Windows 10: Dual Boot on external SSD?

  1.    01 Jun 2017 #1

    Dual Boot on external SSD?


    Hi guys,

    I'm currently running Windows 7 (Bootcamp, MBP 2012) and planning to buy a new MSI laptop running Win 10.

    I would like to ask if it's possible to clone my old Windows 7 to an external SSD and run it as a Dual Boot on the new laptop?
    I'm working in music production and i don't want to reinstall all my music softwares, and re-do all the settings again.
    Will this cause activation/driver/speed problem?

    Looking forward to hear from you guys! Appreciate your help
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  2. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 5,285
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint
       01 Jun 2017 #2

    Can't say about booting the external drive but due to Registry needs you'd probably need to reinstall anyway so the necessary Registry entries are made as the external install of Windows may not pick them up from the internal drive/Windows.
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  3. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,928
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       01 Jun 2017 #3

    Licensing issues aside, if the SSD with the Windows 7 clone is the E:\ drive from Windows 10 laptop, then if the elevated command:

    BCDBoot E:\Windows

    is run, it will add the entry for the cloned system to the BCD boot system volume to give a dual boot entry for Windows 7.

    It's likely that the Windows 7 will be MBR/BIOS based, so the Windows 10 installation should be the same, and not GPT/UEFI.

    Then there will be the matter of Windows 7 drivers for the laptop.
    Last edited by Fafhrd; 01 Jun 2017 at 17:29. Reason: note about drivers.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  4.    02 Jun 2017 #4

    Fafhrd said: View Post
    Then there will be the matter of Windows 7 drivers for the laptop.
    Yeah, this is most likely to be the biggest issue. Windows 10 is pretty good at sorting such stuff but Windows 7 is very likely to fall over.

    The simplest option would be to image backup w7 on mac, and restore image to a virtual machine instead. VMs are usually pretty good at replacing native drivers with suitable vm drivers. This has least impact on Windows 10. I would use hyper-v if 10 pro, but vmware should work as well if Home.

    If running it in a vm is not feasible, what I would do is install it in a virtual hard disk rather than a usb drive - basic steps as follows:-

    1) Install Macrium Reflect Free in bootcamp, and make a boot entry

    2) backup current windows 7 on Mac in case crap happens

    3) run sysprep to remove hardware drivers (@Kari has written a tutorial in sevenforums).

    4) reboot bootcamp and boot into Macrium and image backup pc.

    5) on new device, create a virtual hard disk, and attach it.

    6) restore C drive partition and data partitions by not the hidden partitions from sysprepped image to vhd

    7) add boot entry for vhd.

    8) reboot pc and select the windows 7 vhd, and it will sort out drivers assuming suitable drivers are available. If not, it could get messy trying to sort this out. In part, this is why a vhd is good, as you can just delete it, and remove boot entry ie minimal impact on Windows 10.
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  5. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 14,817
    Windows 10 Pro
       02 Jun 2017 #5

    Tutorial at our sister site Seven Forums: Windows 7 Installation - Transfer to a New Computer - Windows 7 Help Forums

    When done, add Windows 7 to your new laptop's boot menu as Fafhrd told in post #3.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 

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