How to install two Windows OS's in same PC?

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  1. Posts : 162
    Windows 10x64 Pro

    How to install two Windows OS's in same PC?

    Hi, I currently have a Dell notebook with two physical SSD's inside of 1tb each as shown in the attached screenshot. I currently have Windows 10 installed in the C drive (physical SSD 1). I would like to install Windows 11 in the D drive (physical drive 2) and upon booting to be given the choice of which OS to use. Is this possible? and if so, how? Thanks
    How to install two Windows OS's in same PC?-fe.jpg
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  2. Paul Black's Avatar
    Posts : 15,305
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install

    Hello @antares,

    I do NOT know if this will be of any use to you, but the principle should be the same . . .

     Dual-Boot Win 10 with Win 10

    This best and most straight forward method is explained in detail here by NavyLCDR . . .

    > Dual-Boot Win 10 With Win 10

    If you want to return to Single-Boot, then this Tutorial may be useful . . .

    > How to Remove and Uninstall Windows 7, 8, or 10 from Dual Boot PC.

    I hope this helps.
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  3. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 16,771
    Windows 11 Pro

    Just follow the clean install procedure:
    Clean Install Windows 10

    When you get to this screen:
    How to install two Windows OS's in same PC?-uefi.png

    You are going to see two drives. Make sure that you only delete the partitions on the drive that you want to install Windows to. Do not do anything with the other drive. After you delete all the partitions on the drive you want to install Windows to, highlight the unallocated space and click next to continue the install.

    When you are done, you probably won't get a dual boot menu. Use your bios to select the main Windows 10 you want to be default and boot into it. Your second Windows 10 install will get a drive letter, let's say it gets E:. In a Command Prompt with Admin privileges, run:

    bcdboot E:\Windows /d /addlast
    Come back and let us know how it is going and we can tell you how to tweak your boot menu.
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  4. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 11,055
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux

    Hi there
    Install on "Physical vhdx" files -- you then only need on the main disk 1 UEFI partition, one MSR partition and then as many vhdx files as you can fit on your drive for the windows systems . Note these VHDX files are just files and no partitioning is required i.e no extra UEFI partition etc.

    Use dism /apply-image to create the windows system and update the boot manager via bcdboot command .

    At boot you will get a menu offering you the available systems to boot (Including non Windows systems too -- e.g GRUB for a Linux system.

    How to install two Windows OS's in same PC?-screenshot_20211115_091548.png

    How to install two Windows OS's in same PC?-screenshot_20211115_091630.png

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  5. idgat's Avatar
    Posts : 1,290
    Windows 10 Pro

    You should note that, officially, you require 2 individual licenses, one for each of the OSs ... although the same license key will activate both installations, it's not within the true spirit of the EULA.

    But it can be done, and nothing will happen.

    You could also consider installing one of the OSs in a virtual environment - will save you shutting down to switch in and out between the OSs. Dual boots are a little bit "XP <> Win7".
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  6. Posts : 162
    Windows 10x64 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Thanks everyone for your replies

    NavyLCDR said:
    ...Use your bios to select the main Windows 10 you want to be default and boot into it...
    What setting in BIOS is that? I never saw it

    jimbo45 said:
    Install on "Physical vhdx" files
    I understand that a VHDX is like a file container within which you install an OS which does not require a program like Vmware to play it. I'm wondering if there is a performance tag to pay as opposed to a clean install? Also, the license I use to activate WIndows in the VHDX file will recognize the Dell XPS as the device being used or will it pick up a "VHDX" device?

    And this is a question for everyone: why not follow the instructions in this guide?

    Also, what about installing/running the 2nd OS from an external drive? If the external drive is an SSD connected to my XPS via thunderbolt, would there still be a noticeable performance issue as opposed to installing it internally?

    - - - Updated - - -

    My Dell XPS 9710 has Two M.2 slots for M.2 2230/2280 solid-state drives (as shown in my first post, those are the C and D drives). Maybe there's a way in BIOS to disable either one of the slots. If so, I could disable the C slot (the one that has Win10) and then clean install Win11 in the 2nd slot. That way, instead of using a boot menu (dual boot), I could just use BIOS to disable one or the other depending on which OS I prefer to boot from. Is this viable? Thanks
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  7. AddRAM's Avatar
    Posts : 4,486
    Windows 10 Pro

    Why would you want to go into the Bios when you want to use the other OS ?

    Simply set your default OS and set the timer on the boot screen to 2 or 3 seconds.

    Do it the way you want as you described in your opening paragraph.

    You will still have a true dual boot, but you`re just using the Boot Menu to boot into the other OS when you want to. A lot easier than going into the Bios.
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  8. Posts : 39,318
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
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  9. Posts : 162
    Windows 10x64 Pro
    Thread Starter

    AddRAM said:
    Why would you want to go into the Bios when you want to use the other OS ?
    Because one member said regarding a dual boot:"It's fun but it is not highly recommended if you have no experience with it. One update (on either OS) can mess up the boot managers and give you all sorts of problem. Never do it on your main laptop if that is the only one you got. Maybe a VM will satisfy your Win 11 curiosity."

    But as long as a dual boot is stable and in general risk free (if done properly) then I'll go for it
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  10. Posts : 162
    Windows 10x64 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Hi all, I finally was able to install Windows 11 in my second physical drive following Brink's and Navy's method. This is what I got:
    1) Starting from the laptop shut down, when I power it on I do get a dual boot menu with Windows 11 (in the Physical Drive 1) as the first option and Windows 10 (in the Physical drive 0) as the second option. The boot menu is timed to 30sec.
    2) Either OS starts successfully when chosen from the dual boot menu,
    3) If I restart from within either OS the laptop will boot back to that OS, the dual boot menu does not display, that is, if I restart from within Windows 10, it will restart back to Windows 10, and if I restart from within Windows 11 , it will restart back to Windows 11. The ONLY situation in which the dual boot menu shows up is by shutting down the laptop and powering it back on.
    4) From within Windows 11, if I go to Windows Explorer (File Explorer) I will see two drives, the C drive (where W11 is installed) and the D drive (the W10 install). From within Windows 10 only the C drive (where W10 is installed) is displayed, the W11 drive is hidden.
    How can I fix these issues? I'd like to have the dual boot menu show up also when restarting the OSs and not just by having to shut down/power on. Also, I'd like to have the W10 install drive hidden from within W11, the same way the W11 drive is hidden from within W10.
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