2018 #4

    VMs are great for some uses but also can be restricting, specially when it comes to direct HW access. Games are particularly difficult to run on OS in a VM.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5.    13 Jan 2018 #5

    Hi there

    agree -- depends what you need to do - for multimedia streaming etc VM's work fine -- you could have your GAMES machine as the HOST and run the VM's from that - Windows is also good for hosting VM's --I mentioned Linux as the RAID system is so much better than Windows and I'm not a games fan -- Spider Solitaire if I'm bored at a meeting or waiting for a download is about my lot !!!

    I tend to stream multi-media to TV / audio devices so I don't play much multimedia on the desktop - although things like VLC work perfectly on VM's too and zero prob with local audio. For radio you can use things like tunein or cantata etc. NETFLIX is easily streamed to remote TV etc or there's things like PLEX / KODI etc.

    IMO anything is better than continually re-booting machines to get into a different OS.

    The only time I re-boot my main Linux server is if hardware gets broken / needs replacing or (rarely) a kernel update. Very rarely do Linux updates need a re-boot of the system -- WINDOWS PLEASE NOTE !!!. My current main server has been up for over 6 months without re-boot now and it hosts 4 X Windows VM's including XP, W7 and 2 X W10 all running concurrently..

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    13 Jan 2018 #6

    I'm using VMware Player (the free kind) for several Linux distros each one doing specific job and also for trying out different Linux distros but have never set up file sharing and use USB stick for that although very rarely.
    I also found that it's just as fast to switch between OSs on separate disks, less than a minute on my main system. Once upon a time I had program installed in each Windows that could choose which OS to reboot to but sadly lost it and can't find it any more. That was at the time when I run XP and W7 in dual BOOT.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  7.    13 Jan 2018 #7

    Hi there @blcksmth

    On a server I've got 2 RAID 0 arrays consisting of 2 X 6 TB and 2 X 5 TB HDD's which system uses as 1 X 11 TB and 1 X 10 TB Data drives. Have enough backup so RAID 0 is fine -- really fast I/O -- connected to SATA 6Gb/s ports and these HDD's have been running 24/7 for months now - no probs. I've left a little for "superblocks" but you don't have to allow free space if you want to use 100% of the HDD space.

    OS runs on a 250GB SSD which I also store temporary data in /home. OS only uses a tiny bit of the space. I'm also running another test Windows 10 VM loaded up from the SSD - mega fast. !! even as a VM.

    HOST OS is Linux CENTOS 7 -- not the latest most cutting edge but absolutely solid and stable - is the FREE version of Red Hat enterprise - supported by Red Hat - and has long term support --on a server I want the thing to run without any problems -- for cutting edge stuff I can run VM's or even use a spare machine if I need hardware access.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    When you have a load of HDD's like you do I'd compound them a bit to manage all that data in a reasonable manner. !!!


    another advantage of VM's is that you can be away from your machine (i.e remote) and logon to whatever OS you want - and switch between them easily too.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8. Ztruker's Avatar
    Posts : 6,414
    Windows 10 Pro X64 17134.191
       13 Jan 2018 #8

    Lets see a screen shot of Disk Management first:

    See this tutorial: Disk Management - How to Post a Screenshot of
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  9.    13 Jan 2018 #9

    Hi there

    For me or you !!


    I'll have to post an image of a Windows HOST where it will show 3 HDD's as uninitialized, I'll then show the entries in the VMX file and show the Linux VM I'm running with 3 X Raw (physical HDD's) --different config from above but still with 1 4TB HDD as native and 2 X 3 TB HDD's as a single RAID 0 array.

    The previous shots were of my main NAS server -- I've got a test one running WINDOWS 10 as the HOST and then will show the test NAS as a VM.

    Will do that later -- now having my dinner !!!

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10. Ztruker's Avatar
    Posts : 6,414
    Windows 10 Pro X64 17134.191
       13 Jan 2018 #10

    jimbo, I was asking for @blcksmth to post a Disk Management screen shot, sorry. Should have been more specific.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

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